Can’t Touch This!

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My sermon this Sunday is entitled, “Can’t Touch This!” Yes, that’s right, I am starting with MC Hammer. Smile. No, I will not be preaching in “Hammer Pants.” Smile. My text is taken from a story early in the ministry of Jesus when he is rejected in Nazareth in his home temple. Immediately after his temptation for 40 days and nights, Jesus receives a lot of acclaim, but by the end of the chapter, Luke 4, Jesus is not only rejected at his home temple, but the people try to kill him. The story ends by telling the reader that “Jesus passed through the midst of them.”

Luke 4: 28 When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. 30 But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way. [1]

There are several lessons from this story. First, in one chapter, at the beginning of his ministry, Jesus experiences about every emotion a human being can experience. He goes from enormous acclaim to what probably seemed like massive rejection. Second, Jesus does not fight back, but he does not allow himself to be killed. He “passed through the midst” of the people. Lesson: There is a time to fight, but also a time to know when to move on. Sometimes we are so stuck on fighting and getting even that we suffer the law of diminishing returns. Jesus moves on, all the way to the cross where he dies for the salvation of the world! Nazareth was 77 miles to the north of Jerusalem, but in the minds of the people who wanted to kill Jesus, only their world mattered.

There will be times in our lives when we need to know when to cut our losses and move on. When your job is more than you can bear, it may be the Lord’s way of saying, “Time to move on!” When marriage becomes unbearable and you have done everything you can to make it work and it still seems hopeless, the Lord may be telling you, “Time to move on!”

When we move on, we need to learn from Jesus that it is not worth staying mad, angry and bent on hate and revenge. What I learn from Jesus in this story is that sometimes we need to be strong enough to “Pass through the midst” of pain, agony, suffering and trouble, so that we may enter the joy of the salvation that Jesus has prepared for you and me.

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How does your faith in Jesus Christ help you to handle rejection?
  2. What can you learn about handling rejection from Luke 4: 28-30?

 

Prayer: Lord, make me strong in order that I might handle success, fortune and fame as well as the pain of rejection. Teach me to know when to fight and when to move on. Bless me with discernment. Bless me with inner peace. Bless me with your power. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Lk 4:28–30). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.