“He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ” Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 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. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.”
Luke 4:23-30 NKJV
In the time of the ministry of Jesus, there was one group of people who felt that they had a lock on access to God. They went about in ornate garments, placing themselves above everyone in the community, as if they felt themselves special, above the fray and special in the eyes of God. As far as they were concerned, there was no way to the Father apart from them.
Jesus, God in human flesh, walked into the veritable lion’s den, when He entered the synagogue, read from Isaiah, and sat down. Those in attendance remembered that He was Joseph’s son, a carpenter by trade, and not one of them. From His humble position, He challenged them.
To the Jews of the times, gentiles were no better than dogs, as they had no standing in their world, or before their god. Jesus, knowing that they doubted his legitimacy, spoke of examples from the Bible where God sent HIs servants, not to the children of Israel, but to the gentile, as He gave a glimpse of HIs greater plan.
“Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.””
I Kings 17:8-11 NKJV
The poor widow had little but, by faith, provided for Elijah as he has requested. The Lord blessed her bountifully. Then He spoke of Naaman, doubly outcast, as leper and a gentile, who was healed by the Lord, when he, by faith, submitted to washing in the Jordan, and upon rising from the water the seventh time, found himself clean.
Those who heard, recognized that he spoke not of the god of their making, but the One true God who had sent this humble Man to save the world.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, we have found ourselves at the crossroads of destruction and eternity, as this age is drawing to an close. Like those Jews who confronted Jesus, we have become a church dedicated to a god of our own making, and we have determined in our hearts that we have the lock on access to the Father.
There are so many churches and so many denominations, that we have created confusion where there should be simplicity. Some still believe and teach the word, others have jettisoned it all together.
In these times, let us go back to what is simple:
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,”
I Corinthians 15:3-4 NKJV
Let us focus on the Scriptures, the Word of God, the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the value of fellowship, and the calling the Lord has given us to go and reach the world. May we be a people focused on the basics, the most organic elements of the faith, where God is the center, and all we do springs from His word.
Because the Jews confronted Jesus had departed from the word, they were stunned when confronted with what it said. Even today, self professing followers of Jesus can be stunned when confronted with biblical truth. Let us embrace the Bible for what it says, and not what we say it says. May “it is written,” by our guide.
Let us also avoid the tendency to look down on those of us who are not the untrained, or not of our ilk. The Lord is moving in these latter days, and He is raising up many to go and share the Gospel. The style may be different, but the essentials are what matters. Judge the on their ability to rightly divide the word of truth.
I remember many years ago, during a visit to Haiti, walking into the large sanctuary of the host church we were visiting during the Sunday School hour. The room was filled with voices of people teaching the word of God to small groups spread about the room. That is the picture of what the Lord Jesus is doing around the globe.
It is time for the church to put aside the name brands, and embrace the organic, true elements of the faith, returning to the source which is God.
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