Posted on Mon, Feb 4, 2013
Luke 4:21-30 4th Sunday in Epiphany
February 3, 2013
4th Sunday in Epiphany
Gospel Text: Luke 4:21-30 – “I KNOW that Boy!"
21 Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ 23 He said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.” ’ 24 And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. 25 But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26 yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 There were also many lepers* in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’ 28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30 But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
How well do we know our neighbors, our children or our neighbors children? It has been great for me to watch Kai and Andrews’ friends grow up. I remember so many of them first meeting each other, the boys shorter than the girls, and everybody looking a little frightened. Now, as many of them are driving, preparing for college, or looking to move on in their lives… they suddenly look so mature. What did I miss? Where was I? Oh yea, I was busy being their pastor, their confirmation teacher, sometimes their coach, and always their wallet and chauffeur.
But now their voices have changed, their bodies have changed, and minds have expanded and they have begun to tackle more serious questions about life and their role in this crazy world. They want to know why are there inconsistencies in our world… what is the deal with all the contradictions!? People, mainly adults, and the ones they were supposed to listen to and learn from, say one thing, and then do another! Why are some issues okay to talk about, and some seem to be off limits. How come some people work like crazy and never seem to get ahead in the world, and other people seemed do so very little yet they are never in want and have way more than they would ever need? They have serious questions to ask, and they need to ask them and receive the best answers we “adults” can try to give them. They don’t want fluff in our answers, they expect adult to respect their questions, and they also expect us to give their questions proper thought and respect.
Along with serious questions, our kids ALSO have things to say. They have lived enough life to have some serious opinions and suggestions as to the way life appears to be and the way humans have decided to approach life.
They deserve to be heard, and their thoughts, again, deserve our time and thoughtful respect and a chance FOR ADULTS to even put their ideas into practice.
Sometimes, it is difficult for adults to give our youth the proper time and thought to what our young people have to say. We may think we know it all, and we have paid our dues… “What could a younger person possibly have to say to me that would be useful, or at least something new for me to hear?”
In today’s text, Jesus is not a boy, he is a man, but he has gone through a major change since he left his village of Nazareth to go south and be baptized by John in the Jordan. Luke tells us that Jesus is about 30 years old when he began his ministry. He is not the “Young man” people seem to think. The life expectancy in those days for men only lived to around 45 years
He has returned to Nazareth in Galilee and on this day, he is in his own familiar synagogue. Last week we heard him read from the Prophet Isaiah when he said,
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’
The people didn’t really know what to make of what to think about Jesus’ saying, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ But they seemed to give him a polite response… at first… Until someone put two and two together and realized that the words written by the prophet Isaiah were to only be spoken by the Messiah, after the Messiah came to restore and redeem Israel. In their eyes, Jesus wasn’t the Messiah! This young man is not qualified to be the Messiah! He is only a carpenter, the son of the village carpenter Joseph and Mary! We know this man, we know this kid! He may have made the chairs and tables in my house, but his no Messiah!!!
This was an awkward and potentially a dangerous situation for Jesus and for his neighbors. What he said was essentially blasphemous in their minds, and according to the law they would be obligated to respond in some form of serious punishment against him, even if many of them has watched this Jesus grow from a small boy to a contributing adult man in their village.
However, unbeknownst to them, it was truly a new age. Something happened while Jesus was away down near Jericho in the river Jordan. When Jesus was baptized, Jesus very identity changed. According to the authority of God, Jesus went from being Jesus the carpenter’s son from Nazareth, to God the Son, with the responsibility to preach, teach and heal as God’s only Son. God pronounced Jesus’ true identity to all, “This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased, listen to him!”
The carpenter was now identified as God’s Son, according to the voice of God!
Things were changed, and at this point, Jesus begins his ministry by telling the “Chosen People,” that they have not at all lived up to their title as, “The Chosen People of God.”
What was on of the central messages Jesus said to the people? Jesus told the people to, “repent.” Turn their hearts and minds back to their Creator God, SO THAT they can show God’s grace and mercy in the same way God demonstrated to their ancestors.
As their Messiah, much more than a rabbi, Jesus convicts even his friends and neighbors by letting them know that the Word of God, the Torah, is not just for this small comfortable little village in the north of Palestine. They have not lived according to their calling to be hospitable to the Stranger, Orphan and Widow. They have kept their faith to themselves and therefore not at all accomplished their responsibility of sharing the Word of God with all people.
Look at the example Jesus uses to make his point.
But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26 yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.
Who is the Word of God intended for? Who will God work with and through to do God’s work among the poor, hungry or persecuted? God worked through the widow at Zarephath in Sidon. How was this strange to the congregation in Nazareth? Being that he widow was from Sidon, it is clear that God had chosen a Gentile to save Elijah, because the Jewish people, the people who were supposed to recognize Elijah as a prophet of God, were persecuting Elijah.
Then Jesus says, “There were also many lepers* in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
Again, it is clear that God will choose to work through those who have a grateful heart and understand the blessings of God… in this case, the only one that was humble and therefore worthy of being cleansed, was a widow named Naaman the Syrian.
The faithful ones deserving blessing and honor before the Lord, WAS NOT THE SO-CALLED PEOPLE OF GOD, but poor outsiders of the faith! This message from Jesus, the proclaimed Son of God, convicted them and cut them to the quick. Jesus, as the Messiah didn't really care about their feelings, let alone their piety.
How dare this humble carpenter first dare to compare himself to the Messiah of Israel, and then have the nerve to declare to us that we have not been faithful Jews living according to the Law and Prophets? But the Truth hurts sometimes and they were angry enough to kill him, and that is what they tried to do!
But not even an angry mob had the power or authority to lay a hand on the Son of God.
As they dragged him out to a ditch to stone him, he simply walked through him and out of their/his town of his upbringing. It was not the time for Jesus to give up his life, even for them… He had much preaching, teaching and healing to accomplish. The truth so shocked the people, it would be a while, before Jesus would return… or would it?
After this dramatic “send of” by his friends and members of his synagogue, Jesus simply walked Northeast up to Capernaum and began his ministry by teaching with amazing authority, Exorcising Demons from a man, and then healing and more teaching.
He didn't go far from Nazareth, and I am sure word soon came back to Nazareth, that this local boy they tried to stone, was surely a man sent by God, able to preach, teach and heal like no one ever witnessed before.
This is the Jesus that we worship… not just a teacher, or even a prophet, but the one who has come to turn the world upside down. Even as people convicted through their pride, rejected Jesus, Jesus calmly goes to those who need him, those who have ears to hear and eyes to see.
Sometimes, with all the books, pictures, movies and even cards, I think we think Jesus is so familiar we certainly must know what He can and can’t do… But Jesus is much more than a local boy, Jesus is the one who looks deep into our heart, mind and soul and says, “Follow me.” “You many think you know me, but you don't… you can’t. But I know you, and I claim you as my own, and I will not leave you from now until even the end of time.” Amen.
Ten Commandments Pidgin Style
1. God is numbah one.
2. No make da kine statues.
3. Watch yo’ mout. No swea with God’s name.
4. On Sunday, no can do notting.
5. Leesen to yo’ muddah and yo’ fuddah.
6. No murder nobody.
7. No go moemoe with yo’ bradah’s wahine.
8. No cockaroach notting.
9. No lie, brah!
10.No be jealous one noddah person’s stuffs.
Oh, an one noddah ting… no talk stink about nobody, bumbye you get bachi.
The Ten Commandments from Luther’s Small Catechism
The First Commandment You shall have no other gods. What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
The Second Commandment You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.
The Third Commandment Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.
The Fourth Commandment Honor your father and your mother. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.
The Fifth Commandment You shall not murder. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.
The Sixth Commandment You shall not commit adultery. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.
The Seventh Commandment You shall not steal. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.
The Eighth Commandment You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.
The Ninth Commandment You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.
The Tenth Commandment You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not entice or force away our neighbor’s wife, workers, or animals, or turn them against him, but urge them to stay and do their duty.
[The text of the commandments is from Ex. 20:3, 7, 8, 12–17.]
The Close of the Commandments What does God say about all these commandments? He says, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Ex. 20:5–6)
What does this mean? God threatens to punish all who break these commandments. Therefore, we should fear His wrath and not do anything against them. But He promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. Therefore, we should also love and trust in Him and gladly do what He commands.