Jesus Unrolls the Scroll
3rd Sunday Ordinary Time
January 27, 2019
“Jesus stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll…”
“I saw the dead, both the great and the small, standing in front of his throne,
while the book of life was opened, and other books were opened, which recorded what the dead had done in their lives, by which they were judged.”
In today’s gospel, Jesus unrolls the Isaiah scroll in his home synagogue, where he would have attended since childhood. Any man who had gone through his bar-mitzvah at 13 had the right to stand before the assembly, pick a reading of their choice, proclaim it and then expound. This role was not limited to the local rabbi. Jesus had no doubt performed this many times before, but now, all his neighbors had become aware of Jesus’ miracles and ministry; thus, “every eye was upon him.”
Look at the humility of Jesus Christ. Here is the very one through whom all things are kept in existence, who alone among us had pre-existence before being born, and who literally inspired Isaiah, from whom he now read and interpreted. Jesus hid his divinity so well that he remained unknown in his divinity to his own neighbors. One thousand years of Jewish history was waiting for this very moment of proclamation, to a very ordinary group of Jewish folks who came as usual to Sabbath services.
There will be another time when Jesus will unroll another scroll, as it were, and that will be at the end of time. This “scroll” is described in the book of Revelation as the “Book of Life”. Do you realize that each of us are, each day, writing a page in our very own book, one that Our Lord will present to you at your meeting with him on the last day of your life? This will be your own “gospel,” with each precious day of life on earth a page. From this book we will be judged as fit for heaven, purgatory, or hell, as well as the place we will enjoy forever in heaven. So says the book of Revelation!
The Lord has recorded every moment of our existence in the “Book of Life.” There will be editing: the times we asked forgiveness, and especially confession. How very many will be surprised at the times our Lord was with us and we did not realize; the times we helped someone or was patient and thought nothing more about it, only to find this a highlight of the story of our lives. How we influenced others for evil or good, these pages will be the scroll of our own lives and will determine our future forever.