Please read Luke 4:31-37
This passage in Luke immediately follows the scripture we heard on Sunday of Jesus in his hometown. Sunday’s passage ended with “When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of 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. But he (Jesus) passed through the midst of them and went on his way.” (Luke 4:28-30). Leaving a situation that looked like it was moving from bad to worse, Jesus went to Capernaum and continued teaching. The teaching that angered his hometown. The teaching that almost got him thrown off a cliff. The teaching that turned his neighbors against him. The teaching that he was called to do no matter what.
I wonder how Jesus kept his equanimity through the rage and the anger. Weren’t his feelings hurt? Wasn’t he exhausted? Scared?
In Capernaum things didn’t lighten up. Unclean spirits yelled out at him, “Let us alone!” Jesus rebuked the spirit, releasing the man held captive by the demon, amazing all who witnessed this encounter. And again, I wonder:
Weren’t his feelings hurt? Wasn’t he exhausted? Scared?
Jesus sees all of the places that need God’s attention and he turns his attention there; even when it is hard, exhausting, and maybe scary. Jesus proclaims the mercy, justice, and grace of God that knows no boundaries. Jesus never shies away from rolling up his sleeves to teach, heal, invite, release, and feed.
Today I ask that you sit with and reflect upon the perseverance of Jesus. What would it have felt like to see him “pass through the midst” of a crowd intent on throwing him off a cliff? What would it have felt like to see him cast out an unclean spirit? What would it have felt like to hear teaching that both enraged and inspired crowds?
We, too, are called to do hard things, but not without help. Tomorrow we will reflect on how we, as followers of Jesus, can roll up our sleeves even when days are hard.
In Peace, Pastor Ruth
Prayer in Memory of Martin Luther King Jr.
God, you do not care about
our origins, skin color or gender.
Where your spirit blows,
people of different backgrounds
live together in peace.
Where you are, God,
Prejudice and pride
lose their power.
God, we want to be with you,
we want to live with you.