A 40 Day Journey to Becoming Like the One We Follow
Day 29: Just (Luke 4:17-21)
When was the last time you read or heard about something our government leaders were doing and thought, “Yeah, that’s good. That’s the way it should be”?
Let’s be real, trust in government officials is about as low as it can get while still maintaining a society. Even those who vote Republican are disappointed with Republicans and those who vote Democrat are disappointed with the Democrats. We can’t rely on elected officials to keep any of their campaign promises, let alone go above and beyond.
Sometimes the most we can hope for is that they “Do no harm.” Maybe just not to be as corrupt as the last guy or gal. When we vote for the “lesser of two evils” we’re still voting for evil (as Geralt of Rivia reminds us).
But what about a leader who is truly “just” (based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair)? Would we want that? Would we respond well to someone who follows through on setting things right and making everything as it should be? You may say you want that kind of leader in power – until he/she challenges your own unjust notions and prejudices.
When Jesus began his public ministry, he started out reading a passage from Isaiah about a time when God’s servant, empowered by God’s Spirit, would begin to set things right – bringing healing and freedom and redemption. Then after reading this well known Scripture he informed his listeners that this very prophecy is being fulfilled in their hearing.
You would think they would be ecstatic. You’d think they would be parading him around the streets, cheering him on and praising God. But the story ends with them trying to throw him off a cliff!
Why? Because he reminded them of their own history – how God is working to set things right not just for them as Israelites, but also for the Gentiles. He reminds them of the story of the Sidonian widow who was saved through Elijah. And he reminds them of the Syrian general Naaman who was healed of leprosy by Elisha.
In setting things right for the whole world, some of the Jews thought they were being shortchanged. But they weren’t being deprived of anything when others received God’s blessings, too.
Ultimately Jesus’ radical inclusion of everyone into God’s kingdom would lead to his death. But it’s through his own death and resurrection that Jesus was truly able to bring about the Kingdom of heaven here on earth.