Summary: To remind people that Christ had a heart for those outside the religious ones.
[S] If someone asked you to tell them about the Jesus you know, what would you tell them? And would what you tell them resemble the Jesus revealed in the gospels or would Jesus resemble someone else? We’re in the third week of a series entitled “Jesus as They Knew Him.” A series designed to help us rediscover and know the real Jesus. The idea is to ask the four gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to tell us about the Jesus they knew by asking each one of them to answer the following question, “If you could tell this church one thing about the Jesus you knew, what would you want us to know?” So far Matthew wanted us to know that the Jesus he knew was without a doubt the Messiah. Mark wanted us to know that Jesus was not Mary’s little lamb but the roaring Lion of Judah full of power and might.
How would Luke answer that question? Let’s find out by reading from Luke 4.14-30. (Use slides or video clip from my Israel trip)
[S] “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
Lk 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news
to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, Lk 4:19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Lk 4:20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21 and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Lk 4:22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. Lk 4:23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ” Lk 4:24 “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”
Lk 4:28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.”
[S] The reference to the Elijah ministering to Zarephath in Sidon and Elisha to Naaman the Syrian is intentional. Neither of these two persons were Jewish or people of the promise. They were gentiles, people outside the Abrahamic covenant of God. And yet God sent these two prophets to care for them in their need bypassing the people of the covenant who were also in need. Most Jews believed that God was more concerned about “his people” and “his faithful flock” more than those outside the invisible fence line that has been set up by the people of the covenant. Some Judeans believed that the Gentiles were to be fuel for the fires of hell.” And here this young Jesus dares to tell them that the gentiles were favoured by God over the Jews. And they couldn’t hardly believe it nor could they stand it. It bothered them so much that some of them contemplated about throwing him off the top of the hill.
[S] I’ve been on that hill. It stands hundreds of feet above the valley floor. It’s like standing on the brow of Petit Jean, Mount Nebo or Mount Magazine without the trees and shrubs. Straight out due west in a great valley where Gideon won his victories, where Saul lost his life, where Deborah and Barak fought, where Jehu slaughtered Jezebel. The hills rising on the other side was the foothill of Mount Carmel where Elijah battled the prophets of Ba’al. The valley lying between Nazareth and Mount Carmel is known as the Jezreel Valley, also known as Megiddo, better known as Armageddon.