Updated: May 21
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Jesus began to speak in the synagogue at Nazareth: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" He said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'" And he said, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian." When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
This is the Gospel selection to be read aloud by a priest on the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. The first reading of this day will come from Jeremiah, where Yahweh told him, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says Yahweh." That will be followed by a singing of Psalm 71, where David wrote, “Deliver me, elohay, from the hand of the wicked, from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.” That pair will precede a reading from Paul’s first letter to the true Christians of Corinth, when he told them, “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
It should be noted that this reading picks up where last Sunday’s Gospel reading left off, repeating verse twenty-one. The cut-off in last Sunday’s message said Jesus presented the Word of Yahweh and then made a truthful conclusion, leaving that lesson without any presentation of the rejection Jesus then faced in Nazareth. This makes today’s lesson be about those who reject Jesus; not only then, but at all times.
In verse twenty-two, where there seems to be somewhat of opposing opinions presented, with the first favorable, but the second unfavorable, the whole of the Greek text needs close inspection. Verse twenty-two states: “Kai pantes emartyroun autō kai ethaumazon epi tois logois tēs charitos tois ekporeuomenois ek tou stomatos autou ; kai elegon , Ouchi huios estin Iōsēph houtos ?”
Before any translation is applied, one should note the presence of a semi-colon, which makes this be two separate statements that are of a central theme. When that break is noticed, it is then important to see how each separate statement is begun by the word “kai.” The first statement is begun by a capitalized “Kai,” which makes it be divinely elevated importance that should be noted. The second statement is begun by “kai” (written in the lower-case), which says it is important to make note of a change in the common theme. Additionally, the first statement has divinely elevated importance until the presence of another (internal) “kai” (written in the lower-case), which says the remainder of the first statement is worldly important to grasp. With that seen before an English translation is applied, one can then ponder the meaning of that stated more deeply.
A literal translation (maintaining the order of the words written) can be read in English as this: “[Divinely Important] all [they] who bore witness of himself [or same] [importantly] [they were] amazed [or astonished] on the basis of these words of this kindness these coming forth from out of the speech of himself ; [importantly] they were reckoning , Surely not son he exists of Joseph here ?”
This translation shows that “all” were divinely inspired while listening to Jesus read the scroll of Isaiah, so their souls “bore witness” to not only Isaiah [as if he were standing before them reading his own words] but of Jesus being the soul within that of Isaiah, who was leading the prophet to prophesy. This first statement then should take one back to verses fourteen and fifteen [read last Sunday], to see that it was this affect that came from Jesus reading scrolls in every synagogue on the Sabbath, so “all” had been “guided by him,” such that a good “report” was sent out throughout the “region.” This means the divinely elevated importance to take note of is this: Jesus' speaking projected the Spirit of Yahweh upon all who heard his voice; so, all who heard that eloquence and divine “grace” [“kindness”] felt the presence of Yahweh in their souls. However, in Nazareth that feeling – which was exactly the same as it had been every other place – was tempered by the thought, “Wait a minute! Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
This says the importance of the second statement, which begins by saying how much they were amazed with the reading, in Nazareth they rejected the presence of Yahweh upon them. As amazing as were the words of Isaiah, suddenly projecting deeper meaning into their souls, they still could not resist doubts arising, simply because they recognized Jesus as a ‘local boy.’ From Jesus knowing the hearts and minds of the Jews in that synagogue in Nazareth [where his family members were present], two things are important to grasp from Jesus knowing they had received the lesson of Isaiah, but then questioned the one who stood before them, reading those words. The first thing is they named “Joseph” as the father of Jesus, with the name “Joseph” meaning “Increaser” or “He May Add.” This means that written by Luke can now be seen as the question being, “Surely not son he exists of Addition here?” This asks how the reading from Isaiah can be “Increased” in meaning, simply because a son from Nazareth spoke. They could not fathom that Jesus' soul was the "Increaser" [the "Joseph" within Isaiah] that led Isaiah to write that prophecy.
The second thing to grasp here comes from a comparison of this account from Luke [Mary’s story], with those of Matthew and Mark [disciples in attendance]. In neither Matthew nor Mark is the name of Joseph mentioned. Both Matthew and Mark say Jesus was called the “carpenter’s son,” whose wife was named as “Mary.” [This could be because everyone knew Joseph was dead; but Matthew and Mark knew Jesus' true father was not Joseph.] Both Matthew and Mark then named four of Jesus’ brothers, all of whom were born of Joseph and Mary [none divinely conceived]. That belittled Jesus as not being recognized as ‘barJoseph,’ instead spoken of as a son of a woman, an equal to his four brothers.
This was known by Jesus [in possession of a Christ Mind], so he told them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.”’ These comments are Jesus knowing the hearts and minds of the Jews in Nazareth, not some hypotheses coming from self-doubts. Jesus spoke to them spiritually, saying none of them – as Jews – were capable of speaking the truth of Scripture. Never before had any of them listened to a teacher-reader who knew any more than the Jews who sat silently as they listened. All were equally incapable of knowing squat about the Word, as all they did was routine and procedural, not divinely led by a saved soul. Thus, the reference to Capernaum [where Jesus had moved, saying this event took place long after his wilderness testing before beginning his ministry] is Jesus telling the Nazarenes that he knew his invitation to read and speak there was based on the reports of his amazing gift, coming from the surrounding region.
This is where it is good to realize the Jewish model of an “assembly” is not like the Christian models of churches [depending on each’s particular tenets and by-laws]. Whereas a priest speaks and the people listen, as if a pope had spoken and the crowd then needs to line up and go kiss the pope’s ring [quite an ornate and expensive ring you have popie!], the Jews see all Jews as ignorant stumps, with some better able to memorize [they make the time] than others. Whenever one stands and speaks his [women not so much] opinion, then it becomes ‘discussion time.’
I wish there had been allowed [even expected] a period when throwing over-ripe fruit or shoes or stones would be permitted by dogmatic ritual, especially allowed after a bad sermon in the Episcopal churches I have attended as a ‘lay-worshiper.’ I would have come each Sunday with a fresh load of ‘ammo.’ The priests I heard speak [my wife excluded] deserved to be thrown off a nearby cliff, like the Nazarenes attempted to do to Jesus. Outside the churches I attended [if that were allowed] there would be a pile of rotting priest bodies, as Yahweh would certainly not have protected any of them, so they could escape my deadly shove.
This is a complete reflection of the death in which Judaism had fallen – lost their land to invaders and allowed to go back as slaves to some new power running and owning everything – to that of modern Christianity today. When Jesus then used the example of Elijah, one should recall how Christmas was really the time when John the Baptist was born, with his soul being one saved prior; such that John was the purposefully reincarnated soul of Elijah, who was the proclaimer that all must be saved from sins or eternally be damned [shoved off a cliff]. Yahweh sent John before Jesus, for the purpose of all the Jews to hear that Elijah-like message. When Jesus came afterwards, in Nazareth he stated how many Israelites were saved by Elijah; so, the same comparison needs to be seen in how many Jews John had saved [not many, although he dunked a lot in water].
When Jesus said that only one widow woman was saved from starvation during a severe drought and famine; and, she lived in a place known as a “Blast Furnace” [“Zarephath”], near a “Fishery” [“Sidon”], that said nobody else in Israel [the Northern Kingdom] was doing anything to take the heat of Yahweh's wrath and become fishers of men's souls. When leprosy ravaged Israelites, Elisha only helped cure the Syrian Naaman [meaning “Elevated” and “Pleasantness”]. That symbolically says none of the Israelites saw Yahweh with divinely elevated faith, who took the time to send Elijah a nice letter: "My Hebrew slave said you can do something about my leprosy." In the same way that “no prophet is accepted in the prophet's hometown,” the reason is the “hometown” [be it as large as the Northern Kingdom or as small as tiny Nazareth] does not like anyone telling anyone else what God means in His Word. Rather than be cured, saved, or rescued, it always seems better to find misery loves company. Anyone saying, “Hey everyone, I just found the way out!” is persecuted.
Now, this is where the cut-off in last Sunday’s lesson made it easier last Sunday to see people wanting to hear the truth be told. Before Jesus was rejected in Nazareth, everything was wonderful and bliss. This continuation of the story is now explaining how last Sunday was a tale of Jesus being in the right places at the right times; but if being Jesus in the flesh was as simple as showing up, reading some verses, then sitting down, saying, “I’m here!” the whole world would all be Jews now, with none of the horrid history we know having ever come to be. This story of rejection in Nazareth then paints the bigger picture that shows Yahweh sent His Son into a world of shit, knowing the world would rip Jesus apart, just like a mad pit bull with a unsuspecting neighborhood toddler. Nazareth then becomes the poster child for the world today, with the Jews of Nazareth being the members-equivalent to all Christians today [all denominations]. It is oh so much more fun to rip a person speaking like Jesus apart, as a heretic, than it is to say, “Wow! This guy must be channeling the real Jesus!”
Simply because evil can only exist in the material realm – the realm of Satan and his supporting cast of elohim [demonic possessors] – there will always be more souls ready to reject anyone sent by Yahweh to save them, rather than say, “Thanks for coming!” The prophecy of Jesus, which told his disciples to expect both greater achievements than his personal body of flesh would produce in just three years of ministry, alongside greater punishments from having been reborn as him, their souls being where Jesus’ soul would resurrect [after divine union with the Spirit of Yahweh], just like Isaiah. Just as Elijah faced the rejection of Ahab and Jezebel and four hundred fifty priests of Baal, all welcomed into the land of the Israelites by their corrupt leaders, Jesus faced the same worship of lesser gods [in the leaders of the Temple], The Apostles faced rejection from the same worship of lesser gods [the Caesars claiming that status], just like modern Christians are persecutors of those reborn as Jesus, by those likewise worshiping lesser gods [popes, archbishops, bishops and people with fancy suits and crocodile tears for Jesus]. To achieve eternal salvation of a soul, the soul has to find itself beat to a pulp first, with nowhere else to look by up. Otherwise, a soul-body will never be allowed off its proverbial knees as it worships men whose souls have been sold to Satan. In a world of 'beat or be beaten,' there is a line of applicants to be beaters.
The success of early Christianity, which began when Jesus was the one and only Christian on planet Earth, spread like wildfire because souls in bodies of flesh [of the Judaic-Israelite variety] were open to receiving faith. The one thing the Jews had going for themselves then was schooling in the Torah, Psalms, and Prophets. They regularly attended the synagogues and temples on the Sabbath, while religiously pilgrimaging to Jerusalem [or Mount Carmel] for the commanded festivals. They were immersed in Scripture, which made it clear how to be in theory, but impossible to be in practice. Jesus began a movement that touched the souls of seekers, which increased exponentially through Jesus being reborn in Apostles-Saints. However, those times have slowly diminished, aided by the horrors of the Roman Catholic Church, when they began executing anyone who held to faith that differed from the theology of Rome. That means there are few Saints walking as Jesus reborn today; so, hardly any souls have been educated to seek a Saint for help finding God. In America, they could do away with prisons and simply begin condemning criminals to years of Bible studies, because people hate religious education more than 'doing hard time in the joint.'
As a Gospel selection to be read aloud on the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, it is now important to look within to all the automatic human mechanisms that are trained to reject first and ask questions later. The problem so many Christians have is self-blindness to their own faults. Those fault rise to the top when Christians hear Scripture being read to them, as it seems like watching some movie on some media format. As a disassociated viewer, one always sides with good, so one always sees poor Jesus – the hero – as being persecuted; but the flaw comes from never once seeing how all those ‘watching’ are themselves the evil Nazarenes.
This reading is split up during the after the Epiphany timeframe, for the purpose of reminding one how the true test of having married Yahweh, becoming pregnant with and giving birth to His Son Jesus, so one can then be led into ministry as Jesus reborn reflects a 'before and after' scenario. In that process, one has to have already died of self, so there can be no more punishment possible; so, there is nothing left for anyone to throw off a cliff. This means when Jesus “passed through the midst of them and went on his way,” they had their chance at redemption for their souls, but said, "No!" Jesus touched their souls, to the point that they realized their flesh wanted to keep their souls away from his. Once Jesus left them spiritually, he had kicked the souls of the Nazarenes off his sandals like excess dust, which was the earth they owned, so woe be it to Jesus to take any with him. This lesson prepares those who do not reject Jesus to be prepared for the fun and games of that come from being rejected, knowing those doing the rejecting are only harming their own souls. If you are not afraid of dying [having been there and already done that spiritually, through divine marriage], then there is nothing anyone can grab hold of and throw off a cliff.