Luke 4:21-30 – Jesus’ life program rejected
Today’s Gospel continues from last week. The initial reaction of Jesus’ fellow Nazoreans is one of astonishment. Difficulties arise when Jesus’ townsfolk are threatened by ‘one of their own’ daring to challenge them. The journey towards the cross begins in this episode in Nazareth. It will take Jesus away from his hometown of Nazareth, back to the Father, via Jerusalem and the events of Easter. He will never again return to Nazareth.
Jesus’ presence disturbs those who would like to control him. Elijah and Elisha, prophets of the Old Testament, had already shown the unexpectedness of God’s ways by touching the lives of non-Israelites. The reaction of the townspeople foreshadows Israel’s rejection of Jesus. They have been told that, despite their privileged place and status, the Gospel will eventually be preached ‘to the ends of the earth.’ Outraged, they attempt to kill Jesus, but he slips through their hands, just as, at the end of the story his own people will kill him … yet again he will slip through their hands and thwart their plans through the resurrection from the dead and his return to the Father.
This scene at Nazareth opens Jesus’ ministry with the proclamation of his messianic program to bring hope to the hopeless. While they wondered at him, not all were happy with this program. In the end they attempted to eliminate the man and his message. but both Jesus and his message are alive among us today. Jesus is alive in each one of us who attempts to incarnate his lifestyle, and his message stands at the heart of the Church’s mission. The program for Jesus is also the program for the Church. Salvation for others stands at the heart of everything.
(Adapted from This is the Gospel of the Lord – Year C, by Francis J. Maloney, p 122-3).
Blessings, Reverend Lyndon.