by Visitor (not verified) on Fri, 29/01/2010 – 12:54
Year C (2009-2010)
Bible Book: Luke / Lukas
Chapter: 4
Verse: 21 – 30

It is almost incredible how the attitude of the people of Nazareth towards Jesus changed within a very short period of time.

First they all “bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” (v 22a), according to the more literal New King James Version. Other translations understand the original as describing positive enthusiasm about Jesus. For example, the New International Reader’s Version: “Everyone said good things about him. They were amazed at the gracious words they heard from his lips.”

A few verses later we read that they became so furious with Jesus that “they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff” (v 29 NKJV).

What happened between verses 22 and 29 to cause such a dramatic turnaround?

Could it be that they suddenly realised that this Jesus was actually that son of Joseph (cf v 22b) – the one about whom there were stories of a conception out of wedlock? Could they have despised Him for this? Or was it the stories they heard about the wonders He had done in Capernaum (cf v 23) – a town with a mixed population of Jews and non-Jews?

There is no doubt that the two examples that Jesus then quoted from the Scriptures infuriated them greatly. They would have known about Elijah’s visit to the widow in the region of Sidon (outside Israel’s borders) and about Elisha’s healing of Naaman, the Syrian (a nation at war with Israel). However, by putting these two examples together, Jesus emphasized God’s kindness to people outside the nation of Israel. In doing this, He touched a raw nerve in their hearts. He openly challenged their assumption that the God of Israel was only their God and theirs alone.

This story also challenges our own assumptions about God. Can we “share” our God, or do we believe God is “our God alone”?

To think about or discuss: What do you think of the following quote from a sermon about Luke 4:21-30 – “Do we really want a gracious God? Certainly we do — for ourselves; but can we have a gracious God if we don’t believe that the same grace is given to those sinners outside our church doors, outside our faith, outside our boundaries of acceptability?” What about reading this in the context of the HIV and AIDS pandemic?

Author: N du Toit (Ds)
Language: English