Luke 4:16-30 - And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as was His custom, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and He stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim 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." And He rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." And all spoke well of Him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from His mouth. And they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" And He said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to Me this proverb, '"Physician, heal Yourself." What we have heard You did at Capernaum, do here in Your hometown as well.'" And He said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove Him 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.
Jesus wasn't the kind to rest on His laurels. Here He is in His hometown, preaching with eloquence and power. He's letting the Jews know that good things are in store for them. At this they marvel, speaking well of Him. They delight in this carpenter's son made good: handy with a mallet, and (they must have thought) absolutely expert in the Hebrew Scriptures.
They delight, that is, until Jesus stopped preaching and started teaching. He declared God's love as a blessing for all people. He nails this in place with examples of a Canaanite woman and a Syrian leper (two double-bads according to the Jews). At this unsightly news, the Jews became unhinged. And it appears that scarcely had He finished His little homily that the now unruly mob sent Him packing for a one-way trip off the nearest cliff.
How easy it is to keep God's love to ourselves! We know Jesus lived and died and rose for all (see 2 Corinthians 5:14-15). We know we've been entrusted with the Gospel to share (1 Thessalonians 2:3-8). But we can be exclusive, too. Yet, this isn't the way of Jesus. It's not the way of the Heavenly Father who sent His Son for all people, in all places, that all may know Him and that none may perish (see 2 Peter 3:9).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, open our hearts in love to those around us who need to hear the Good News of Jesus. In His Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Have you ever been tempted to exclude someone for less-than-honorable reasons?
2. Why do you think Jesus called the Jews out for their behavior rather trying to win them over with patience and finesse?
3. How in the world did Jesus pass through the midst of the mob and not get tossed off the cliff?
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