In His hometown of Nazareth, Jesus goes to the temple and teaches from the scroll containing the words of the prophet Isaiah. Luke makes mention that many there are aware of and appreciative of Jesus’ teachings up to this point. What He reads that day would be a well-known passage. The ideas of bringing the good news to the poor, releasing captives, bringing sight to the blind, setting the oppressed free, and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor all were part of the Jewish mindset. Heads would have been nodding their approval. But then Jesus added one more thing. He claimed to be the fulfillment of this passage. He states that He is this Messiah. He created discomfort and ruffled feathers.
Fast forward to now. When one speaks of sharing the good news, of freeing people from whatever oppresses or holds them back, of giving spiritual sight to one who is blind, all of us nod our heads approvingly. We too view helping others as worthy and as the calling of the church. But sadly enough we have our “just hold on a minute” line. It’s a wonderful idea to feed and care for the needy. Could you just do it over there? It is great to share the gospel with those who have not heard it. But do they have to come and worship here at our church? It is noble and godly to help people overcome addiction and sins in their life. But does little Suzy have to see it played out in person?
Sorry, but yes, we need to minister to people in our churches. Alas, we must sit beside those new to the faith, to love and mentor them, to help them connect to God. Yes, it is messy. Folks who struggle need help in the form of a personal connection. We are to be Jesus’ hands and feet, touching their lives directly and walking side by side with those who are new to faith or who are struggling. May we find a little discomfort, may our feathers get a little ruffled, and may we like it.
Scripture reference: Luke 4: 14-21