By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: September 2, 2019
September 2, 2019

Gospel LK 4:16-30

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, “Is this not 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.

Reflection

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.

Having been baptized in the river Jordon by John the Baptist and tempted by the devil for forty days in the desert, Jesus was ready to begin His ministry of making known the love of God.

His first act was to attend synagogue on the sabbath in His hometown of Nazareth.

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.”

In saying that “this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Jesus was telling the people that He had been sent by God to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy: to give sight to the blind, liberty to captives, freedom to the oppressed and bring good news to the poor.

And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”

The people were impressed by His words but because they saw Him as a carpenter’s son, they were skeptical of His abilities. They had heard of the miracles He had performed elsewhere and wanted to see proof.

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.'”

The people were hoping for a magic act; they didn’t think highly of Him because He was a hometown boy whose father was a carpenter.
But Jesus would have none of it.

And he said,
“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.”

In saying that “no prophet is accepted in his own native place,” Jesus was acknowledging that people often do not take seriously those they know well. Even to this day the old saying prevails, “Familiarity breeds contempt.”

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.”

Jesus’ words stung the Israelites to the core because they held themselves in high regard as “God’s chosen people.”

By reminding them that God had helped the widow from Sidon even though there were many widows in Israel and that God had passed over lepers in Israel and cured Naaman, the leper from Syria, Jesus was making a point: If the Jews are God’s “chosen people” why is it that God showed such special preference for foreigners before He helped Israelites?

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.

It was fury fueled by pride that tempted the Pharisees, scribes and their followers to violate God’s commandment that “thou shall not kill.”

But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

His ministry had just begun and Jesus was already being confronted by those who wanted to kill the Son of God.

But He had a job to do, so Jesus “passed through the midst of them” and moved on, continuing to spread the love and hope of God.

“It’s easy to stand in the crowd but it takes courage to stand alone.”                                     Mahatma Gandhi

 



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