Monday 08 March 2010

Bible Book:

"And he said, 'Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown.'" (v.24)

Luke 4:24-30 Monday 8 March 2010


Jesus has just begun his ministry by teaching in the synagogues(Jewish places of worship) of Galilee and earning a goodreputation, and now he has done the same in his hometown ofNazareth, claiming that the time the prophets promised when wrongwould be righted had now arrived. Today's verses show that heexpects and receives a less enthusiastic response than has happenedin the other towns. His words in verse 24, "No prophet is acceptedin the prophet's hometown" were all but proverbial then as theyremain today.

Jesus uses two examples from the Old Testament which, in his view,show that foreigners were more open to the message of Israel'sprophets than the people of Israel themselves. The story of Elijahbeing miraculously fed by God during a famine in the home of awidow in Sidon is in 1Kings 17:8-16. The story of Elisha curing the Syrian militarycommander Naaman is in 2Kings 5:1-14. Whilst Jesus did indeed seem to choose Capernaumby Lake Galilee as the main centre for his ministry, rather thanNazareth, he only rarely went beyond the borders of Israel. Verysoon after his resurrection however, and after receiving the giftof the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) the Church recognised the universalscope of the good news.

According to verse 28, the response of everybody was one of rage.They seemed to regard Jesus as an upstart making claims which hewas unwilling to substantiate to order by performingmiracles. Mark 6:3-6 similarly tells of how peoplein Nazareth reacted to Jesus, and can illuminate this passage; theemphasis there is on his family background. In Luke's account theyforce him out of town and appear to intend to do him harm -possibly by stoning him or throwing him over a cliff-edge. But hewalks through the crowd and turns his back on them. This may referto a miraculous escape or simply to the power of his personalityrestraining them from harming him.

But the shadow of rejection hangs over Jesus' ministry from thevery outset.

To Ponder

Have you, or anyone you know, found it harder tomake an impact on family and neighbours than on strangers? In whatrespects?

You have probably heard the saying 'Charitybegins at home'. In the light of this passage, to what extent doyou think that should be true for followers of Jesus?

Bearing in mind the experience of Jesus here, doyou think his followers today should generally expect to be lovedor hated? Why?

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