Luke 4:14-31 tells a story of Jesus in the beginning of His ministry. As you read the passage, put yourself in the story. Who are you in the scene? What do you hear? What do you see? What do you feel? Who is Jesus in this story? What is He doing? Here’s one point of view:
I read this and began struggling. His hometown was accepting Him. Or were they? Why did Jesus provoke them? Why not ease into it? Why not woo them? Win them?
Why was their response so violent? As the scene unfolds, I feel surprised pleasure. “Jesus is back!” Then I feel confused. “What’s He doing?” Now I feel irritated, “Why can’t You just leave it alone!” Irritation is morphing into alarm, “This is getting out of hand!!!” Alarm turns to disbelief then horror, “Stop!!! This is not worth killing over!”
I feel a bit of betrayal too. “I thought you were one of us. I’ve known you all my life. Why are you doing this? Why is this necessary?”
What was it like for Jesus to walk into His home place of worship, in His hometown, knowing that He was going to expose their hearts and disrupt their perception about who He was? He had known these people all their lives. He knew what they talked about when getting water at the well. He knew which shopkeepers dealt honestly and who didn’t. He knew from growing up with their kids what the parents were really like. He knew what was in their hearts and how they might want to use His divinity towards their own advantage. He knew because He’d spent all His life watching, working with and being with these people.
What was it like for Him to walk into that temple, knowing what He knew? To know He would expose their hearts in order to do them good and it would make them deeply angry? To give them a chance to be different than who He knew them to be? Wouldn’t it have been easier to dilute the strength of who He was? Couldn’t He have let their misperception slide to keep the peace? It was the second time in so many days that the temptation to let go of His essence in order to have immediate comfort and ease was put to Him. The first was from Satan in the desert. The second, from people who had known Him His whole life. People He’d talked with, learned from, helped and been helped. What was that like for Him? What was it like that not one person stood with Him?
I wonder how often we are tempted to let go of who we are in order to keep the peace? I wonder how often we deny the truth of what God is doing in our hearts in order to keep relationships intact, not disrupted? I wonder how often His disruptive work comes from people we’ve known our whole lives?
ACTION: What is God doing in your heart these days? What is He plowing up and turning over in order to help you become more aware of who He is? What is your response to the work of exposure and being plowed up?