i find myself reading the gospel to remind myself how fickle we are as humans. yes i read it for encouragement and to understand jesus, however i read it to understand both the human side of myself and the spiritual portion as well. i read it to remind myself that my human portion-my sin nature, will find itself at odds with that part of me reaching for the light.
i believe that is simply a characteristic of our human nature.
the new testament crowd actually doesn’t differ too much from us. when i am reading about these people i actually see myself reflected in their reaction to jesus.
one story in particular i am talking about is found in luke. jesus was going into his hometown-nazareth. the scriptures say “he went to the synagogue on the sabbath and stood up to read the scripture” (luke 4:16). he read from the prophecies of isaiah. and after jesus did that it says he sat down and he began to speak to the crowd there. saying “the scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” (v.21)
in these moment everyone watching jesus and listening to his teachings were in awe. they liked jesus; they agreed and believed the words that were coming from his lips. for then it says “everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips” (v.22). they were familiar with the words-the words from isaiah sat comfortably with these people.
i think this begins to paint the picture of us sometimes. when we hear jesus preach and it sounds good, or “gracious” we lean in. we adore him and we want to be in his presence. we accept him.
as i continued to read this story in luke right after the isaiah prophesy, jesus goes on to quote more scripture, but this time pointing out somethings that instead of pleasing the crowd, left them angry.
in fact scripture says these people were “jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built” (luke 4:29)
those same people who were listening with intent and accepting of jesus’ comforting words, turned around and rejected him when he spoke truth. their sin nature was raising up in them-their human reaction to hearing something unfamiliar was to reject it. throughout scripture this was the relationship many of the people who heard jesus speak, had with jesus.
sound familiar? hey, that is me right there at times. i can think of so many times i go to jesus when it feels good. run to him when i need comfort and security. how many times have i ran to him to hear sweet, familiar words? only to turn away from his truth when holy spirit prompts me in spirit. only to turn away when holy spirit speaks truth into my life where a lie may have settled in.
as humans when jesus is familiar, we want all he has to offer. when living for him is easy, we stick to him and his ways. when his teachings speak to the darkness in our lives, we tend to run and hide rather than letting him work it out with us.
so fickle. yet, this is how we were made. knowing this, god extended grace to us. jesus doesn’t want you to be perfect. he knows how fickle we are, but that is not a characteristic of jesus. even though these people of his home town rejected him when he spoke in parables and in unfamiliar context to them, he still died for them and his last words in fact were still interceding on our behalf “father, forgive the, for they do not know what they do” (luke 23:34). i believe because being fickle is the opposite of god’s nature, one of the first steps we have to take as christians is to allow god to work in us and allow him to remove that unsteady spirit and instill a sense of peace and commitment within us. god will be patient with you, but will you be committed to him?