January 31, 2016
Text: Luke 4:[14-20] 21-30
As I read the lectionary passages in preparation for this teaching, I found myself puzzled by the reading from the Gospel of Luke—I couldn’t really get the dynamic of the story Luke was telling. My habitual response to this kind of puzzlement is to shrug, and hope for better luck finding a hook in one of the day’s other readings. This time, I felt drawn to stay with my puzzlement.
To understand what’s going on in this week’s portion, we first have to go back to last week’s lectionary Gospel reading, which is the first half of what Luke created as a unified story. It’s the story of what happened when Jesus taught in the synagogue in his hometown, Nazareth. Luke is an astute storyteller, so it’s important to bring the chopped-up halves back together to avoid distorting either half.