Luke 4:14-30: The Synagogue People
The synagogue people thought all along that Messiah was coming to them, and for them. And furthermore, they had heard the scuttlebutt that this Jesus bar Joseph may just be the One. Imagine their surprise, then, when they hear the list Jesus reads them (v. 18). It is a list that describes the people Jesus has been anointed to serve:
- the poor,
- the captives,
- the blind,
- the oppressed.
And, via his reference to the Hebrew scriptures (vv. 25-27):
- the foreigners,
- the widows,
- the lepers.
“Hey,” said the synagogue people, “We don’t hear ‘synagogue people’ on your list, Jesus.”
JC replied, “That’s right.”
“But what do you know, carpenter boy?” they fired back, thinking, “He must not be Messiah, after all. How could he be, since WE didn’t make the list?”
In fact, the absence of the synagogue people from the list made them so mad that they decided to throw Jesus right over the cliff, out of their lives forever.
How many times do we, realizing that Jesus is here for more than just “us,” try to throw him over the cliff and out of our lives forever?
- By the way, “US” = people who look like me, act like me, think like me, share my morals, speak my language, believe what I believe, are in my age group, have my same sexual orientation, earn an amount of money similar to mine, are of similar skin color, and so forth.
Of course, the synagogue people in Luke 4 threw Jesus only out of their own lives; they did not deter his mission. Up at the top of that cliff, Jesus walked right through the midst of them and went on his way (v. 30). And, presumably, the synagogue people went right on being synagogue people, and missed the whole thing.
Let’s not be “church people,” thinking that Jesus is somehow “ours,” came to “us,” is here for “us,” saves “us” from “our” sins – all of which presumes a “them” and a “they” for whom Jesus did not come: the “not-church people.” Remember the list: poor, captives, blind, oppressed, foreigners, widows, lepers. The ones whom the world forgets, Jesus remembers. Our inability to grasp the scope of the Messiah’s mission will not deter it, but it may mean that we miss the whole thing.