Nazareth or Capernaum

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.

31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.

. . .
36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

Luke 4:22-37

Everyone in Nazareth spoke well of Him. The town thought it was cool that Joseph’s son could speak with such grace. At first glance Jesus appears tough on His hometown. But their reactions show us He was right again.

Mary’s neighbors could said, “We’re different than our ancestors, we can see you’ve been sent from God.” Nazareth’s leaders could have acknowledged their friend’s authority. They didn’t even notice they were acting like those who lived during Elijah and Elisha’s time.

But Nazareth was only in it for the miracles. I think they spoke well of Him because they looked at Jesus as a lottery ticket. And when He didn’t give them what they thought they deserved, they kicked Him out of town.

They’d watched Him grow up. Surely they’d noticed He was a little different than all the rest of the kids in town. But they didn’t want what made Him different, they certainly didn’t want changed lives.

It’s the same today. Churches are full of folks from Nazareth. They don’t want to change, they just want the blessings Jesus has to offer. I wonder if that’s why the institution is so unattractive to newcomers. If the people who call themselves the body of Christ aren’t more like Christ than the rest of the world, then why bother? If we’re just clamoring after miracles that don’t make life more abundant, what’s the point? After all, what good is a healing or deliverance if the heart is still bitter and the spirit discouraged?

Every day is a day to choose. We can choose to be like the people of Nazareth, the kind who just want Jesus for the external things He can provide. Or we can be like the people of Capernaum, a forty mile walk from Jesus’ hometown by land, but just an 18 inch difference from head to heart in attitude.

The people of Capernaum recognized Jesus’ authority. They weren’t just impressed by His teaching, they were amazed by it. People of Capernaum took notes, they passed along what they’d learned and they planted it in their hearts so folks could see the change. And because they recognized Jesus was more than just the carpenter’s son, bigger than just a miracle maker, the village of Capernaum witnessed deliverance and healing.

So where do you live? Do you reside in a land looking for miracles or a place of appreciation and amazement of Jesus’ words? Is He simply a respected member of the community or have you embraced His authority? He wants to be your friend, but have you kept Him only as acquaintance and neglected to recognize Him as Lord?

I’ll ask you again . . . where do you live? Why don’t you come with me . . . I’m moving to Capernaum.

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