“And they were all amazed and said to one another, ‘What is this word?’” (Luke 4:36)
In the weeks leading up to the birthday of the King who holds dominion above all, we may pay him homage by re-reading portions of his biography chronicled by St. Luke. His story is compelling and his actions worthy of contemplation. We just may discover that though the enormity of his person lies completely beyond our comprehension, he is fully present with us, longing to reveal himself as we linger in his Word.
There he is in his hometown of Nazareth, front and center in the synagogue, with the scroll in hand. He reads words prophesied by Isaiah of his anointing to proclaim the greatest news the poor, the captive, and the oppressed will ever hear. Luke 4:20 reads, “The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him,” and we are mindful that we can imitate them here, placing Christ front and center in our Christmas celebrations, our focus aimed at him.
He moves to Capernaum and is assaulted by a man consumed with a demonic spirit. With a few pointed words, Jesus rebukes the demon and frees the captive, leaving the amazed crowd to whisper to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” (Luke 4:36) We are left to tremble too, to join them in wonder at the immeasurable power his Word still exudes today.
Later, when he enters the house where Simon Peter’s mother-in-law lies ill, we read the phrase, “ They appealed to him on her behalf” (Luke 4:38). What privilege it is that we, too, are able to appeal to him on behalf of others. We, too, can be about the business of petitioning the Most High God on behalf of the spiritually poor, blind, and oppressed around us.
In the quiet stillness of December mornings, with the tree’s twinkling lights for company, we have the privilege to marvel at our Lord and receive through his Word the jeweled gifts only a King can has the right and the ability to offer. To not make the time for such treasures may prove we are pitiful and poor indeed.
Elizabeth A. Mitchell