Grace Welcomes the Unworthy

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Grace Welcomes the Unworthy
Text: Luke 4:14-21
Occasion: General
Audience: General
Theological Tradition: General
Topic: Grace
Author: Jeff Mammen


Direction

We find grace when we come to Jesus and honestly admit we are nobodies.

How to Get There

  • Jesus immediately turns the world on its' ear. He says that he came to speak to the poor, the blind, the prisoners, not the popular people, the rich or the holy.
  • If we don't find ourselves in one of those categories, we don't find grace.
  • We are used to people giving us worth based on what we do, we are more valuable the more we do, and quickly.
  • Jesus flips this. We don't have to prove ourselves. Instead, Jesus brings himself to the unworthy and trust that Jesus is worthy enough for all of us.
  • We don't have what it takes for God. We fail all the time, we're broken, we don't have enough. And Jesus says that's where he meets us.
  • If we just be ourselves, we can meet Jesus. It's when we fake it and try to make ourselves worthy of God's love that we don't get it.
  • We just have to admit who we are, unworthy, poor, and we find our worth in Christ and gives us value in his love.
  • Without that admission of our failures and who we truly are, we probably haven't found that grace which is for the unworthy.
  • When we come to Jesus we recognize that the focus goes on Jesus, not on us. It's not about what we can bring, who we are, what we have done. Jesus makes all that so minor, the good and the bad. It becomes all about Jesus.
  • But Jesus left off the end of the quote form Isaiah. In the original context, this quote followed with a statement about bringing punishment.
  • Jesus doesn't talk about punishments and rewards here, purposefully avoiding it and the people knew it. He isn't giving punishment, he is receiving ours, anyone's who comes to him poor and in prison by so much.
  • The people tried to rank Jesus according to their customs and Jesus reacted against them. They wanted Jesus to conform to their ideas.
  • Jesus doesn't bring what we want, but what we need, and he brings it to us because we all do need it, we all are broken and poor, nobodies.

Things to Watch For

The ways that our culture and their culture categorized worth has changed a lot. Examples of how we rank people today are important for the message to have an impact.

Exegetically, the heart of this passage is a quotation so it is hard to exegete as being from Jesus, but Jesus claimed it as his own so we should be able to intrepret it as such. The issue of context also plays a role in that Jesus avoided the context of the original quotation, which the listeners would have known about.

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