The Pioneer

I begin with a careful reading of Luke 4:14?30: the return of Jesus to his hometown.

I look at the village of Nazareth: its location, the homes, the synagogue, the village well.

I see the excitement as word goes round that the young prophet is coming home. I see the skepticism, too. Jesus creates division even in his hometown, even in his absence.

He divided not just the good people from the bad, but good people among themselves, for I observe people who are against him in good faith, people who seem to have good reason to oppose him. I listen to the arguments of one such person who doesn't seem a bad sort at all.

I am seated in the crowded synagogue and sense the tension, the expectancy, as Jesus reads a passage from the scroll and comments on it. Even those who are against him seem taken up by the words of grace that flow from him. I am delighted that he has won them over.

And I am distressed when he goes on to offend them. Why is he bent on confrontation?

I see the fury of the crowd and I look on sadly as he is pushed out of the village.

I am sitting all alone with Jesus now, after the event. I, the disciple, am full of questions. He, the Master, answers. "Where do you get your courage from?" I ask, and, "Do you ever feel afraid?"

Then, "Why do you antagonize them?"

"How is it that your own people fail to recognize you?"