Epiphany 4 :: Let’s get him!

“…all in the synagogue were filled with rage."

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Lismore Lighthouse, Scotland

How quickly public opinion can change! Jesus has just given the message at his local synagogue, quoting from the Prophet Isaiah about good news and freedom and God’s favor and telling the folks that they are witnesses to this prophetic fulfillment. The crowd is amazed and are hardly able to believe that Joe and Mary’s boy could be so eloquent in his speech. Such praise: 

“Let’s throw him a party!”

“He’s made something of himself.”

“Our native son has all grown up and done well!”

“Good for us!”

But wait. Hearing all this praise, Jesus lets the people in on a secret: “This message, these prophetic words of Isaiah aren’t coming true just for you, they’re for everyone. Everyone! Yes, you are included, but so are the gentiles. And the Samaritans, and folks from Moab and Syria and Rome and all people throughout the world. Everyone is included in God’s good and favorable plan. You think that I am a prophet, but only on your terms. That won’t do at all. My message is for all humanity!”

Hey, there’s no better way to turn an adoring crowd into an angry mob than by telling them that their enemies are just as important as they are! Just as loved by the God they’ve worshipped all their lives.

Better run Jesus. They’re out to get you.

And, dear reader, don’t be too smug. Most of us would be right there alongside them.

RCL Lectionary for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany


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