Perseverance in Rejection

Luke 4: 24-30
2 Kgs 5: 1-15 / Ps 42

I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his hometown.
(Luke 4:24)

It’s harder to evangelize
Relatives or even closest friend;
They’re likely first to criticize,
Justify, and their old ways defend.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy during the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed–only Naaman the Syrian.” All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. (Luke 4: 24-30)

Reflection

Have you noticed how friends and close relatives become uneasy when we try to bring up the subject of Jesus and His message of salvation, or talk about some topics in the Bible which is relevant to our daily living? Jesus talked about the same kind of rejection of Elijah and Elisha by their own people, and the consequence that their miracles were instead performed for people outside Israel. He Himself was not accepted in His own town of Nazareth, and therefore performed little acts of healing there.

When God calls us to be His modern-day prophets, we cannot help but respond to that call. Having received this gift of faith, we must accept as divine mandate our mission to spread God’s Word, first of all to those who are dear to us, especially during this Lenten season. Just as the early martyrs suffered persecution as God’s beacons of salvation, we who have received the fire from the Holy Spirit must in a smaller way suffer some humiliation from our relatives and friends for the sake of the Gospel. Speaking about Christ and His Gospel values may not be such hot topics in today’s modern world, but being faithful to the Word of God was never meant to be an easy mission for the true followers of Jesus Christ.

In our BCBP Leaders’ recollection at Eden Mountain resort Saturday and yesterday, our retreat master brought us to the “precipice” of self-knowledge, asking ourselves who we are, where we are headed, and what our individual and collective visions are in our mission for Christ. He cited Col. 4:17, which says, “Take care to discharge the ministry you have received from the Lord,” and 1 Tim. 4:16: “Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Persevere at both tasks. By doing so, you will bring to salvation yourself and all who hear you.” Our close friends and relatives may be our greatest challenge in mission, because those who are familiar with us are usually the most cynical, especially when they know our sinful past. But our conversion and renewed life is precisely the kind of testimony that the Holy Spirit will use to bring them to His fold. As long as we persevere and are consistent in our renewal, people close to us will forgive our past, and will eventually listen and believe our witnessing.

Father God, we know we were also guilty of rejecting Jesus, and not accepting Him in His native place, which is our heart, when we were in the state of sin. But You have helped us remain faithful to all Your commandments, so now may He always live within. Amen.

Comments are closed.