Talk about turning on a dime.
Jesus goes to the synagogue in Nazareth (in today’s Luke reading). He quotes the famous passages from Isaiah 61:
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. Luke 4: 18-19 (NIV)
Then Jesus says “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (vs. 21)
“All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” (vs. 22)
Though the people in the synagogue “spoke well” and were amazed, Jesus knew their hearts. They still wondered about the local son of Joseph. Jesus tells them that a “prophet isn’t accepted in his hometown” and that they’ll expect a few miracles from Jesus to prove himself. Jesus points out that when the Old Testament prophets were rejected by Israel, God sent them to the Gentiles (thanks ESV Study Bible…). Although Jesus speaks of caring for the poor and sick in the Isaiah passage, Elijah and Elisha took their ministries of food and healing to those outside of Israel.
The people who JUST spoke well of Jesus, now try to run him off a cliff and kill him!
How thin the veneer between their pious praises, and the murderous intent of their hearts. It took just a few of words from Jesus – revealing their skepticism and their racism/nationalism – to uncork the evil that lay just beneath the surface.
What lies beneath the surface of our righteous exteriors?
If I wasn’t so tired, I’d think more about this. But right now, I’m heading to bed, leaving you to consider your own thin veneers!
Today’s Readings: Deuteronomy 17:8-18:22, Psalm 37:37-40, Proverbs 12:20-22, Luke 4:1-30. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts.