Saturday, May 20, 2017

Luke 4, Jesus' rejection in Nazareth, and Us

Below I have posted the outline for my Life Group lesson tomorrow on Luke 4, so if someone is scurrying through the Internet on a Saturday and needs help with the lesson, go for it.  But I'll start with some observations.

I really believe that ultimately, rejection by the world is part of being a Christian.  No matter how successful one is becomes at his or her career, profession, art, or work, there will be a time when the "crowd" just dismisses that person for his/her commitment to Christ.  It might be small, or it might be large.

It might be snarky comments about a sexual ethic such as Mike Pence mentioned (not being alone with a woman other than his wife, which makes perfect sense to most of us in a public position) or rejection over the stance on marriage as heterosexual (Chik-Fil-A) or rejection of materialism as a world view, or anything.  I just think we need to accept it that there will be a glass ceiling for most of us who want to put devotion to Christ first.

And I as strongly believe we shouldn't whine about it, like a lot of Christians in the U.S. do.  Jesus was very clear about what would come if we follow him; there is no bait and switch with Jesus' form of the gospel (although there is with megachurches and televangelists).  He's very clear about following him not being a bed of roses without the thorns.

At the same time, if our ethics are less than the world's, we are not following Jesus and we deserve rejection for who we are, not for who Jesus is.  If we allow abuse and scandal in our midst, we pay the price and sadden God, at least metaphorically (I'm not sure God can be saddened by our misdeeds).

I am writing a book on Daniel and leadership, and I come to chapter 6 and see that after 70 years of faithful service in government, his opponents still refer to him derisively as "the exiled Jew" and seek to depose him on the basis of devotion to God.  If Jesus and Daniel faced this, I doubt we are any better.
Background: 
In Luke:  preceded by temptation by Satan in wilderness until an opportune time
4:14-15 beginning ministry in Galilee, which is north of his hometown of Nazareth
Takeaway 1:
Jesus was not just tempted twice (in wilderness and cross).  It was continual; if we are tempted when trying to live for God, how much more was Jesus tempted?
Incident: 16-17
Message:  18-21
Passage from Isaiah 61:1-2 (refer to it)
Takeaway 2:
Jesus is clearly saying, I am the Messiah, and the judgment isn’t coming yet.
Their response and Jesus’ answer:  22-27
Takeaway 3: 
People want miracles, then maybe faith; Jesus wants faith, then maybe miracles
Takeaway 4:
Jesus is for everyone, whether you like it or not. 
The outcome-deliverance and moving on:  31-32
Takeaway 5:  Why do people reject Jesus: 
1.     because he says he is the only way, exclusive
2.     because he says everyone can come to him, inclusive (prejudice)
3.     demands on our lives – need to repent
4.     misunderstanding – that we do it on our own
5.     family pressure – fear
6.     haven’t heard
Takeaway 6:  Some level of rejection of us is to be expected and Jesus was clear about that in the gospels.  So how do we deal with it?

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