Jesus’ Sermon in Nazareth

Our text today is Luke 4:21-30: There are many things that make people angry such as if your child is bullied in school or when someone bumps into your car causing substantial damage. We get angry when we find out that our partner is cheating or when our children misbehave in school and we are called to the principal’s office. A few years ago, I attended a church service when the congregation got very angry because the minister gave a sound sermon on the topic of money and giving. He said we should consistently give 10% of what we earn as this belongs to God, but we should give over and above that.

Today, we are going to read about a sermon that made people so angry that they were ready to throw the preacher off a cliff. The preacher, of course, is Jesus. It’s his first sermon in Nazareth. This is Jesus’ hometown. He has grown up there. People knew him as a child, watched him grow. He goes to the synagogue on Sabbath, stands up to read, and they hand him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. People were so impressed. Local boy makes good. They were proud of him.

But Jesus didn’t quit while he was ahead. He preached a sermon and by the end of the sermon, they were ready to throw him over a cliff. They were furious. What did he say? Do you remember what Luke 4:21–30 says? Did that make you mad?

Jesus gave two examples: Elijah and the widow (1 Kings 17:17-24) and Elisha and Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-14). Jesus’ point is that both this widow and Naaman were not Jews. They were outsiders but God chooses to touch and bless those on the outside.

The Jews expect that they should be the ones who receive the good stuff from his ministry…Jesus pretty much says, get over that. The stories he tells make that clear and he makes the point from their own scriptures. The Jews should have known these stories and that’s why they were very angry. The Jews should have known that the Scriptures are full of truth that God’s love is for everyone. Remember, the shepherd leaves the sheep in the fold to go after the one that is lost.

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