In the Book of Luke, chapter 4, verse 16 through 32, we read of the account when Jesus the Messiah visited his local synagogue (church) in Nazareth on the Sabbath day, as was His custom. On that particular Sabbath day, He was chosen to be the reader of the scripture portion. He was assigned to read Isaiah 61:1-2, which by no coincidence (for with God there are no coincidences; nothing catches Him by surprise), it turned out to be an Old Testament prophecy about the coming of Messiah.
Keep in mind that no one in His local church knew who Jesus really was. Most people simply knew him as a local villager from the town of Nazareth, the son of Joseph the Carpenter, a regular member of the Jewish community.
What happened next caught everyone by surprise.
When it was His turn to read before the congregation, they didn’t concern themselves too much with Him, but when He stood up to read Isaiah 61, the presence of God filled the room and the scripture verses came alive with special meaning. Jesus read the following:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor (meek). He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then, Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat back down. But afterwards, it says that “The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.” You might say that they became “mesmerized” by the anointing that was on Jesus, so that they could not help but stare at Him.
Meanwhile, Jesus realized everyone was looking at Him. He then said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Immediately there arose an uproar of murmuring. It appears that many were offended that Jesus declared Himself to be the fulfillment of this ancient prophecy of the coming of Messiah. They probably said among themselves, “How can this man claim to be the Messiah, the Christ! Why we know him as the son of Joseph the carpenter. What blasphemy!”
At which point, Jesus continued speaking, saying, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.” However, the more He tried to convince the members of His church about His authority as Messiah, the more indignant and furious they became towards Him. They finally became so enraged at Jesus that they physically grabbed Him, took Him out to the outskirts of town, and tried to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff.
It’s hard to imagine church people getting so enraged and violent that they will attempt to murder another follower of God, simply for preaching something they don’t like. Guess what? It still happens today. I have met some the meanest and most vicious people inside of Christian churches. Some of them have “zero tolerance” for anyone that upsets their religious comfort zones or disputes their pet doctrinal beliefs.
Fortunately, Jesus was able to escape the crowd who were trying to kill Him. The scriptures don’t say how He did it (probably a divine miracle) and He was able to go on His way. Then, he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the next Sabbath He taught the people. The church members in the next town were different; they believed upon Jesus as the Messiah and their hearts were open to receive His teachings. In fact, it says, “They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.”
What a difference between people in one town and the other; one town wanted to kill Jesus, and the other town loved His message.
Planting seed in fertile ground.
The lesson for us here is, when we witness to some people about Jesus, some will love to hear what we have to say. But keep in mind, others will also reject us. When the latter happens, do not take it personally and get discouraged. Just “shake the dust off your feet” and go on to the next person or the next neighborhood or the next town, and continue witnessing for Christ.
Jesus taught us that some seeds will fall by the wayside, while others will fall on good ground and prosper. Our job is not to force anyone to believe in Jesus, but to plant the seeds of faith in others and let God do the rest.
– Luis Joseph Castle
HEALTH, HEALING & FAITH CENTER