Daily Reflection – 9/2/19
Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'” And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away. (Luke 4:16-30)
Jesus was well aware that typically a prophet was not accepted in his home town. Yet he also desired to share his good news with the people he had known and loved from childhood. Sadly, the people did not open their minds and hearts to Jesus. He was far too different from what they expected him to be. After all, who did he think he was to come and preach to them? Did he believe he was better than they were? The townspeople became so angry with Jesus that they took him out of town, intending to hurl him off a cliff. He simply was too much for them. However, Jesus sadly yet calmly, walked through the crowd and went away.
Our initial reaction to this Gospel might be shock or dismay due to the reaction of his neighbors and friends. However, have you ever rejected Jesus because he was not who you thought he should be? Or because he did not do what you hoped he would do for you? If so, perhaps you can identify with Jesus’ neighbors. It may be easy to judge or criticize Jesus when he is not acting as we expect him to act.
Imagine the rollercoaster of emotions that Jesus must have experienced in these moments. These were the people who had watched him grow up, who supposedly knew him. He had grown up with them, played with them, eaten in their homes and worshiped with them in the temple. Yet, now they were rejecting him simply because he was acting in a way they did not expect him to act. And sadly they refused to listen to him because he had a wisdom and knowledge far beyond any individual in Nazareth. Luke writes: “He was too much for them!”
Can you identify with Jesus? Have there been times in your life when you were rejected because you were not the person a family member or friend expected you to be? I assume so. Even good people get jealous, envious and angry at times. And have there been situations in your life when you rejected another person because they were not being the person you wanted them to be? I would assume that all of us have been on both sides of this fence. The truth is that it’s much easier for us to see the faults of those closest to us than their virtue. It’s much easier to see their sins than the presence of God in their lives. But it is not our job to focus in on their sin. It’s our job to see God in them. Each and every person we are close to will, no doubt, have goodness in them. They will reflect the presence of God if we are willing to see that. Our goal must be to not only see it, but to seek it out. And the closer we are to them the more we must focus in on the presence of God in their lives.
Reflect, today, upon whether or not you are willing to accept the prophetic voice of Christ in the people all around you. Are you willing to see Him, acknowledge Him and love Him in them?
Prayer of The Day
Lord, may I see You in all those with whom I relate each and every day. May I constantly seek You out in their lives. And as I discover You, may I love You in them. Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.
If the Son of God had a hard time being accepted as a prophet by His own kin, so also will we have a hard time sharing the Gospel with those close to us. But what is far more important for us to consider is the way we do or do not see Christ in those closest to us. Are we among those who refuse to see Christ present in our family and those we are close to? Do we tend, instead, to be critical and judgmental to those around us?