It has always been God’s desire that all people, regardless of language or culture, belong in God’s kingdom. God’s saving power is bigger than one town can hold. God’s mercy is wider than any one village can imagine. God’s grace extends far beyond the reaches of any one people.
Jesus, as a prophet, is guided by the concerns of God, and the scriptural prophecies that came before him. He will not let himself be co-opted by the people of Nazareth.
Michael Marsh says, “Don’t think Nazareth is simply a geographical location - a town in Israel. Nazareth is a way of being; a way of seeing others; and a way of trying to control God. Anytime we privilege ourselves over another before God; anytime we see our group as more deserving than another of God’s goodness and grace; anytime we feel entitled to the exclusion of others of God’s life and love, we are living in Nazareth. Jesus will pass through our midst and go on his way.”
The most insightful line - in this riveting account from Luke - is this last line. Luke tells us that Jesus “passed through the midst of them and went on his way.” It was not yet time for the screaming, blood-thirsty mob to have its say - so Jesus slipped through their hands. He does the same with you and me when we think we can have him all to ourselves.
Dr. Randy Hyde reflects on rejection not being God’s solution. He asserts that God’s arms are wrapped around those who do not even acknowledge God. God offers them the same grace God extends to you and me. If we are to be active participants in God’s kingdom, we need to realize that God calls us to be partners with God and one another in such a divine endeavour. God would have us include everyone in our invitation to the kingdom.
Jesus broke the bonds of kinship that day in Nazareth - not as a rejection of the hometown –but, as the way of enlarging the hometown. No one would be excluded. No one would receive special favors. No one would be left out. All are the recipients of the prophecy’s fulfillment. That’s not always a popular agenda - and it’s not always our agenda - but, it is always God’s agenda. It is an agenda of love.
(Resourced from Michael Marsh: Agendas in Nazareth, Randy Hyde: In and Out)
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