November 17th, 2006
It can be quite unappetising when you encounter someone who is grandstanding about his or her own achievements and abilities. Some people might have admired him when Mohammed Ali went around proclaiming, “I am the greatest,” but most people probably just cringed. There’s something in us that wants to pull the boastful person down a peg or two. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be a boastful person; just any person who seems to be getting ahead. And that desire is often strongest when the person is someone that we know and have grown up with. To use the words of Jesus, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.
Luke’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 4
4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness 4:2 to be tempted by the devil for forty days. He had nothing to eat during the forty days, and when they were over he was hungry. 4:3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, order this stone to become bread.” 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'”
4:5 The devil led him up a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 4:6 The devil said, “I will give you authority over all this, and all this splendour, because it belongs to me and I can give it to anyone I want. 4:7 So it will all be yours if you agree to worship me.” 4:8 Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve only him.'”
4:9 He led him to Jerusalem, and put him on the top of the temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 4:10 for it is written, ‘He will put his angels in charge of you, to guard you;’ 4:11 and, ‘They will carry you in their hands, so that you don’t strike your foot on a stone.'” 4:12 Jesus answered, “It has been said, ‘You shall not test the Lord your God.'”
4:13 The devil finished the temptations and left him until another time.
4:14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit and news about him spread through the surrounding area. 4:15 He taught in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
4:16 He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. In his usual manner he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 4:17 The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, 4:18 “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 heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for prisoners and sight for the blind, to release those who are oppressed, 4:19 and to announce the time of the Lord’s favour.”
4:20 He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue were on him. 4:21 He said, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 4:22 All affirmed him, and were amazed by the gracious words which flowed from his mouth, and they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
4:23 He said, “I am sure you will quote the saying, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Repeat here in your hometown the things that we have heard you did in Capernaum.'” 4:24 He said, “I can guarantee that no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 4:25 Without doubt there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when there was no rain for three years and six months and a great famine occurred throughout the land. 4:26 Elijah was not sent to any of them other than one widow in Zarephath, in the land of Sidon. 4:27 There were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed other than Naaman, the Syrian.”
4:28 All the people who heard these things in the synagogue were filled with anger. 4:29 They rose up, manhandled him out of the city, and led him to the top of the hill on which their city was built, intending to throw him off the cliff. 4:30 But he slipped through the middle of them and went away.
4:31 He arrived at Capernaum, a town in Galilee. He taught them on the Sabbath day, 4:32 and they were amazed at his teaching because he spoke with authority. 4:33 In the synagogue there was a man who was possessed by a demon, and he shouted out, 4:34 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know you who you are: the Holy One of God!”
4:35 Jesus rebuked him, “Be silent, and come out of him!” The demon threw him about in front of them and then came out without harming him. 4:36 All were amazed, and they discussed with each other, “What is this teaching? He orders around the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they come out!” 4:37 News about him spread throughout the surrounding region.
4:38 He left the synagogue, and went to Simon’s house. Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a heavy fever, and they asked him to help her. 4:39 He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. At once she got up and served them. 4:40 As the sun was setting, people who were sick with various diseases brought them to Jesus and he laid his hands on each of them to heal them. 4:41 Demons were cast out from many people, shouting, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” He rebuked them and did not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
4:42 At daybreak, he departed for an uninhabited place, but the crowds looked for him, came up to him, and clung to him so that he couldn’t get away from them. 4:43 But he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also. This is reason I have been sent.” 4:44 He preached in the synagogues of Galilee.
Entry Filed under: Ungratefulness