How is your math today? Look at the two verses above. How many verses are between them? 6. These two reactions by people are by the same audience. They are people who have sat down to listen to Jesus. There can not be much time between these two reactions to what He was saying. Let me give a little context to these verses. Jesus had gone into the synagogue and been allowed to teach. As he is teaching, he reads a portion of Isaiah about “someone” proclaiming freedom, healing the blind, releasing the oppressed and declaring the year of “the Lord’s favor.” The people were “amazed.” They liked this idea. Who wouldn’t want those things, right? Next, he moves on to speaking about the fact that people in a hometown usually reject their own who live among them, just like the Jews hundreds of years ago had rejected the great prophets sent by God like Isaiah and Jeremiah. Would you like to guess WHERE this synagogue Jesus was teaching in was? He was in Galilee… essentially his own hometown. The people listening put two and two together and realized he was saying they were just like the “bad guys” who rejected the old prophets. Needless to say, his audience was not thrilled. Well, not only were they not thrilled, they are described as being “furious”. They were so furious, verse 29 tells us they wanted to throw him down a cliff! This was quite a different feeling from the “amazement” they felt a few minutes ago when Jesus was talking about all the “good” stuff. Weren’t they a fickle bunch?
It is very easy for me to look back at the synagogue audience and see their faults. I can easily see their “selective” nature in accepting the things Jesus said that they liked, but rejecting Him and his teaching that pointed out their true nature and sinful hearts. The truth is, though, we all want to be selective. We want to take the things Jesus taught that we “like”, that are complimentary and easy like getting the eternal life part of salvation, but we are not so quick to accept other parts, like the “Lord of our life” part. How accepting am I of doing the things that are pleasing to God, and rejecting those things I desire to do but are NOT pleasing to Him? Am I really that different than the synagogue audience? Aren’t I also happy to be “kind” to my neighbor (who is really nice and easy to get along with), but rejecting of the notion to not be critical of the unkind postman who made a delivery yesterday? Jesus knew their hearts were being “selective” with his words, and He knows our hearts want to be selective as well. The fact is we can not. It is an all or nothing deal now, just as it was then. We either take all of His teaching, or we do not. There is no in-between when it comes to being in the “audience of Christ.”