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Thank God He’s in Control
Monday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?” He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’” And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.
Opening Prayer: Lord, open my heart to receive your revelation in my prayer today.
- Revelation: Early in Jesus’s ministry, he revealed himself to the listeners gathered at the synagogue by claiming that he fulfilled the Scripture he had just read. To the men (and women) gathered there, the moment might have been indistinguishable from any other public reading of Scripture—until this reader proclaimed he was God. At first, they seemed amazed by him, perhaps captivated by his charisma and the authority with which he read. But very soon, their mood shifted and they rebelled against Jesus. They rejected Jesus, assuming that being “Joseph’s son” and “Son of God” were incompatible. Sometimes what Jesus reveals to us can seem as confusing, unlikely, or paradoxical. It takes faith to accept what he wants to teach us. Let’s put aside any preconceived notions of how God wants to work in our lives and truly listen to the Son of God as he is revealed in the Scriptures.
- Prophecy at Home?: It’s often those closest to us who reject us when we try to share our faith with them. We have to ask ourselves, “Have I witnessed to them in imitation of Jesus,” having prayed first, with purity of intention, full of love for the other, docile to the Holy Spirit’s inspirations, using “gracious words”? If we’ve done what we know God was asking, and we feel persecuted (or just unappreciated) we can unite our sorrow with Jesus and console ourselves as Jesus reminds us that “no prophet is accepted in his own native place.”
- He Disappeared: Even though Jesus walked among us as a man, his divinity was ever-present. He never lost control of the situation, enduring with full assent even those painful moments of his sorrowful passion, for our sake. As the crowds from the synagogue surrounded him, intending to throw Jesus off the cliff, he merely passed through them. His command of the surroundings should console every modern-day control-freak believer. He is completely capable of handling our problems according to his most holy and perfect will.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, when I don’t understand why I sometimes find myself in difficult circumstances, you have shown me that, despite how it may look, you are in control. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will look at the stressful moments ahead in this coming week and turn them over to God.
For Further Reflection: Scripture verses about trusting God:
- “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalms 56:3)
- “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
- “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
- “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Written by Maribeth Harper.