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. ... "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor." ... When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove Him out of the town ... so that they could throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went away. (Luke 4:16, 28-30)
I wonder what Mary thought. This was apparently Jesus' first sermon to the hometown folks in Nazareth. At first everyone gushed over Him. "What gracious words! What a wonderful preacher!" Not a bad reception ...
And then Jesus ruined everything.
He quoted them several cases from the Old Testament, where people were suffering and God sent His prophets to help them. But in each story, the people they helped were foreigners—Gentiles—not good upstanding people of God like themselves. Jesus made His point crystal clear—God had sent Him to seek out and save not just the Jews, but the whole world.
So they tried to throw him off a cliff.
What was bad news to the Nazarenes is good news to us, because Jesus has had us, all the people of the world, in His heart from the beginning. You are not an afterthought. Jesus came for you, and for me, and for all humanity, to save us—and even the people of Nazareth.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for Your love that includes us! Amen.
* Have you ever had trouble with people who hate or fear those who are not like them?
* Is there any group you yourself have trouble loving or wishing well?
* Why does Jesus insist from the beginning on making it clear that all the world is included in God's salvation?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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