By Russ Wilkins
Dir. of Missions, Shiloh Baptist Assoc., Adamsville
Focal Passage: Luke 4:16-30
Remember how much you loved fast food as a kid and now as an adult the thought of eating it makes you sick. Or how “flybacks” looked great in the 70s but now you can’t imagine having that hairstyle ever again.
Do you remember how convenient it was to have a phone in your kitchen with a cord on it that would reach halfway around the house? Would you ever go back to that now?
Now, we would reject the fast food, the flybacks and the land line with a long cord and yet, each of those things at one time seemed great. (Gen Z and Millennials, ask your mom to explain).
In Luke 4 we see the small town boy who went off and made a name for Himself come home. Hometown hero, Jesus, shows up at church and of course they all want to hear from Him. After all, they’ve heard the stories about what He did in Capernaum so surely, He will do even greater things here in His home town.
Jesus stands to read a passage from Isaiah and all eyes “looked intently at Him.” In verse 22, “everyone spoke highly of Him and were amazed” but in verses 28-29 they were ready to kill Him. What happened?
Have you ever gone to a small town and they have a section of the highway named after someone from that home town and a sign that says “home town of (fill in the blank).”
If that type of thing was done back then, I am sure Nazareth was ready to name the highway and put up the sign until Jesus said, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Did Joseph’s son really just claim to be the Messiah? He was a good kid, but Messiah?
Do you ever put yourself in the shoes of people from the first century? When I read the New Testament, it is easy for me to declare that I would have believed, stood firm with Him in the garden, never doubted and never wavered, but the truth is much different.
Nazareth was a small town and most of these people probably either watched Jesus grow up or grew up with Jesus. One of Jesus’ childhood best friends may have been in that audience, a cousin, or even His brothers who we know did not believe (John 7:5) until after the resurrection. Jesus knew He would be rejected before He ever stepped into Nazareth and yet He went.
Jesus was not just rejected by the people of Nazareth. He was ultimately rejected by His own people. They chose to stick with “fast food, flybacks, and the kitchen telephone” because it was comfortable, and it made sense to them. (In case you are wondering, I am talking about “the law or the old covenant”). Sometimes we do the same thing and reject Jesus too.
If I am good enough, Jesus will love me. I did my devotion for seven days straight so Jesus will bless me. I baked my neighbors some cookies, so I have brownie points in heaven. If we are not careful, we will hold onto a model that resembles the Pharisees more than Jesus.
As you read today’s passage, notice that Jesus spoke the truth in love. It was a hard message for them to accept but Jesus shared it because He loved the people of His home town. We have a message today as well.
It is a message of truth and hope and love. It is also a message that may be rejected but just like Jesus’ example for us, we are to share it anyway.