How Jesus’ Rejection Shows Us the Path to Resilience

From Luke 4:14 through Luke 21:28, we can read about the message and ministry of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. The actions and teachings of Jesus are accurately documented in the book of Luke, assisting us in comprehending and understanding the path to salvation. The book of Luke contains a great deal of material, particularly the parables of Jesus. The Lord came to show us how to live and find salvation. We are to concentrate carefully on the words and earthly life of our Savior.

“When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures.” – Luke 4:16 NLT

Synagogues played a significant role in Jewish life. They were established as places to worship on the Sabbath and as schools for young boys during the week. This happened during the Jews’ exile when they no longer had their Temple. After the Temple was rebuilt, they continued. Any town that had at least ten Jewish families could have a synagogue. One leader and one assistant oversaw it. The leader of the synagogue frequently invited a visiting rabbi to teach and read from the Scriptures.

Quick question: How does that compare with our modern church today? Quite a lot. Nowadays, we must have a committee for this and a committee for that. Some pastors do not want anyone stepping into their pulpit. I have even heard of a church that split up just because they disagreed over the paint color for the front door. And that was over twenty years ago.

The church is a place of worship where the people are in one mind and accord. A place to learn the mysteries of God’s Word. A place to come and fellowship with like-minded Christians, not a place where only a chosen few can dictate everything that goes on within the confines of the building’s doors. This is God’s house, not a house for a specific group whose only aim is to rule and control everything and make themselves look important. 

As we can see here, Jesus went to the synagogue “as his custom was.” That tells us that that was the accepted way of behaving in that society. People went to church regularly. He went to services every week even though He was the perfect Son of God and His local synagogue had many problems. His illustration shows us that most reasons for not attending church sound frail and self-serving. We ought to incorporate regular church attendance into our lives. Now granted, many cannot attend regularly due to physical health issues, but we are to try to attend church as much as possible (Hebrews 10:25).

Understanding Jesus’ Reference to Isaiah 61

“The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.'” – Luke 4:17-19 NLT

Jesus was making a reference to Isaiah 61:1-2. Isaiah depicts Israel’s deliverance from Babylonian exile as a Year of Jubilee in which all debts were paid off, slaves were released, and property was returned to their rightful owners (Leviticus 25). However, the people’s expectations for fulfillment were not met upon returning from Babylonian exile. They continued to be oppressed and conquered. Therefore, Isaiah must have been referring to a messianic age in the future. In verse twenty-one, Jesus strikingly reports, “This day is the scripture fulfilled in your ears.” In a manner that the people will not yet be able to comprehend, Jesus proclaims Himself as the One who will bring this about.

Let us take a moment to look at Isaiah 61:1-2. Notice how the two passages of Scripture are almost identical? One phrase is of particular interest, “and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” This portion will become a reality when Jesus returns to the earth again. We are currently in God’s favor; His wrath has not yet arrived.

Understanding Jesus’ Rejection in His Own Hometown

“He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. ‘The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!’” – Luke 4:20-21 NLT

Even in His hometown, Jesus was not regarded as a prophet. A lot of people have the same attitude. A person who comes from hundreds of miles away and carries a briefcase or some type of portfolio is considered an expert. We should not be surprised if those who know us struggle to comprehend or accept our Christian faith and way of life. How many of you have noticed that some people just “do not get you”? You do not seem wanted, needed, or even accepted as a part of that “family” of believers.

“Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘How can this be?’ they asked. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ Then he said, ‘You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: “Physician, heal yourself”—meaning, “Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.” But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.'” – Luke 4:23-24 NLT

Is something wrong with the individual, or is something out of kilter within that church group? We must check ourselves through prayer and communion with the Lord and let the Holy Spirit shine a light on the answer.

Jesus Highlights God’s Grace to the Gentiles

“’Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. And many in Israel had

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