"All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well He spoke. But they also said, 'Isn't this Joseph's son, the one we've known since He was a youngster?'
"He answered, 'I suppose you're going to quote the proverb, "Doctor, go heal yourself." Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum. Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. Isn't it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during those three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian.'" Luke 4:22-27 (The Message).
'Hey Jesus! Aren't you treading on thin ice? That's not the way to win friends and influence people!'
What was He thinking? Was that the way to cash in on His popularity? Why antagonise the people of His own hometown when He had the opportunity to gain a strong following from the ones who already knew Him?
But Jesus was not interested in popularity. He was continually sifting people's hearts -- looking for followers who would stick with Him through thick and thin because they believed in Him and were convinced that He was the Son of God. He purposely said things to offend, not to be offensive but to expose their reactions.
He knew that "familiarity breeds contempt". Because He was so well known to them, they would not examine the evidence but write Him off because He was "just a village kid." They knew His parents and there was nothing special about them, But there was an even deeper offense that Jesus raised in His examples -- Gentiles! This was always a flashpoint for them.
It was the Gentiles who had been their undoing throughout their history -- they were surrounded by them and they persistently followed their ways and their gods. They had failed to extirminate the Canaanites from the Promised Land. God had warned them that, if they did not, they would be a "thorn in their sides" and they were.
It was the Gentiles who were causing their suffering now, and any mention of them, and especially God's kindness to them, was like a red rag to a bull. Jonah's bad experience came from his effort to escape from having to take a message to Nineveh that he knew would result in God's mercy to THEM if they repented and he was not prepared for that! The people of Nazareth were just like Jonah.
"That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw Him out, banishing Him from the village, then took Him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw Him to His doom, but He gave them the slip and was on His way." Luke 4:28-30 (The Message).
That didn't turn out very well, did it? Out on His ear the first time He preached at home. Where did it all go wrong? His fellow-villagers were so blinded by familiarity that they were not prepared to examine the evidence. And they were not the only ones. Wherever He went, there were those who rejected Him because they believed they were right.
It's this arrogant assumption that we are right that robs us of the wonder of exploring, evaluating and embracing truth wherever we find it. Jesus kept saying, "Look at the evidence," and His opponents kept insisting, "You are wrong; we are right!" And they killed Him because they believed they were right.
When He walked out of the tomb, who had egg on their faces?
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