Jesus returned to Galilee powerful in the Spirit. News that he was back spread through the countryside.
He taught in their meeting places to everyone's acclaim and pleasure.
He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read,
he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,
God's Spirit is on me; he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free,
to announce, "This is God's year to act!"
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent.
Then he started in, "You've just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place."
All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, "Isn't this Joseph's son, the one we've known since he was a youngster?"
He answered, "I suppose you're going to quote the proverb, 'Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.'
Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown.
Isn't it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land,
but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon?
And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian."
That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger.
They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom,
but he gave them the slip and was on his way.
He went down to Capernaum, a village in Galilee. He was teaching the people on the Sabbath.
They were surprised and impressed - his teaching was so forthright, so confident, so authoritative, not the quibbling and quoting they were used to.
In the meeting place that day there was a man demonically disturbed. He screamed,
"Ho! What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you're up to. You're the Holy One of God and you've come to destroy us!"
Jesus shut him up: "Quiet! Get out of him!" The demonic spirit threw the man down in front of them all and left. The demon didn't hurt him.
That set everyone back on their heels, whispering and wondering, "What's going on here? Someone whose words make things happen? Someone who orders demonic spirits to get out and they go?"
Jesus was the talk of the town.
He left the meeting place and went to Simon's house. Simon's mother-in-law was running a high fever and they asked him to do something for her.
He stood over her, told the fever to leave - and it left. Before they knew it, she was up getting dinner for them.
When the sun went down, everyone who had anyone sick with some ailment or other brought them to him. One by one he placed his hands on them and healed them.
Demons left in droves, screaming, "Son of God! You're the Son of God!" But he shut them up, refusing to let them speak because they knew too much, knew him to be the Messiah.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)