This past weekend, we examined Jesus’ inaugurational message to His hometown of Nazareth. Quoting the words of the prophet Isaiah, Jesus laid out the agenda for this new Kingdom that was being ushered in through His work and ministry. It would be a Kingdom where the poor receive good news, the blind are made to see, and the captives are set free.
But those who heard Jesus’ message didn’t receive his words very well. In fact, they drove him out of the synagogue and almost off a cliff. Why did they react so violently? The reason has to do with the inclusively of Jesus’ Kingdom. I mean, its OK for the poor to get good news, blind see, the captive freed, as long as your talking about OUR people. But what Jesus announced that day in Nazareth is that God wants to pour out his grace, love, and mercy on ALL people – even on those who don’t deserve it, even – dare I say – on those we consider our enemies.
So, this week, I want to challenge you to reread Luke 4: 14-30 and to take some time to wrestle with some questions that God has been putting to me over the last week:
- How would I have reacted to Jesus’ message if I had been there?
- Are there individuals or groups of people I have ‘written off’ as somehow beyond God’s redemptive and healing grace?
- Do I mouth the words that I believe everyone is welcomed to receive God’s mercy, but then my actions communicate ‘as long as they think and believe like I do’?
- How comfortable am I. . . really. . . on the inclusively of Jesus’ message?