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The following is chapter 17 in the children’s series, If They Could Talk, the story of our redemption as it unfolds from Genesis to Revelation. This is the story of the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in Luke 4.
It had been thirty years since the Star shone bright over Bethlehem’s manger; thirty more years of ruthless Roman rule. Where was the baby who would be king? Then the promised forerunner’s voice crashed through the silence; the voice of one crying in the wilderness sent to prepare the way spoke. The time was at hand. The baby boy had become a man.
I watch sheep; actually, my shepherd master watches sheep and he sends me to bark down the strays. Sheep roam; there are no fences. Hill to hill, in search of green; ours is a nomadic life. We found ourselves near Nazareth. Though the grass was aplenty, sheep still wander. Sent to fetch a wayward ewe, I found her near the synagogue. It was the Sabbath. The Scripture was being read. His voice and His words made me stop:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
His voice was full of authority yet humble; the words read full of promise and hope. Who was reading? No dogs, of course, in the synagogue; I made my way to the window—careful not to disrupt. Then I saw Him. He was a man yet He was more. Finished, He rolled up the sacred scroll and sat. All eyes upon Him, including my own, He spoke. I will never forget His words: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Then I knew. It was Him.
For the next three years I saw Him some more. We were nomads; He was an itinerant—our travels crossed more than once. I heard Him teach; I saw Him do. And there were the stories from other animals, too—what they heard and saw.
Then I remembered those first words heard through the synagogue’s window. And it all began to make sense. The blind were given sight, and the lame walked again; the leper was healed, and demons fled the possessed. As wondrous and great as these were; they were signs of something more being done. He healed broken bodies to show He came to heal broken souls.
Since that day in the Garden; man has been spiritually poor, in the dark, brokenhearted, and in prison. You humans have been at war with the Creator God. But He came to reverse the Fall; proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor!
How would He accomplish this? I don’t know. But judging by what He could do physically, surely He will find a way to do spiritually. I bark, and I howl at you; pay attention to the One in whom the Spirit resides—the One the Lord has sent. He is your Savior. His name is Jesus.
Panting with hope,