“When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so they might hurl him off the cliff.” (Luke 4:28-29)
When is the last time your love of other people was so offensive that a crowd wanted to throw you off a cliff?
Think about that for a while.
Jesus had just preached (a once sentence sermon) of liberation – the poor would receive good news, the blind would see, the prisoners released and the captives would be set free – TODAY in their hearing. Imagine the excitement that kind of message could generate among a people oppressed by empire and trampled on by life.
But when they questioned him, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22), Jesus pushed back with three examples of what he was talking about being fulfilled in their hearing:
-Do for us what you did in Capernaum…no prophet is accepted in his hometown (Luke 4:23-24).
-During the famine in Israel, Elijah helped the woman from Zarephath in Sidon (Luke 4:25-26).
-When there were many lepers in the time of Elisha, the only one Elisha cured was Naaman the Syrian (Luke 4:27).
Our problem with God’s love, mercy and grace, is we believe it is in scarce supply and belongs only to us. Our problem with Jesus as a system breaker and life-changer is we are often too comfortable with the status-quo. Our problem with others is we don’t think they deserve what we rightfully don’t deserve either (but we think and behave like we do).
Why cure people in Capernaum? We are here in Nazareth- where is our healing Jesus?
Sidon? Syria? Foreigners? Who cares about them? We are here in Israel. We are God’s chosen people; not them.
The poor? The captive? The oppressed? The hungry? The immigrant? The person without insurance? The under-employed or unemployed? The people struggling in our community? The people kicked to margins? The forgotten ones? The blamed and scapegoated?
If you help them Jesus, what about us?
What about this country? What about this community? What about this church? What about my family and loved ones? What about me Jesus?
If you help all these others….and if you are asking me to help them too…then what about me?
We are always afraid of scarcity.
Sometimes it is easier to throw Jesus off the cliff than it is to see that there is an abundance of life, liberty, justice, mercy, care, love, peace, grace and humanity for everyone…TODAY, because Jesus is here among us all and the jubilee is about to begin.
Are you ready to help Jesus set the captives free (and in doing so find a new freedom yourself), or are you more ready to throw Jesus off the cliff and anyone else who you think is taking something from you that was never yours in the first place?
Think about it.