Listen to podcast version here.
Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at
Nazareth: "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted
in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there
were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half
years and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land
of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during
the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of
them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." When the
people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled
with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the
town, and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built, to hurl him
down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them
and went away.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, as I prepare for Easter during
this Lenten season, I turn to you once again in
prayer. I believe that you are my creator and that
you have created me to know, love and serve you.
I believe that you want to help me fulfill my
purpose in life; that is why you came to earth
to suffer and die. I offer you my prayer today
as a small token of my gratitude, a small token
of my desire to live my life for you. I
know that sometimes I can let things get between us.
Now, during this time of prayer, I want to give
all my attention to you so that you – and
not my egoism or passions – may govern my life
help me to have the humility to accept your will
for my life.
1. No Special Privileges: Jesus’ fellow townsmen are upset with
Jesus for pointing out that there were times in history
that God showed his favor to Gentiles and not just
Jews. They are upset because they had put their security
in their Jewish heritage and the promises made to their
people through the Patriarchs. They want to think that because
they are Jews somehow God must show them more favor
than the Gentiles. We, too, can make this mistake. We
think that because we belong to this or that organization,
or because we have this or that position, somehow God
must give us more attention and special privileges. Isn’t this
often the cause of indignation in our lives? We are
upset when do not receive preferential treatment. We think that
we are deserving of more. Does that indignation
ever grow so strong that I try to rid myself
2. Seeking God’s Blessings: Why did God send Elijah to help
the widow in Zarephath and Elisha to cleanse Naaman the
Syrian? Surely it was not because they were more important
or holier people. God chose them because they welcomed him.
The widow in Zarephath happily went to fetch Elijah a
drink of water when he asked for it and obediently
gave him the last of the food she had. Naaman
repented from his indignation and went to bathe in the
Jordan as Elisha told him to do. God gives his
gifts to those who welcome him.
Acceptance of Christ: Christ is perhaps too familiar to his townsmen. They
are not able to recognize who he really is. They are
upset with the way he speaks, and so they do
not accept him. Will I accept Christ in my life?
Perhaps he is too familiar to me. I think I
know who he is. Perhaps I am unwilling to accept
his teachings. Perhaps I am indignant that he has blessed
others more than me. The people of Nazareth tried to
throw Jesus over a cliff, but they could not get
rid of him. Their assault was futile. Christ simply walked
away. Christ cannot be gotten rid of. Perhaps there are
times in my life when I want to get rid
of Christ, but I can never destroy or blot him
out of existence. He is always there waiting for me
to accept him.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, please help me so that my
ideas about how things should be will not cloud my
vision of who you are. As I prepare for the
approaching Easter, help me to purify myself of all egoism,
sensuality, vanity and pride so that I can accept your
love with an open heart.
will look for an instance during the day when I
can welcome Christ’s teaching into my life.