May 21, 2016

Not Looking for Fame

Luke 4:20-31

“Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.”

—  Luke 4:24

After Jesus read and preached from Isaiah 61, everyone was amazed and speaking well of him. He was well on his way to becoming the most interesting man in the region.

But Jesus had more to say, showing he had other plans. Songwriter Michael Card writes in Luke: The Gospel of Amazement, “[These] are [among] the very first words he speaks upon beginning his ministry. . . . But they are not simply spoken. They are costly words. In the end they will cost him everything. If only he would have the good sense to identify with the rich and powerful instead of the poor, if only he would act in accordance with their values, if only he would dance to their tune. But Jesus does not, would not dance.”

Jesus refused to become a circus act to friends, neighbors, and people of self-importance. He would not allow himself to be used for fame and publicity. He rejected the temptation to be addicted to the sounds of applause from the crowds. He came to seek and save people who needed grace. 

The people were looking for someone to lead and liberate them. They were looking for someone they could rally around, someone who could help them gain the freedom they longed for. They were looking in the wrong places and for the wrong things.

Do you want a Savior or a religious celebrity? We can’t have both.

Jesus, thank you for reminding us that it’s only through your grace that we can be saved. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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