There are passages in the Bible that shock me every time I read them. One of those is in Luke 4.
"and they rose up and cast Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way." (Luke 4:29, 30 NASB)
Jesus stood up and taught in the synagogue in Nazareth, his home town.
People were impressed from the start, and commented on what a great job He was doing.
He continued by saying that a prophet is not welcome in His own town and no miracles could happen there. When they realized Jesus was talking about their town, the praise turned to rage in an instant, and the men of Nazareth rose up to kill Him.
The men chased Jesus out of the city and to the edge of a hill, where they planned to shove Him down the cliff. Despite all the pushing and shoving, Jesus managed to quietly move through their midst and walk away.
He was right from the beginning. No miracles would happen in Nazareth.
My surprise is not because their praised turned to rage so quickly, but that they were "in church" when it happened.
The people in the synagogue looked like they belonged there.
They had done everything that outwardly indicated they were godly. They were in the synagogue at the appropriate time, and they participated in prayer and studying the Scripture just as if they "meant it".
Their hearts, however, were not fixed on God at all. They were full of pride, greed, anger, and murder. Their god-fixation was not even skin-deep.
I wonder what our hearts would reveal if Jesus confronted us in church today they way He confronted the men of Nazareth? Are our hearts focused on Christ or our own desires? Do we listen to the Scripture and teaching, or sit quietly while we compose to-do lists in our heads?
Today, let's pray that we would see our hearts the way Jesus sees them and it would trigger a desire to change.
Let's pray that our hearts would be so ready for Jesus that He would not only be welcome, but that we would be receptive to whatever miracle He wants to perform.
Here's how you can pray for me: I'm starting a new mission prayer project today. I'll write about it once it unfolds, but it's fairly involved and will take multiple people working together to accomplish it. IF it goes well, it will provide much greater prayer support for missionaries.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Power of Telling: Healing Body and Soul
Here's the link to the trafficking post: The Heartbreak of Human Trafficking
Here's the link to the prayer guide: The Prayer List
Here's the link to my Global Outreach page: Leanna Hollis MD