January 28, 2001

Luke 4:21-30

Then [Jesus] started in, "You've just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place."

All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, "Isn't this Joseph's son, the one we've known since he was a youngster?"

He answered, "I suppose you're going to quote the proverb, '"Doctor, go heal yourself." Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.' Well, let me tell you something. No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. Isn't it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian."

That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way.

<The Message>


1. Ah, yes. We hear scripture making history in our time, in our place, in our life. What do we do? We discount it, we excuse it, we deny it, we try to push it back between the covers of the Bible. This is worse than a separation between church and state -- it is a separation between our faith and our life.

2. Quoting Isaiah, referring to Elijah and Elisha. That is quite a tradition. Who do you quote these days? Which of your mentors do you refer to these days? It is out of our experience base that we bring dusty old things like the Jubilee to life. (reference previous week's comments)

3. Now to practice being ready to have scripture come true in your life. From the Spiritual Formation Bible comes this exercise.

Picture yourself with Jesus in the hometown synagogue he attended "as was his custom." Listen as Jesus stands up to read the words of Isaiah 61:1-2 (Luke 4:18-19). Notice how the people become angry when Jesus highlights God's love for the Gentiles (Luke 4:25-27). Go along as the outraged people drive him out of town and try to hurl him from a cliff. Now picture yourself in a conflict in which you take an unpopular stand on someone's behalf. Enjoy the sense of security you feel as Jesus walks with you in the midst of a crowd of irate people. What is Jesus saying to you?

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