December 30 I Monday
“‘Where then did this Man get all these things?’ And they took offence at Him.” —Matthew 13:56-57
After Jesus began His ministry, He went back to His hometown of Nazareth and taught in the synagogue. The people were amazed at His words. They had seen Him grow up, watched Him play with His siblings and learn His father’s trade, but could not understand how He had acquired such wisdom and miraculous powers. They said, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother’s name Mary, and aren’t His brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all His sisters with us?” (Matthew 13:55-56). This was not the Jesus they knew, and they were no longer amazed but offended.
The Gospel of Luke records Jesus being handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He stood up, found the place where it was written and read, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. 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 favour” (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus handed the scroll back and all eyes were fixed on Him as He said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).
The people were furious with Jesus’s self-proclamation of being the anointed One of God. He said to them, ‘Truly I tell you…no prophet is accepted in his home town” (Luke 4:24). At this, they drove Him out and took Him to the brow of the hill with intent to throw Him off the cliff. But Luke tells us, “…He walked right through the crowd and went on His way” (Luke 4:30). Jesus knew the reaction He would receive, but regardless of how offended they were, and how rejected He would be, He proclaimed the Truth.
The danger in the Christian church today is that we live in such a pluralistic society that we try to be non-offensive, non-confrontational and end up being non-effective. The Gospel can become so watered down that many believe it is all about accepting Christ and going to heaven. If this is all we know, our lives will not be any different than they were before. We need to know the root cause of humankind’s alienation from God is because of the corruptness of our own hearts to understand the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s presence within us. The Gospel is about Christ working His righteousness in our lives.
Jesus did not walk on eggshells or temper His words to not offend others. He told the truth. We cannot dress up Christianity in only the promises without the conditions. May we boldly proclaim the Truth to others about Jesus’s saving grace from our sin.
Prayer: Dear Lord, grant me Your wisdom not only to relay the gospel but also to explain to others why we all direly need to receive Your grace. Thank You, Lord.