The Spark Story Bible, tells this beautiful story. “Jesus went to synagogues, holy places where people worshipped, to teach people about God. He went to synagogues all over – even in his hometown, Nazareth. Jesus told the people, ‘I was sent to tell you that God loves you and poor people and sick people and people in prison.’ But the people didn’t believe Jesus’ words. ‘Why are you talking about sick people and poor people and people in prison? Everyone knows that God doesn’t care about them,’ they said. ‘I am here to show you that God’s way is love for ALL people!’ said Jesus. The people began to grumble. Their grumbling grew to shouting. Their shouting turned to shoving. Their shoving turned to chasing Jesus out of the synagogue. ‘Go away, Jesus!’ Jesus went away from there, but he kept on telling people and showing people about God’s love.”
Okay, hold it right there! God loves poor people and sick people? Even people in prison?
Whoa! That is some good news! And the people in the synagogues (the religious people) didn’t believe it. That’s not such good news!! This child’s bible is telling us in its delightfully simple language that God cares about us. ALL of us. Not just the “good” ones (whoever those might be…) but all of us. That is good news.
Why would people start grumbling and shouting and shoving about that news? Maybe it’s because they thought they were better than those poor people and sick people and people in prison. And if God loves them too, then that means they are just as valuable as those religious people.
To be told you’re not better than other people (when you think you are) is not such good news.
Have you been “chased out” of your church just because you loved certain people? You’re in good company.
Thank you, Jesus, for telling us that God loves us. ALL of us. Thank you for telling us even when religious people chase you out of the synagogue. Amen.