Christmas Reflections - Day 22
The Mission of Jesus II - (Luke 4:22-30)
Rejection in Nazareth.
The people in the synagogue so much admired the way Jesus taught. His teaching was "with authority". There was however a problem with their admiration of him, for all they could see was Jesus the son of Joseph and Mary who grew up in their midst. They had heard of the miracles he performed in Capernaum and wanted him to do the same but the Lord did not. Their admiration of him did not lead them to believe in him.
In the twinkle of an eye, that admiration turned to antagonism and one may want to ask why were they antagonizing him all of a sudden?
Jesus, in his teaching, made God's grace known by informing the Jews of God’s interested in people. How did he do this?
Jesus reminded them of the goodness of God to Gentiles. Elijah the prophet helped a widow in Sidon (1Kings 17:8-16) while Elisha healed Naaman, a Syrian Army officer (2 Kings 5:1-15). The message of Grace was too difficult for the Jews who are not only proud but are also hard-hearted and unwilling to repent.
The question seem to be how can this little boy, whose background we know, be telling us that it is by grace that we can be saved just like the Gentiles?
Jesus's teaching stirred serious anger in them and they actually wanted to kill him. They took him out and planned to throw him down from the top of the city, however the Lord walked away through their midst.
The people of Nazareth did not only reject him, they also wanted him dead for speaking truth to them. The truth in his teaching was too hard for them to come to terms with.
Few implications of this: there are a lot of people today who want to hear gracious words from the Lord but who find it difficult to face the truth. When they are confronted with the truth, they become offended. There is a truth in the scriptures that everyone should either accept or reject and there are no two ways about it. The truth is: Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, the Messiah whose birth was prophesied and who was born of the Virgin Mary and through him salvation is guaranteed.
Accepting him is accepting the "acceptable year of the Lord". Rejecting him is preparation to face the day of "the vengeance of God" (Isaiah 61:2). You have to make a decision to either accept or to reject. May the Lord help us all to accept him fully and to live our lives according to His dictate for us.