Luke 4:28-30 "When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. But passing through the midst of them he went away."
You donít always know what youíve got, until its gone Ė or so the saying goes. Problem is, that once something is gone, its harder to appreciate what you had, as time seems to be spent complaining of the loss. Take hearing, for example. We can always hear what we want to hear, but we seem to learn ways of tuning people out. Seems that somewhere along the line, a tone of voice tells us that we arenít going to like whatís coming, and so it is as though it passes in our ear and out the other. Children seem to learn this very quickly, and have great difficulty hearing their parents tell them to go to bed, to do their chores, or to get up in the morning to go to school. It takes adults a little longer, but it happens to them as well, and we often hear of husbands and wives who just canít hear each other any more.
Each Sunday we begin our Bible class with a prayer, that God would open our eyes, open our ears, and send his Spirit to guide us in the study of His Word.Isaiah 50:4-5
It is usually not hard to hear about Godís love, mercy, forgiveness or His grace. But we may have difficulty hearing that God has a plan for our life, especially when we have plans of our own. But that is even harder, is when we hear God telling us NOT to do something that we really thing we want, giving no other reason that, The children of God just donít do such things. And at times like that we may wish to stop being a child of God. If everyone else is doing it, why canít I?
Hereís whatís going on, if we hear, it is the grace of God, who has opened our ears to hear his Word so that we might learn his will for our lives. If we donít hear, the problem isnít with God, or with His Word, but it is with us, we rebel. Now, it would be easy to miss the significance of this, for God assumes that when we hear his word, we gladly do what He commands -=- the word is OBEY! When we do what we want to do, not listening, being disobedient -=- the word is SIN! God in opening our ear to hear, would also give us the grace to obey, but by ourselves, all we can do is sin.
The problem is that we often forget, or do not see the consequences of sin, and may believe that the wicked prosper. A second problem is that we may not want to do anything, if we are comfortable with the way things are. Now, if people who committed adultery, were stoned. And those who stole, were stoned. And those who did not honor the Sabbath, were stoned. And if that memory lived in the community, so that people would tell the story of the man who went fishing on Sunday morning, instead of to church, and died thereÖ I suspect that there would be many more people who found it easier to obey Ė than to die.
Jesus told the people in his home town that they were looking for the wrong thing. He revealed to them how God is at work already, but they didnít like to hear words which called them to repent of their sin, and return to God. They were angry, and they sought to kill Jesus for the words he spoke. But they didnít kill Jesus, nor did Jesus kill them.
Often people rebel against the Word of God, but the Word has great power, and the Word will accomplish its purpose, in its own time. Its not that God doesnít care. Its not that God isnít offended by rebellion and disobedience. Its rather, that God in his mercy gives us time, that the Word might bring us to repentance.
If it were not for the mercy of God everyone would already be dead, for the wages of sin is death, and we all sin much daily. If we cannot save ourselves from the wrath which is our due, where can we turn? To the God who has mercy, giving that stump of a tree another year to grow, in the hopes that it will turn from sin, and return to God, and bear fruit.
How do we bear fruit? Of course it begins with us, and that we gladly hear the Word, and cheerfully obey. But the Word is not just for us, it is for all people. And so God sends us out with the Word for all people, first to repent of sin, and then the good news of the Savior. And this is inn part, how we bear fruit, as we bring others to salvation in Jesus name.