Luke 4: 21–30
He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, “God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”
All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son, the one we’ve known since he was a youngster?”
He answered, “I suppose you’re going to quote the proverb, ‘Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.’ Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. Isn’t it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian.”
That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way.
There is very little job satisfaction in being a prophet.
When the prophet talks to their own people it is too close. The prophet won’t be fooled – they have been there. God has shown them the error of their ways – has taught them about tough love- has impressed on them the need to speak out. Given them His Son as an example. And, like him, they are unable to force their belief, their message onto our lifestyle – it is always our choice.
But when they speak – It is the magnifying mirror held up to the truth when we’ve been happy with the lies; The knowing of hidden secrets and furtive lives. It is uncovering the layers of pretence and glamour to show the cracks and pock marks. It’s the BIG question when we don’t want to admit to knowing the answer; The direct approach when we play the avoidance technique on a grand scale.
The prophet in our midst only ever wants one thing – what God wants – and they both know us too well to take ‘No’ or even ‘Yes, but…’ for an answer. And that doesn’t make it easy – for them or for us.