The reset button technique (based on the idea of status quo ante) is a plot device that interrupts continuity in works of fiction. Simply put, use of a reset button device returns all characters and situations to the status quo they held before a major change of some sort was introduced. (Wikipedia)

So, what about the reset for the non-fiction situation as well? Recently I found myself thinking it would be great if there was a “reset button” for real life. It probably began as I was hitting the little reset button for our internet that had gone down. One push of the button and it all is restored -fully functioning. This probably was a day when I was trying hard to be more optimistic, to be more disciplined, to be more light-hearted… Have you every heard it said, “If I could go back and have it to do over….”? or “I should just go back to bed and start over?” (Maybe this is why “Groundhog Day” makes the top of my movie picks for all time favorites.)

The actual “reset button” was developed for video games. When pressed, such a button automatically ends the player’s current status in the game, and brings everything back to the starting configuration. The idea of a return to the status quo ante is certainly not original to modern day; Shakespeare scholars have recognized it as a regular device of his comedies, and it is in fact a standard literary device in general. It has been used for years and years to take us back to the way things were before. This device is usually employed as a plot twist that effectively undoes all the happenings of the episode.

I can’t help but think that as the people of Nazareth sat in the Synagogue and listened to the words Jesus chose to read, they were sensing a definate twist in plot. Here, their famous “home-town boy” was returning to the neighborhood. He has been traveling around, becoming famous for teaching in other Synagogues, now he would be in theirs. He stands up, walks to the stage, takes the mic. Anticipation and proud smiles fill the room, “that’s our boy”! Jesus begins to speak and the words bounce around the room, colliding into one another, “Is he actually saying what we think he’s saying?” “Has this fame gone to his head?” Quoting Isaiah 61: 1-2 Jesus procedes,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”


With that, Jesus places the mic back on the podium, and sits down. The room goes silent, an awkward silent. “Is he crazy?” “Has he forgotten where he is, who he is?” “Come on, it’s us Jesus. We know who you are (and are not).” All eyes still on Jesus, he begins again, “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”


So, it seems the reset button goes back to Jesus. He brings Good News of freedom and restoration, the blind will see, the captives set free. He has the authority to hit the “reset button” and make everything right. He understands the idea of status quo ante and he is not afraid to be the one to see it through. He knows what our original design was meant to be, He knows what we were created for. He knows the beauty that we are unable to see, the freedom we are unable to grasp. He knows that if reset, restored back to our original intended design, we will know too. So, he offers himself, his life for the idea of this “reset button”, establishing it once and for all, right in this moment.

I can’t help but think that even though he tells them that he, in this history making moment, is offering freedom, sight, restoration – how many of them could not push the reset button for fear of what they would be letting go of… what was familiar. Why do we often just keep on with the oppression of our own way, the blinders of self sufficiency and independence, instead of hitting the “reset button”?

Luke 4:14-21