These are two verses that are easy to gloss over and in so doing completely ignore to the point where they essentially get erased from the record. Traditionally it is said that what follows these two verses is Jesus first act of ministry in the Gospel of Luke. But here we read that news is already spreading about him as he is teaching in synagogues and being praised for it. This is one of those parts of scripture where the author takes the time to tell us something, but does so passively and vaguely that it’s almost like nothing said is at all. But something is said. Jesus is out teaching in synagogues, the people are praising him, and word is spreading about him through the country. Where exactly had he been? What exactly did he teach? What else, if anything did he do? We’ll never really know. What I think we do know is that what he did in the confines of these two verses does not carry the significance of what’s about to happen in Nazareth.
Perhaps it is possible that Jesus’ point after leaving the wilderness was to get to Nazareth, but he chose to stop on town along the way. I don’t know. Just guessing here. Perhaps what matters most is that he is returning “filled with the power of the spirit”. That phrase keeps coming up, and it will continue to do so. God is up to something in Jesus. God is doing something through his life. This whole thing is not merely about the forgiveness of sins on a cross; no, there is much more. God is working on something much bigger in Jesus. Just what it is, though, we’ll have to wait and see to find out. We’ll have to keep reading the story. Word is spreading….