There is a lot in this reading to notice, but one thing truly stood out to me. And it was the last thing we read.
I have, since high school theater, been pretty good in front of a crowd. Theater taught me to be comfortable on stage and how to improvise when necessary. These skills have made being in front of a church, a camp, a conference, or any group of people pretty easy for me and I thank God for it. This is true everywhere but one particular place – my home church. I have yet to do anything in front of my home church without making a mistake and then getting stage fright and compounding that problem. From singing, to preaching, to acting, to sharing a testimony, for some reason I have a block when it comes to my home church.
It seems Jesus didn’t have that particular block, and yet it is at His home church that His message is first rejected. But the reason for the rejection is an interesting one. He begins by reading from the prophet Isaiah, giving the mission statement for His entire ministry. He then, quite arrogantly it seems, proclaims that this reading has been fulfilled in their presence. I’ve heard sermons about how this seeming arrogance got Jesus kicked out. But the crowd’s reaction to this is actually a very positive one. They “spoke well of Him” and were quite proud of their hometown boy. But then He continues.
It’s the next comments that draws the ire of this Jewish crowd. Jesus, through two OT examples, proclaims that all He has come to do will not be reserved for the Jews, but will be for the Gentiles as well. The two examples are the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian, both foreigners blessed by God. It is this that riles the crowd and led to His banishment from His home church.
Are there people that you feel shouldn’t receive the grace and blessing of God? What are the ways that you are building borders around your “group” to keep God’s blessing in?