Scripture: Luke 4:
22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn’t this Joseph’s son?" they asked.
23Jesus said to 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.’ "
24"I tell you the truth," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27And there were many in Israel with leprosy[f] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian."
28All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29They 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. 30But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Observation: Many who are quick to follow along with the crowd are also quick to turn on their heels against a true teaching of wisdom if it doesn’t line up with their own paradigm or if it feels uncomfortable to them.
Application: These people who were listening so intently to Jesus in the synagogue and who were so amazed at his eloquence were quick to turn against him once he stepped on a few of their toes. I have to wonder what the tone of the people was when they asked “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” I think because we really don’t know some of the emotional tones and body language that might have been used during some of the gospel scenes we just have to do our best and try to understand. But seeing as how Jesus immediately talked about not being accepted in his hometown, I have the feeling that the “Joseph’s son” question might have been asked with a bit of sarcasm, or possibly it was asked by someone that Jesus knew to be a troublemaker.
Either way, it is interesting to note how quickly the people go from talking well of Jesus, to trying to kill him by driving him off the edge of a cliff. And these are his hometown folks, those who know his family. You would think they would be a little more loving and kind, offer him a little more grace and understanding than someone who didn’t know him at all. But that wasn’t the way it worked.
It’s funny to watch just how quickly someone can change their stance about things, especially if they feel like they have the backing of a majority of people around them. Folks are ready to fight to the death for a cause that they might not have been all that concerned about on their own until they saw that the crowd had gotten behind it. It’s easy to get caught up in the crowd like that. Sometimes you’re there before you really know it. But the good news is that it’s never too late to realize what’s happening and turn around.
I imagine that Peter must have felt that way when he was denying Christ. He (out of fear) allowed himself to be swept up in the anti-Jesus mentality of the crowd so much that he denied knowing Christ with curses! But thank God – he didn’t stay there. It’s never too late to turn around.
The Fickle Follow Fast, and Flaunt Ferocity Fervently; but the Faithful Few Fend off their Fear, and Finish Fantastically.
Help me to be part of the Faithful Few. Let me lean not on the comfort of the crowd, but help me to trust in you and to find strength in the wisdom and knowledge that you provide. Forgive me when I have been weak, when I have allowed myself to be dragged along by the masses without looking to you for understanding. Keep me planted firmly in faith and love and lead me into your work and your will so that I might accomplish glorious things in Your name.