The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Sam Rowe. Enneagram 4 w3 with a social subtype... Sam's often lost in the world of sounds and food, working in TV and music as a sound engineer & cellist. Sourdough breads and surfing have become his first loves in the last couple years. He love's getting existential and is always on the search for answers, these days learning to be content with a sea of uncertainty. 

Luke 4:14-30

Jesus rejected at Nazareth
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’[a]
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ they asked.
23 Jesus said to them, ‘Surely you will quote this proverb to me: “Physician, heal yourself!” And you will tell me, “Do here in your home town what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.”’
24 ‘Truly I tell you,’ he continued, ‘no prophet is accepted in his home town. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy[b] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed – only Naaman the Syrian.’
28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Reflection

My take away from this passage, that I continue to rate Jesus for, is his points about God's 'favour' being accessible across cultures/races.

Business as usual for a Sabbath day, and Jesus is reading a lovely quote from the OT, being admired, talking about being anointed to bring 'good news to the poor', 'setting the oppressed free' and even a news flash about this being a favourable year / era...

Then he really stirs things up. He harks back to a couple OT stories and points out that, in essence, God isn't a racist, he isn't anti-feminist, and the icing on the cake: he's interested in the people on the fringes of society, hinting; perhaps not you (the crowd he's talking to).

In doing this, the crowd get super offended, because he's saying that the whole backstory of their religion and understanding of scriptures and formalities, time spent agonising over temple structure etc., has no relevance when it comes to being given access to 'the healing of broken hearts', or 'sending the bruised away with deliverance' as the Young's Literal Translation puts it...

Sidon was a 'Gentile' land. As in, not a place where God 'dwelled'…

Elijah was a prophet, was looked after by a widow, and out of all the people in the whole of Israel and neighbouring countries undergoing famine, she (a Gentile) was the person God told Elijah to go to for help when on the run from the likes of 'prophet-sniper' - Jezebel - a female royal of Sidon.

But the point that strikes me here is this: along with the other example Jesus gives about Naaman, these are examples that 'the Lords favour' or the Lords prophecy / word isn't just for the 'Lords people' as in, Israelites, Jews. It’s for the many. Said Jeremy Corbyn.

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