Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read the story of a time Jesus was run out of town for reading, and commenting on the Bible at his hometown Synagogue.
It wasn’t the words from Isaiah that got him in trouble, and maybe not even his claim to have fulfilled the words on that day. They were good words. The qualities and actions in Isaiah 61:1-2 that Jesus ascribed to himself are the very same qualities that attract most people to Jesus. These verses tell us who Jesus came to help—the poor, the captive, the disabled, and the oppressed. He came to help all of us who are imprisoned by sin and to set us free through faith in him.
That wasn’t offensive itself. What seems to have offended them is his later commentary on the meaning of the passage, and his refusal to perform a miracle on demand.
Jesus had sensed and probably heard that the people doubted that he was the Messiah. Before they would believe, they demanded that he perform miracles as he had in Capernaum.
So Jesus borught up an embarrassing story from his people’s past, involving two major prophets, Elijah and Elisha.
He pointed out that God had sent Elijah to perform a miracle for a non-Jewish woman in a pagan city. Elisha healed a Syrian with leprosy, but none in Israel.
The implication is that in those days, Israel didn’t deserve God’s compassion and love through his prophets’ miracles. They blessed other people, because their own nation’s people were so faithless at that time.
Jesus was pushing buttons here, by bringing up these stories to explain why he wouldn’t be performing any miracles in his hometown. The suggestion is that they are just as faithless as Israel was in Elijah and Elisha’s days, and he’ll be moving on to greener pastures.
As he says in that oft-quoted line, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown”.
This comparison angered the people, but even more offensive was the suggestion that non- Jews would enjoy the blessings of God. So, they drove Jesus out of town. They probably felt Jesus was guilty of blasphemy— claiming to be the Messiah when they only knew him as Joseph’s kid.
We don’t know if Jesus escaped miraculously or if the crowd chickened out when he confidently walked away from their antics, but the Bible says he simply passed through the murderous crowd and walked away.
Question: How do people reject Jesus today, and for what reasons? How have you been like these people before?