Wednesday, September 4, 2019

These are the Days of Elijah & Moses

The infamous Luke 4 cliff on the outskirts of ancient Nazareth

In 2005 I stood on the precipice of the cliff in Nazareth where a crowd of people from Jesus' hometown tried to push Him over the cliff because they didn't like what He said. What had he said? He said what He knew to be true after reading from the Scriptures. This infuriated people. It infuriated the religious leaders of the synagogue in Nazareth and it infuriated the people who lived in the town and had been hearing Jesus read from the Scriptures probably most of his life. Luke records that is was his "custom" to read from the scrolls in the synagogue every Sabbath. He was no stranger to them. He was Jesus, the son of the carpenter, and it really stuck in their craw that they knew him since he was a little boy and who did he think he was, anyway? But He knew who He was and that is what enraged them most. He told 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.’” Then He added, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown." That sent them over the edge. They couldn't stand it so they determined to push him off the cliff just down the road from the town. I don't remember now if it was when I was standing there at the cliff in Nazareth or earlier, but the Holy Spirit showed me that even though it was a big, angry crowd, Jesus did not let them throw Him off of that steep cliff. Standing there I looked over the edge of it and it is a far and rocky fall to bottom. Some might survive the fall, but in that day would probably die later of serious wounds from the descent. The point was emphasized to me that day that even outnumbered by an angry mob, Jesus didn't let them kill him. Instead, He let them push, pull and jostle Him all the way from the synagogue to the cliff, and then at the peak of their crowd rage, He turned around and walked right out of their midst and away from them. This morning the LORD gave me another layer of what was happening in that passage of Luke 4. Jesus had been surrounded by people who knew him well. He grew up among them and they grew up around Him. He was familiar with them and they were familiar with Him. Yet when He came and read from Isaiah 61 and told them “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” It stirred up everyone there against Him. Truly as He said, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown" and "the testimony of Jesus IS the spirit of prophecy" (Rev 19:10). When you have done nothing wrong, but have declared what you know to be true from the Word of God - from the Scriptures - do not be blind sided by the opposition it stirs up from every side - even from people who know you well. Those angry, accusing voices are MEANT to create doubt in you. They are meant to shut you up and cause you to shrink back from declaring the Word of God. They are meant to make you ask yourself, Are they right? Who do I think I am? You are who God says you are. Don't let them throw you off the cliff, just turn and be on your way. Go where you see faith rising in people and continue declaring the Word of God to those with ears to hear.

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