When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed Him and forced Him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push Him over the cliff, but He passed right through the crowd and went on His way.Luke 4:28-30
What an interesting few verses. Here is this angry mob who take Him and force Him to the edge of the hill (read “cliff”) intending to push Him off. But then amazingly, the text says “He passed right through the crowd and went on His way”. So what happened? Did He suddenly turn into the invisible man? Did He use superpowers to overcome the angry crowd? What happened?
The text is clear that they rose up angrily and forced Him. The sense is that they held Him firmly or forcefully and marched Him toward the cliff. I picture a number of them grabbing Him by the arms forcefully and marching Him between them to the cliff; that is what it says literally. The word “ophrus” which when used literally means “eyebrow”. The brow or edge of a cliff or hill. Nazareth is not situated on the top of a hill but up against cliffs behind the town. The brow of the cliffs are above the modern town of Nazareth. It is most likely they took Jesus up there seeking to hurl Him down to the bottom. At the bottom there is a stone strewn landscape. The likely intention is that they intended to hurl Him down and if He was still alive at the bottom, to surround Him and stone Him to death.
Luke clearly records He walked through the midst of them. What happened? Some commentators think that something miraculous happened to protect Him. But if that were the case then would it not be pandering to exactly what they are asking for, a sign, a miracle? If that had happened then they would have got just what they wanted. And in fact the devil would have got just what he wanted too. No, I don’t think that happened. The words used in the text indicated that Jesus just walked away through the midst of them. He walked right through the middle of them all. He didn’t run away, He wasn’t carried away by angels. He simply turned around and walked away passed them all. Nothing miraculous happened, he just walked away. How did that happen? Seemingly all the people watched Him walking away and no one did a thing to stop Him. He appears to have just passed through a crowd of infuriated, angry people who were bent on killing Him, but they were paralysed to stop Him. Not because they were supernaturally frozen in time, like a game of statues. Were they overwhelmed with his calmness and tranquility? I don’t know but I do know what the text of Luke of says. I don’t believe it was a miracle. Something else happened.
I recall an incident when I was summoned to the provincial immigration office years ago because my visa had expired. But the highest authority in the land knew of it and we had been told it was all going to be taken care of. But at the same time there had been a decree issued that all foreigners with paper work that was not up to date were to be jailed and then deported. There had been an incident a few months before concerning foreigners who were abusing their right as guests in the country and whose paper work was not in order. So an order had been issued to deal with them. Make an example of all people whose paper work was not in order. My paper work was not in order and so this local immigration official was infuriated with me and was ranting and raving at me for an hour or more. When I told him “the top man” knew about my situation, I was told I had to get “this top man” to sign a personal letter addressed to this local official. I told him that was not going to happen. The top immigration official in the land was not going to be sending him a personal letter explaining the situation of my visa. He told me that he would throw me in jail.
The man in our office who took care of visas and government related things was with me and listening to all of this and looking worried at the threat of me being sent to jail. After the man ranted and raved at me for the hour he paused and I said calmly and rather boldly, “Well if that is all you have to say, I will go home then.” He looked stunned that I would say such a thing after giving me all his venom for over an hour and it was like he just melted. I saw it on his face. So I stood, shook his hand and headed for the door. He didn’t call me back, he didn’t rant and rave some more, he just acquiesced. I turned at the door and said thank you and left. Our government relations guy was stunned how I could be on the verge of being sent to prison and then just stand up and walk out. He called it a miracle.
I am not by any stretch of the imagination thinking that my situation and Jesus situation was the same. But neither do I call what happened to me a miracle. I just saw something in that official that made me take my bold step against all the odds. I don’t know what happened at Nazareth that enabled Jesus to just walk through the midst of them. I would love to know the details but I don’t. I certainly wasn’t dealing with an angry mob. I was just dealing with one very angry government official. There is another dimension added when dealing with mob mentality. I didn’t have to face a horde of angry immigration officials, just one. But there is something similar in the experience to what Jesus experienced. Besides I believe God brought this story to mind this morning. So He sees the link I believe and reminded me. There was something about the Son of Man that caused all of those angry people to stand back and allow Him to leave them, despite the fact they were “after His blood”.
And why were they about to throw Him off a cliff and stone Him if need be to finish the job anyway? It is all to do with what He had claimed about the verses from Isaiah and that that Scripture was “fulfilled this very day”. He is claiming to be Messiah and He is right. He is. [Notice I didn’t say “was”.] I imagine that Jesus knew His time was in the Father’s hands and nothing could happen to Him that wasn’t in God’s will. I had that same confidence that morning in the regional immigration office. I entrusted myself to God’s will. I know Jesus was doing the same. Whether God did something amazing and calmed an angry mob along with an immigration official I don’t know. But I do know that Jesus just walked away through the midst of them. I know too what it is like to just walk away (under the watchful eye of God).
If your dream should fall n break into 1,000 pieces, never be afraid to pick up one of those pieces and begin again!Rick Godwin
If we would remember the miracles God has done in our past, we would not so easily worry and fear when we face new challenges.Joyce Meyer
The definition of God’s Grace = When you’re down to nothing God’s up to something.Arthavina Pratiwi
Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward for this faith is to see what you believe!Rick Godwin