Brandi Horton – The Source
“Getting Called Out By Jesus” – AudioB
Scripture: Luke 4:14-30
“A Rejected View”
The ministry of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke kicks off with a dramatic scene of Jesus in his hometown. Jesus has already begun his ministry in Galilee, but we don’t encounter his teachings until he arrives in his hometown of Nazareth. There, Jesus uses passages from the prophet Isaiah to proclaim the start of his ministry, and his purpose to bring good news to the poor.
The word “poor” in the context of Luke means the marginalized and outcasts of society. Throughout the Gospel of Luke, we will see this message, repeat itself over and over again: the people on Jesus’ heart are the ones who are forgotten.
This is the center of Jesus’ ministry. God has come to care for those who are in need, to heal and restore the parts of this world that are broken and rejected. Jesus’ hometown is in awe with what he is saying – but there are doubts. They are already familiar with Jesus, they watched him grow up. It’s hard to believe that the man they are listening to speak for God could be the Son of God himself.
Responding to the crowd’s uncertainty, Jesus tells two proverbs. The first gives a voice to their doubt: if you are who you say you are, then you must prove it. The second is Jesus’ response: the reason he can’t is because those listening aren’t willing to accept him.
As he tells the story of Elijah and Elisha caring for foreigners, Jesus clarifies again that he has not come for those that have rejected God’s will, but those who are willing to accept it. Unfortunately, the crowd is not part of those who are willing. His message is met with outright hostility, and they threatens Jesus’ life.
The message Jesus teaches us invites discipleship, but it also can provoke anger in those not willing to accept or understand it. We see that throughout his ministry: soon, he is a divisive presence provoking a crisis within Israel. This pattern will return again and again throughout the Gospel of Luke, until finally the antipathy from those in power will put Jesus on the cross.
It might sound funny, but the stories here are true today: it is remarkably easy as people in the church to lose sight of Jesus’ purpose. We can become so familiar with Jesus that we forget to deeply reflect on his teaching for our own lives.
Jesus does not call us to be familiar, he calls us to follow him, taking to heart the reality of who he truly is and what he calls us to be. He has come to break down the places of oppression, rejection, and power in this world, that is our calling, too. When we read the Gospel, we are called to reflect on our reactions to this message of compassion and love for the poor.
As we look at the life and teachings of Jesus during the Lenten season it is important to ask ourselves: “how am I accepting Jesus’ message of love in my life, and how am I participating in the redemptive work in this world he calls me to?”
We as the people of God are those who understand we have been accepted by God and also acknowledge our tendency to reject his will. We recite the Apostles’ Creed, and we also bring ourselves to confession and pardon because we know Jesus is in the process of leading us back to him. Grace and humility are what lead us closer into God’s healing presence.
What is something you can do this Lent to remember the love and teachings of Jesus?
What are some areas of your life you need healing in?
Who do you think are the poor, outcast, and marginalized today?
What are you doing to care for the poor in this world?
Deep Dive Study:
- The promise of a coming savior has come at this point in the Gospel. Jesus moves from the promise to practice as he begins his ministry in Galilee.
- Luke does not present this as the first moment of ministry as we will see in v. 23 Jesus has already begun his ministry.
- Luke is using this story of Jesus’ ministry to set the stage as a lens for us to see the stories to come.
Good News to the Poor
- Jesus borrowing from passages in Isaiah (58:6 and 61:1-2) announces that he has come to bring good news to the poor and the year of the Lord’s favor.
- The poor in the Gospel of Luke can be understood as the marginalized and outcast. Those who were for some reason or multiple not high up or part of the social and religious life of the Jewish people.
- This message is further clarified in vs. 25-29 as Jesus gives examples of two of Israel prophets Elijah and Elisha healing and caring ministry to people outside of Jewish life and culture.
Reactions and Responses to Jesus’ Message
- There is a positive response to the teachings of Jesus, however, doubt is quickly realized as they question his claim to be the son of God. His main criticism comes from the family of Joseph.
- Jesus quotes two proverbs one about a physician and the second about a prophet.
- The first is Jesus giving voice to his criticism and to show the mighty works he has already done in Capernaum to them.
- The second is a response to the first and is Jesus’ answer to their question. The reason a prophet cannot begin his work at home is because the people are not willing to accept him.
- The stories of Elijah and Elisha help cement his point that God has turned from those who have rejected him, and is reaching out to those who are ready to accept him.
- This message is met with hostility and even threatens his life. Jesus’ message invites discipleship, but it also attracts hostility from those not willing to accept or understand. He is a divisive presence, provoking a crisis within Israel. This pattern will return again and again throughout the Gospel of Luke until finally the hostility from those in power will put Jesus on the cross.
- As we look at the life and teachings of Jesus during the lenten season, it is important to ask ourselves, “what does the message of Jesus really mean in our lives?” When we read the Gospel, we are called to reflect on our reactions to the message of Jesus – the ways in which God is reaching out and accepting us, as well as understanding the ways in which we have fallen short and rejected Jesus’ teachings.
- We as the people of God are those who understand we have been accepted by God and also acknowledge our tendency to reject his will. We recite the Apostles’ Creed ,and we also bring ourselves to confession and pardon because we know Jesus is in the process of leading us back to him. Grace and humility are what lead us closer into God’s presence.