What does a Widow and an Enemy Commander Have in Common?

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What could these two people from totally different places have in common? 

Jesus mentioned them both in his first recorded teaching and was thrown out of his hometown synagogue for it too.

Why? Ha! He was one to shake up the foundations of religion from the get go. Let’s look at Luke 4 and see for ourselves.

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias.” Luke 4:16-17

Here he takes up this book and reads from Esaias which is another name for Isaiah. He has their attention the crowd probably included some of his brothers, sisters, cousins, and townspeople who’ve known him since he’s little. This is Jesus Christ’s hometown. They knew him as a carpenter. Nothing more. Oh he might have acted a little strange once in a while, but they would’ve seen it as cheeky and arrogant. Not ordained.

“And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave [it] again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” vs. 17b-21

Wow. What would you do if you older brother announced that to your pastor, the choir, the deacons and the rest of the town on Sunday morning service. For many, it confirmed what they already felt in their heart about Jesus. For others, they balked at him. They wondered, is he going to take my place as head of the temple? Is he saying he’s the King of Israel? Then, ha ha. He decides to go a little deeper to the true heart of the matter.

“22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? 23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. 24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, [a city] of Sidon, unto a woman [that was] a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” vs. 22-27

These people had heard about some of his miracles and they wanted him to repeat them their. But it was a smug sort of, come on little carpenter’s son, show us what you can do. Then he compared them to the Israelites living in the time of the unbelieving widow and Naaman, the enemy commander. It caused a rage. He exposed the bitter smugness of their heart. Elias was a great prophet, but he did miracles for an unbelieving or Gentile widow who lived in an unbelieving town. In fact, Jezebel was the queen of that town and she ordered everyone to worship Baal. Elias had fled to this widow because his own, supposedly believing country men, were worshipping idols too. He was not welcome in his own hometown. And Naaman, wow! Naaman was a commander of the Syrian army and had a deadly case of leprosy. Elias healed HIM, and as Jesus said there were many lepers in Israel who suffered. What an insult! But also what a heart check to Jesus’s loved ones. These two were ministered two instead of the Israelites because the Israelites rejected him, or did not have the believing in themselves.

What did these fellow Nazarenes do to Jesus when they heard this comparison?

“28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong (kill him). 30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,…” vs. 28-30

I say this next comment carefully. If you are trying to minister to hearts of people in your home, family and town and they are bitter, cross with you and lack true hunger, it might be time to move on. If they are keeping you there because they supply your financial, emotional or some other five senses need but things are getting vicious, pass through the midst of them and go your way with God.

Who is the one who promised to supply your need? Those people? Or God? 

God has people who truly hunger for Him. He needs your hands, your mouth, your ministry to help Him. When we look at the miracles Elias did for the widow, who had a son raised from the dead, and Naaman, who was saved from tremendous physical agony and eventual death, aren’t we glad Elias did what he was told? What about Jesus? What if he would have stayed there in his hometown for a second longer? What ministry would the world have missed out on?

We don’t have to mourn those we love, we must follow the Will of God. Throughout Jesus’s childhood Joseph his parents and family protected him, but at a certain point he had to strike out and follow what God told him to do. And so must you. Ask Him today and He will show you the way. Like Jesus, you just keep moving on to where God needs you next.

“31 And (Jesus) came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. 32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” vs. 31-32

God bless you today.

 

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