Jesus stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant…He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Someone once said to me: “All religions are the same.” [I’m sure you’ve heard that one before, right?]
Well, in reply, I said to him: “Saying this simply means you don’t know your own religion let alone any religion well.” He said in his defense: “Just look at the facts. All religions worship a higher being. Almost all of them have temples and altars. And most have ‘priests’ or ‘priestesses’.”
What would you say to that?
I began to explain my position to my ‘friend’ with the following analogy: “Imagine for a moment you were alive in 1941 and standing in front of the Nazi army and the American army. Are you going to tell me that both armies are the same? After all, they all wear helmets, uniforms and boots. They all carry guns in their arms and have tanks behind their backs. Well, on the surface they appear the same - at a very superficial level. But in a deep (profound) way, they have very little in common.”
There are many similarities among the major religions because there is one true God. The Lord is in the details, whereas the ‘devil’ is in the similarities.
Now, I have to admit to you something: I didn’t come up with this answer. Someone else came up with it for me and long before I ever discovered it. His name was G.K. Chesterton, and I first read this argument in his book Orthodoxy. I am not exaggerating when I say to you this book changed my life. It helped me to see myself in a new way, my objections to belief in an honest way, and to live my life in an entirely different way. In some ways, I feel like Chesterton wrote these words for me! Only the Bible has had more of an influence in my life than this book.
Regardless of how long ago something is written, the written word has a lot of power: the power to confuse men, to break men or to make men. If simple words have this power, imagine for a moment the everlasting power of the True Word, the Word of God to sanctify men. If only more people would read it, eat it, reflect on it, and live up to it!
Jesus entered a synagogue on the sabbath day. He was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor”. These words from the prophet Isaiah were written many years before the Lord. They were written to help the Chosen People prepare for the coming of the Messiah. These words were written for them; but even more so for Him. It identified Him and He identified with it.
This scripture passage was the spark that would set the Lord on fire, These holy words would propel the Lord into the public square and subject him to hate and love; jealousy and fidelity; betrayal and confession. The Word had finally become flesh and was dwelling among His people.
Scripture, The Word of God, can do the same to us.
Heavenly Father, your Son identified himself when He read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. May we always identify ourselves to your Word, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.