Prophets Go Beyond Their Tribe

by Sara Jones

That we may walk in the way of his crossJesus reads this passage from Isaiah at his local temple:

“The spirit of The Lord is upon me because He anointed me to preach good news to the poor… release to the captives… sight to the blind… liberty to the oppressed…” Jesus proclaims to the congregation, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus begins his ministry with this commitment, the promise that He will be the instrument to fulfill these prophesies. He wants to open the Kingdom of God to all.

Imagine the confusion, outrage and audacity that statement aroused. Rumors of Jesus’ work have reached his hometown. The authorities want Jesus to bring on the miracles. (Imagine what a windfall that could be).

Jesus answers the proverb “Physician, heal thyself” with “No prophet is acceptable in his own country.”

Jesus cites examples of the Hebrew prophets Elijah and Elisha, who went beyond their tribe, beyond their comfort zone to do the work of God. Jesus is breaking the restrictions of his religious beliefs to include foreigners. Always the rebel, Jesus stirs debate and redefines boundaries. The crowd is unsettled and drives him away. Before harm can come to him, Jesus disappears among them.

Monday, February 29, 2016
2 Kings 5:1-15
Psalm 42:1-7
Luke 4:23-30