Devotions for the Week of January 29, 2017

Meditation for the Week of January 29, 2017

And [Jesus] said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. Luke 4:24

Jesus’ first sermon in His hometown did not go over well.  The people could only think of Him as Joe and Mary’s boy, who was decent enough with a hammer, but not necessarily someone they wanted preaching to them.  In fact, they were so mad at Him at the end of the sermon, they tried to throw Him off a cliff!

Now my first sermon at my home congregation did not go that badly, but it was still awkward.  I had been baptized and confirmed there, and since both of my parents taught in the congregation’s school, everyone knew me.  They thought of me as Ted and Karen’s little boy, and not necessarily someone they wanted preaching to them.

We can come up with all sorts of reasons for not listening to God’s Word.  Many times it has to do with the preacher himself.  We find things we don’t like about someone’s background or personality, and use that to discredit what he has to say.

In the end, the only important thing for a pastor is that he faithfully delivers God’s Word.  You might not like him personally, he might seem too young or too old, too much like you, or too different from you, but He is sent to you from God to proclaim the gospel to you.

There are many things that get in the way of listening to God’s Word.  Not liking the preacher is just one of them.  People complain about the music, about the other members of the congregation, and the day and time of the services.  As a pastor, I’ve heard them all.  In the end, the problem is our pride.  We don’t want to have someone else with authority speak to us.

We would have fit in well in Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown.  We, too, like to be independent and do things our own way.  We, too, have issues with authority.  But when we turn our backs on Jesus and His messengers, we miss out on the good news He comes to bring.

Jesus had a message of hope for the people of His city.  He talked about being released from captivity and enjoying the Lord’s favor.  He was the one who came to set the people free.  But the people didn’t want to listen to Jesus and expected Him to put on a show for them.

When it comes time to listen once more to Jesus, don’t find excuses not to come.  Don’t look for reasons to reject His messengers.  Come and be glad to listen to the good news that Jesus comes to bring you.  He promises to set you free from all that keeps you captive: pain, isolation, loneliness, doubt, despair and sin itself.   

 

Our Weekly Prayer

 

Please consider praying this prayer as part of your daily prayers.

 

Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.