Jesus Visits His Home Town

SCRIPTURE: Luke 4:14-30, NLT

14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
    that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19     and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

22 Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

23 Then he said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’ 24 But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.

25 “Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.”

28 When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. 29 Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, 30 but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.

INTRODUCTION

On His way North, Jesus stops at His hometown. It was His habit and custom to attend synagogue on the Sabbath and so Jesus goes to church with the folks He grew up with and they invite him to preach. At first they are amazed and enamored with His wisdom and His gracious words but before He is through speaking, their admiration had turned to indignation. They are so angry that they turn into a mob and they attempt to kill Jesus. Of course, it was not His time to die and their efforts were in vain.

As I studied this very interesting story, the Holy Spirit reveals some things to me that I had not understood before.

FIRST: JESUS RESPONDS TO HUMILITY AND FAITH.

As I was reading in the Psalms yesterday morning, I came across affirmation in Psalm 149…For the Lord delights in his people; He crowns the humble with victory.  Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them. Wow! The LORD delights in the humble and He honors the faithful. Check the record: Jesus responded to ‘Humility’ and ‘Faith,’ not pride and unbelief. The people of Nazareth believed that Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary but they did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. I John 4:15 reads, All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them and they live in God. I John 5:10 reads, All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about His Son. The first step of faith is to believe that Jesus is who He said He was, the Son of God. Remember, I said this was the first step, not the only step: the devils believed that Jesus was the Son of God and declared it openly but they never repented. Two things devils can’t do: [1] Submit to Jesus as LORD [2] Worship Him.

SECONDLY: JESUS DOES NOT WORK ON DEMAND

Satan tempted Him to do miracles. The Pharisees demanded He do miracles to prove His identity. Herod taunted Him to do miracles for his entertainment and Jesus responded to none of the above. Jesus Christ is LORD. He is not at your command or mine. We can ask in faith but we can never command our LORD. It was Jesus divine nature that energized the miracles: He could do them because He was God. Human faith is not the power of the miracle, faith empowers the prayer, the request but it is Jesus who does the miracle. Jesus does delight in our faith. He responds to faith and the folks of Nazareth had no faith. They were full of unbelief and so Jesus did not do miracles: not because He could not but because He would not. Jesus had the power; the Nazarenes did not have the right attitude.

THIRD: JESUS ANGERS THE NAZARENES WITH HIS WORLD VIEW

Jesus said….“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News [gospel] to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” Then Jesus said, “This passage is being revealed before your very eyes.” In other words, I AM the Messiah. I am He who will release the captives and set the oppressed free. The Nazarenes, like most Jews were thinking about their debts and their servitude to Rome. They were thinking here and now. Jesus was thinking about greater oppressors like sin and death. Jesus knew that had an enemy that was more detrimental to their future than Rome.

But the spark that set them off was the mention of God favoring gentiles. Elijah went to a widow in Sidon. Jews despised Sidonians almost as much as they did Samaritans. Then to ice the cake, Jesus mentions Elisha healing Naamam a Syrian. The Syrians were Israel’s hated enemies.

FOURTH AND FINALLY: NO ONE CAN THWART GOD’S PURPOSE

Jesus had authority over His life. It was not His day to die. He knew exactly when He would die and where and it was not this day and not in Nazareth. They had every intention of killing Jesus but He had no intention of letting them. He let them have their moment of glory and then he walked right through the mob and no one tried to stop Him. How did he do it? He was God. He had authority in His voice and in His eyes. Remember John’s account of Jesus arrest when Jesus spoke and the entire arresting mob fell to the ground.

Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.” Christ’s kingdom is coming and there is nothing that this unbelieving Christ hating world can do about it. He is allowing them their moment of glory and they think that have Him at the brink of disaster but they are wrong: He is in absolute control, He always has been and always will be.

My father was living here on earth when Bill “Slick Willy” Clinton was elected president. I took a Nazareth vow before the election and made a commitment not to shave as long as this heathen was in office. I never dreamed that in a few years we would elect someone worse. Clinton may be the most overtly immoral president we had but he is not the worse. Obama and Jimmy Carter are at the bottom. Daddy was in the hospital and I went to see him on a Thursday night. He had a roommate who was black and his pastor was there visiting him. I walk in with my full beard and Daddy feels this need to explain to them why I had the beard. He said, “This is my son, he is a preacher also and he will not shave as long as Clinton is in office. I am giving Daddy the ‘Hush’ sign but he keeps talking. I know that black people are block voters and I was sure that these nice black people had voted for Clinton but Daddy would not hush. The black pastor rises to his feet and I think, this is it; I’m going to die before Daddy and because of his big mouth. So help me, this black pastor is 6’8’’ if he is an inch. He stood a full head over my shoulders and he walked straight at me. My heart began to race and my knees began to knock. He reached out with a massive arm and put me in a headlock. Then he looked me in the eye, “He said, brother, you are not to worry about Bill Clinton, he aint in charge. Jesus my LORD is running things. Bill Clinton is nothing to worry about.” I said, “You are right. This is a truth I knew but somehow I needed it reaffirmed and I am sure that God sent me here tonight so you could remind me of something I already knew but have not been practicing.”

SO I CONCLUDE WITH THESE TRUTHS

  1. Jesus is LORD over all and He is in control.
  2. God loves the world: He loves Jews and Gentile, male and female, young and old, big or small, short or tall. God loves you unconditionally. You can never deserve His love. He loves you because He choose to love you and there is nothing you can do about it. You can no more stop Him from loving you than you can stop the sun from rising.
  3. Jesus responds to humility and faith. Would you acknowledge your need for HIM today and would you put your trust in HIM.

 

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