The ARC of His Story | Part 4: Off the Cliff
July 10, 2020
July 10, 2020
Last time, we looked at the account in Luke 4 when the people wanted to throw Jesus off a cliff. Maybe this is the first time you’ve heard this story, so you might be confused as to why the people were so upset at Jesus when He told them these two stories from the Old Testament. Everybody recognized that this was from the Word of God, but they did not like what they were hearing. But you’re never in that category, right? (wink)
When Jesus tells the story about the widow of Zarephath, He’s saying that there were many widows at the time, but only one widow was specially ministered to and provided for by God through the prophet Elijah. That woman didn’t even live in Israel. She wasn’t even a Jew! Oh, they did NOT want to hear that!
Just to make sure they got the point, He talked to them about a leper who was healed during the time of Elijah’s successor, Elisha. He was also a great prophet who worked many miracles. Jesus was saying that there were a lot of lepers in Israel at the time of Elisha, but none of them were healed. Only one was healed and it was Naaman the Syrian. Oh, they did NOT like this! Jesus is not tickling the ears of his neighbors. He’s talking to them about people they hate.
This explains the reaction. Remember, the Romans are in charge of Israel at this point in time. Roman law prohibited executions by Jewish leaders. If the Jewish authorities are able to execute who they want, who are they going to execute? They’re going to execute the people loyal to Rome first.
Under the law and in the past, Jewish law provided for a means of execution: stoning. What they would normally do is take the person to be executed and throw him off a high point or a cliff, and normally the fall would kill them or incapacitate them to the point where they could no longer dodge the big, heavy stones that were being dropped on them. When the Jewish people tried to kill Jesus, (because that is exactly what they were trying to do) they took him to the edge of the cliff. Their intention was to throw him off the cliff and then finish him off.
When the Jewish people tried this, they knew that they were pushing against Roman law and that they might bear the consequences. They might have to pay the price themselves. And let me tell you the Roman form of execution was a whole lot worse. But they didn’t care. They were so mad, so angry, and so full of evil that they were willing to run that risk.
We see that Jesus has Announced Himself. We see that the people have Rejected Him. We’re going to see that Jesus is going to Continue His ministry. Stay tuned for the next post!
Kevin is a Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.