Yesterday evening I arrived at “Lead-Up” which is a part of Scripture Union’s training program.
After putting my stuff away in my dorm, making my bed etc. I went down stairs to join the other trainees, greeting old friends and meeting new people.
This morning we had our first ‘real’ “Bible teaching and Reflection” session (We had a taster/introduction last night). We were looking at Luke 4:14-30, which tells us about Jesus teaching in his home town – Nazareth.
He visits the local Synagogue and as was the custom read from the Scripture’s. Jesus read this
“God’s spirit is on me;
He’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news the poor.
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdned and battered free,
to announce, “This is God’s year to act!” — The Message, Eugene H. Peterson.
Then Jesus sits down, (the custom in Synagogues at the time was to stand to read, and sit to teach). It says that everybody’s eyes where riveted on Jesus – they couldn’t look away.
Jesus says “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”
Everybody there was shocked at how well he spoke! ‘They also said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son, the one we’ve known since he was a youngster?”
Joseph was the local carpenter – joiner. Imagine if you went to Church one morning, and the local joiner’s son stood up, and said that he was here to fulfil the promises that your people had been waiting hundreds of years for.
Jesus preaches, teaches and everybody is amazed by what he has to say. They’re saying WOW this guys here to free prisoners, give sight to the blind! Thats great for them! We’re so glad God is acting now!
But they where missing that Jesus came for them, that they where the prisoners – but thought they where free. That THEY where blind but thought they could see, and they where in burdened but Jesus came to lift their burdens from them.
Jesus knew they’d missed the point, so he tells them;
“No prophet is ever welcome in his home town. Isn’t it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during the three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian”
When Jesus said that, people got upset. This guy walks in here, says God’s going to do all this awesome stuff, which is cool and all, BUT THEN he saying that I’m [Jesus] not just here for you, but for EVERYBODY. A Syrian leaper – socially outcast to the Jews because of his race, and because he had Leprosy, and a gentile widow – a non-Jew who’s poor, has nobody to provide for her (it was hard for woman to find work that wasn’t related to running the household. Unlike modern times).
The Nazarens get pissed with Jesus, they banish him – from his home town, then they grab him, and try and throw him off a cliff near by. Jesus gives them the slip however, and moves elsewhere to continue his ministry.