The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’
Luke 4:18-19 & 21b
God in Christ did not just come to save souls for heaven; he also came to bring shalom and flourishing here in this life
Nicholas Wolterstorff, “In This world of wonders.” Page 55.
Two sections of the gospels are often called manifestos; “The Sermon on the Mount has been called “The Kingdom Manifesto”. The other section is that which is found in Luke 4:16-21, and it has been called; “The Nazareth Manifesto”. It is the section in Luke that we will be considering in this piece. I presume the term manifesto is used because the quote, predominantly from Isaiah 61, is used by Jesus to speak of his mission.
Jesus in using this text also draws attention to the nature of his person. At his baptism Jesus is declared as God’s son, resonating with Psalm 2, and therefore King. Jesus is the one in whom the Father is well pleased, drawing on the servant of the Lord in Isaiah 42:1. The section from Isaiah 61 while not belonging to the servant songs of Isaiah, (Is. 42:1-4; 49:1-11; 50:4-9; 52:13 – 53:12) can be described as like a servant song. Finally the proclamation of God’s word by the one spoken of in 61:16:21 resonates with the prophet who was to come found in Deuteronomy 18:15 & 18. Luke uses the titles and the texts that contain them in such a way as to reveal Jesus as the bringer of God’s salvation. The one who could declare the year of the Lord’s favour because he was God come amongst his people, in the person of the Son.
Jesus had the authority to proclaim the fulfilment of the scripture, the year of the Lord’s favour had begun. What was Jesus intimating when he sat down and said ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing?’ Jesus was announcing the long awaited deliverance of God’s people from all that made them less than they should be. Isaiah’s prophetic word concerned the deliverance of Judah from exile in Babylon; however it finds its greater fulfilment in the liberation that Jesus made possible through his life, death and resurrection. Jesus was announcing the full salvation that God had promised was coming into being through his person and work.
One discussion that surrounds the text in Luke 4 concerns whether Jesus was speaking of spiritual realities, or physical realities? The answer is the salvation God brings about in Jesus is for the whole person. The separation of the spiritual from the physical in the biblical understanding of human persons is not as easy as some think. God is concerned with the whole person.
The language at use in the text is not that of social political revolution, but of the in breaking in of the kingdom of God in liberating and saving power, this is the true renewing of the world. In Jesus the order of the new creation is breaking in. This is the new community under the sovereignty of God, empowered by the Spirit of God, coming into being as a sign and prophetic voice to a world that needs to experience the saving, liberating power of God. This new community is made up of those who accept Jesus and his message and experience the liberty of the children of God.
Those who are called to be part of this new community are also charged with proclaiming the arrival of the year of the Lord’s favour with the coming of Jesus. We are to proclaim the message and live as those who seek to bring the good gifts of God to all.
Ronnie Wynd 2019
Exciting news. Everyone is getting ready for our holiday club in August. Monday nights are a hive of activity with painting, drawing, making, shopping, etc. in preparation.
This year the children will be looking at team building with a sports theme.
Register your child online by clicking on the link here.
It’s been a while since we’ve posted anything here, but that doesn’t mean it’s all be quiet at DCBC. Quite the opposite – we haven’t had a moment to think about the website.
Part of our vision for our church is to be able to provide our local community with a place to meet, socialise and worship together. And although people are more important than the building, it is useful to have a welcoming environment to meet in. For this reason we’ve been updating and redecorating different parts of the building. Thanks to everyone who has contributed by painting, cleaning, moving things (to one room, and then to a different room and back again!), building, fixing, and making cups of tea!
This morning we celebrated two events rolled into one: the Girls Brigade enrolment and the first Sunday in Advent! Three advent chocolates have been consumed; we’ve all seen the advert with Kevin the Carrot; and we’re already day-dreaming about tapping a chocolate orange (or hitting it with a hammer). But is this really what Christmas is all about? Is glitter, baubles, and candy-canes the most we can look forward to? Whilst these are all great things that get us in the Christmas mood, this morning we heard a different story – that Advent is about waiting for the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Join us to find out the full story during our Advent and Christmas services over the next few weeks.
Sunday 10th December: 10.30 am – normal service
Sunday 10th December: 6pm – East Durham Churches Together Carol Service (with the Salvation Army band)
Sunday 17th December: 10.30 am – café church service
Sunday 17th December: 6pm – Carol Service
Sunday 24th December: 10.30 am – Christmas Eve service
It has been another busy week at DCBC. The Girl’s Brigade had a pyjama-themed fundraising event in support of Children in Need. The girls joined in with games and crafts as they raised £98, which will go towards the charity’s vision of making sure all children in the UK are safe, secure, and have the chance to fulfil their potential.
We rounded off the week – and our 67th anniversary celebrations – by walking from Edge Court down to the Garden Gate Café at Crook Hall. All two-legged and four-legged friends were well fed and watered before tackling the hill back up to Gilesgate.
Our church anniversary service today marked the beginning of another new year for Durham City Baptist Church, as well as providing an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and blessings of the last year. In our café church style service, we thought about how many people in our congregation have made huge decisions over the past twelve months – the decision to travel to the UK; to swap one type of employment for another; or to give up work and return to studying. Even though the road is not always easy, we considered how God has been present throughout the last year, supporting us as we raised funds to repair our formerly pot-holed carpark; as we welcomed children to our holiday club during the summer; and as we started our café church services.
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains-
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
The Maker of heaven and earth.”
As we look to the coming year, we are excited about continuing and growing our regular activities – which you can find out about using the tabs above – and about going wherever God leads us.
I was out walking the other day, and I found myself kicking leaves that were lying on the pathway. This has always been a favourite pass time of mine. It was then I realised that autumn was fully with us. I enjoy autumn. I love the trees changing colour, the fields harvested and the large round bails waiting to be collected and stacked in barns, the berries on the shrubs and trees, along with a host of other sights that give a sense of completion. One thing I miss these days is walking along by the River in Wear with Gandalf. Gandalf was my Labrador and this time of the year the horse chestnut trees showered down upon the earth their prickly green fruit. I would pick one up and peel off the green outer coating, trying hard not to impale my finger on the treacherous spikes. The risk was well worth it for inside was the wondrous chestnut, the beautiful swirling browns, like a magnificently polished orb.
Such experience, like gazing upon the chestnut, always makes me consider the wonder of creation. Such a simple thing a chestnut, yet, so wonderfully made. It is a very small part of the gift which is creation. The smaller speaks of the greater, the magnificent panoply that is the created order, from the vastness of the myriad of stars to the sub-atomic particle, from the wonder of the great whale frolicking in the ocean waves, to the smallest insect scuttling over the sun baked ground. All this speaks to us of the magnificence, the splendour, the wonder of the created order.
Note the language I use here is that of creation. What I have spoken of above is not first and foremost nature but creation, the work of God. The psalmist writes concerning the wonder of God’s creative power, The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. The psalmist in another place writes, When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place. The world around us is God’s gracious work, He did not have to create anything but out of his magnificent loving benevolence he created that which was other than himself and He placed humankind within it as His steward to care and nurture that which he brought into being.
Now there are many things we could go on to write concerning God’s creation and our place within the created order. Humankind’s stewardship of creation for instance, or the New Testament’s teaching on the place of Jesus Christ as the agent of creation and the end to which creation is moving. However, this is not the place to develop these interesting topics. My point is to draw attention to the God who is supreme over creation as well as creator. For, He is alone worthy of praise and adoration for his mighty works; yes, in salvation, but also in creation. So we finish with some words from a well-known hymn.
O Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works
Thy hand hath made,
I see the stars,
I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!
This year has seen an exciting new development at DCBC – the launch of our new “Café Church” style service. These take place on the first Sunday of each month at 10.30 and last about 1 hour. They are suitable for the whole community, as there are activities and crafts for the little ones (and the young at heart!) as well as opportunities to take part in music, worship, discussion and reflection.
A new year, a new set of crafts. Our craft group meets fortnightly on Monday evenings at 7pm for creativity, coffee and fellowship. All are welcome to come along, whether you just want to sit and chat, or get on with a project you have on the go. We also have some talented knitters, sewists and crafters who can give a helping hand with a tricky project.