The People Were Willing to Accept Jesus as Their Messiah
When Jesus was in His hometown of Nazareth, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath to read Scripture and teach. Allowing a guest teacher to do so would not have been unusual—especially since this guest was a local whom the people knew.
The attendant handed Jesus a scroll of Isaiah and Jesus found Isaiah 61 and read the first verse and a half:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor Luke 4:18-19 (Isaiah 61:1-2a)
It’s noteworthy that Jesus stopped His reading there. Here is what He chose not to read:
and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify him. Isaiah 61:2b-3
Jesus’ declaration that, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled” (Luke 4:21 CSB) explains why He stopped short. The first part of Isaiah’s prophecy focused on Jesus’ first coming while the second part on His second coming. When Jesus returns, God’s vengeance—His wrath—will be poured out on those who continue in their disbelief. But at the same time, God will bring comfort to His people—their mourning will be turned into joy.
When Jesus uttered this clear claim to be the Messiah , the people’s response was positive. They spoke well of Him and were amazed by what He had said. They wondered how a local boy—Joseph’s son—might be the Messiah.
Don’t miss this: the Israelites in Nazareth were willing at least to consider that Jesus was the Messiah. Unlike the religious leaders who responded to Jesus’ claims with scorn, the group gathered in the synagogue had open minds. At least at first.
The People Were Unwilling to Accept Jesus as the World’s Messiah
But then Jesus continued:
He also said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them except a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. And in the prophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had leprosy, and yet not one of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” Luke 4:24-27
Why did Jesus tell them these two Old Testament stories? Of all the stories of God’s work, what was it about these two that led Him to share them?
Both of these stories show how God provided for Gentiles, even passing over Jews to do so. His point? That God loves all people and by extension that He would be the Messiah not just for the Jews, but for the whole world.
And at this, the people turned on a dime:
When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They got up, drove him out of town, and brought him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl him over the cliff. Luke 4:28-29
The people went from entertaining the possibility that Jesus was their Messiah, but the idea that He would be the Messiah of the world drove them into a rage, so much so that they wanted to kill Him.
That is the power of pride. That is what happens when people misunderstand something critically important and come to believe it is just for them. And this is what the power of the gospel would need to break through in the Gospels and into the Book of Acts.
Can We do Something Similar?
We don’t want to miss the main idea of this session’s story, that Jesus is the Savior of everyone who trusts in Him. It is easy to see how the Jews in Nazareth missed this, and for us to criticize them. But we need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our minds and hearts too. Are we every guilty of something similar? Do we value and love all people? Do we want all people to hear and respond to the gospel? Truly?
As you prepare this week, consider if there are any holes in your gospel. It might be one toward people of a different ethnicity or nationality. It might be those who hold to a different political position than you do. It might be someone in a different theological tribe. If you are human (and you are) you will have some area where your love for others—your value of them—is wanting. Let God speak to you about that this week.
At the same time, consider how you can encourage your kids this week to love all without restriction. If your kids are human—and they are—they too will have holes. Perhaps their holes will not be as large or well-formed, but they are likely there. Pray that God works in you and through you so that you can be part of God working in them.
*Devo from Pastor Brian, from The Gospel Project.
#JesusJams for today!
---> And here's this week's story!!
Christ Connection: Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah wrote about God’s plan to send a Messiah. The Messiah would bring good news and redeem people who were broken and hurting. Jesus read Isaiah’s words and announced that He is the promised Messiah.
If you have a bible at your house, you'll be turning to Luke 4 to read with your family this week! If you don't have one, that's okay! CLICK HERE.
OPTION 1: Accept or reject
Direct kids to sit in a circle. Select a kid to go first. She will turn to the kid on her left and make a silly offer. He must say “accepted” or “rejected” based on how he feels about her offer. Then he will make a silly offer to the kid on his left. Play passes in this way until each kid has made an offer. Suggested offers:
•I’ll let you high-fi e my cactus.
•I’ll shave your pet.
•I’ll tie your shoes together.
•I’ll let you wear my sunglasses at night.
Remind kids-Those were some silly offers. I don’t blame you for rejecting most of them. Today we will learn about a time Jesus was rejected, even though His offer was wonderful and true. Who do you think rejected Jesus?
OPTION 2: Sort it out
Provide each kid with a small handful of buttons. Ask kids to sort the buttons by color, size, and shape. Then instruct the kids to count their buttons and reject all the buttons that have a given trait, such as those that are red, have two holes, or are not round. You may instead use coins, plastic gems, or other small objects.
Remind Kids- You may have a good reason to remove certain objects. For example, if you are replacing a button, you might reject buttons that are the wrong size or color. Today we will learn about a time people rejected Jesus because of what He taught.
OPTION 3: Along the line
Use tape to mark a line down the center of the room. Designate one end as “good” and the other as “not good.” Ask the kids to stand somewhere along the line based on how they feel about themselves in regards to different criteria, such as their skill at dancing, their ability to draw, or their feelings about eating vegetables. End by asking them how they feel about their spiritual life. Ask them where along the line a person would be to need Jesus to rescue him or her.
Remind kids- We sometimes make the mistake of thinking certain sinful choices are worse than others. Some people may think they are good enough and don’t need a Rescuer. Some people may think they are so bad that they cannot be rescued. The truth is, everyone who is on the line needs rescuing. There’s no such thing as being “too good to need Jesus” or “too bad for Jesus to save you.” We all need to be rescued. Jesus taught that He is the Messiah. He alone can save us when we ask Him to. And He wants to see all people saved!