To read the texts click on the texts: 2 Kgs 5:1-15a; Lk4:24-30
The text begins with the words “Truly I tell you” which is used six times in the Gospel of Luke and always to introduce a solemn statement. Luke alone uses it here to introduce the proverb that follows. This proverb is found also in Mark (6:4), Matthew (13:57) and John (4:44), but in a different form there. In Luke, the proverb is given in a negative form and “hometown” may also be translated as “home country”. This leads to the interpretation that Jesus will be rejected not only by the people of Nazareth (his hometown) but also by the whole of Israel (his home country).The references to Elijah and Elisha are to reinforce the statement made namely that the blessings of God were not restricted to one particular group or community but were available to all peoples. No one was excluded from the graciousness of God and from his bounty. This statement of Jesus enraged the people who were listening to him and drove Jesus out of their town. Though they were hostile to him, Jesus did not let that deter him, but continued to do what he was meant to do.
This scene suggests that the basis for their hostility toward Jesus was a difference in the way they read the Scriptures. The people of Jesus’ hometown read the Scriptures as promises of God’s exclusive covenant with them, a covenant that involved promises of deliverance from their oppressors. Jesus came announcing deliverance, but it was not a national deliverance but God’s promise of liberation for all the poor and oppressed regardless of nationality, gender, or race. When the radical inclusiveness of Jesus’ announcement became clear to those gathered in the synagogue in Nazareth, their commitment to their own community boundaries took precedence over their joy that God had sent a prophet among them. In the end, because they were not open to the prospect of others’ sharing in the bounty of God’s deliverance, they themselves were unable to receive it.
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