He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 1The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked.
Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.' "
"I tell you the truth," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian."
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Whenever I meet someone new, I like to find out who his or her parents are. Somehow I feel like I know that person a lot better if I know a bit about his or her parents. I know I'm not alone in this; any parent whose daughter is being courted wants to not only meet the boy, but meet the boy's parents as well. Who your parents are says a lot about you.
I've even thought about that with the presidential race coming up. (Don't take this as a blog about politics, however!) It is interesting to me to see that Barack Obama has skin coloring in common with African Americans, but not much else. Neither of his parents were African American.
Anyway, back to the real world. Yesterday in church we covered Luke 4 where Jesus fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy with a speech act. Such a cool and moving passage of scripture, don't you think? At first, those listening marveled at Jesus eloquence, proudly thinking, "our carpenter boy has turned into quite the impressive public speaker." After all, they remembered him from just a few years back as Joseph's snotty-nosed kid running around Nazareth with their own kids. But Jesus didn't stop with the powerful words of Isaiah. He went on to tell his local friends that things weren't going to be so great for the folks of Nazareth, hinting at their disbelief. At that, the smiles were gone and they began to reconsider: "Come to think of it, why was making himself out to be someone special? Who did he think he was, anyway?"
And that's the point. They didn't really know who his daddy was.