Lord, open my eyes to Your immeasurable grace and mercy.
Read Luke 4:22–30
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”
24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I 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. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy[a] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”
28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They 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 off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
a Luke 4:27 The Greek word traditionally translated leprosy was used for various diseases affecting the skin.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhat is the most amazing thing God has done in your life? Take time to express your thankfulness.
The congregation has a “mood swing”—going from admiration and amazement (22) to anger and aggression (28,29). There is praise, but it is misplaced praise. Although all are “amazed” by Jesus’ gracious words, they have misconceptions about the kind of Messiah he is, they misunderstand the scope of his mission and they miss his message of grace.
Jesus, unwilling to allow silence to signify assent to these misconceptions, sets about correcting their thinking. The two stories he cites could not have been unfamiliar to a congregation well-versed in the Old Testament Scriptures. But the “moral” of their message was clearly unpopular! While appreciative of Jesus’ gracious words to them, the people resisted God’s grace towards those regarded as “outsiders.” Yet, as far back as the Abrahamic covenant, God had declared that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12:3).
Israelites were chosen to be dispensers of God’s grace. But although they clung to their covenant privileges, they were reluctant to fulfill its responsibilities.
This will not be the last time an admiring crowd turns into an unruly mob. It happens in the early church (Acts 14:11–19). The message—and messenger—of grace is not always well-received.
In what situations are you struggling to extend grace?
Lord help me to be a generous and gracious dispenser of Your amazing grace.