Luke 4:22 – 30 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.
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.’ ”
“I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 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. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 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.”
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 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. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Can you imagine the homecoming, the fanfare Jesus received when He returned to His hometown? I’m sure He was given a hero’s welcome. After all, they had heard of His renown. I’ll bet there was even a newspaper somewhere which headlined: Hometown Boy Makes Good!
So, when He went to the temple to preach, the place was packed. If you read the verses just before this passage, you’ll see that Jesus was handed a scroll. He read some lovely words, and everyone said, “Oh, isn’t that nice? But, is He claiming to be the Messiah? Why, He is Joseph’s son!” You see, they had known Jesus all their lives. They were proud of His fame, proud to be associated with Him. But they just didn’t see Him for who He really was.
I imagine Jesus was a little annoyed with these people. After all, they had heard what He’d done in other places. Yet, none of them had asked Him to perform a miracle. They didn’t have that kind of faith in Him. He told them of people who had real faith. He told them that even the Gentiles had more faith than they did.
Within minutes, the crowd went from loving His sweet words to running Him out of town. You see, they knew Him too well, or at least they thought they did. They were so familiar with this man, Jesus, that they didn’t appreciate the Messiah who was standing right in front of them. They thought that Jesus had a problem, but they were wrong. They were the ones with the problem.
Happens every day, in churches around the world. You see, sometimes, we can become too familiar, too comfortable with the things of God. We smile and get a warm fuzzy feeling when we hear the same old comfortable passages. We feel . . . righteous, because we have immersed ourselves in religion, in church life.
But when those same familiar words, that same old preacher who ate fried chicken at our dining table, that same Sunday School teacher that we went to grade school with brings a message that makes us examine ourselves . . . well, we don’t like it very much.
And most of us will get defensive. Instead of accepting the challenge to examine ourselves, we will often bad-mouth the preacher. Some of us might even try to run him out of town. But that won’t do a thing to solve the problem, for the sin which eats away at our lives like a cancer will still be there. The only way, my friends, to get rid of the sin, the unforgiveness, the anger and bitterness that lives in our hearts is to admit it is there, and then let the Healer come in and clean it out.
We can learn a lesson from those Nazarenes. I want to see Jesus for who He is, not for the sweet, warm-fuzzy Savior that I want Him to be. I want Him to heal me and to change my life. And no matter who the messenger may be, I want God’s Word to always pierce my heart, to always lead me to examine myself through God’s microscope. Even when it hurts.
Dear Father, Help me to recognize You for Who You are, even when You reveal things about me that I don’t want to look at.