21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”23He 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.’” 24And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. 25But 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; 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29They 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. 30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
Last week we looked at the gospel reading where Jesus stood and read from the text of Isaiah and when he sat down told everyone basically that the predicted messiah was here. It was him. Today’s reading tells us what happened next.
He read:- “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of the sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
Those who heard him were amazed and ‘’on his side’’ right up to when he says, basically, I am that messiah. Well, as I always say “we’re only human” , and the men who heard Jesus were certainly that!
There were two responses to Jesus. One was “clever lad! Isn’t he the best, the wisest you have ever heard? To think, he’s from our village as well!” and the other side was: “he said what? he’s the son of God? What??!!? Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? He’s Joseph’s son.” Go On then, prove your something special. We knew you when you were a kid in shorts ( I don’t know if jesus wore shorts but for the sake of argument in 2016 let’s say he did) you are known as a famous preacher healer and teacher and we were excited you were coming to us and that’s why we let you read the scriptures, but hang on matey, hang on. If you think you’re the son of God best you do something to show us, we who know you, show us!
The rest of the story seems like Jesus just set out to annoy them deliberately. I suspect he almost deliberately set out to get them upset with him.
What’s going on here?
Jesus wants us to see, him for who he is, not a magic act, not someone who is seeking celebrity status, but as God’s one and only Son born as a man for us and for our salvation–to free us, to help us get rid of those things that burden us!
You see, if he had just been a local celebrity, I think we would have Christianity as we know it today. If he’d stayed in Nazareth it would be Nazareth that was famous, like, dare I say Essex is famous for people being famous. His message is for the people of the earth, not just the Israelites, or the people of Essex, but everyone. So it is all part of the plan, upset the Nazarene elders, get chucked out and wander the countryside doing miracles and preaching the love of God, he went out to find people, not sit in Nazareth for them to come to him, which is why I have been preaching for years that we might come to church but it is what we do as Christians outside of church in the community around us that shows the love of God to people around us that brings them to church to find out more.
Remember what I said last week, St Francis said “show the love of God and sometimes use words”?
But why the anger in the people, if that was Jesus’ message? They wanted him for themselves. They wanted the exclusive rights to whatever he was or would become. His message said, “there is no exclusive club for my message. I am for all people everywhere.”
Do we boast only in the cross of Jesus Christ? Because you have been baptized, confirmed, and are regular church members, what do they say? “A member in good standing,” are you better than others?
Are we open or do we want to be closed? I know most of the people that surround you here today are your friends, and that is wonderful, but Jesus is a friend to all, because he laid down his life for all. All people need to hear the wonderful message of Jesus and his forgiving love.
God loved the whole world, the whole world, that all you have to do is believe in him and, you have eternal life. Which means, you will be taken care of always. It’s not easy to believe if you put lots of obstacles in the way, but when you do, you find a new life but we don’t get to keep him to ourselves as the people of Nazareth might have tried to do, we get no exclusive rights. No sign to say, “Jesus is only here.” No boasting of who we are, save in the cross of Jesus Christ.
Today our gospel reading puts us in the synagogue of Nazareth listening to Jesus say: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” and saying: “This is God’s Son our Saviour.” If we accept that, then let’s show the love of God to those around us, and sometimes use words