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From Heaven With Love

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    Chapter 24—“Is Not This the Carpenter's Son?”

    This chapter is based on Luke 4:16-30.

    Across the bright days of Christ's ministry in Galilee, one shadow lay—the people of Nazareth rejected Him. “Is not this the carpenter's son?” they said. Matthew 13:55. During His youth, Jesus had worshiped among His brethren in the synagogue at Nazareth. Since the opening of His ministry He had been absent from them, but as He again appeared, their expectation was excited to the highest pitch. Here were the familiar faces He had known from infancy. Here were His mother, His brothers and sisters, and all eyes were turned on Him as He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and took His place among the worshipers.HLv 150.1

    In the regular service the elder exhorted the people still to hope for the Coming One, who would bring in a glorious reign and banish all oppression. He sought to encourage his hearers by rehearsing the evidence that the Messiah's coming was near. He kept prominent the thought that He would appear at the head of armies to deliver Israel.HLv 150.2

    When a rabbi was present he was expected to deliver the sermon, and any Israelite might give the reading from the prophets. Upon this Sabbath Jesus was requested to take part in the service. He “stood up to read; and there was given to Him the book of the prophet Isaiah.” RSV. The scripture He read was understood as referring to the Messiah:HLv 150.3

    The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
    Because He hath anointed Me to preach the
    gospel to the poor.

    He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted
    To preach deliverance to the captives
    And recovering of sight to the blind,
    To set at liberty them that are bruised,
    To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

    “And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him... . And all spoke well of Him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.” RSV.HLv 151.1

    Explaining the words He had read, Jesus spoke of the Messiah as a reliever of the oppressed, a healer of the afflicted, restoring sight to the blind, and revealing the light of truth. The wonderful import of His words thrilled the hearers with a power they had never felt before. The tide of divine influence broke every barrier down. As their hearts were moved by the Holy Spirit, they responded with fervent amens and praises to the Lord.HLv 151.2

    But when Jesus announced, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears,” they were suddenly recalled to think of the claims of Him who had been addressing them. They, children of Abraham, had been represented as being in bondage, prisoners to be delivered from the power of evil, in darkness, and needing the light of truth. Their pride was offended. Jesus’ work for them was to be altogether different from what they desired. Their deeds might be investigated too closely. They shrank from inspection by those clear, searching eyes.HLv 151.3

    Who is this Jesus? they questioned. He who had claimed the glory of the Messiah was the son of a carpenter. They had seen Him toiling up and down the hills. They were acquainted with His brothers and sisters, and knew His life and labors. They had seen Him develop from childhood to manhood. Although His life had been spotless, they would not believe He was the Promised One. They opened the door to doubt, and their hearts became harder for having been momentarily softened. With intense energy Satan worked to fasten them in unbelief.HLv 151.4

    They had been stirred by the conviction that it was their Redeemer who addressed them. But Jesus now gave them evidence of His divinity by revealing their secret thoughts. “No prophet is acceptable in his own country. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” RSV.HLv 152.1

    The servants whom God had chosen were not allowed to labor for a hardhearted, unbelieving people. In the days of Elijah, Israel had rejected the Lord's messengers. Thus God found a refuge for His servant in a heathen land, with a woman who did not belong to the chosen people. But this woman's heart was open to the greater light that God sent through His prophet.HLv 152.2

    For the same reason in Elisha's time the lepers of Israel were passed by. But Naaman, a heathen nobleman, was in a condition to receive the gifts of God's grace. He was not only cleansed from leprosy but blessed with a knowledge of the true God. The heathen who choose the right as far as they can distinguish it are in a more favorable condition than those who profess to serve God but disregard light, and by their daily life contradict their profession.HLv 152.3

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