January 29

Luke 4:21-24

“Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’” vss. 21-22

Initially Jesus got positive reviews from the folks at the synagogue in his hometown. They knew him as Joseph’s son, and had heard that he had begun to develop a reputation as a healer and teacher. They were glad to receive him and anxious to hear what he would say. To their ears his words were full of grace and they welcomed the kindness and mercy that was a part of his exposition of scripture. But Jesus saw through their praise and sensed that their mood could change quickly if they didn’t get their way. Many have seen that happen in their congregations in response to the proclamation of the gospel. We love hearing about divine forgiveness and unconditional love. Our hungry hearts lap up the affirmation–it makes us feel good to have such a close connection to the Christ. We’re proud to be Christian and know that we have been chosen by God. That feeling can even give us a sense of superiority over-against the “little people” who live with us on this planet. We begin to think of ourselves as insiders with Jesus as our “homie”! The problem is that Jesus isn’t our lapdog, and as we listen closely to his story we discover a mission that can challenge us to the core.

Thought for the Day: How have I been challenged by Jesus?

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