[Jesus] taught in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. . . . When they heard [what he said], the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed him and took him to the edge of the hill on which the city was built. They intended to push him over the cliff. - Luke 4:15, 28-29
The ballplayer who scores the winning goal in one game and makes a fatal mistake in the next game goes from hero to goat in a hurry. The problem does not so much lie with him. He is doing his best both when he scores the winning goal and when he inadvertently makes an error. When he scores he is not Superman, and when he errs he is only human. The problem lies with the crowd. They praise him to the heights one minute and consign him to the depths the next. When they like what he does, they’re faithful to him; but when things go wrong, their fickleness shows.
No one knew the fickleness of the crowds better than Jesus. On returning from his encounter with the evil one in the wilderness, he soon became very well-known and well-liked in the region of Galilee. “He taught in their synagogues and was praised by everyone” (Luke 4:15). When Jesus revisited his boyhood home, Nazareth, he was asked to read the Scriptures in the synagogue and he startled everyone by making a direct application of Isaiah’s words to himself. At the end of the reading from Isaiah 61:1-2, he said, “This Scripture has come true today before your very eyes!” (4:21). The people in his hometown synagogue reacted with appreciation for the “gracious words that fell from his lips” (4:22) and with incredulity, for they knew his background and could not understand how he could say what he was saying. But nevertheless, “All who were there spoke well of him” (4:22).
Jesus, however, began to challenge them in ways that they did not appreciate. He made it clear to them that in the same way that Elijah and Elisha had not performed their ministries in Israel, so he had not performed his miracles in his hometown, because “no prophet is accepted in his hometown” (4:24). By this he meant—and the people knew it—that just as Israel was unprepared to respond to Elijah and Elisha, so also Jesus’ neighbors in Nazareth were unwilling to respond to his message. On hearing this, they “were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed him and took him to the edge of the hill on which the city was built. They intended to push him over the cliff” (4:28-29). Talk about a fickle crowd!
It is unlikely that you will be pushed off a cliff today, but it is possible that you will tell a friend the truth and have him go off the deep end! Both fans and friends can be fickle when faced with facts.
For Further Study: Luke 4:14-30
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Stuart Briscoe, please visit TellingtheTruth.org.