According To Luke: Harassed At Home

According To Luke: Harassed At Home

Opening Illustration: Helping Her Cry
A little girl who was late coming home for supper. Her mother made the expected irate parent’s demand to know where she had been.

The little girl replied that she had stopped to help Janie, whose bicycle was broken in a fall.

"But you don’t know anything about fixing bicycles," her mother responded.

"I know that," the girl said. "I just stopped to help her cry."

Point:
Coming home can sometimes be hard can’t it.  For me, the word “home” is my favorite word.  There is something special about “home”. Think about it.  We all left home.  We are looking forward to going back home. Our home represents family and love. We may travel far from home but home is always home. We are on the edge of doing a lot of home stuff aren’t we? In just a few days, a lot of our children will go from home to home Trick or Treating. Then the next month, we will invite people to our homes for Thanksgiving. Then after that, our children and grand children will open their Christmas presents at home.  Man, I love home.  Going home.  Sadly I have done  a lot of funerals this year.  Home is a comforting word even in those situations.  When I preach the funeral for a believer, I talk about home.  Our heavenly home is something that we can look forward to.  Everyone wants to go that home.  

Background:
We have been walking through the Gospel of Luke for several weeks now. We are still in Luke 4.  If you remember, the last time we read from Luke, Jesus was just exiting the 40 day period in the desert where He was tempted by Satan.  Jesus defeats this Satanic attack by deploying His knowledge of Scripture.  It says that after Jesus was tempted, God sent angels to attend to His needs. 

I would love to tell you that Jesus’ ministry kicks off in a positive manner following the desert.  I wish that were the case.  However, Jesus’ ministry after the desert starts of in a rocky manner.  Jesus journeys home. He came back to Nazareth where He had grown up with His family.  Nazareth was a small town during this time. Barely on a map. Jesus grew up learning a trade from His father.  He grew up taking care of His family and His Mother Mary. 

Initially people were very excited to see Jesus.  They were excited to hear His teaching.  Yet, things take a drastic turn for the worse not long after His arrival.  Fill in this blank with me this morning. 

Jesus’ Return Home Ruffled Feathers!

Scripture:
Let’s take a moment and read today’s Scripture from Luke’s Gospel, Chapter 4 verses 16-30. 

Luke 4:16-30 ESV
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph's son?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘“Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.

3 Lesson’s From Jesus’ Journey Home

I. Jesus’ Navigation vs. 16-17 ESV
Luke 4:16-17 ESV
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him.

Illustration: Why Go To Church
Have you ever wondered why it is important to go to church?

A Churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I’ve gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all." 

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: 

I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. 

Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!" 

Point:
Again, Jesus has just been tempted in the desert for 40 days.  

He was attacked supernaturally.  

He was weak physically.  

He was drained mentally. 

He was spent emotionally.  

It has been a difficult time. 

Friends, let me ask you a question, where do you go when you feel the way Jesus did?  How many of you have felt attacked supernaturally? How many of you feel weak physically? How many of you feel drained mentally?  How many of you are spent emotionally?  For some in this room, these feelings are each and every day.  It is a weekly occurrence. Where do you go? Do you turn to a pill?  Do you turn to a bottle?  Do you turn to a person? Do you turn to an activity?  

Well, Jesus gives us a prescription.  In this moment of weakness, Jesus finds strength in a particular place and a particular activity.  We learn a couple of things about Jesus.  

1. It was His custom to go to the synagogue.  

2. It was His custom to read Scripture.

3. It was His custom to teach. 

Jesus was coming off of one of the hardest parts of His earthy existence and Luke uses this time in His life to reveal to us the reader a very central truth in Christian living.  First, if Jesus can enter low periods of life, so can we.  We should expect these time.  Next, in the low periods, Jesus shows us what to do.  

When you are feeling low, weak, spent, that’s when you return to the foundations of your faith.  You don’t pull away from the church, you engage it.  Notice that the church that Jesus engages is not perfect.  We will that in a moment.  No, Jesus engages an imperfect congregation.  

Jesus then reads from Isaiah.  A tremendous passage by the way foreshadowing Jesus’ future.  For the record, reading Scripture in the ancient times of Christ was akin to worship.  One could not worship without first hearing God’s Word. So, at this low point in Jesus’ life, He engages the church, worships with the Church.  Next, He teaches.  You will see that after reading the Scripture that people are amazed at the teaching of this humble tradesman. Jesus teaching is just another form of serving.  

So, put it together! When you are weak? When you are hurting? When you are attacked? Follow Jesus’ example of engage, worship, and serve.  It is in these activities where we draw our strength to march on with God’s call on our lives.  

Let’s Jesus’ Navigation be our Inspiration! 

Point:
The Apostle Paul certainly understood that strength comes from the church, worship, and service. He even tells the believers in Colosse to continue to strive together in hopes that they faith would blossom. 

Colossians 3:16 ESV
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

3 Lesson’s From Jesus’ Journey Home

I. Jesus’ Navigation vs. 16-17 ESV
II. Jesus’ Declaration vs. 17-21 ESV
Luke 4:17-21 ESV
He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Illustration:
A certain pastor observed a little girl standing outside the preschool Sunday school classroom between Sunday school and worship, waiting for her parents to come and pick her up for "big church." 

The pastor noticed that she clutched a big storybook under her arm with the title "Jonah and the Whale."

Feeling mischievous, he knelt beside the girl and asked, "What’s that you have in your hand?"

"This is my storybook about Jonah and the whale," she answered.

"Tell me something," he continued, "do you believe that story about Jonah and the whale?"

The girl said, "Why, of course I believe it!"

The pastor inquired further, "You really believe a man can be swallowed up by a big whale, stay inside him all that time, and come out okay?"

She declared, "Yes! This story is in the Bible, and we talked about it in Sunday school today."

Then the pastor asked, "Can you prove to me this story is true?"

She thought for a moment and then said, "Well, when I get to heaven, I’ll ask Jonah."

Finally the pastor asked, "What if Jonah’s not in heaven?"

The girl put her hands on her hips and sternly declared, "Then YOU can ask him!"

Point:
When I was at Samford University, I had a Hebrew professor that declared that Jesus never actually said that He was God. Naturally, this was difficult for a 19-20 year old kid to hear, grasp and understand.  It really started me down a road where I questioned my faith and what I really believed.  So, I started doing some digging for myself.  I read and I read and I tried to find the answer to that nagging question, surly Jesus did claim to be God. 

Thankfully I ran across this piece of Scripture in Luke 4. Jesus personifies the words of the Prophet Isaiah.  Isaiah looked forward to the coming Messiah and Jesus let’s Isaiah’s words speak for Him.  Jesus’ remarks after reading from the prophet are the real clincher.  Jesus knew what He was doing and He knew what He was saying. Jesus is claiming beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is the Messiah. 

Notice what Jesus is really saying here.  

Jesus’ ministry is a ministry of proclomation and reclamation.  He came to earth to proclaim the good News of the Gospel and He came to reclaim that which was lost. Friends, this is great news.  Jesus’ message is for me and for you.  His was a rescue mission.  The greatest rescue mission of all time. 

Quote:
Tim Barnett, a contributor to Stand To Reason, which is a part of the Apologetics Institute puts it this way:

This passage cuts to the heart of why Jesus had to come. He came to give His very life to save ours. He was born into the world so that He could die for the world. Paul says it this way, “But when the fullness of time had come [that’s Christmas], God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5).

Jesus redeems us. He pays our debt. But how does Jesus redeem us? He pays with His life. Our text says that Jesus came—that’s Christmas—to give His life as a ransom—that’s Easter. The payment demanded was His sinless life. And that ransom price was impossible for you and me to pay.

Point:
Isn’t that beautiful? In my heart I believe that Jesus is God.  I am unashamed of His message of salvation and I am eternally grateful that He has rescued me. I am also honored to take part in the story of proclamation and reclamation and offer the same salvation through Jesus Christ to the masses. 

John 3:16 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

3 Lesson’s From Jesus’ Journey Home

I. Jesus’ Navigation vs. 16-17 ESV
II. Jesus’ Declaration vs. 17-21 ESV
III. Nazareth’s Exasperation vs. 28-29 ESV
Luke 4:28-29 ESV
28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.

Point:
After reading the Scripture from Isaiah, Jesus’ contemporaries were excited.  Why wouldn’t they be? They had been waiting for the Messiah.  They had heard of some of the miracles that Jesus had already performed.  They knew the Scriptures and what was said of the Messiah. They were excited that a King could be coming to liberate them, restore them to prominence and physically heal them. 

Jesus had different plans. 

By the way, this is the first time in Scripture where we have a mass group of people totally missing the boat on why Jesus actually came. They wanted Jesus to heal the brokenness of their land. They wanted Jesus to open the heavens of material blessings and rid them for good of the Romans. They wanted Him to heal their infirmities and take up their cause. 

Basically, they were saying to Jesus, “Jesus, welcome to the team”. 

It reminds me of the story of Joshua as he was approaching Jericho.  He encounters a mighty angel along the road, an angel that I actually believe to be the pre incarnate Jesus.  I believe this to be true because this man accepts the worship of Joshua.  

Let me read you the story from Joshua 5:13-15. 

Joshua 5:13-15 ESV
13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Notice that when Joshua asks this man if he is on their side or the side of Jericho, the man says “no”. You see friends, God is not on our team, we need to be on His team. 

Jesus’ contemporaries missed the point.  They missed the boat.  They did not get with the program. Jesus was not there to settle some temporal conflict or heal some brief disease.  He was not there to restore a historical Kingdom.  

Remember Jesus’ words…

John 15:18 NLT
"If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.”

He was there to establish a larger eternal Kingdom.  Sure, He would heal diseases but His main mission was to dismantle sin and destroy Satan. 

I have to ask myself daily, God am I on your side today? Jesus do I understand your mission? Am I following you?

Point:
It should come as no surprise when the world misinterprets the message of Christ.  It happens everyday.  However, just because the world misunderstands the message, it is not cause for us to stop preaching it. Because our message is proclamation and reclamation. We have a duty to the Good News and to the rescue of sinners for God’s glory. 

Point:
Friends, are we presenting the message of Christ’s salvation clearly and consistently.  We don’t want to miss the point.  We don’t want to miss the boat. Jesus’ own townspeople didn’t get it.  They practically threw Him out of town. Don’t throw Him out of our hearts and minds. We should boldly take Christ everywhere we go. 

Closing Illustration:
In 1988, Robert Fulghum published his best-selling book, Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Recently, somebody suggested another book title: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Noah. For example...

* Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.

* Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something big.

* Don't listen to critics; just do the job that needs to be done.

* Build your future on high ground.

* For safety's sake, travel in pairs.

* Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

* When you're stressed, float a while.

* Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

* No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting. 

* Don't miss the boat. 


Turn Today’s Information Into Our Inspiration!

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