Sermon from Luke 4:16-30
Many times when reading the dramatic telling of this story of when Christ declared His identity in the synagogue at Nazareth, we skip straight from Christ’s speech to the crowd wanting to throw Him off the cliff! When we skip the middle dialogue of this story, we lose what is really happening, and we think that they wanted to throw Him off the cliff because of His declaration. However, that is not the case. When He first made His declaration, they accepted it. In fact, they “spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth” (Luke 4:22).
The problem arose when the people began to take a “What’s in it for us?” attitude toward the fact that the Messiah was a hometown boy. They began to expect that they were going to start seeing all the perks of the Messiah centering His miraculous ministry in Nazareth.
However, He perceived the thoughts of their hearts, and the self-centered view that they took of the Messiah, that He was only for them. So He told two Old Testament stories of the blessings of God being shared with people outside the nation of Israel. When they realized that He was saying, they got angry, and this is what caused them to reject Him.
Self-protectionism is a very natural human response. We experience the same phenomenon when a weekday ministry at our church begins to grow, and suddenly there are no good parking spots left, and someone has drunk all the coffee in the kitchen, and someone has used up all the toilet paper in the bathrooms. When blessings begin to spread and ministry begins to enlarge, it can become inconvenient for the in-crowd, and it takes an intentional effort to resist becoming insular, accept the inconveniences that come when ministry is enlarged, and rejoice in seeing the Kingdom of God grow.
When we get too narrow-minded and comfort-focused, we lose the heart of God, which is focused on the people of the world. Endure the discomfort and inconvenience, and rejoice when the outsiders become your brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus is not just our Messiah, but He is the Messiah for all!