Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jesus goes home, but home don’t want him. A devotional from Luke 4:14-30

Read Luke 4:14-30

We see here that Jesus has returned to his hometown for the first time since he has started his ministry. It says in verse 14 that word of his teaching had spread, so it is assumed that the people of his home town had heard of him and his great works. It says in verse 16 that he went to the synagogue as was his custom. (Note to the person who claims to be a Christian but does not go to church…WWJD? He went to “church.”) Jesus stood to read from scripture. He read these words from Isaiah:

“The spirit of the lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

After he reads this he sits down and all eyes are on him. Imagine a silent room. Their sacred scripture had just been read. Now it was time for the reader to expand on what was just read, as was the custom. In our day, it was time for the sermon. Everyone in the synagogue had heard of the great preacher that Jesus was and now it was their time to see for themselves. In verse 22 is says that all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. From this we can make the assumption that Jesus spoke for some time delivering a sermon or teaching. He begins with these words, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” …and then we can assume he goes on to deliver a “good speech.”

Put yourself in the room. First of all, here you are in Church on Sunday, just like a good follower of God should be. You are listening to the preacher, just like a good follower of God should be. You appreciate the gift that God has clearly given to the speaker. He says some great things that can really apply to the pagans or sinners out there. You are caught up in the moment, nodding your head in agreement…when you think, “wait a minute!” Did he just say “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing?” “Is he saying that he is the messiah?”

It says in verse 22 that all spoke well of him and were amazed by his grace. Then as if suddenly realizing what was just said, the say this, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” Or, “who does he think he is?” “This man, who is right from my neighborhood is claiming to be the Christ?”

Jesus goes on: In verses 23 through 27 Jesus says that the people will ask him to perform miracles of healing just like they heard him do in Capernaum. He tells of two periods of history when God used non-Jews to fulfill his purpose. (To the Jews, anyone who was not a Jew was a pagan, not chosen by God) Go back to the reading from Isaiah that Jesus read. …good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners, sight to the blind… The people in the synagogue finally realize that Jesus is talking about them, not some stranger down the block. “But we are the good people! We are here in church!” It says in verse 28 that the people became furious and drove Jesus from the synagogue. What a change in the short time it took to deliver a sermon. They went from amazement at his words, to furry at his words in the time of one “speech.” What happened in between? Jesus pointed out that the people right there in church needed a savior…

People don’t like to hear that they are sinners that need a savior. …especially from someone they already know. Someone who has a past that might not, in their eyes, be worthy of telling the good news. (I’m talking about you and me here, not Jesus.) If someone you know sent you to this devotion, trust me, they love you. They do not consider themselves better than you. They just want you to know the saving grace that is available to you…but only through faith in Jesus Christ.

People don’t like to hear that they are sinners. They even can get mad at the messenger. Ever been there? Look at what these people that Jesus was preaching to did…

In verse 29 it says they drove him out of the synagogue, out to the edge of town, to throw him off a cliff!

Wow, what a change. They went from amazement, to murder! Consider the enormous irony here that couldn’t have possibly been lost on all of them. In their eyes they were the good ones, the ones in church, God’s chosen people, but here they stood on the edge of a cliff willing to throw one of their own down to his death because he pointed out that they were sinners…

Tell your friends about Jesus. Tell them using the pattern that Jesus used; sin-repentance-restoration. (See previous post) But you can expect them to get mad at you. This is ok though. It means the Holy Spirit is working on their conscience. Try and explain that they are the Bible’s words, not yours. Tell them that you love them and just want them to know who Jesus is. You can count on them getting mad, but hopefully they will not throw you off a cliff…

Written by Chris Vasecka

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