When Jesus came back to His home town, the unbelief of His friends and neighbors made Him unwilling to perform many miracles there. Their unbelief, it seems to me, probably stemmed from them having grown up with Him, and having known Him all their lives. Jesus explains to them how in the past God had done wonderful things even for many who were not His chosen people, just because they had believed in His kindness and mercy.
The people became angry with Him when He did not perform the miracles they requested, but they had asked with the wrong motives. They were not asking for miracles in humility and simple need but rather for their own gain. So when Jesus refused to gratify their fleshly desires, they quickly turned on Him in a rage, intent on killing Him. Jesus illustrates in these verses that He rescues those who humbly trust in the goodness of God, and we have to be careful, as Christians, that we don’t get caught up in a Christian lifestyle and forget that Jesus actually is God. He is not here to gratify our flesh, but to save us from sin. What do I mean by “Christian lifestyle?” Let me explain. The people with whom Jesus was speaking to in these verses were “Godly” people, people who were chosen by God Himself to be His people forever. Their whole lives revolved around going to church and performing all of the required sacrifices which were written in the books of the law as they knew it. And yet when Jesus came among them they could not believe the truth about Him. He was their blood relative not their God. So we also, as Christians, have to be careful to remember that though He has called us His brothers, He is our God and King!
“I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” -Jesus
Every miracle and every word of Jesus was performed and spoken with the intent to spread the reality of the kingdom of God. Jesus was not there to merely satisfy man’s desire for amazing works of God; He was there to teach the truth and the miracles were just a part of His ministry to the poor who would never be able to afford physicians. Jesus was on a mission of mercy; He was not out to proclaim Himself as great in the eyes of the people. Jesus’ ministry was to meet the needs of the poor and to humble the proud. He was not trying to win man’s esteem through His actions; He was glorifying the name of God by doing God’s wonderful and merciful work. He came to show us how much God cared for his poor, sick, and lost sheep. Jesus was God’s hands, feet, and mouth, and not His own.
Jesus was not seeking the praises of men and would not stay very long in any one place, but once he had completed His work, he would move on. A normal man would probably have wanted to linger once he had done something wonderful for someone, desiring to enjoy their praises. Jesus had truly done something amazing for these people; He was deserving of the highest praises, and yet He would not stay to receive credit, but told the people He must continue on with His work for His heavenly Father. All He did was for the glory and honor of God.
Question: How often do we emulate Jesus in this way? What are our motives for serving God? Do we have selfish motives mixed with the good?
Question: Do we get annoyed if we do some selfless act of kindness, and no one seems to notice or thank us for what we did? Do we wait around to see if anyone will say something?And, if by some miracle we pass that test, what if we do that same selfless act for someone, and they not only don’t notice that we did it, but they accuse us of not doing it and proceed to get angry with us for forgetting that it needed to be done?
Question: What if we go out of our way to make someone a special dinner, and they get home and complain about what they had wanted to have for dinner and expect that you should have known what they wanted that night? Can we pass these remarks or accusations without complaining or getting upset?
We always seem to have a reward in mind for whatever we do. We desire for them to be thankful. Not that it is wrong for them to thank us, or to praise us; however, Jesus wants us to seek God’s approval for our acts of kindness, so that we are able to go the extra mile in kindness, whether it is for a friend or for our worst enemy. If God is the one who rewards our actions, He will sustain us while we do the humanly impossible, which is to love our enemy. Jesus wants us to have genuine love for all those around us. He wants us to be confident in God knowing that He truly rewards all our actions whether or not anyone else does.
We belong to God. We are His children. We are to be His hands, feet and mouth, not our own! As long as we seek the notice and praise of men for what we do, we will always fail in showing God’s love, for we are seeking the world’s love, and not God’s. We must do all things without being bribed, bought, or silenced by the world’s hatred or seduction. We are God’s children, and all the rewards for our actions will come from Him. We must be faithful.
We must be about our Father’s business, which teaches and trains us for compassion for all mankind, so that we cannot keep ourselves from stopping and helping everyone we meet! We need an outpouring of compassion for our neighbor. We need to understand our eternity, and how it is beyond price. If there was a way to save up and buy it, we would work our whole life to obtain it. Instead, God simply requires us to be faithful with the jobs that He gives us, and not to ignore or walk away from our duties. We must not be bribed, enticed, or attacked off of our foundation in Him and His work.