Fourth Sunday of the Year

Posted on Feb 5, 2019

3 February 2019

Jesus, it seems, was not a home town favorite.The people who watched him grow up, the people who knew him best–today decide, not only do they not want to hear any more of his preaching, they just want to get rid of him completely.

Several years ago I was talking with one of our student leaders. When I hired him he warned me, “I’m not very churchy,” so I was surprised when he said: “You know I’ve been thinking, and I’d like to think if I was alive and lived in Nazareth, I would have liked Jesus and followed him.” Then he went on and said, “I know you always say that most of us probably wouldn’t have liked Jesus, but still,  I would like to believe I would be the exception, I would see through to what was important about him.” “And,” I said, “What was important about him?” The student was quiet for a bit and then said,  “Well, I don’t know exactly what was important about him,  but I’d like to think that if I actually met him, I’d just know.”

You know the real reason the town folks were upset with Jesus? At least according to most scholars? Because of what he’d done in Capernaum. There he’d helped all sorts of people, healed all sorts of people–people who weren’t Jewish.  Foreigners. They were upset with him because he dared do something good for the unacceptable people. In effect Jesus has told them that others, unacceptable others, have just as much claim maybe more, on God’s blessings than they do.

Doesn’t sound like a killing offense does it?

But think about it. Think about Jesus healing the man who shot all those people in Las Vegas, or Hitler. People we’ve given ourselves permission to hate. Think of Jesus loving any one in the groups of people we have decided it’s okay to treat as second class citizens. Think of Jesus not “belonging” to us but to any other group that he seems to care more about than us.

Jesus isn’t so attractive then. It’s hard to see what’s really important about him when you don’t like the company he keeps.

Question of the week: Do you find Jesus attractive because of who he is or what we’ve made him into?