14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Luke 2, 14-21
Watch how Jesus does scripture:
the passage in Isaiah actually says,
“to proclaim the year of God’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God.”
But Jesus stops with favor,
leaves out vengeance, and sits down.
Call it cherry-picking.
Scripture is replete with images
of God as vengeful and God as forgiving.
But vengeance is not forgiveness.
God isn’t sort of this and sometimes that.
You have to choose. You don’t get both.
(He quotes Hosea: “I desire mercy, not sacrifices.”)
No matter what your sacred books say
you have to choose:
the way of vengeance, power and domination,
or the way of courage, love and nonviolence.
Though he has reason not to,
Jesus chooses the side of love.
And when he asks you, and you falter, don’t worry.
He’ll still choose the way of love.