The sermon at church this morning was about Luke 4:16-30. Jesus is at the synagogue in Nazareth, the town in which he was raised. Jesus reads to the synagogue from Isaiah 61:1-2: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (KJV). Jesus then sits down and says to the people at the synagogue that this Scripture is fulfilled that day in their ears.
The people speak well of him and ask if he is Joseph’s son. Jesus then says that no prophet is accepted in his own country. Jesus is not doing the miracles in his hometown that he performed in Capernaum. As parallels to this situation, Jesus refers to Old Testament stories about God reaching out to outsiders rather than the people of Israel: Elijah visited a Sidonian widow during the drought even though there were widows in Israel, and Naaman healed the Syrian leper Naaman when there were lepers in Israel. The people at the synagogue are then angry with Jesus and almost throw him off the cliff.
The pastor was speculating that the synagogue may have been angry with Jesus on account of his message about preaching good news to the poor and deliverance to the captives. At the very least, the pastor noted, the people of Nazareth were not on the same page as Jesus, which was why Jesus was not performing miracles there. The pastor also referred to a lady whom he mentioned in a previous sermon. This lady was raising five kids in a van, and she called the church for gas money. The pastor asked what good news for the poor means, and he said that the lady probably worries about more than gas money. I was wondering how she fed her kids.
Today, at the church service, there was a focus on giving to the church. A member of the church was telling us how the church uses the money. It uses some for the poor, some for African-American colleges, some for the pastor’s salary, and some for other causes. A portion of it goes to the national denomination, which uses money for world mission and advocacy at Washington, D.C.
I’ll stop here.