Summary: The Truth can be hard to hear unless we understand that it comes from a loving God who died for us.
Can You Handle the Truth?
Last week was fun wasn’t, for those of you here? We had a good time, and now we get to finish the story we started. For those of you who were not here last week, let me fill you in on what happened in the Scripture. Jesus, fresh from his Baptism, heads home preaching and teaching on the way. When he gets home he goes to his home synagogue and participates in the service. He gets up, reads some scripture and then sits down and tells the congregation, that today the scriptures have been fulfilled in your hearing. That is where we pick it up this week. Here we get the congregation’s response to Jesus’ first sermon.
As we can tell it starts off nice. People are pleased with what he said, but something starts to hit them. They say, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” You see what is underlining this passage is that they were a little disappointed in Jesus’ sermon. I know that everyone here cannot understand why someone would be unhappy with a sermon, but this congregation was. You see they had heard some of the stories that happened in Capernaum before Jesus got all the way back home. They heard about some of the miracles he did up there and they wanted the same show when he got to Nazareth. Instead they got a one-line sermon, so they started to crumble.
We do that a lot don’t we; crumble when God doesn’t give us what we want. We start to complain and doubt God, instead of listening and trusting in what God really is telling us. If we follow the rest of this story, see if any of this rings true for you. The congregation starts to crumble and then Jesus goes into a little speech which really gets them mad. He tells them two stories in the Jewish history where God shows favors to non-Jews. In both stories of Elijah and Elisha, a miracle happens and someone is saved who is a non-Jew. There are tons of Jews around but God helps a gentile. This gets under their nails quite a bit because they want to be in God’s favor yet they learn that God favors all.
All Jesus is doing is telling them the truth. He is being true to his calling to share the grace of God with all and what does his hometown want to do with him, toss him off a cliff. They heard the truth, that God offers grace to all and that Christ was there to make it happen and they resent Jesus for that and want to kill him.
There is a story about a crow who landed on an oak tree one day and noticed a pig eating his fill of acorns under and then started to root around the tree. A crow remarked, "You should not do this. If you lay bare the roots, the tree will wither and die." "Let it die," said the pig. "Who cares as long as there are acorns?"
To contrast the Jews in Jesus’ hometown and a pig I know is not a really good idea but that is what they were doing or I should say wanting. They wanted all the acorns and the roots of the root of Jesse’s Tree, Jesus. They wanted him to give THEM everything, salvation, grace, and love, but to only THEM. Yet that is not what God came to earth to do. That is not what Jesus came to do, Jesus came to give sight to the blind and release the captives, but it was for all the blind and captive, not just Jewish. This offended the people of Nazareth and they wanted to throw Christ off a cliff.
Last week we talked about answering our calls in life. Doing what we are created for and willed to do by God. Jesus came back to his hometown because he answered that call and he knew that it would offend some people but he did it anyway. When we do what God wants us to do we have to be ready to accept the consequences that will happen. We have to be willing to tell the truth whether those listening want to hear it or not. Jesus did just that and on the way to that cliff was able to slip through the crowd and go on his way. We really don’t have that joy, that talent of crowd surfing our way through a angry mob as they want to throw us off the cliff, so our task seem like it can be harder than Christ’s. Yet Christ skipped through that crowd and then headed for his true calling in Jerusalem, his divine task on Calvary. There Christ told the truth and didn’t go on his way, there the mob got there wish.