ODJ: trouble in town

May 21, 2015 

READ: Luke 4:16-30 

No prophet is accepted in his own hometown (v.24).

A 2013 article in Unfinished magazine details the exciting growth of Christianity in the “new India”. With more than 71 million believers in Jesus, the country is now the 8th largest Christian nation in the world. But even though faith in Christ is spreading “at a rapid rate among middle and high caste Indians and young people”, there are challenges for the new believers. “With great receptivity to Christianity also comes alarming religious animosity, resulting in persecution and violent resistance.”

Jesus knew the bitter effects of persecution and resistance. As He returned to “his boyhood home” of Nazareth, He went to the local synagogue and selected a prophetic passage from Isaiah (Luke 4:16). His purpose was to announce that salvation had come through Him—not just for the Jews but also for Gentiles. By referencing Elijah and Elisha and their individual ministries to “foreigners” (non-Jews) as He described His mission, the locals got the message. And they didn’t like it.

“No prophet is accepted in his own hometown,” Jesus said (v.24). Unable to accept the fact that they weren’t the only ones to receive God’s grace and moved by a festering anger against Gentile overlords, the people turned against Jesus. In fact, they tried to push Him off a cliff on the hill where the town was built. But in a display of divine power, Christ simply “passed right through the crowd and went on his way” (v.30).

—Tom Felten

365-day-plan: Ecclesiastes 12:1-14

Read John 15:18-21 and consider who’s truly being rejected when you’re persecuted for your belief in Jesus. 
What gives you hope even as you face resistance because of your faith? Take a moment today to pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are facing bitter persecution.