Luke 4:21-30 (NRSV)
Verse 21Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Verse 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" Verse 23He said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'" Verse 24And he said, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown. Verse 25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; Verse 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. Verse 27There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." Verse 28When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. Verse 29They got up, drove him out of the 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. Verse 30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
Lent is coming, when once again we will embark on our Lenten journey of repentance and new life. We hope our journey ends well, but what if Jesus were to show up and mess up our neat plans? I’m sure Jesus’ audience, the gathered faithful that day in Nazareth, were doing their best to be God’s people. But then Jesus showed up to point to the truth through the prophet’s words.
In the same way the truth confronts us. Gun violence, racial enmities, a tottering climate, a divided country, a hungry world—all shake our fragile security and the illusion of our righteousness. We have ways to deal with those who tell us what we don’t want to hear. But not yet. Jesus slips our grasp. Our Lenten journey has its purpose. Jesus will find us again dying for the sake of a broken world—for you and me. But this time everything will change. “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus, Son of God, when you enter our lives, it is not always to affirm and comfort us. You also show us the life of faith can be disruptive, challenging and changing us in ways that at first we do not welcome. May we hear and trust the good news which comes to renew and bring us to repentance. Through Christ our Light, Amen.