There are days when I stir from sleep and there is a scripture verse reference clearly “imprinted” in my mind’s eye. I can see the nudge to look it up. This morning was such a day.
The verse was Luke 4:22. I could not in any form or fashion tell you what the verse is from memory. But here it is, nestled in the midst of the section on Jesus preaching in Nazareth… his family home.
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[a] 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..”
I had the sense immediately it wasn’t about receiving praise, but about how quickly a room can turn on someone if it doesn’t hear what it expects or wants to hear. The caution is to not be swayed by flattery or seek approval of others…. Fame is not a Kingdom thing….
I’m not sure why God would be calling this to my attention, as I have no fame or following…nor have I any desire for either. I just want to participate in the conversations and be present with and among others desiring similar pursuits.
In the numeric language God has taught me the “4” is going forward, pressing ahead, continuing the journey.
The first “2” is Jesus. The second “2” is me, following in the Jesus-path as well as I can. I found myself today in some online conversation threads about evangelism, about the character and attributes of Christ and defending His name against progressive theology and dismissal.
I know Jesus doesn’t need my defending Him, but I do believe He desires me to take a stand for God and the Word, when appropriate, wherever I find myself.