Faith Daily | 13 March 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p486
Lord God, our Redeemer,
who heard the cry of your people
and sent your servant Moses to lead them out of slavery:
free us from the tyranny of sin and death
and, by the leading of your Spirit,
bring us to our promised land;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 4: 14-30
14Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. 16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’” 24And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s 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 lepers 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.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Debbie Pringle
To gain a better understanding of today’s gospel reading, the preceding verses (14-23) have been added to it.
Nazareth was not the small village that I imagined it to be, but a “polis”, a town or city. William Barclay says that it may have had a population of 20,000 people. Three great roads, including the road from the south to Jerusalem, skirted it.
It was usual for distinguished visitors to be invited to speak in synagogues. When Jesus read from the scripture, He stood up, out of respect. He read from what we know as Isaiah 61:1-2. He then, in the custom of the rabbis, sat down to teach. The passage speaks of God’s promised Messiah. Jesus inferred that He was the Messiah.
At first the people were impressed by what Jesus said. Then they started to question His teaching. (See Mark 6:1-6 and Matt 13:54-57 ). “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”, they asked. Jesus refused to try and prove who He was by performing miracles. Instead, He reminded his listeners of famine in Elijah’s time, when Elijah was not sent to one of the many Israelite widows, but to a foreigner. Likewise with Elisha; God used him to heal a Syrian, not one of the many Israelite lepers. These were uncomfortable truths to the listening Jews, who were very proud of their covenant membership and unique privileges. Jesus was making it clear that on those occasions, God had passed over His own people in order to extend His grace to Gentiles, people that the Jews looked down on and despised. Jesus’ words were not something that they were prepared to listen to. They became furious and then tried to kill Him.
We must take care when we read what God has to say to us in the pages of the Bible, that we listen to everything He says, not just the things that we want to hear.
Almighty God, thank you for the gift of your holy word. Please help me to listen to everything that you have to say to me through it, not just those things that I want to hear.