Luke 4: 22b – 30 Jesus rejected in Nazareth
“Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”
“Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed – only Naaman the Syrian.”
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Jesus sets the tone for his ministry: he is the charismatic prophet come home to acclaim, to people being proud of him. But he turns on them, instead pointing out that there would be no demonstrations of power in Nazareth because no prophet is accepted in his hometown. He goes on further to say that God chooses whom he will bless and it is not always his people.
This is such a clarifying point for us followers of Jesus and Paul. We need to know when the pats on the back or the encouragement we receive are from the world (for the church is in many ways is quite worldly) as opposed to from the Spirit’s leading and encouragement. This is particularly true for priests as in their ministry they must deal with much that is worldly in their congregations while remaining true to some sense of guidance and strengthening from the Spirit.
Heavenly Father, give us the grace and courage to see clearly where you are leading us and not be distracted by how others do things or how everyone expects us to do them. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Noon Day Prayers Question
In our local church community today, how do we know where God is leading us when everyone has such strong, diverse and sometimes combative opinions? When do we start being a group of followers of Jesus interested most in what he might lead us to do, rather than a medley of self-preoccupied clubs jostling to make sure they get what they want? Abba, Jesus, where are you leading us? What do you want me to do?
Luke 4: 31 – 37 Jesus speaks with authority
Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”
“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
As was his custom, Jesus speaks in the synagogue on the Sabbath, this time in Capernaum. But instead of his home town people saying “isn’t he great” – we have people being blown away by the authority in his teaching and even more, in his dealing with unclean spirits! Imagine being on speaking terms with a spirit controlling someone and able to simply order it out! There was something here that was way beyond what people were used to seeing, even though there were other charismatic healers criss-crossing Israel at the time. Jesus spoke and acted with an authority far above and beyond anything their religious leaders could muster!
In your imagination now, be in the crowd at the synagogue in Capernaum. Hear Jesus speaking, feel the power of His presence. Take this knowledge of His presence into your life today. Surrender yourself to His Spirit, saying, I’m here Lord, use me!