When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove Him (Jesus) out of the town and brought Him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went away. Luke 4:28-30
In the fall of 2011, Mr. Bruce Wurdeman, LHM's executive director, and I visited Israel and Palestine. Upon our return he asked me to write a series of Lenten devotions, which center on the Savior and some of the places we saw. This week's devotions fulfill his request. It is my prayer that the Lord will use them to bless you as well as those who will be traveling with us to the Holy Land in the fall of 2012. In Him, Pastor Ken Klaus
The ancient city of Nazareth has its ups and downs -- figuratively and literally.
The modern-day pilgrim will be impressed by a community where it seems the city fathers decreed no street shall be laid out level.
Yes, Nazareth has had its share of ups.
After all, this was the community which was blessed to have been the hometown of Jesus for the vast majority of His life. It was here Jesus would have gone with His mother to the town's only well to draw water for the family's day. These are the streets that would have seen Jesus run with His playmates, and here He would have gone to school and learned the trade at His stepfather's carpenter shop.
But Nazareth has also had its downs.
Having performed a number of miracles, Jesus returned to His boyhood home. There, at the synagogue He read words from Isaiah, prophecies which spoke of the Messiah's coming. Nobody would have been offended or upset if Jesus had stopped with the reading.
But Jesus didn't stop and expound as others before Him would have done. No, Jesus went further and announced to all those familiar faces that Isaiah's words had found fulfillment in Him. The idea that a local boy could be the Messiah was too much for those folks to stomach. In righteous, albeit mistaken, wrath they rose up to kill Him.
They didn't succeed. That prophesied event would come on a different day, in a different place. It would come and because God's perfect Son was murdered and rose three days later, the entire world can now be told Jesus is the Fulfiller of prophecies and the Savior of sinful humanity.
Sadly, the world, like Nazareth, still has its ups and downs. While hundreds of millions have been brought to faith in the Christ, there are hundreds of millions who have joined with the citizens of Nazareth and say, "Jesus, the Savior? Impossible!"
False religions, dictators and despots, as well as many pseudo-scholars have decided that "Jesus isn't going to save them." Even worse, they, like the people of Nazareth, are still doing their best to remove Jesus from anywhere and everywhere He might touch and save the souls of sinners.
My friends, Scripture tells us Jesus didn't keep coming back to Nazareth. He didn't keep preaching to His old neighbors. No, Jesus left and went elsewhere to share salvation's story of repentance and forgiveness. Their time with the Savior was past and over.
To help prevent Nazareth's sad story from being told and retold in our age is why Lutheran Hour Ministries remains committed to bringing Christ to the nations. It is why you make your witness to those around you, too.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, send the Holy Spirit upon a world where too many still have no desire to hear Jesus and the salvation He has won at the cost of His life. Touch hearts and make them eager to believe on Jesus, God's Good News of great joy. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries