Summary: God's love is large enough to embrace and include everyone.

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Title: What Happens When Jesus Comes to Town?

Text: Luke 4:21-30

Thesis: God’s love is large enough to embrace and include everyone.


A syndrome is a group of symptoms that collectively indicate or characterize a disease, psychological disorder or other abnormal condition. If you or someone you know has a syndrome, you know having a syndrome is not funny. We are familiar with Asperger, Chronic Pain, Downs, Tourette and Withdrawal Symptoms. You may be familiar with Progeria Syndrome or premature aging or Werewolf Syndrome, which is characterized by accelerated hair growth on one’s body… if you are old enough to remember the old traveling carnivals that moved from town to town you probably were fascinated by the “Bearded Lady” who undoubtedly suffered from Werewolf Syndrome.

This evening when you watch the Super Bowl you will likely see the new VW commercial in which a native Minnesotan (as you know Minnesotans have their very own accent) speaks in a Jamaican accent, suggesting that you will “feeeeeel gooood and be hoppy maaan” if you experience the power of German engineering. When someone begins speaking in their native language with a foreign accent that person is said to have Foreign Accent Syndrome. It is a neurological disorder that results from severe migraines or head injuries.

Some syndromes are particularly fascinating because they fall in the area of the transient psychosomatic and have to do with people who are otherwise totally normal but are affected by certain things and places.

Stendhal Syndrome or Florence Syndrome is a disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even fainting when exposed to beautiful works of art (Florence) or the immense beauty of the natural world.

Paris Syndrome is a transient psychological disorder experienced by individuals (Japanese tourists in particular) visiting or vacationing in Paris, France. Suffers of Paris Syndrome are delusional, have hallucinations, are anxious, suffer dizziness, rapid heartbeat and sweating...

Jerusalem Syndrome is the most fascinating to me. It is triggered in some tourists (Americans in particular) who visit the Holy Land. The primary delusion is that these sufferers believe they are an important religious figure… they think they are Jesus or some other religious figure.

Fortunately, when the syndrome sufferer is removed from those trigger settings they eventually return to their normal state.

Had we been in Nazareth on the day our text unfolds we might have wondered if Jesus suffered from Jerusalem Syndrome or a Messiah Complex, in that he literally identified himself or made himself known as or to be the long awaited Jewish Messiah.

Having read from Isaiah 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free and the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” Then had what some would say, the audacity to announce, “The Scripture you have just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” In other words, “I am the long awaited Messiah!”

Our text today is a story about what happened when Jesus came to town… his own hometown of Nazareth.

Interestingly, rather than leaping to the conclusion that Jesus must be suffering from Jerusalem Syndrome or a Messiah Complex, the first thing we notice is that the crowd was favorably impressed. They liked what they heard.

I. What happens when we like what we hear?

Then Jesus began to speak to them. “The Scriptures you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” Luke 4:21-22

They were impressed. Jesus had done well, i.e., a hometown boy did well.

Not every hometown boy does well… you never see a sign along the interstate near Cincinnati, Ohio announcing, “Cincinnati – Birthplace of Charles Manson.” You never see a sign proudly announcing “Chicago – Birthplace of John Wayne Gacy.”

I lived in Winterset, Iowa during my childhood years. My grandmother’s house was just a few doors down from John Wayne’s boyhood home. Today if you drive through Winterset on Highway 169 you will see a larger than life bronze statue of John Wayne just a block west and north of his boyhood home. In Winterset John Wayne is a hometown boy who did well.

Last season on The Voice one of the contestants was Nicholas David Mronzinski… when he sang “Stand by Me” all funky and bluesy, I was a fan. I enjoyed following Nicholas David from week to week. Eventually I learned he was from Eagen, Minnesota, a south suburb of St. Paul, MN. Bonnie and I often stay in the Hampton Inn there in Eagen.

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