Jesus’ Lifeline Rejected by Some

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Gathering

Growing up, were you more momma’s boy or daddy’s boy? How so?

 

Backstory

Jesus’ inaugural message follows his Baptism and Temptation, which initiate him into public ministry. He stands (out of reverence) for the public reading of Scripture and sits to teach. The scroll he reads from is Isaiah 61:1-2. In the context of Isaiah, God is promising to deliver the Jews from their captivity in Babylon centuries earlier. This text was later applied to freedom from Rome and all oppressors. Jesus applies this deliverance ministry to what he would do. The “year of the Lord’s favor” references the Jubilee Year (Leviticus 25), when all slaves are released, all debts cancelled—signaling what will happen in the coming kingdom.

 

God’s Story

Have one person read Luke 4:14-30 out loud. Imagine yourself as a member of the crowd. 

 

Finding My Story in God’s Story

Imagine you edit The Nazareth News, covering the events of Luke 4:14-30. What headline do you go with?

  1. HOMETOWN HERO CLAIMS TO BE THE PROMISED MESSIAH.
  2. ITINERANT PREACHER’S ‘INAUGURAL’ OPENS TO MIXED REVIEWS.
  3. JESUS INCITES RIOT IN THE TEMPLE.
  4. JESUS ESCAPES ANGY MOB IN A CLIFF-HANGER.
  5. OTHER ________.

 

As one hearing Jesus for the first time that day, how do you react?

  1. Who does this carpenter’s son think he is, anyway?
  2. Yikes! Do I believe this meddling preacher, or not?
  3. Ha! I see our hometown hero taking a “selfie” with Isaiah. 
  4. Oops!  I better rethink whose side God is on. 
  5. Other ________.

 

Jesus finds himself in God’s larger story, as can we. Which larger story is that?

  1. Jesus is all-too human, the son of Joseph the carpenter.
  2. I’m confused about who he claims to be.
  3. Jesus was a highly polarized figure. 
  4. Jesus represents the hope of Israel, prophesied by Isaiah.
  5. Other ________.

 

Jesus is acclaimed for his “gracious words”—before the local crowd turns “furious” on him. Why is Jesus suddenly so infuriating? 

  1. Jesus has made outrageous claims he better back up with actions.
  2. Nothing that good comes from a mere carpenter’s son out of Nazareth.
  3. Jesus says that God sides with outsiders: e.g., widow of Zarephath and Naaman of Syria.
  4. Jesus speaks inconvenient truths, not just comforting reassurance.
  5. Other ________.

 

Jesus experienced rejection at the hands of family, friends, and foe alike. Where in your life, family or work are you experiencing rejection? How are you handling it?

  1. I buck expectations; no one can keep me “down on the farm.”
  2. I leave it to Jesus to address racism, oppression, addiction, poverty.
  3. I take similar risks and give as good as I get.
  4. I can take rejection from the world because I know I am loved by God.
  5. I fear looking dumb, so I avoid challenges or controversy.
  6. Other ________. 

 

An angry mob tried to silence Jesus for good, because he confronted their place of privilege and presumption. So, Jesus was pushed to the edge of a cliff but escaped. How do you typically react when someone presses your buttons, or contradicts your long-held belief and favored status?

  1. I get angry or defensive, so I push back.
  2. I humbly open myself up to new truth.
  3. I take correction and change my ways.
  4. I ignore any new teaching as “fake news.”
  5. Other ________.

 

Our Story

From listening to this inaugural sermon by Jesus, what is God asking you to do this week?

 

How can this group help you take that next step to follow God’s direction?

  1. Call or text me.
  2. Drop by my house.
  3. Pray for me.
  4. Join me in ________.
  5. Other 

 

Between now and the next time this group meets, I will….

  1. Investigate for myself the claims of Jesus.
  2. Reconsider my long-held traditional beliefs about….
  3. Invite my “outsider” friend _______________ to reconsider Jesus.
  4. Other

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