A New Thing?

January 31, 2016

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
4th Sunday after Epiphany 
Jeremiah 1:4-10; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Luke 4:21-30

(Gospel text is provided at the bottom of this post)

Although Lent hasn’t even started, it seems like today’s gospel has a Palm Sunday quality to it. passion-sundayWe begin Palm Sunday with a joyous entry, waving palm branches as we recall the Hosannas that welcomed Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. Yet, by the end of the Palm Sunday service we endure the taunts of “Crucify him, Crucify him” in the Passion story.

In today’s lesson I can hear the Hosannas as Jesus returns to his hometown of Nazareth. He goes into the synagogue, reads scripture, and asserts that it has been fulfilled. We’re told that “all spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” Yet, by the end of the reading we hear that:

…all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill… so that they might hurl him off the cliff.

Palm Sunday, indeed! So what did Jesus say that was so disturbing? What turned their amazement into mutiny?

Well, let’s go back to last week’s gospel reading, which is where this all began. Jesus had been baptized, anointed by the Holy Spirit, tempted in the desert, and now “filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee.” He was teaching in synagogues and the buzz about Jesus had begun.

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