Mountain View - The Audacity of Favor By Tom Hovsepian

Writer Author  Church On The Mountain
Christian Column : Christian Living  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer I’m not sure why, but the Lord is often portrayed as, “Jesus, the meek and mild”? Perhaps it’s the misinterpreting of the story of his birth as being cutesy? Maybe it was His silence at the trial that condemned Him to death, thereby fulfilling the prophecy that “He was like a lamb led to the slaughter”? Yet, that characterization just doesn’t jive with an incident we see of Him in His hometown of Nazareth.

When Jesus returned from His baptism and stint in the wilderness, Luke describes Him as coming back “in the power of the Holy Spirit”. One Sabbath he stood and read this piece of Scripture:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” Isa. 61:1-2

After that Jesus calmly closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. Next Jesus said something that could appear to be either arrogance or insanity: “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Next we read, “And all were speaking well of him and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips …”

How lovely. Everything was great. Meek and mild Jesus stays true to form... But then He drops a bomb saying, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’ Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.”

Jesus insulted them! It reminds me of a scene in “Braveheart” when the English army and the hugely outmatched Scottish mob are facing off on the battlefield. William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson, jumps on his horse and is asked, “Where are ya going?” Wallace responds, “I’m goin’ to pick a fight.” The result is that the English are so incensed they make some disastrous tactical moves and are soundly thumped by the Scotts.

What was Jesus thinking by sticking it in their faces like that? I’m not sure except for the fact everything He said that morning was the truth. His gracious words about the manifold purpose of His coming were true and available to all. It’s just that they stumbled over some wrong thinking. Wrong thinking that led them to view Jesus differently than He actually was.

When Christ read that Scripture from Isaiah, He was announcing “the favorable year of the Lord.” The word “year”, in the Greek, doesn’t just mean 365 days—but a season, a time, an epoch. We’re in that epoch right now! Paul said it so well in Galatians, “It’s for freedom Christ set us free.” Strongs Bible concordance describes this epoch of favor as “that most blessed time when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound.” This season isn’t for when we get to Heaven, but to be experienced now! It’s simply our wrong thinking that continually short circuits us from receiving it. Jesus said that God will favor Gentiles like the widow of Zarephath and the leper Naaman instead of those who should know better. These two saw something in Elijah and Elisha that allowed them to draw on the resources of Heaven, whereby they received God’s favor while others, like those in Jesus’ hometown with their wrong thinking, couldn’t.

Tom HoI believe God favors those who can draw on Heaven even though it may seem outrageous to do so. People label someone like that as a Pollyanna. Well, the truth is, Pollyanna was right and so were Naaman and the widow of Zarephath, and David and Joshua and Caleb. How about you and me being included in the list as well?

Tom Hovsepian is a former pastor of Church on the Mountain, a vibrant community of believers in Crowley Lake. We meet at 9:30a.m. Sunday mornings. Call for more information: 935-4272 or

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