“They were all filled with fury.”

This gospel passage (Lk 4:21-30) starts with the last verse of last week’s reading in which Jesus declares, in the synagogue of His hometown, that an ancient prophecy (Is 61:1-2) is fulfilled in Him.  Those in the synagogue spoke highly of Him but then questioned His provenance: that He is the son of Joseph.  This prompts Jesus to say that these people desire Him to do there in Nazareth the wonderful works they have heard that He has done elsewhere.  Citing a couple of Old Testament examples of times when God only helped non-Israelites, He tells them that prophets are not accepted in their native places.  Furious, they lead Jesus out to the brow of a hill with the intention of killing Him, but He simply walks through the crowd and away from there.  We should never be furious when hearing the truth, even when it hurts, even when it is the last thing we want to hear.  Jesus’ words pierced the hearts of the people of His hometown so devastatingly that they desired to kill the messenger — a man many knew all their lives and whose mother still lived with them.  The gospel truth has done the same to countless multitudes down through the ages.  Likely, it has done so to each of us at some point in our lives.  Remember the words of the letter to the Hebrews: “Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart” (4:12).  Is it any wonder that some of the most vile rejoinders come when sin is called out in individuals and society?  The surgical precision of God’s Word is not something that is comfortable but it is needed.  No one wants to go under the surgeon’s knife if it is unnecessary.  But we will undergo the operation — and endure tremendous pain, discomfort, and rehabilitation following it — if it means that our lives are saved.  Should we not be all the more open to the incisive Lord who desires to give us eternal life?  And should we not want to tell the world of this great Physician?  Sin has caused an unimaginable amount of pain and suffering throughout history.  No one should be ignorant of the Divine Healer and His desire to save every person in the power of truth (1 Tim 2:4).

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