Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
10/01/16 – 581 – Jesus Declares Himself the Messiah
We stopped yesterday with Jesus in the synagogue having read from the book of Isaiah. He read a prophecy concerning the messiah, and then told the people that He was the One. We saw their reaction:
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 and 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.
Did you notice that at first they weren’t against Him? At first they “spoke well of him” and “were amazed” by what He taught? So what happened? Let’s read on and find out….
23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'”
24 “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 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 down the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. NIV
What did Jesus do that was so terrible that the people would turn against Him so soon and so badly? Basically, He refused to put on a show for them. He told them that they wouldn’t believe even if He did the same miracles He did elsewhere. So they got mad – mad enough to try to kill Him. But that seems to be the recurring theme, doesn’t it? People come to Jesus to hear from Him what they want Him to say. When it doesn’t work out that way, they get mad at Him instead of themselves.
Why is it that “no prophet is accepted in his hometown” is so true? I believe it’s because once we become very familiar with someone, especially a friend from the hometown or someone you grew up with, we associate ourselves with that person in many ways. Subconsciously we may even compare houses, cars, kids etc. When one of these becomes someone successful in a way that we have not (even though we’ve never tried) there is often a jealousy that sparks a fire that grows quickly into hatred – IF – we don’t let God take control. Especially in this society, where prophets were viewed as somehow being better than the rest of us, that jealousy could quickly get out of control.
But did you notice Jesus’ power? We’ll finish up the story Monday, but they did get what they wanted – in a way. Just not the way they expected to. For today, let’s pray a pray of gratitude that Jesus does not hold back His miracles from us. He works them every day to better our lives, and us.