At the River

Text:  Luke 4:14-29

           I know that occasionally I say things from the pulpit that irritate folks, but that reaction is quite minor compared to what we see in today’s text.  Our text recounts one of Jesus’ first preaching assignments after being baptized and it is in the synagogue of Nazareth, his hometown.  Usually preaching in your home church is a source of joy and pride for all involved, but after Jesus concludes his sermon, our text describes the reaction of the hometown crowd.  “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.”   (Luke 4:29)  Wow!  That’s not exactly, “Can you believe it?  Mary’s boy is all grown up!”   The source of all this anger is Jesus citing various Bible stories where God blesses (gasp) foreigners. 

The main focus of our thinking this Sunday, however, will be on baptism.  This metaphor turned sacrament began with the Israelites passing through the waters of the Red Sea to freedom.  Later they passed through the waters of the Jordan River to arrive in the Promised Land.  And why exactly did Jesus wait to be baptized in that same river before taking on his first preaching assignment in today’s text?  Join with us as we explore this.