And They Rose up and Drove Him Out of Town

Pride makes people crazy.

Luke 4:22-30 (ESV)

And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph's son?” And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Man #1: That was awesome!

Man #2: Isn’t this Joseph’s son?

Man #1: OK, now I don’t like what he’s saying.

Man #2: Hey, let’s throw him off a cliff.

Jesus challenges the crowd about their shabby treatment of prophets and they react with murderous hatred. The modern comeback line for this is, “You make my point.”

This is a marvelously crisp example of sin’s allergic reaction to truth. Even soccer fans don’t get this crazy. All Jesus does is point out some well-known historical examples of how most people in Israel don’t listen to the truth, and they go ballistic on Him. Hits a little too close to home, eh?

This can’t be explained; it just is. Our own sin surely blocks us from seeing this clearly. It’s the mechanism behind all kinds of crazy things like denial, hatred, prejudice, ego, etc.

One thing is clear though; this is what sent Jesus to the cross – both strategically and physically.

It’s why He had to go, and it’s how the mob sent Him.

Because of our own sin, we tend to think, “Oh, I’m not like that.” We tend to think we have all the answers, that we’re not the ones who are allergic to the truth.

In a way, that’s true. The Holy Spirit in us makes us able to hear truth – just as it will one day enable us to stand in the presence of God without disintegrating – but our old, sinful self lingers on. That’s the war inside of all of us.

Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:22-24

The trick is to seek humility. Put a bullseye on pride.

Ask God to expose our sinful hearts and convict us so that we may grow in the likeness of His image.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.