I apologize for those of you who follow this blog and were looking for my post for the week – I have been to Celebrate Recovery in Tennessee and didn’t get to post my normal Thursday post. Anyway here is it.
In Luke chapters 4-8 we find a very difficult time for Jesus and His ministry. The odd part about it, is that the conflict comes from His presence and activity while attending the synagogue on the Sabbath. It was Jesus’ normal routine to visit the Temple when He could, and to attend the local Synagogue when He was in town.
After the Temptations in the wilderness [just a thought, Satan defeated man in the Garden under ideal conditions for man; yet when he tempts Jesus in the Wilderness – under extreme conditions, he fails; thank You Jesus! Also Satan couldn’t defeat the Father- hence cast out of Heaven; so he goes after then Son – another failure.] which are an attempt by Satan to get Jesus to get “the Crown without the Cross.” You know we really do have an awesome Savior!
Jesus enters into the synagogue on the Sabbath and reads Isiah 61:1-2; sits down and says this “day these words have been fulfilled in your hearing.” Rather than reflect on what was said, the people disregard the prophecy fulfillment because they “know Jesus” as the carpenter’s son and his family. Often people disregard a testimony or miracle right before them because of either familiarity with the person or the thing said or done violates the senses of the mind.
An often overlooked passage is Luke 4:25-27; Jesus came for many reasons, one of them was to bring a final indictment upon the Jews for failure to accept the prophets and the Word of God. Jesus uses two Old Testament stories to show how that the Jews just aren’t all that and a bag of chips! The willingness to help the widow [gentile] and Naaman [gentile] when there were plenty of Jews He could have helped; reveals that God is a God that loves all people, and that if we think that God HAS TO DO for us because of who WE ARE; we are really mistaken. Obviously those who got it, were offended. Hmm, preaching of the word in the synagogue [church] being offensive? Over the course of the next few chapters we see that this trend of Savior on the Sabbath in the Synagogue repeated over and over. As I read the difficulties that Jesus experienced while “going to Church,” I wondered if He ever got tired of going to Church on the Sabbath, because of all the drama?
In chapter 5, Jesus gets great fallout over forgiving sin, not over healing the lame guy. The Church has often been the source of frustration and great conflict for pastors, prophets and the Word of God. Paul experienced the same things while on his missionary journeys. The Trouble making Judaizers followed him just as the Jews, Pharisees, Sadducees and religious leaders followed Jesus, not because they wanted to know more about the Kingdom of God, but that they might find fault with Him. News flash the same thing happens today.
Word for us who have to deal with all the junk of the Church today; Jesus never stopped loving and healing the people – neither should we! Jesus continued to minister to those around Him. The healings and miracles of catching fish and casting out demons didn’t stop because people [religious people] couldn’t wrap their minds and hearts around the love of Christ. His works of healing and great words of teaching affirmed Him as the Promised Messiah; yet there were skeptics that even though the facts substantiate Jesus, they asked “Are you the Christ, or is there another?” Even John the Baptist was found to have doubts. Jesus is ridiculed for the company He keeps, of course the Religious leaders wanted Jesus to BE WHAT THEY WANTED not who He was. Today many still try to claim Jesus as their own, yet try to twist Him and make Him FIT what they think a Savior and Lord should be. When the Bible and Jesus do not support the ways of “the people” they walk away in disgust.
In chapters 7-8, we have Jesus teaching in His favorite way – Parables. We sort of understand parables today, only because Jesus gave us insight into the parable. The story of the centurion salve healing reflects back onto the healing of Naaman earlier except with a twist. The Jews were okay with Jesus healing this Gentile, for he was a great contributor to the synagogue. Really, not much has changed. I know that Pastors and Churches will pressure what is or isn’t done based on the acceptance of those who “give the most” rather than what is right by God’s Word. Even though the synagogues and churches are messed up; Jesus died for the Church, it is His Bride. He will build His Church and Present His Bride [Church] pure, unblemished, chaste and adorned in radiant White to the Father. Yeah we’re messed up, but God hasn’t given up on us – let’s not give up on us either!