(4) One other quality of Christ’s words, which specially caught the attention of His hearers in the synagogue at Nazareth, should not be overlooked: “All bare Him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of His mouth.” The reference is, as Dr. Bruce says, rather to the substance of the discourse than to the manner. That there was a peculiar charm in the Teacher’s manner is undoubted, but it was what He said, rather than the way in which He said it—the message of grace, rather than the graciousness of the Messenger—which caused the eyes of all in the synagogue to be fastened on Him. He had just read the great passage from the Book of the prophet Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord
is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor.
He hath sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised,
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Then, when the reading was finished, and He had given back the roll to the attendant, and was sat down, He began to say unto them, “To-day hath this Scripture been fulfilled in your ears.” This was His own programme; this was what He had come into the world to do—to bear the burden of the weary and the heavy-laden, to give rest unto all who would learn of Him.
This, then, is the Teacher whose words we are to study together in these pages. He Himself is saying to us again, “He that hath ears to hear let him hear.” See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. And again He says, “Take heed how ye hear.” Gracious as He is, this Teacher can be also very stern. “If any man,” He says, “hear My sayings and keep them not, I judge him not. ... He that receiveth not My sayings hath one that judgeth him; the word that I speak, the same shall judge him in the last day.” We read of some to whom “good tidings” were preached, whom the word did not profit. Let us pray that to writer and readers alike it may prove the word of eternal life.
* * * * *
“Our Father, who art
What meaneth these words?