Walk into the reality of life when Jesus lived on the earth, identifying with the sounds, smells, feelings surrounding the hurt people he touched. Body and soul.
Jesus stands in the hot, muggy building filled with men and boys twelve years and older on the lower level. A dirt floor. Mud walls with openings to allow whatever breeze might pass through. Animal skins tacked to the walls to keep the rain out in case inclement weather happens during the meeting. His eyes move around the room . Long gray robes just touching gritty tired sandal ed feet. Turbans wrapped tightly covering dusty hair.
The second level of the meeting place is filled with the women, girls, babies and younger boys.
Some of the young males on this second level are huddled to the side, anxiously waiting for the day to come for the traditional ceremony that would officially make them into men finally allowing them the right to sit on the main floor.
The heat rising to the second level is terribly uncomfortable, but men and women are not allowed to sit together in the meeting place.
The room is dusty, arid, filled with the scent of people who know the harsh reality of putting a hard full week of work. Fathers tending the sheep in the countryside under the relentless sun. Mothers tending the many children while making meals with little substance. Hard workers needing this day. This is their Sabbath. This is their time of rest. Hunger is seen as their clothes drape on their bodies from lack of enough physical food. Hunger is seen in their eyes from lack of real spiritual food. Rabbis have been teaching the eldest men and women for many years. Still, their food lacks substance, lacks nourishment.
Jesus is filled with compassion. His heart is overflowing with love for each individual man, woman and child in this dusty, coughing, baby crying, cramped Jewish house of prayer. He sees the emptiness within each person.
Inside His heart weeps.
“Is this a result of their own making, their own decisions? The battle to deplete their souls started long ago. It is now time to bring this war to an end.”
Jesus knows their pain.
Jesus walks slowly with no feeling of pretentiousness to the scrolls. He takes Isaiah 61:1-2. Jesus reads these words with love. They come out so tenderly, people are on the edge of their seats. Hope is in the air. Young adolescent boys are not bored but engaged with this man. Babies are finding no reason to cry. Not only words are coming out. The room is filled with The Spirit of God.
Silence surrounds the hall as Jesus ends his reading. With a voice containing authority and deep mercy, Jesus states to all present, “TODAY THE SCRIPTURE IS FULFILLED IN YOUR HEARING.”
Awestruck with intimacy. Movement is impossible. For a brief point in time, each starving soul is feasting. Connection to God is not just possible. It is reality.
Jesus is here today. He sees the emptiness. He sees the feasting on food with absolutely no nutrition. Whether the outerwear is rich colorful finery, drab with holes, or mediocre, the malnutrition of your soul is hurting Him.
These are the words Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah to the people in that meeting place many years ago.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4 18-19 NIV
Allow yourself to read drink in these words and feed your soul. Receive the same love and intimacy Jesus extended as He expressed this the first time.