If Jesus came today, do you think we’d reject him too?
Of course, Jesus can’t come again in the same way that he already has. His second coming will be much different from his first. But, just for illustrative purposes, let’s say Jesus did come to us the way he came to the people of Israel. If he came in the same way do you think we’d be among those who accepted him or among those who rejected him?
When he started his ministry he started it with boldness. He didn’t wait to be found, he didn’t audition to be a teacher of the law, he didn’t try to work his way into the pharisees to try to bring about change there. He started with a bold baptism and a bold proclamation. In fact, as we will see, all of Jesus life was bold. There was nothing that he did that was soft or politically correct.
We read about the baptism a few days ago. Today, we will be reading about the bold proclamation. What we see is that Jesus is telling them he is the one Isaiah was speaking about in this passage. Jesus had come to “proclaim the good news” – he came to preach and evangelize. That’s a bold proclamation.
The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee
14 Then Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and news about him spread throughout the surrounding countryside. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by all.
Rejection at Nazareth
16 Now Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and the regaining of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to tell them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled even as you heard it being read.” 22 All were speaking well of him, and were amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth. They said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” 23 Jesus said to them, “No doubt you will quote to me the proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ and say, ‘What we have heard that you did in Capernaum, do here in your hometown too.’” 24 And he added, “I tell you the truth, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up three and a half years, and there was a great famine over all the land. 26 Yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to a woman who was a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, yet none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard this, all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29 They got up, forced him out of the town, and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But he passed through the crowd and went on his way.
Ask for God to give us the same kind of boldness as Jesus had when it comes to evangelism and sharing the good news of our salvation.
Ask God to show us places we can serve that we will be most effective. Jesus knew he would not have the impact in Nazareth has he would in other towns, so he didn’t stay there. What area of your life might you need to move away from to find a place where you can be effective? Maybe you need to move away from spending all your time with people who have already found Jesus and spend some time with people who still need him. Ask God to guide you in that search.