Luke 4: 28-30: ‘All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.’
Between the time when Jesus was a boy and His parents found him sitting among the teachers in the temple courts and the verse above, Jesus had spent His childhood in Nazareth, helping His father with the family business of carpentry. He must have been well known - the excellency of His character and conduct must have attracted notice as I’m sure He stood out among the other children of the town.
In time, after He was a grown man, He left Nazareth, was baptized by John the Baptist, and began the work His heavenly father intended for Him. The inhabitants of Nazareth, no doubt, often said to each other, “He will surely come home and see His parents! When He comes we will go hear what the carpenter’s son has to say.” I’m sure that through the years that Jesus was gone from His home town, curiosity, excitement and I’m sure a certain amount of rumor circulated throughout the town as news of His preaching and miraculous healings reached Nazareth. I’m sure many hoped that He would make Nazareth famous among the cities and the tribes. Perhaps He would even settle down there and attract a crowd of customers to their shops by becoming the great Physician, the great Wonderworker of the district.
Some time later, Jesus returned home, and as Sabbath drew near, interest around town grew very intense as people pondered, “What do you think, will He be at the synagogue tomorrow? And if He is, will He speak?” On the Sabbath, when he saw that Jesus was present, the high priest passed the scroll containing the Holy Scriptures to Jesus, so that He might read a passage and possibly share His keen insight on what was read. All eyes were focused on Him, as the people there eagerly awaited His teaching. He took the scroll, unfolded it to a passage and read: "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 freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
They were all astonished as they had never heard anyone speak so eloquently or with such force or conviction. Soon the synagogue was buzzing, as each man said to his fellow, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother called Mary? From where, then, has this Man all these things?” They were astonished and envious, too. Jesus, knowing that it was not His purpose to astonish people but to change their hearts, changed the subject. Jesus turned from a subject full of blessing and promise and He spoke to them personally and pointedly. Jesus told them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.” He then told them that He did not recognize their claims that even though He had grown up in Nazareth, even knew many of them personally, He felt no obligation to display His power to suit their pleasure. And as a case in point, He showed that Elijah, was sent to bless not an Israeli widow, but rather a Gentile woman, specifically a Canaanite! And He also shared that Elisha was sent to heal the leprosy of a stranger in a far off land, rather then one of many Israelis who also had this dreadful disease. In doing this, Jesus introduced the doctrine of Sovereign Grace! This, along with other circumstances connected with the sermon, so enraged the entire congregation that those very eyes which first had looked upon Him with wonder and amazement, now glared at Him with accusation and hatred! They rose up at once, filled with rage and indignation…Forgetting the holiness of the day and breaking up their own worship, they dragged Him out of the synagogue, drove Him out of town and up the side of a large hill that over looked the town where they had intended to throw Him off the cliff to be dashed on the jagged rocks below. Now get this…(I LOVE this part!!), ‘But He walked right through the crowed and went on His way.’
This mob, this riotous group of people who were SO enraged that they wanted to throw Jesus of a cliff, they weren’t strangers…They were close friends…they were people He grew up with. Most likely they were people He built houses for with His father! People He ran errands for as a young boy. Kids He played with…People He knew and knew very well! Some might very well have been Uncles or Aunts…cousins even. These were the people who knew Him, watched Him grow up and knew His character! And yet, none of that mattered! Friendships, neighborly love and even blood relation ceased to matter. His character…His good heart and caring attitude that each of them intimately knew, no longer entered their minds. Although in the past He had proven Himself trustworthy time after time…proven His love and concern for them throughout the years, accusation, fear and anger blinded them to the truth. In an instant Jesus went from being a most honored son of the town, to becoming a stranger in His own land…A stranger who was despised and rejected.
Have you been despised and rejected? Possibly by someone you called friend? Maybe even by your own family? Lack of understanding and of grace…possibly even selfishness, causes us at times to hurt those we love the most. Ephesians 4:31 says, ‘Do not be angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others.’ Hatred will sour your outlook and break your back. The load of bitterness is simply too heavy; your knees will buckle under the strain and your heart will break under the weight. The wisest choice…the ONLY choice is to drop the anger.
Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin has left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.
…You will NEVER be called to give anyone more grace than God has already given you.