Today I was reading out of the the forth chapter of the book of Luke, and something caught my eye. For me, it was a reminder of just how incredibly awesome our God is. I mean, Jesus was a really cool guy. He was crazy confident (He was God, for goodness’ sake!) and he could do these amazing things. This . . . well, this is one of those things.
I’ll give you a bit of background here: In Luke 4, specifically verses 14-30, Jesus is preaching in His hometown of Nazareth. Now, the guy’s just started His ministry, and so He gets up in the synagogue on the Sabbath and starts reading from the book of Isaiah. The passage He quotes is this:
“‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recover of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.'” – Luke 4:18-19, quoting Isaiah 61:1-2
Afterwards, Jesus got up and said: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (verse 21)
The people went absolutely ballistic. “”Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. (verse 22) Now, in case you don’t get it, Jesus was basically saying, “Hey! Look! God choose me to speak to you!” In the Jewish culture, that could easily be considered blasphemy. Now, since Jesus was God, it wasn’t blasphemy, but it sure seemed like it to them. I mean, after all, this was the son of the village carpenter. Who was He to talk like this?
Not only did He say that He was called to teach them, Jesus started talking about how prophets aren’t accepted in their hometowns. He brought up Elijah and Elisha, both of whom left their homes to go do the Lord’s work. And again, Jesus was calling Himself a prophet, which these old acquaintances of Jesus (who watched Him grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men [Luke 2:52]) weren’t willing to accept.
So what do these angry people (who, mind you, were once Jesus’s friends and neighbors) decide to do? Well, throw Him over a cliff, of course! They drove Him out of town, and took Him to the brow of a hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. (verse 29)
Now, here’s where we get to the cool part of the story. Check out verse 30:
“But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way.”
I’ve gotta say, this is one of those “WHAT?!” moments in the Bible. Jesus’s got an angry mob after Him (a furious mob according to verse 28) and He just walks away? How does He walk away from something like that?
I don’t know about you, but I get a pretty funny picture in my head. Something akin to a cartoon, maybe.
Crowd: Let’s kill Him! This is what He gets for calling Himself a prophet!
Random Person: We don’t want Him going around and disgracing our town, right?
Crowd: Yeah! Up the hill, Jesus! *marches Jesus up to the top of the hill*
Jesus: *yawns* Sorry, guys, but I’m not supposed to die yet. See ya! *walks away*
Crowd: Huh? Where’d He go? Find Him, find Him!
Jesus: *walks straight through the center of the crowd*
Crowd: Where is He?
Random Person: *gasp* He’s gone!
Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but at the same time, that’s the power of God. Jesus was supposed to die by crucifixion, not over a cliff. Jesus wasn’t gonna die that day, so He just walked straight through an angry mob without getting caught. Wow. And that power is inside of us?
It’s also really sad to see Jesus so persecuted by His own townsfolk. It’s a real reminder that this world–sometimes even our friends and families–aren’t going to accept us and our faith. Still, even when they try to hurt us (hopefully they won’t try to throw you over a cliff, but you never know), we can know that God’s got His hand us. We won’t be hurt if He doesn’t want us to be.
Still, my favorite part of this story is how cool Jesus is in all of this. Parting the waves back in Moses’s day, that was pretty neat. But parting an angry crowd of Nazarenes? Awesome! I mean, Jesus just up and left. And not only did He leave, He kept right on going, as if nothing at all had happened. That, my friends, is seriously the epitome of cool.
God gives us the confidence we need. Jesus wasn’t afraid of the crowd. He knew that His heavenly Father would protect Him until the day of death. We don’t have to be afraid either. If we trust in God, He’ll give us the power and strength to walk through an angry mob and move on, leaving them to scratch their heads in amazement.