The Monday in the 3rd Week of Lent
March 13, 2023
“No prophet is welcome in his hometown.” In today’s passage Jesus, having begun his public ministry in Galilee, returns to his hometown of Nazareth. On the Sabbath he taught in the synagogue in Nazareth. At first, those in attendance were in awe of his words. Some in attendance, however, began questioning his authority. Is this not the son of Joseph the carpenter? How could someone of such upbringing hold such authority? The mood of those gathered at the synagogue becomes even more hostile as Jesus teaches about the Gentiles having God’s blessing. Specifically, Jesus draws their attention to the account in First Kings where the widow at Zarepath used what little flour and oil she had to make bread for Elijah and in return God blessed her by not allowing her jar of flour to run empty and her jug of oil to run dry. Likewise, he pointed their attention to the account in Second Kings where Naaman was healed of leprosy by washing seven times in the River Jordan. The crowd’s ire was so great that not only did they throw Jesus out of the synagogue, but they ran him out of town and tried to drive him over the cliff. As they were trying to kill Jesus, he made a miraculous escape by walking through their midst.
How often do we ignore the truth or become offended when it spoken by those closest to us? If you ever dine at Chuck’s Fish, notice the words on the menu about its eponym, Chuck Morgan. On September 15, 1963 – the day that the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed – Chuck Morgan was a 33-year-old attorney with a promising career in Birmingham, the city he had called home since a teenager. The next day at a lunch meeting of the Birmingham Young Men’s Business Club, Morgan spoke of the bombing and laid the blame at the feet of community leaders. “Every person in this community who has in any way contributed during the past several years to the popularity of hatred is at least as guilty, or more so, than the demented fool who threw that bomb.” As word spread throughout Birmingham of his speech, Morgan and his family received death threats, forcing them to permanently leave Birmingham. “No prophet is welcome in his hometown.”
I have heard it said that a politician tells you what you want to hear but a leader tells you what you need to hear. Sadly, in all aspects of our lives, we seem to often find ourselves surrounded by more politicians than leaders. When we are confronted by a leader, are we willing to accept and heed their words? May our minds be open so that we can discern the wisdom imparted by the prophets that God places in our lives.