Luke 4:24-30, And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. 28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. 30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,
While doing my daily reading in the Gospels, and coming to the passage above, especially these words, “And ALL they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust (Jesus) out of the city …” (LK 4:28-29),
I couldn’t help but think about how often, we as God’s people struggle with anger. Of course, thinking about the crisis on the southern border of the United States, I couldn’t help to ponder upon the “wrath” or anger in so much of the rhetoric – sadly, much of it beginning with our politicians – concerning this “hot button” issue.
The Immigration and Refugee issues are complex, to say the least. There are no easy answers that’s for sure! And, the government definitely has to do something about the problem. Yet, at the same time, as the people of God, we shouldn’t be getting angry at these people who are seeking refugee, we should be expressing God’s love and compassion towards them. I like what Warren Wiersbe has to say about the passage above:
At first, they admired the way He taught, but it didn’t take long for their admiration to turn into antagonism. Why? Because Jesus began to remind them of God’s goodness to the Gentiles! The Prophet Elijah bypassed all the Jewish widows and helped a Gentile widow in Sidon (1 Kings 17:8-16), and his successor Elisha healed a Gentile leper from Syria (2 Kings 5:1-15). Our Lord’s message of grace was a blow to the proud Jewish exclusivism of the congregation, and they would not repent. Imagine this hometown Boy saying that Jews had to be saved by grace just like the pagan Gentiles!
After reading this passage, I was also reminded of some very sad and sobering words that I read recently from Daniel Darling’s book, The Dignity Revolution: Reclaiming God’s Rich Vision for Humanity:
Stereotyping people in ways that diminish them is, of course, nothing new; it has happened throughout history, resulting in the Holocaust, the enslavement of Africans, the internment of Japanese Americans, racial segregation, the Rwandan genocide, the systematic oppression of women… I could go on. In all of these injustices, the church was often either complicit or perhaps just looked the other way. And what about today? In a recent survey by Barna Research, when Americans were asked if people from other countries enriched our culture, EVANGELICALS WERE THE LEAST LIKELY of the demographic groups to agree. 🤔 On the question of whether America should accept refugees in their time of crisis, EVANGELICALS WERE THE LEAST WELCOMING of all groups, with just 16 percent saying yes. CLEARLY THIS CALLS FOR SOME SOUL-SEARCHING.
Regrettably, for thousands of years, so-called God-fearing, Bible-believing, faithfully serving, “religious” people (Jew and Christian alike), have not exactly always been “happy campers” when God expressed compassion towards the poor, the needy, and the helpless, especially if they were not of the same country, the same “tribe,” or if they were “different,” and, in some cases, if they were considered an enemy. I have seen this over and over again the past few years. And for God’s people, this should not be so!
Just wondering if we are asking the right question, “Do these people have a need that we can, with God’s help meet?” Or are we asking, “Are they one of us?”
Just Reflecting on our anger issues!!!