All spoke well of Him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from His mouth.
When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage.
Do you remember the children’s game: He or She Loves Me/ He or She Loves Me Not? It usually was played by one person holding a flower (most often a daisy). As the person said, “He loves me,” she would pluck off a petal and toss it aside. Then the person would say, “He loves me not” and pluck off another petal and tossing it aside. The game continued until all the petals had been plucked and tossed aside … all the while hoping that the last petal discarded was accompanied by the sentiment he or she desired. There were times when the person plucking the petals really loved the person and then there were times when the person plucking really hated the other person.
I was reminded of this game today as I read the story of Jesus’ return to His hometown of Nazareth. He goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath as was his custom. He read from the scroll of Isaiah. He read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Jesus then rolled up the scroll, handed it to the attendant and sat down. He had captured everyone’s attention. “All spoke well of Him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from His mouth.” They loved him! Then how quickly the situation changed! Jesus provided some more commentary on the passage and noted how a prophet is not accepted in his own hometown. The next thing we read is this: “When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage.” They loved Him not!
Jesus was not loved. Jesus was now despised and hated. Jesus was detested and hated so much that the townspeople began running Him out of town. They chased Him as far out of the city up a hill to the jumping off place. Jesus did not want to jump, but they were ready to kill Him. They were prepared to hurl Him off a cliff. Jesus then walked through that crowd as it divided into two sections. He went on His way.
Without any doubt as He departed His hometown, there were still persons who loved Him and who loved Him not. There are still people like that today who love Him and who love Him not. No games! No flowers needed! All we need to do is to affirm our love for and our faith in Jesus Christ … our Savior and Lord.
Dear God, Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so. Thank You, God and help me always to love Jesus so He knows I love Him. In His name, I pray. Amen.