Have you ever tried to help someone that didn’t appreciate your kindness? Doing good isn’t always welcome.
I remember one time I opened the door for someone going into a grocery. They just looked at me and said, “Do I look like I need help?” Where did that come from?
When people treat you mean for simply trying to help them, it makes you think twice before you are nice to the next person. We can learn a lot from a day in the early ministry of Jesus. I find the story in Luke 4:14-33.
Jesus was highly successful in Galilee, an area 50 miles high and 25 miles wide. Josephus, one-time governor of Galilee near the first century, estimates there were as many as 3 million people living there. He returns for the first time to His hometown of Nazareth and gets an unexpected welcome. We can learn some great life principles by how Jesus behaved Himself.
1- Jesus was a faithful worship attender.
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. (Luke 4:16).
It was our Lord’s custom to attend public worship. I’m sure it was not a perfect church but He was. I’m sure He didn’t need the instructions because He wrote the book. I’m sure there were things that He disagreed with but He still went. It is a good habit to have the habit to join God’s people in worship together.
2 – Jesus cared for the poor and hurting.
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, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)
As a visiting rabbi, the custom was to invite Jesus to read Scripture and teach the congregation. This would be Jesus’ first recorded sermon. He read Isaiah 61:1-2. Jesus didn’t quote the whole passage. He left out “the day of vengeance of our God”. Vengeance will come at His second coming. His first coming was a time of grace.
Notice who Jesus came to help – the poor, captives, blind, oppressed. Jesus wants us to care for the poor around us. But there are plenty of excuses people give for not caring for the poor:
- They don’t deserve help. They got themselves into poverty; let them get themselves out.
- I don’t know any poor people.
- I have my own needs.
- Any money I give will be wasted, stolen, or spent on other things. The poor will never see it.
- I may become a victim myself.
- I don’t know where to start, and I don’t have the time.
- My little bit won’t make any difference.
If you are going to live like Jesus, you must help the poor. Yet, like Jesus, we must serve those who are also spiritually poor, captive to sin, blind to the way of God, and oppressed by Satan. We must help those who are spiritually poor.
3 – Jesus made people mad.
And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 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. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, (Luke 4:38-40)
At first the people were amazed at His gracious words (v. 22). But Jesus let them know that God loves all people, even non-Jews. There were plenty of poor Jews during the time of Elijah, but only one woman was helped – a Gentile. Many Jews were sick during the time of Elisha, but only one man, Naaman was cured of leprosy – a Gentile.
That’s what made them mad. They were going to throw Him of the hill. But miraculously, He walks past them.
Jesus challenged and warned people and they tried to kill Him. The gospel still angers people today. It challenges all agendas with the surprising announcement of God’s amazing grace.
What do you do when people turn against you? When they turn against the Gospel?
- Don’t be surprised. If they rejected Jesus, they will reject you.
- Don’t give up. Luke tells us that Jesus simply passed through their midst and went His way.
- Don’t get sidetracked. The story doesn’t end here. He went down to Capernaum (v. 31) and taught in the synagogue the following Sabbath. He never lost sight of His mission – the cross, redeeming humanity, conquering evil, pleasing the Father.
- Don’t let this chance by your last chance to receive Jesus. The sad thought is there is no record that Jesus ever returned to Nazareth. They rejected Him and He rejected them and never returned.
If you are reading this, you still have a chance to turn to Jesus and receive forgiveness.
When Philip Brooks, author of “O, Little Town of Bethlehem,” was seriously ill, he requested no friends come to see him. But when an acquaintance of his named Robert Ingersoll, a famous anti-Christian propagandist, came to see him he allowed him to come in right away. Ingersoll said, “I appreciate this very much. Especially when you aren’t letting any of your close friends see you.” Brooks responded, “Oh, I’m confident of seeing them in the next world, but this may be my last chance to see you.”