The Year of Public Favor, Part 1: Jesus’ Inaugural Sermon -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 011:1 (Summer 2002)
Article: The Year of Public Favor, Part 1: Jesus’ Inaugural Sermon
Author: David J. MacLeod

The Year of Public Favor, Part 1:
Jesus’ Inaugural Sermon

(Luke 4:16–30)1

David J. MacLeoda


Well-known pastor and television preacher, Robert Schuller, has said, “While Christ was on earth...He never called any person ‘a sinner.’”2 While Dr. Schuller is correct insofar as there is no text wherein our Lord says to someone, “You are a sinner,” there are many texts in which it is clear that He assumed people were sinful and taught that people were sinful. In speaking to His disciples He could say, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matt. 7:11). He used the technical vocabulary for sin. For example, He offers to forgive sins (Luke 5:20, 21). The word sin (ἁμαρτία, hamartia) means to miss the mark in a moral sense, to fail to do the good.3 He spoke of transgression (παραβαίνω, parabainō), i.e., willful disobedience of God’s

commandments (cf. Matt. 15:3). He spoke of trespasses (Matt. 6:14–15, AV trans. of παράπτωμα, paraptōma), i.e., deviations “from the right path either in thought, knowledge, or act.” He spoke of disobedience (Matt. 18:17) using a Greek word (παρακούω, parakouō) that means “unwillingness to hear.” Altogether, Jesus and His apostles used thirty-three different words for sin. 4

Not only did He use the theological vocabulary, He also spoke of specific acts of sin. He said that man’s heart was corrupt and that it was this sinful nature that produces such things as: “evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness” (...

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