Wednesday, January 27, 2010
1/28/10- Luke 4:14-30 Rejected in the Hometown
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked. 23 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.' " 24 "Truly I tell you," he continued, "prophets are not accepted in their hometowns. 25 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. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 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." 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 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. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Calvin abridged: Christ did not address the people only in the open streets and highways but also in the usual order of worship. One great thing stood and that was the reading and explaining of scripture. So we see the true meaning of the Sabbath. It was not to refrain from work just to rest, but also to worship. We continue the Sabbath’s meaning by our observance of worship on the Lord’s Day. Christ chose this passage in Isaiah because he alone, by the power of the Spirit, performs and grants all the blessings here. The persons God restores are called the poor, the broken, the captives, the blind, and the bruised. Here God cheers us from terrible and overwhelming evil and misery by his light. “The acceptable year of the Lord” – some say this refers to the Jubilee or time of redemption. The time of redemption depends on the good pleasure of God. 20- Those listening to him were astonished. 21- “Today is fulfilled” – Christ did not merely read this scripture, but applied it to his life. Instead of marveling that God raised Jesus up from Joseph and glorifying God, they raise this as an objection and are offended by it. Many grasp frivolous excuses to disobey and not hear God’s voice. We make our own hindrances.
Thoughts: This is an amazing passage. One would expect the hometown boy made good would be welcomed back, but instead the local elders saw themselves as above Jesus and his carpenter adoptive father. Human snobbery and pride get in the way of listening and obeying God. Jesus saves an important announcement about his ministry for his home base, but they refused to listen- to the point that they tried to kill him. At this point Jesus must have known the cross was his earthly destination. Yet He was also aware that the Spirit anointed him (“Christ” or “Messiah” meant anointed one), so he was saying he was the Messiah and had much to do. He was sent not to hurt people with wrath, but heal, strengthen, and encourage people.
Prayer: Thank you for coming and showing your great mercy and faithfulness to us, O Lord.