8 Minute Read + pictures and a video

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

Numbers 30:1–31:54
Luke 4:1-30
Psalm 63:1-11
Proverbs 11:20-21

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Luke 4:28-30 (CSB): “When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They got up, drove him out of town, and brought him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl him over the cliff. But he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

On August 14, 2018, I wrote a blog post entitled: “Where They Attempted to Throw Jesus Off a Cliff.” I’m not quite sure why but it is one of my more popular posts. It seems that at least every other day someone arrives at that post after punching in some key words in a search engine.

Well, this story was part of our daily Bible reading today. I also realized that my previous post didn’t include some of the pictures I took in Nazareth (from our trip to Israel in the summer of 2018) where this story took place.

So, let me quickly recap the story and then share some pictures and a video.

Luke 4:16 (CSB): “He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As usual, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read.”

Jesus, as a boy in the home of Mary and Joseph, lived in Nazareth. It is located in Israel between the base of the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea. It also boarders the Valley of Jezreel (where Armageddon will be fought).

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Google Maps

In our Scripture reading, Jesus was in the Jewish synagogue in Nazareth. (Nazareth is almost entirely populated by Muslims now.)

Luke 4:17-21 (CSB): “The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me
to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.'”

As those who were in the synagogue listened to Him speak, they were amazed. They were enjoying what He had to say.

They were also confused. Why? Because they knew Joseph and saw Jesus as just a carpenter who had inherited a trade from his (supposed) father.

Luke 4:22 (CSB): “They were all speaking well of him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from his mouth; yet they said, ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?'”

But, as was so often the case, Jesus then proceeded to say some things that got the people riled up. He didn’t show up to the synagogue to gain a following. He wasn’t there to develop His image. He was there to speak truth. And these people needed to hear it.

As Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah and observed the crowd’s response, He saw that there was a brewing opposition to Him. While the people enjoyed listening to Him, they were also on the boarder of being offended by Him. They enjoyed His words … but were completely unwilling to accept that He was the Messiah since they knew who His (supposed) dad was.

God can’t stand apathy. He doesn’t like it when we stand in the middle. He abhors lukewarmness when we are neither hot nor cold (Revelation 3:15-16). He wants us to pick a side.

So, Jesus spoke truth to push the people to a decision about Him. He gave some Old Testament instances where, because of sin and unbelief, the people of Israel were overlooked and God’s blessings fell upon non-Jews.

Luke 4:23-27 (CSB): “Then he said to them, ‘No doubt you will quote this proverb to me: “Doctor, heal yourself. What we’ve heard that took place in Capernaum, do here in your hometown also.” ‘ 
“He also said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them except a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. And in the prophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had leprosy, and yet not one of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’ “

How did Jesus’ audience respond when Jesus pointed out instances of where God overlooked Israel because of sin and unbelief and blessed non-Jews?

Did they observe God’s pattern in the Old Testament and determine to repent and believe?

Or, would they get offended and angry at Jesus’ words?

Luke 4:28-30 (CSB): “When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They got up, drove him out of town, and brought him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl him over the cliff. But he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.”

They forcibly took Jesus out of the synagogue and, in their fury, were prepared to throw him off “the edge of the hill that their town was built on.”

Let me share a few pictures that I took in Nazareth and then a video of the cliff that some think this incident happened upon.

I took the following picture inside the Basilica of the Annunciation. This is supposedly the place where the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was going to bear the Messiah child. (As is so often the case, these sites were claimed many years ago but lack substantive archaeological or historical evidence.)

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Basilica of the Annunciation

 

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Basilica of the Annunciation

Now, let’s venture out of the Basilica. Let go even further out of the city to the hill upon which some think the incident in Luke 4 occurred.

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A plaque on the cliff from which some suspect they tried to throw Jesus to his death.

Clarification: The above plague says that this is supposedly the site where Jesus “jumped from this mountain when fleeting (sp) his pursuers.” The biblical account clearly states that Jesus did not jump from this cliff but “passed right through the crowd and went on his way.” It is so disheartening that tradition often trumps Scripture in the place where Jesus walked.

Finally, here is a video I took from the Mount of Precipice.

A few seconds into this video, I zoom the camera in a bit. I was aiming my phone at the Basilica of the Annunciation. Then, I zoom back out and pan around to the Valley of Jezreel (think Armageddon).

The jury is still out on whether these are the right locations. And further, Nazareth looks a LOT different than it did 2,000 years ago when Jesus lived here. But, there is something special about being in the general location where the events of Scripture took place.

I hope this post have been helpful.