Part of the reason I can’t seem to make more progress on learning Genesis 1 by heart is because I have taken a break to get Luke 4:14-21 by heart, as this will be my next lay reading in a couple weeks. This is the story of Jesus early in his ministry going to preach in his hometown, and despite being popular elsewhere, it doesn’t work out so well at home. This reading specifically is the moment just before it goes south. You can imagine Mary his mother being so proud, and his brothers and sisters, and all those who were his teachers and friends. “Look at Joseph’s son, what a fine boy!” That’s not what Jesus’ mission is all about. He will deliberately choose to be provocative.
But in this passage, it ends just before that, with all the eyes of the synagogue upon him. He says, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Just a breathless moment as the crowd realizes that he has just claimed to be the one anointed by God, the one to come and release the captives, heal the blind, let the oppressed go free and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Well, who does he think he is, anyway? Heads are about to turn, eyes are about to slant and roll. In this second of stillness was there just a second of belief? If only…..
If only he could come and do all that.
But it is foolish to think that Jesus, Joseph and Mary’s son, could do these things. Sure, he’s smart, we’re proud of him, we love him, but he’s just one of us. We can’t do these things. There’s nothing we can do to change how the world works.
Right? If only….
What after all can we do?
It is particularly striking to me that Jesus says, “in your hearing”. Because all the eyes were fixed upon him. Why didn’t he say “in your sight”? For one reason, because however much the folks in the synagogue saw, at that moment they were blind.
For another — and yes we’re going back to Genesis 1 now! — it wasn’t seeing that created the world. It was hearing the “voice of God.”