Knee Jerk Devotional: September 24, 2020

Luke 4:14-30

Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash


Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

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, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“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,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

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. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

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.

Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

“Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 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. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 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. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Here’s Jesus early in his ministry. He’s teaching and preaching and traveling and all is well. He’s getting praised and folks are totally loving what they’re hearing from him.

He heads back to his hometown, Nazareth, and is teaching there. Everything is going great. Luke writes, “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.”

If Jesus had a 21st century handler he’d totally have dropped the mic and went on his way. He would know that you leave them wanting more.

Folks were loving the idea of the oppressed being set free, sight for the blind, freedom for prisoners, and the preaching of good news for the poor. These gracious words made people feel happy. They probably understood these words from the Isaiah scroll as some subversive commentary about how Jesus was planning a revolt against the Roman empire. As the kids say, “They were there for that.”

But Jesus had terrible handlers.

His marketing guy must have been off that day.

Because Jesus, oh Jesus, he didn’t stop talking.

He really should have.

But nope.

He kept going.

The problem when you keep going is that eventually you are going to get to the place where people are uncomfortable. Jesus crosses this line and then some.

Basically Jesus says, “You guys are full of crap. I’m going to be doing all this awesome stuff and you’re going to beg and wish I was doing it here. But, it’s going to be just like these guys from Volume One who healed and did miracles for the outsiders not the insiders.”

The people lost their ever loving minds.

It strikes me that so much of what passes for “Christian” these days is protecting the insiders. It’s protecting the power of the insiders and the seats at the table. It’s all about “what can we do for ourselves.”

Man, I tell you I’m pretty sure that if Jesus showed in one of our megachurches he’d have some stern words. I’m pretty sure that if Jesus showed up in one of our small churches he’d have some stern words.

Too many of us these days are worried about ourselves.

Jesus in the power of the Spirit reminded the folks from his hometown that it wasn’t all about them. So they tried to throw him off a cliff.

It’s not all about you.

It’s not all about me.

It’s about taking the grace that we have known and experienced to everyone else.

It’s about loving well.