The power of the Spirit is filling Jesus leading him to do daring and challenging things. On Saturday this Spirit-filled-Jesus went into the desert for 40 days, where you-know-who was a pest to him. He leaves the desert and this same power chases him to his hometown region of Galilee. When he finally reaches his hometown of Nazareth, after having done a great deal of teaching in the surrounding area, he sits down to teach them as well. He announces that Scripture has been fulfilled in him.
The first reaction of the townsfolk is one of amazement, which quickly turns to doubt and questioning about who this home-town boy thinks that he is - after-all they know his father, mother and brothers! Jesus then, still with this crazy-induced Spirit energy compares these folks who are chastising him to those God ignored in other times: when God favored the widow and the foreign leper over the chosen people. Pretty daring stuff. And of course the towns people try to throw him off a cliff, but he melted away "and went on his way."
One of the things we are to take away from today's reading is that when we are graced with being Spirit-filled, we should not anticipate an easy time of it.....for to be filled with the power of the Spirit makes us daring and confrontational and truth-tellers and challengers-of-the-norm that surrounds us......and does not make us the most popular person on the block. To "be like Jesus" is to challenge the status quo and to push for life as it should be, not as it is. Exciting, yes. Dangerous, possibly. As it must be, absolutely.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: P-Town Flats, 2007, jfd+