Speaking Boldly for Jesus Christ

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

No prophet is accepted in his own native place.
(Luke 4:24)

It’s always harder to convince
Friends and relatives to change their ways;
From Jesus’ time, no prophet since
Was accepted in his native place.

Jesus said to the people at the synagogue in Nazareth, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. In truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was closed for three and a half years, and a great famine spread over all the land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath, in the land of Sidon. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; but not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up and drove him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, that they might throw him down headlong. But Jesus passed through the midst of them, and went away. (Luke 4:24-30)

Reflection

Have you noticed how friends and close relatives become uneasy when we try to speak about Jesus and His message of salvation, or talk about some topics in the Bible in relation 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 miracles of healing there. Just as the early martyrs suffered persecution as God’s messengers of salvation, we who have received this commission from the Holy Spirit may, in a smaller way, suffer some humiliation from our relatives and friends for the sake of the Gospel. It is easy for people to be cynical when they are familiar with us, especially when they know our sinful past. But our conversion and renewed life is precisely the kind of testimony that the Holy Spirit will employ to bring others to His fold. As long as we persevere and are consistent in our renewal, people close to us will eventually forget or forgive our past, and will listen and believe our witnessing.

Today’s Gospel message seems to be telling us that when God calls us to be His heralds of salvation, we cannot do anything but respond to that call. Having received this gift of faith, it becomes incumbent upon us to spread God’s Word, not only to those who are close to us, but even to perfect strangers in places far from our comfort zones, especially during this Lenten season. Yesterday, the members of our chapter successfully completed a “Marketplace Evangelization Program” (MEP) or “Life in the Spirit Seminar (LSS) for about one hundred police trainees in their training center in Mintal, Davao City. The seminar started on Saturday morning, and ended with the distribution of Bibles yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, after the trainees received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. At first we were hesitant that speaking about Christ and His Gospel values would be welcome in that training camp. But by God’s grace, or perhaps by the power of His Holy Spirit, most, if not all of the police trainees expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the week-end experience with joyful, radiant faces, making us all realize that the mission was a great success!

Father God, we know we were also once 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 Your Holy Spirit has helped us spread Christ’s message of salvation to others, so now we are filled with joy and hope that He will always remain within. Amen.

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