March 23 I Saturday
“’Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offense 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, and they could not understand how He had acquired such wisdom and miraculous powers. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” they asked. “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.
Luke’s Gospel records Jesus being handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He then stood up 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.” 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 Messiah, the anointed One of God. He said to them, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his home town.” After He said this, they drove Him out and took Him to the brow of the hill, intent on throwing Him off the cliff. But Luke 4:30 says, “He walked right through the crowd and went on His way.” Jesus knew the reaction He would receive, but regardless of how offended they were and how rejected He would be, He proclaimed the Truth.
One danger in the Christian church today is that we live in such a pluralistic society where 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. But when we understand that the Gospel is about receiving the Holy Spirit, we discover that He resolves our alienation from God and heals the corruption of our hearts as Christ works His righteousness into our lives.
Jesus did not walk on eggshells, nor temper His words so as not to offend. He told the truth. We cannot dress up Christianity in only the promises without the conditions. We need to know why we need saving and the resources we have in Christ, for only then will we be equipped to proclaim the Truth.
Prayer: Gracious God, grant me Your wisdom in relaying the Gospel and in explaining to others why it is needed. Thank You, Lord.