Sunday, January 28, 2007

He wasn't very nice - Luke 4:21-30

Jesus is not very nice to the people in his hometown. He flat out says he won’t be accepted and then, a little bit nastily, alludes to the stories of two prototypical prophets healing a foreigner and receiving help from a stranger. (Luke 4:21-30) This doesn’t say a lot for how humans receive news that someone they’ve known is acting differently than how they expect.

It does serve as a warning to us. How do we receive messages that we aren’t the way we should be – especially when they come from people we think we know? Are we going to welcome or hinder? Are we going to greet or despise? Are we going to be who we say we are? Or show that we’re hypocrites.

John Boykin said, “Time is life--nothing more, nothing less. The way you spend your hours and your days is the way you spend your life.” (I don’t have the source for this quote – I got it from a meeting on called Quotes to live with) The quote in many ways sums up the questions in this passage.

We who claim the name of Christian are asked to live our lives in service to that one. Yet some of us who are most familiar with the words seem least familiar with putting those words into action. The way we act towards each other and towards the stranger is a reflection of what we truly believe.

Are we going to throw the bearer of news off the cliff (at least try to) or will we have ears to hear?

And I’m not so sure I like the answer when I look at myself.

Luke 4:21-30 [21] Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture
has been fulfilled in your hearing." [22] All spoke well of him and were amazed
at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph’s
son?" [23] He said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb,
'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the
things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'" [24] And he said, "Truly I
tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. [25] But the truth
is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was
shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the
land; [26] yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in
Sidon. [27] There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet
Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." [28] When they
heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. [29] They got up, drove
him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was
built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. [30] But he passed through the
midst of them and went on his way.

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