Monday, January 28, 2013

Looking Forward to February 3, 2013 -- 4th Sunday After Epiphany, Year C

The Scripture Reading this week is Luke 4:14-30

The Sermon Title is An Unwelcome Task?  

Early Thoughts: Local boy makes good? Or maybe not so much...

At the beginning of his public ministry Jesus goes to his home community.  And at first all seems well.  You can almost hear the pride of the locals.  And then Jesus seems to decide to tick the hometown folks off...

Look at verse 23.  It is Jesus who seems to change the mood of the gathering.  Jesus, who has claimed for himself a messianic role, who has read out quite a job description for himself, pretty much says to the people he grew up with "I am not sent here, I am sent to help other people".  Is it really all that surprising that people are less than happy with him (although I admit that throwing him off a cliff is a bit of an over-reaction).

What's up there?  There seems to me to be something happening that Luke doesn't tell us.  IS there an undercurrent in the pride of "Isn't that Joseph's boy?" that says "why is he getting so uppity"?  Is there a sense that the people who knew Jesus as a child will not accept him as MEssiah?  Where does the conflict come from?

My hunch that teh conflict comes from a combination of sources.  My hunch is that the weight of what he has just proclaims hangs heavily on Jesus, which may make him more suspicious of the reactions of the hometown crowd.  But also I suspect that Jesus can be seen as being a bit uppity here.  It is not that the task is unwelcome.  It is not that the crowd is overtly hostile.  It is that sometimes "you can't go home again", that there is a reason that prophets were not usually active in their hometowns or regions.  ANd that is what I think we will explore this week...

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