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, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” Luke 4:25-27
The people of Nazareth wanted Jesus to work His miracles in Nazareth, not elsewhere to their exclusion. But Jesus tells them that prophets are not welcome in their own hometown. He gave them examples from stories they knew from history.
When Israel was experiencing famine, Elijah was not sent to Israel’s struggling widows. Instead, he was sent to Zarephath to a Gentile. Later, even though there were many lepers in Israel, Elisha, was sent to Naaman, also a Gentile. I wonder if Jesus’ hometown audience was aware that He was speaking prophetically as well. Jesus would not only be rejected by the people of Nazareth but by the nation of Israel at large. He is predicting that His Gospel message will also go to the Gentiles.
The Spirit of God goes where He is wanted. If not America, then China. If not my city of Athens, then another. If not my family, then the family next door. We might protest. “But we’re the ones that are sick and we need Him to come and heal us.” Can you hear the entitlement of the Nazarenes? The question begs to be asked. Is it the miracle they wanted or was it Jesus they really desired?
On the other side of healing, Jesus told many people to go and sin no more. What did sinning have to do with physical healing? Everything. To want Jesus is to embrace who He is and the salvation He came to offer. To only want healing is not becoming a disciple.
Lest Jesus’ actions and words offend us today, let’s stop and think a moment. When was the last time you felt used? Your value was in what you could do for someone rather than who you were. When did that knowledge come to you? Probably when you were tired, or busy, or felt led to direct your energies elsewhere. That’s when anger and entitlement usually surface and it isn’t pretty. But we are different than Jesus. We withdraw because we’re angry and hurt. Jesus went elsewhere in obedience to God.
I test my own love for Jesus today. If He gave me nothing but salvation and companionship until heaven, would I love Him just as much? What if He didn’t rescue, provide, heal, and do the myriad of things I often ask of Him, how would I respond? If I erased petitions from my prayers, would there be anything to talk about? I spend time with people I love all the time without asking them for a thing. My relationship with Jesus shouldn’t revolve around asking.
I love You for You. Amen