Living on the Edge, Part 1

Luke 4: 15-16

And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. And He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.  

Welcome back to our study in Luke. My last post on Luke was December 16, and then I spent some time in Psalms through the Christmas and New Year’s season.  


As review, here’s what’s going on: 

  • Jesus emerges out of obscurity and is publicly baptized by John the Baptist. John pointed to Jesus as the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.  
  • Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to fast and pray and be tempted by Satan. After forty intense days of ministry preparation, Jesus goes to Jerusalem and creates quite a stir. Luke doesn’t write of His time in Jerusalem, but John does. He performs signs and miracles in Jerusalem and the people are very intrigued. He cleanses the temple and confronts the religious elite. He makes quite an impression on the Jewish leadership and as such, they do not like what they see in Jesus. 
  • Interest in Jesus from the people in Jerusalem increases while opposition from the Pharisees increases as well. Jesus departs Jerusalem to head back to the region of Galilee. While on His way to Galilee, He meets the Samaritan woman at the well. Through her, Jesus reaches the Samaritans with the gospel and many of them are saved. 


Luke 4:14

And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding districts. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. 


Ministry Success Coach 

Okay, let’s pretend for a moment that I am Jesus’ ministry success coach. (I know it’s silly, but go with me for a moment). Here’s what I’d say: 

Jesus, you are doing a great job. You are proclaiming release of the captives and liberation of the oppressed. You are letting everyone know that the favorable times of God are about to return. The people want physical triumph over the Roman’s oppression and physical blessings to come to them. Your message is resonating well and they love it. 

I know you’re speaking of spiritual blessings while they think you’re talking about physical blessing, but let’s just go with it for now.

It’s alright that they are confused about it for now because it is building your popularity and that’s what we’re really after. Let’s build Your Messiah brand for now and gain a huge following among the Jews and we’ll break the news about this being spiritual blessings rather than physical triumph at a later time. Let’s stay on point. OK?

And by the way, the miracles are really a big hit! Let’s definitely keep those going. Also, you may want to tone down the harsh words toward the Pharisees a little bit. Turning over the tables in the temple caused a lot of attention, which was good for attracting the regular people. But we don’t want to turn the Pharisees completely against You. Their support could help.

I’m not sure why you spent so much time in Samaria. The Jews are God’s chosen, so let’s focus on them. Those mix-breed people are not our target market.  However, things are going great now that You’re touring Galilee and gaining interest every Sabbath in the Synagogue. Let’s keep the message on point and keep gathering positive market share among the Jews.


Jesus to the Success Coach: You’re Fired! 

Of course, that’s all silly, but I think you get my point.  

Jesus is about to blow the mind of the Success Coach when he enters Nazareth and teaches the hard truth that the people don’t want to hear or accept. They hate what Jesus says so much that they grab Him and take him outside the village to a cliff to push Him off to His death. Jesus goes from being praised by all in Galilee (4:15) to being hated by all in Nazareth. The people were filled with rage as they heard (Jesus say) these things, (4:28). 

What did Jesus say to cause such a change of heart? We’ll dig into it next time.


Father, Your ways are not our ways. We understand the success principles of this world but we often miss out on Your Way of truth and righteousness. Forgive us for not always seeking Your Word and Your ways as our first priority. May we rest in Your Word and Your will; knowing that You work all things out for our good, according to Your perfect purposes in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. In His name we pray, Amen!