For our final stop of the day (it has been a long, hot day), we traveled up to the Precipice, which is the traditional location for where the people of Nazareth took Jesus to throw him off of the brow of the hill (see Luke 4).
From the top of the hill you can (typically) see for miles and miles. On a clear day you can see landmarks that practically stretch the entire length and width of Israel. That was not possible today. Today we were experiencing a strange biblical phenomenon.
He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. – Luke 12:54-55, ES
True story! The wind in Israel is typically coming from the west, from The Mediterranean Sea. When a cloud rises from that direction, you can be sure that rain is to follow. Today; however, the south wind was blowing! The wilderness and desert sand particles filled the air and it was hazy and hot!!
Last time I was at the brow of the hill, I remember the crystal clear view. Today was different, for sure, but it was neat to experience the south wind.
At the brow of the hill we opened our Bibles and read from Luke 4 as we considered Jesus’ transition in ministry from Phase 2 to Phase 3, from ministry preparation to ministry training.
One thing that really stood out to me as we read the text was that Jesus stood up in the synagogue and read from the scroll of Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;” – Isaiah 61:1-2, ESV
For some reason I always thought that the Jews got mad at him at this point because he closes the scroll and sits down saying, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (see Luke 4:21), which is essentially the same as saying, “That scripture was written about me.” But this is not actually the point at which they get upset. In fact, Luke tells us:
… all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” – Luke 4:22, ESV
They were excited about what he said… until he continued…
Next he said something that should have been clear from reading the Old Testament, but it was apparently not clear to them (or they didn’t just didn’t like it and wanted to keep believing what they knew deep in their hearts was a lie). He went on to use two different Old Testament examples to essentially say that this good news of the kingdom is not just for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles. It was at this point that they were furious.
When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. – Luke 4:28-29, ESV
Everyone is happy to hear the good news about them, but not so happy to hear the good news for their enemies.
Spoiler alert: they didn’t actually throw him off the cliff.
But passing through their midst, he went away. – Luke 4:30 ESV