Bread – Stones

April 20, 2015


Readings for Monday, April 20, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Dan. 4:19-27; 1 John 3:19-4:6; Luke 4:14-30; Psalms 9, 15, 25

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In our reading from Luke today, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue of Nazareth and stood up to read from Isaiah. After He was finished, He sat down and said “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21. This statement is accepted positively (amazingly enough), but when Jesus points out that God sent Elijah to only one widow even though there were many and sent Elisha to only one leper to heal him even though there were many lepers, the crowd gets furious at Jesus and attempted to throw Him over the cliff, in a different version of stoning.

How upside down is this? Jesus claims that He is the anointed one, the messianic servant, referenced in Isaiah, only to be congratulated. But when He points out that God chooses who He will save and who He will send His prophets to, they get angry and decide to stone Him.

Which is the greater offense – claiming heavenly authority or reminding people of their history? Apparently, reminding them of their history.

When you think about it, don’t we behave the same way? People can make the most outrageous assertions about who they are [not that Jesus’ statement about Himself was outrageous] and that is OK to us, but bring up the truth of our past, remind us of our sinful disobedient state? The knives come out.

Another way of thinking about this is that, in Jesus’ earlier ministry, it was OK to claim that He was anointed as long as He didn’t act like it.

We are in the same boat. Many people claim that they are Christian because that is the thing to do. No one will judge us harshly and throw stones at us just because we say we are Christian. However, behave like a Christian and that is a different story. Judge within the church (not outside) and you are intolerant. Talk about our original sin and our absolute need for a Savior, and we are not being positive. Tell people that Christ is the only way to eternal life and we are non-inclusive. Talk about sins in the particular and we are _____aphobic. Fall on our knees in worship and we are unscientific. Try to save babies from death and we are mean.

No one likes to have stones thrown at them. In fact, we duck and run away from the bullies. But what if the stones are meant to punish us for who we are, whose we are? Are we to run away?

In our reading from 1 John today, he says “They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us.” 1 John 4:5-6.

Are we having stone thrown at us this week? If so, our question is normally, why? If not, we normally would not question anything. But the response ought to be the opposite. If we are not having stones thrown at us this week, we really should ask the question “why not?” And if we are having stones thrown at us, there should be no question at all as to why.

Do we want stones thrown at us? Of course not. I am sure that Jesus did not want stones thrown at Him, but they were. Why were stones thrown at Jesus – because He acted like Jesus, exposing the sin so that He could reveal the grace.

We say we want to be like Jesus. If so, prepare for the rocks … and the victory.

__________

© 2015 GBF

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