He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
—Luke 4:20

After Jesus finished reading the Scripture passage in His hometown synagogue, He closed the scroll and gave it back to the attendant. He sat down, “and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him” (Luke 4:20). Then Jesus began the third part of the service–the teaching. “He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’” (v. 21). No one misunderstood what Jesus was saying. He couldn’t have been clearer: “This Messiah you have been waiting for for thousands of years, He is here. I am He.”

By the way, that is what makes Jesus different than every other leader of every major religion today. Other major religious leaders do not claim to be God; they claim to be messengers of God. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, claimed to receive a revelation from the angel Gabriel in AD 622. But Muhammad never claimed to be God. He claimed to be simply a messenger of God. Buddha sat underneath a tree and claimed he had divine enlightenment. But Buddha never claimed to be God. He simply claimed to be a messenger from God. In contrast, Jesus said He was God, over and over again. That’s why we have to take seriously Jesus’s words.

Jesus clearly claimed to be the Messiah: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The people in the synagogue understood it. “And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips” (v. 22). Initially the reports were good. “Hey, isn’t that great? Have you ever heard a more powerful sermon? Man, the way He read God’s Word, that was powerful!” Then it began to sink in what Jesus was saying. Somebody asked, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” And suddenly the crowd began to turn on Jesus.

Knowing what they were thinking, Jesus said, “‘No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, “Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.”’ And He said, ‘Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown’” (vv. 23-24).

When I read those verses I think about an older woman in the church where I grew up. Every time I return to that church, this woman delights in telling everybody, “I used to change his diapers when he was a baby in the nursery.” That’s a humbling experience. It was that way with Jesus. He was claiming to be the Son of God. But there were people in His hometown synagogue who had changed His diaper. They were probably thinking, “We changed God’s diaper? I don’t think so.” They rejected Jesus. “They got up and drove Him out of the city” (v. 29). They planned to kill Jesus. “But passing through their midst, He went His way” (v. 30). Jesus walked right through them and made His way to a more receptive group.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Day Jesus Came to Church” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2004.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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