True Savior – Rejected Savior
Luke 4:20–32 (CSB)
20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”
22 They were all speaking well of him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from his mouth; yet they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
23 Then he said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Doctor, heal yourself. What we’ve heard that took place in Capernaum, do here in your hometown also.’ ”
24 He also said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them except a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 And in the prophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had leprosy, and yet not one of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
28 When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. 29 They got up, drove him out of town, and brought him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl him over the cliff. 30 But he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.
31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbath. 32 They were astonished at his teaching because his message had authority.
Dear fellow redeemed: What if once or twice in your life – every 50 years on the 50’s – all your debts were cancelled, all the losses in your retirement portfolio were restored, and you had basically a paid vacation for a year? That gives a hint what the Year of Jubilee was like, the year of the Lord’s favor, as Jesus put it. And it is a picture of the eternal Jubilee that awaits those who are His, those who are faithful until death and resurrection. Wonderful things are revealed as yours!
This is now yours, as Jesus told the people of Nazareth, His home town: “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.” That’s where we left off last Sunday. It was an Epiphany, a manifestation of Christ to the people. The kingdom of God has broken into this world.
But the reality is that this is a broken world, a sinful world. The rebelliousness of mankind has not gone away. If God in His goodness enters into this world, it will be met by the “badness” of humanity. Jesus declares eternal jubilee, and release from the bondage of sin and death. So of course, he runs into resistance and rejection.
After all, this sinful world is in love with death. The people of Oregon, including our counties, voted to make sure we all continue paying for the killing of the unborn- all the way up until the mom is in labor. Governor Cuomo of New York signed a similar bill into law with thunderous applause just a few days ago. Is it any wonder that a humanity that loves death will reject the Lord of Life, or that a humanity that loves darkness will disdain the Light of the World?
Jesus tells us that as a true prophet is a rejected prophet so
A TRUE SAVIOR IS A REJECTED SAVIOR
- A Humanist Rejection
- In Spite of the Warnings
- Yet Christ Is Still the Savior
- A Humanist Rejection
In the synagogue at Nazareth, first things went well, but then they deteriorated: 22 They were all speaking well of him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from his mouth; yet they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” The problem came when, instead of asking, “What did He say?” they asked, “Why doesn’t he say what we want?” or “Who does he think he is?”
This is a tendency in our day also. Secular Humanism is the idea that “man is the measure of all things.” So people ask, “What does the Bible say?” but “Do I agree with what it says?” Pastors and teachers aren’t accepted on the basis of their faithfulness to Scripture, but on their compliance with popular opinion. You see, Christ’s coming, His ministry, His redemption, and His atonement and salvation all involved invasion of enemy territory.
As you read Luke you see that He records how Jesus faithfully follows the pattern of the Lord’s faithful prophet: He proclaims the word of prophecy and its fulfillment in Himself. He records the people’s wonder at it. But then the people turn on Him. This world will not tolerate our Creator as Lord!
2. In Spite of the Warnings
Jesus warns them that if they reject Him, they will be just like the unfaithful Jews who persecuted the prophets in the past. Implicitly, He is comparing them to the faithless people at the time of Elijah and Elisha.
The people then demanded the prophets dance to their own tune. So also many in Jesus’ day. 23 Then he said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Doctor, heal yourself. What we’ve heard that took place in Capernaum, do here in your hometown also.’ ” A little later, He put it this way: Luke 7:31–32 (CSB) 31 “To what then should I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to each other:
We played the flute for you,
but you didn’t dance;
we sang a lament,
but you didn’t weep!
Jesus didn’t dance to their tune any more than Elijah.
When they reject the Savior, who proclaims deliverance from the bondage of this world, from the devil, from death, from sin, and from all the troubles of this life, and who has performed miracles, they are like the people of the past who chose Baal over the true God, and the prophets of Baal over Elijah. They do this not because the miracles are wanting, but because they object to the Word of Christ. They demand further signs, not because the signs are wanting, but because they reject Christ as the fulfilment of the promises.
So Jesus warns them. 24 He also said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them except a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 And in the prophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had leprosy, and yet not one of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
They demand signs or they will reject the word. But God doesn’t deal with us that way, as Jesus shows from Israel’s history. Miracles don’t create faith, the Holy Spirit does. Miracles don’t create faith; rather it is to the faithful that God brings miracles.
True prophets show themselves to be true when they speak the word of God faithfully. Naturally they are rejected by the faithless.
What did Jesus do wrong?
To listen so many preachers of today, the measure of a preacher or a church is success. “If people reject you,” they say, “then you must have the wrong message.” But if the world is in rebellion against God, what kind of message will the world accept? We have seen that goodness is punished. If a college or school supports values of chastity, fidelity, marriage and family, other schools won’t even play games there, in order to punish them for their beliefs. If a pastoral counselor helps a person with same-sex temptations they way he would help an alcoholic or addict with their temptations, they will be disciplined for unprofessional conduct. A group of students after marching to preserve the lives of the defenseless children and elderly were “found out” by the manager of a business they had entered and were set upon with hatred and verbal abuse.
If you bring God’s good word and promise to this world as Christ did, you will face rejection. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (CSB) 14 But the person without the Spirit does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.
So how should we who treasure Christ respond? As you listen to God’s word, the question is “What does the Bible say?” Not “Is it important?” but “Why is it important?” or “Do I agree?”
3. Christ Is Still the Savior
But by His power, and working through the Word, God changes hearts, so Elijah found faith in Sidon. Elisha found faith in Assyria. Jesus said that His disciples would go on to the gentiles. He moved on to another city, 31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbath. 32 They were astonished at his teaching because his message had authority.
Jesus didn’t pander to the people, saying what they wanted to hear, but he brought the words that save. He started with the broken, sinful world, enslaved to death and sin. He spoke of His invasion into this world to release us from bondage, to bring light to darkness, life in place of death, hope instead of despair. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”
And they are fulfilled for you as well, for these are the words of Christ.