WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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JESUS’ MISSION ON EARTH
(Our mission is to share JESUS’ Good News and not to hinder those who proclaim it)
After teaching in several synagogues in the region of Galilee, JESUS returned to HIS childhood hometown of Nazareth filled with the power of the HOLY SPIRIT. His ministry had begun to pick up stream, and HE had already gained some degree of notoriety throughout the surrounding countryside.
Upon arriving at the village of Nazareth, as had become HIS custom, HE entered into the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood and read from the scriptures. HE was handed the scroll that contained a prophetic message from Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-2). HE unrolled the scroll to the place where it says; “The SPIRIT of the LORD is upon ME, for HE has appointed ME to preach Good News to the poor. HE has sent ME to proclaim that the captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come…”(NLT).
JESUS rolled up the scroll and handed it back to the attendant. HE then, went and sat down in the pews, as everyone stared at HIM intently. We may or may not notice that JESUS stopped reading this passage in the middle of a sentence, and did not read the last part concerning GOD’s judgment. That is because, on this particular occasion, which is HIS first advent, or, first coming, JESUS did not come to judge, but rather, this time, HE came only to “save”. Here JESUS was saying, in effect, that, HIS judgment would be reserved for HIS second coming.
When JESUS came back to Nazareth, HE put HIMSELF to a very severe test. There is never a more severe critic of anyone, than those who have known you all of your life, however, this was not meant to be a private visit. You see, this time, JESUS came as a Rabbi, and so we see HIM going into the Synagogue to preach and teach, just as a Rabbi should. Unfortunately, for the Nazarenes, they greeted JESUS’ teachings with contempt, and even seem to take offense to HIM even coming there.
It is often said that “familiarity breeds contempt”, and that certainly seemed to be the case here, in JESUS’ hometown of Nazareth. The people refused to listen to JESUS that day, perhaps, for two very human, or, ungodly reasons. First of all, in their minds, JESUS was just a carpenter, a working man, just like them. And secondly, JESUS had grown up right there in Nazareth, and they couldn’t make the leap that HE could be anybody, even remotely special, or important. Isn’t that, pretty much, the same way we treat those who have become familiar to us today?
There can be no teaching, or preaching in the wrong atmosphere, and on that day in Nazareth the atmosphere was clearly wrong. A person can never be healed, if they refuse to accept the treatment necessary to make it so. We must, first and foremost, be receptive to what is being offered, before it can help us to get where we need to be.
JESUS was actually hoping to prepare HIS Disciples for rejection when HE traveled to Nazareth that day, and HE told them just how they should handle it when HE sent them out on their first mission to preach and teach (Mark 6:11). HE instructed them that, if any place would not offer hospitality, or listen to their message, they were to leave that place, and shake, even the dust from that place, off of their feet.
JESUS also goes on, to tell them this, “Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment, than for that city” which rejects you. No doubt this statement provokes serious thought, and perhaps, can even lead to repentance by some who have rejected GOD’s word in the past.
This story serves to remind us, that, sometimes we can be too close to a person to see just how that person is being used by GOD for HIS purpose. When we look at people, we should remember first, that, no one is outside of the purpose of GOD. That is why we, as Christians, have to be concerned about everyone. One never knows, who, GOD may be using for HIS mighty purpose. We only need to be able to recognize the things of GOD in that person, when we hear, and see them, and then, make the decision to help, rather than hinder them from their work for the cause of CHRIST JESUS.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website