Saturday, March 19, 2016

Luke 4:23-30

Luke 4:23-30
And He said to them, “No doubt you all will quote for me this proverb: Physician, heal yourself.  While hearing how much happened in Capernaum, do it also here in your native country.  But I speak to you all of truth: there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the heavens were being shut for three years and six months – as a great famine became upon all the land.  And Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.  And there were many lepers in Israel upon Elisha the prophet, and none of the were being made clean except Na’aman the Syrian.  And all in the synagogues were being filled with passionate anger while hearing these things.  And after standing up, they cast him out of the city and led Him to the brow of the mountain upon which the city had been built in order to cast him down.  But while he passed through the middle of them He journey on.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Jesus quotes a very famous saying: “Physician heal yourself.”  What Jesus means when He says this to the people in Nazareth is that he understands that they think He is just as sick with sin as the rest of the world.  In other words, because they saw Him grow up they can’t get past His humanity.  They can’t see Him as the Messiah because they knew Him as a human.  This is one the core issues in our human struggle with God.  We have to see Jesus as being perfect.  We have to see Jesus as being fully God.  We have to accept that He was God made man.  If Jesus were only a man, then His sacrifice for us would mean nothing because He would need redemption just as much as the rest of us.  The only way Jesus’s sacrifice makes a difference to us is if He truly was fully God.  Then, He would not need to be healed because His nature would be perfect.  The people at Nazareth cannot accept this fact and it results in their rejection of Him.

Can you accept that Jesus is God?  Can you accept that Jesus is perfect?

Second Thought:

Once Jesus recognizes that the people in Nazareth cannot see the hand of God at work because of their focus on the world around them, He pushes the issue.  Jesus reminds the people that in the time of Elijah there were many widows in need.  But God didn’t send Elijah to any of them.  God sent Elijah to a Gentile woman.  Furthermore, in the time of Elisha there were many lepers who needed to heal.  But God chose to heal a Gentile.  What is Jesus’ point in all of this?  Jesus is saying that one’s lineage is not as important as one’s relationship with God.  One’s lineage does not replace our need to look for where God is at work in the world.  Our human understanding cannot replace God’s truth.  If the people around Jesus were not willing to look past their own understand to accept God’s work, then Jesus would not demonstrate God’s power in their midst.  Jesus would go to those who were willing.

Are you willing to let go of your human understanding and open yourself up to God?  When do you struggle with being open to what God is doing and instead rely upon your own understanding?

Third Thought:

I’ve always loved the end of this story.  The people think that they have Jesus figured out.  The stand up, march Him out of town, and intend to kill Him.  But Jesus just walks through them.  Literally, that is what the Greek means.  Jesus literally passes through the middle of them.  They cannot harm the Son of God if the Son of God does not allow it.  What I truly love about this ending, though, is that they get exactly that for which they ask.  They want Jesus to demonstrate His power.  They get a huge demonstration.  A mob wants to kill Jesus, and all He has to do is walk away from them.  Even in this, they miss the point.  They think they’ve won because they’ve dealt with Jesus.  In reality, they’ve only proven how blind they actually are.

When have you tried to do something your own way and missed what God was trying to teach you?  How do you recover from those moments?  Have you ever witnessed other people seeking to exert their own will and end up missing what God is doing in their midst?  How do these situations affect you?


Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 4:31-32
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