Luke 4:24-30 NRSVue
24And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months and there was a severe famine over all the land, 26yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27There were also many with a skin disease in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 28When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
“Copyright © 2021 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.”
Some thoughts on this scripture
In this healing story we find care for the outsider - the outsider by nationality and also by culture. The foreigner was outcast to the Pharisee, and the widow was one of the neglected groups. Jesus' mission was to all, especially the lost sheep and the ‘pagans'. Befriending the outsider may result in being cast out by one's own group. We pray for people in that situation, at home and in the wider world.
The people in question here were jealous of their community of faith. Jesus was including all nationalities in the care and the saving love of God. They were jealous of their own relationship with God, and used it in many ordinary ways to keep others out of favour, off land and denied human rights to anyone outside their circle. Jesus is the one of universal welcome, his heart open in prayer and life to all, no matter their creed, nation, gender, age or any of the categories with which we are divided from each other.
The people of Jesus hometown had come to their conclusions; they left no room for him to work in a new way. I bring my fixed ideas before God, that I may let go of them a little, praying that they not blind me to the movement of God's spirit.
The people who listened to Jesus' message were able to accept it only if it did not reflect negatively on them. I allow myself to hear any message from God which calls me to growth. I accept that I am on a journey and have not arrived yet.
Jesus hearers' did not seem to like the reminder of the importance of other nations; perhaps they had grown to think themselves superior. I ask God to help me to correct any false notions I have about myself or about my people.