(I came across this in my journal today, and thought it was a good day to be reminded of this...)
Expectations. They are an intoxicating danger... especially when I bring them before Jesus as a demand. I'm reading through Luke, and this interesting passage in chapter 4 verses 14-30 shows up. I actually split this passage into two readings which made the contrast all the more clear. From 14-16, we learn that Jesus is becoming famous all around the surrounding country, healing, preaching, etc. Then He goes home-- to Nazareth. You would think that this would be the place where the most healings occur, and so you wait.
He enters the temple (as He normally did), and He reads Scripture. It flows from His lips; it makes sense in ways it never has before. The passage He reads actually speaks of Messiah's ability and desire to preach, deliver and heal. The hometown is stunned by the grace with which His speech is enveloped in. I end my reading contemplating gracious words and how powerful they can be. I also sit and ponder the beauty of Christ's mission-- to love on the broken, despised, poor, blind, and captive.... even the ones who are bruised. A great day for worship.
Today I returned to the text and read further. Jesus goes on to address the unspoken question of the congregation-- "When are we going to get on to the miracles part??"
This part is hard to write. Essentially, Jesus says that He is not going to be healing in His town. In fact, Elisha was sent out of his land to help others, even though there were needy all around in him in his own country. Prophets are not honored where they grew up.
The words sink in a bit, and then the crowd reacts (and so do I). How? In wrath. Angrily, they get up, THRUST Him towards a cliff in an attempt to end His life-- the life of one of their own-- the life of the One who spoke gracious words.
I can understand the anger. Deep within me, I feel a bit of it too. Why wouldn't You heal there as well? Don't they also matter? Doesn't Your grace demand giving to those who don't deserve it?? But then, instead of just sitting there pummeling Jesus in my head, I start to look at the deeper issues of my own heart.
Have I, who have allowed Christ to live in me as I grew up, have I become disinterested in Him? Am I treating Him as a common occurrence? A son of Joseph, the carpenter? When I see Him work mightily in the lives of others-- is THAT the time I want it for me? Because truth be told, when everyone is at the status quo, I don't recall hungering for more.
And too, when I am fed through His endearing speech, when I am comforted through His words of love, do I stand in praise and thankfulness for those great gifts, even while my body may be broken? Or do I only place the emphasis on having the miracles show up? Yeah, Yeah, Jesus-- those words were amazing, but why haven't You done------??
Mark tells us that He could do no mighty works in Nazareth except heal a few sick people. Why? Because of their unbelief. How darkened is my heart with unbelief? When Jesus tells me He will not heal me, do I worship Him anyway? When He lets me know that He is not going down the path I 'knew' He would take, do I still stop, turn around, and follow-- believing that He is beautiful and righteous and that His plans far outweigh my own?
Jesus, I am not even aware of the levels of unbelief in my heart. Search me and know me. Test me to reveal anything that may be blocking You from working in me mightily. Show me how to gaze longer upon You in trust. Teach me how to have the faith to expect good things from You, and the capacity to believe those things which occur ARE good because they're from You. FEed me with the hope that there were some in Nazareth that You did heal. Oh heal me, my God! And may the healing be done as You see fit.