Weekly Bible readings often teach through the verses left out as much as the verses we have to read. What about when Jesus leaves parts out?  This week’s Bible reading from Luke 4:14-21 contains the oft-quoted passage that Jesus read from the Scroll of Isaiah.

Jesus read:
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." (Luke 4:18-19 NRSV)

And then he stopped.  He rolled up the scroll.  And he said, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Here’s the next bit – the part that Jesus didn't read.

. . .  and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory. They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; but you shall be called priests of the LORD, you shall be named ministers of our God; you shall enjoy the wealth of the nations, and in their riches you shall glory. Because their shame was double, and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the LORD love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known. (Isaiah 61:2b-9 NRSV)

Yeah. I’d stop before that part, too.

Vengeance and retribution do not square up with following Jesus.  Vengeance and retribution do not match with loving God and loving all.  Vengeance and retribution run completely contrary to who Jesus is.

Jesus was and is not about vengeance and retribution. Jesus was and is about good news, release, recovery, and end to oppression and God’s love and kindness.

No matter who says it, where it’s written, or how compelling an argument may be to the contrary, remember this:

Calls for an uprising or any kind of ‘get back at them’ movement  will always run contrary to who Jesus is.

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