Luke 4: 23-30 (ESV)
And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘“Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away.
Jesus was not trying to win votes here. He was trying to get the people to face reality! The Jews were very self centred. The Gentiles were scavenging dogs outside their camp. Faggots for the fires of hell. So Jesus stirs the pot. He was not here to make everything nice but to understand him properly they had to look beyond themselves and actually see what God was doing. In the days of Elijah and Elisha, God chose to overlook the starving and lepers in Jewish territory and fed and healed Gentiles! Jesus’ statement made the people angry – angry enough to plan to murder him. Did Jesus handle the situation diplomatically? No! But they were now where they had a talking point at which everyone needed to have an opinion. If you were going to listen to him, you knew exactly where you stood as far as your neighbours were concerned! Thus if he was to ever be a success people would have to have looked carefully and been convinced that he was who he said he was.
Prayer: Teach me to look hard for the truth and then give me the courage to live with committed integrity.