You can see all the lectionary readings for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Luke.
In last week’s lesson, we see Jesus proclaim that the scripture from Isaiah is coming true in the presence of the people in the synagogue in Nazareth. In this week’s lesson, we see what happens next.
People are amazed and exclaiming “Isn’t he Joseph’s son?” Jesus tells them he knows they will expect him to do the same things he did in Capernaum there in Nazareth, but he says a prophet is not accepted in his own hometown. He tells the story of Elijah, who was sent to help only to one widow in Israel among many–and how Elisha healed only one leper among many, and that a man from Syria, not Israel.
The people don’t like this and they try to force him out of town–taking him to the edge of a hill to throw him off, but he walks through the crowd and walks away.
Jesus is telling the people of his hometown not to expect preferential treatment from him–he won’t play favorites. Followers of Jesus today often also fall into the trap of expecting to be special to God to the exclusion of others, but that’s not a game Jesus plays. He serves all and wants us to also serve all. We are to welcome and serve with no preference for people who are like us.