I remember going to my 20th high school reunion. It was a strange thing to be back in my home town, marking and observing all the changes that had taken place in my absence. It was also humorously frustrating to try and convince everyone that I wasn’t trying to be ironic or funny when I told them I was a pastor. That calling seemed incompatible with how I had lived when I was with them.
Jesus will have a reunion of sorts in our passage this Sunday as we continue through the Gospel of Luke. We’ll be reading chapter 4:14-30.
Luke places Jesus’ return to his hometown at the beginning of his narrative – this is to set the tone for the larger story. In many ways, what happens in Nazareth is a microcosm of Jesus’ entire ministry. He gets attention, some fairly positive, but in the end he is rejected and attacked.
Jesus quotes Isaiah 61:1-2, with allusions to Isaiah 58:6. Intriguingly, Jesus leaves off the last sentence of Isa 61:2 – click the link to read it. Why do you think he leaves that part of the verse off? What does this tell us about the nature of the Good News?
Why do you think the people of Nazareth suddenly get so angry with him after he talks about Elijah and Elisha healing gentiles but not Israelites? What can we learn from their response about our own attitudes when it comes to our hope in God? What sort of Messiah were they hoping for, and what sort of Messiah did they get?