Fourth Sunday After Epiphany
Luke 4:21-30 (NRSV)
Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" He said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'" And he said, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
Today's scripture reading really puts a-hurtin' on us humans, doesn't it? I would like to pretend that I cannot relate to this story in Luke, but that would be a lie.
There have been times in my life that I have become angry with Jesus, disbelieving of spirit, and desirous of "throwing" him out of my life.
Like the folks in the synagogue at Nazareth, these crises of faith came when Jesus did not do what I asked him to do, rescue me in the way that I saw fit, or allowed hardship to come into my life for reasons that I did not understand.
Like Jesus' community of faith, I have whined, "Why did you do that miracle for Sister-So-and-So and not for me? Since you blessed Brother-So-and-So like that, surely you are obligated to do the same for me?"
It is amazing how quickly the spirit of disbelief and/or covetousness can rear up and bite you in tail.
Now, I'm sure you're shaking your head and saying, "I have never felt that way..." (giggles) But, you know that you have, because we all have.
It is part of the human condition that we experience dark nights of the soul. Whenever I feel this way I pray the Daddy's prayer found in scripture, "Lord I believe; help thou my unbelief (Mark 9:24)!"
I also remind myself that even if I am angry or disappointed with God, I am completely unable to hurt Him. I can ask my questions, huff and puff, even cuss and shout and GOD will still be GOD and GOD will still be in control of all things.
No matter what we say or do in anger, sadness, loss or grief, know this...We cannot out sin, out run, or out fox the love of God that has been revealed to us in Christ Jesus!
God loves us so much that God gave Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sin and gift us with eternal life! Furthermore, Jesus did not stay dead, but was resurrected on the third day, just as He promised that he would!
God is all powerful!
Just as the folks in Nazareth could not touch him, neither can we! We can do our worst, but Jesus will still be King of Kings and Lord of Lords and God will still love us.
When we conclude our pity parties and tantrums and come to our senses, let us resolve to fall to our knees with hearts full of repentance, make our confession before God, and receive God's gracious forgiveness.
Perhaps we will need to do this less if we remember that God loves all of us equally and Jesus proved it on the cross!
Although it is true that God's love is manifested differently in each unique life, it is also true that God is always--and only--working all things together for our good! That is why we ought to celebrate the blessings of our neighbors, rather than coveting them!
Won't you pray with me?
Holy God, thank you that you love me so much! I am glad that you have not always given me everything that I prayed for. I can see now that sometimes I have prayed amiss. I am glad that you know all things and that you always do what is best for me. Please help me not to be jealous of the blessings of others, but to trust that you know what you are doing on my behalf. Please forgive me of all of my sin. Today I am putting all of my hope in Jesus; I know and believe that He died on the cross and was resurrected on the third day to make atonement for my sin and gift me with eternal life. Thank you for this great gift; I promise to share it with others. I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you just prayed that prayer for the first time, today, you are saved! Let me encourage you to tell a Christian friend that you just put all of your hope in Jesus. Ask him or her to help you find a Bible that is easy for you to understand and to find a good Bible believing church where you can be baptized and make new friends who will walk with you on your Christian journey!
I would be honored if you would let me know about your decision today by clicking "YES" in the poll located in the upper-right hand corner of the good news blog in answer to the question, "Did God save you today?"
Congratulations and Happy Re-birthday! Your salvation is our GOOD NEWS, please go and share the GOOD NEWS with others!