Looking back over the years, I’d say I’ve gotten much better at receiving uncomfortable or unwanted information. I’ve reacted in a multitude of ways… from anger to tears and overthinking to indifference. It takes a lot of maturity to refrain from responding emotionally to information that is in some way displeasing.
“So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.” (Luke 4:28-29)
Jesus is in a synagogue in his hometown – presumably His local synagogue – and He stands up to read. The reason for the attendant giving Him the book of Isaiah in particular is unclear; however, Jesus immediately turns to chapter 61. His proclamation in Luke 4:21 demonstrates that He understands that Messianic prophecies refer to Him. This comes as a startling revelation to those in the congregation; to them, up until that moment, He was just Joseph’s son.
Share what others need to hear no matter the consequences.
Their incredulity prompts Jesus to give them some home truths. In verses 23-27 He likens the congregants to their ancestors and their treatment of prophets in the past, namely Elijah and Elisha. Jesus’ comments hit a nerve. Those in His hearing don’t react too kindly to the reminder that Israel missed out blessings because they rejected the prophets that had been sent to guide them… blessings that were subsequently reaped by those from other nations (e.g. Sidon and Syria).
Although He could have read from any other passage in Isaiah, the prospect of a negative reception didn’t dissuade Him from boldly telling them what they needed to hear. The congregation resented the comparison that He drew between them and their ancestors. However, their reaction only proved His point. Jesus probably knew that what He had to share would ruffle a few feathers. Did he anticipate their desire to throw Him off a cliff? Who knows.
Even if you feel provoked, you are responsible for your actions.
You know what’s interesting about Jesus ‘revelation’? The fact that they should have known it was coming. He’d drawn His conclusions from the same scriptures that they had access to. I’m sure the the circumstances of His birth were also no secret. If anything, His proclamation should have confirmed what they already suspected. Instead, their reaction is a reminder that history is repeating itself. People may feel ‘triggered’ by what you have to say, but that isn’t an excuse not to tell them something that is beneficial.
- Don’t be a bystander – surely there must have been someone in the congregation that agreed with Jesus, yet they didn’t lend their support. Don’t follow the crowd if you know something is wrong.
- Be bold – it would be selfish of you not state something that someone needs to hear.
- Evaluate the information – don’t reject something simply because you don’t want or didn’t expect to hear it. Perhaps your response is being clouded by your relationship with the person giving it, or you hate the fact it’s true.
Pause and reflect before responding. By doing so you’re preserving the relationship you have with that individual and preventing yourself from doing/saying something you may regret.