Adventures through the Holy Bible - Week of May 29

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God Knows…When My Faith is Shaky – Part 2    
 
One day Jesus returned to Nazareth, His boyhood hometown. People there had heard about His preaching and healing. But they were full of doubts. They expected the Messiah to be a powerful king who would use armies to free them from Roman rule. How could a poor carpenter’s son do that?
 
As usual, Jesus went to the synagogue (meeting place) on the Sabbath day. Someone brought Him the scroll of Isaiah, and He stood to read to His boyhood friends and neighbors: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (from Isaiah 61:1-2).
 
The people were impressed and thrilled as Jesus powerfully explained the words He had read. Faith sprouted up like a seedling. Yes, Jesus was the Redeemer! Then Jesus announced, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The people started thinking. Were THEY prisoners who needed to be delivered from the power of evil? Were THEY in darkness, needing to see the light of truth? This hurt their pride. What Jesus wanted to do for them wasn’t what they had in mind. He had said nothing about delivering them from the Romans and making them rich and powerful. Doubt shook the seedling of faith until it lost its rooting; pride stomped on it until it was dead. “And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’” (Luke 4:22)
 
Jesus knew exactly what the people were thinking: Perhaps if He performed a miracle, they would believe in Him. But Jesus never performed a miracle just to prove He was the Son of God. Instead, He reminded them that blessings, even miracles, come to those who have faith. He mentioned the story of Elijah (1 Kings 17) and the story of Naaman (2 Kings 5). These stories involved miracles for people who had great faith, even though they were not Israelites. Jesus wanted His listeners to see that it is not where a person lives that matters to God. God’s mercy is for ANYONE who has faith.
 
The people responded to Jesus’ message in anger. They were so sure that they were God’s people that they despised anyone else. Jesus’ words were drowned out by shouting. The meeting broke up, as angry people shoved Jesus out of the synagogue and through the village. Murder was on their minds. Shouting and throwing stones, they edged the Savior toward a cliff outside town. But suddenly the crowd stopped. Confused, they shouted, “Where’s He gone?” Jesus had vanished. “Passing through the midst of them, He went His way” (Luke 4:30).
 
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