The Truth Hurts

 Luke 4.23-30

23He said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.” ’ 24And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town. 25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.27There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’ 28When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

Jesus did not care about making friends.  He cared much more about truth telling.  As he stood in front of the Jewish people he did not say what they wanted to hear.  Instead of giving them what they wanted, he gave them the cold hard truth.  Today, when we read this scripture it does not sounds harsh, but those that heard it wanted to kill him for what he said.  So what is the big deal?  Jesus basically said that there were plenty of Jewish widows in the time of Elijah, but Elijah did not go to them.   Instead of being sent to an Israelite woman, Elijah went to a Gentile.  If the message was not clear in the first story, Jesus tells a second.  Elisha did not cleanse all the Israelite leapers, but did cleanse Naaman who was a Syrian.  The people that heard this story were filled with rage.  Jesus was saying that God came not to the chosen of Israel that were on the inside, but to the outsiders.

We know, reading the rest of the story, that Jesus wanted them to know that he came not just for the Jewish people, but also for the Gentiles.  It was a hard message to hear.  Jesus came for everyone, not just the people that looked and acted like those sitting in the synagogue.  It might not seem like a revelation to us, but if you visit most churches in the U.S. on a Sunday morning, you will find that most everyone looks the same.  We have grouped ourselves by race and economic affluence.  Jesus’ message that morning to that group of worshipers was that God was interested in those on the outside.  Those that were not there and had not heard God’s word yet.  I believe that message is the same for us.  God is interested in those that have not heard the message yet.  We spend so much of our time and energy on ourselves and tending the flock that is already in church, that we forget that God is interested in bring in those on the outside.  Maybe, just maybe, if we did tell that truth we might have people wanting to run us out of town.  Jesus was not interested in making friends; he was interested in telling the cold hard truth.

Jesus’ message did not change Nazareth in a day, but standing up for that truth through the power of God changed the world.  How are we called in this day to tell the truth despite the consequences?

God bless,

Pastor Mandy