Our friend Niki Nowell did such a great job guest-posting for us last time, we asked her to do it again! She is the better half of the Nowell family who runs a ministry called Sevens in Boulder, CO that reaches out to homeless and runaway youth in the area. You guys should check out what they do and also check out her blog.
A few years ago my friend Kim and her family were chosen to be featured on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. On the day of the big reveal, my kids and I were in the crowd screaming, “Move That Bus!” Having watched the show for years, the excitement of the moment was overwhelming.
While we waited for Kim’s family to arrive, the volunteers around us shared their stories. From carrying lumber to being part of the plumbing team to serving meals to the crew, story after story revealed how honored they felt to be part of something beautiful and bigger than themselves. That day was a turning point for Kim’s family, the crowd of volunteers, and for me.
Revelation always affects more than the direct recipient.
Reading through the Luke passage for this week’s epiphany focus, it was easy to imagine being a witness in the Galilean crowd. News of Jesus had spread and people gathered to hear him speak with the power and authority of the Holy Spirit. He was impressive. The people sang his praises.
Until he went home.
Standing in the synagogue reading from Isaiah was nothing unusual for Jesus. He had grown up there. People knew him. But choosing that moment to reveal his true identity (and ours) changed everything.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
Jesus had come home to reveal that God’s spirit flowed through him and he was the fulfillment of the long awaited Good News and freedom – not just for the Jews, but the Gentiles as well. Parallel passages in Matthew quoted Isaiah too, “…the people who sat in darkness had seen a great light.”
Talk about a big revelation! Their reaction? “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
They couldn’t deny his power, but neither could they accept that one of their own was making such a claim. When Jesus declared that the promise was for all people, not just the Jews, they drove him out of town. They chose to remain in darkness, not believing in fulfilled prophecy or a new mission.
So who were the people sitting in darkness? The Gentiles? The Jews?
What was the great light? Jesus bringing Good News, release, freedom, and sight. The light was the same but only one of those groups thought they needed it. As Trevor said in yesterday’s post:
“The same light shining through different vessels will take on different qualities.”
Like the Jews and Gentiles, we are all called and invited to share the mission Jesus claimed. We too get to move from darkness to light, from poor to filled with Good News, held captive to freedom, from blindness to sight, from oppressed to released. But we have to choose.
Our own revelation can and should lead to becoming part of the forward movement in the lives of others.
In the seasons after Kim’s episode aired, families who had received makeovers joined forces with the show and volunteered on future builds. Their life changing events birthed the desire to see other lives changed.
What is your response to the revelation of Jesus? How are you bringing Good News, release, sight, and freedom?