Epiphany 4
January 28, 2001
Luke 4:21-30 
"Can You handle the Truth?"

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Introduction:  "You can't handle the truth!" was a line made famous by Jack Nickelson in the movie A Few Good Men.  Sometimes the truth hurts! And we do not like people who hurt us with the truth. For this reason prophets through the ages have been wiped out or driven off.  Amos was ordered to leave. Jeremiah was thrown into a pit. Luther and Calvin were exiled. Jesus was crucified. All this happened because people could not bear the hurt of the truth from the Word of God. The truth hurts because.

1.         It exposes our jealousy - The people replied "is this not the son of Joseph?" v. 22b The people could not get over the fact that this Jesus, was more then just the son of a carpenter. They knew His background. They had seen Him grow up. They knew Him too well. They could not bring themselves to believe that standing before them was the very Savior of the world. Their pride and arrogance got the best of them. They could not see Jesus for who He truly was their one and only Redeemer. All of Israel had hoped and dreamed for the day to come true, when the Messiah would be standing in their midst.  Here was Jesus, the true Messiah standing before them and they could not accept Him. Are we too, jealous? Do we understand there here, before us stands the living bread from heaven? Do we understand that in the pages of the Scriptures are the very words, which lead to eternal life? Do we understand that on the altar is God's greatest gift, the body and blood of His only Son. Do we understand that in the waters of baptism are found forgiveness and life? Because of jealousy the people could not see the true Jesus. May we see Him for who He truly is, our Lord and our God.

 The truth of Jesus' message hurt when…

2.         It convicts us of sin - And he said unto them, You will surely say unto Me this proverb, 'Physician, heal thyself;" v. 23 This is probably the greatest charge. The people in Jesus hometown could not see the need for forgiveness. So they turned the tables on Jesus. Physician heal thyself!  Don't convict me of sin. Heal yourself of your own sin.  When we are convicted of sin do we take the mirror of God's Law seriously?  Or do we "shoot the messenger" because they dare to show us who we are and how we look. Do we heed God's Word or do we despise it when it shows us our sin?  It was not a pretty picture and it was a hard message to hear and a hard lesson to learn when Jesus confronted His hearers with their need for a Savior.  How well does the message go in our life and time?  When we are convicted of sin and our need for a Savior, may we heed God's Word and in repentance turn to the Lord where He may be found. Reject Him now but turn to Him to live.

The truth of Jesus' message hurt when…

3.         It reveals our selfishness - "And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath" - v28 The people wanted God on their own terms. They wanted Him to reveal Himself according to how they wanted Him revealed. They wanted a God of convince. Accessible and understandable when we need Him and absent and silent when we don't.  They wanted His warmth, assurance and healing. They did not want to be convicted of their sin. Do we desire only a heavenly aspirin tablet?  Is that all we want of God?  Is that how we limit God? Do we want only a God who will answer us when we want Him or need Him?  For this very reason Jesus did few, if any, miracles in His home in Nazareth. We need the whole Jesus. We need His message of Law as well as His message of Gospel. We need the conviction of our sin as well as the forgiveness, which only He can give. We can not have God only on our own terms. We need the whole Jesus.

Conclusion:  The decision is ours this day we can accept the truth and live or reject it. The choice is ours. We need a compassionate God. We need a God who will tell us of our need for a Savior.  We need the whole council of God, not what we want to pick for ourselves. When we have the whole Christ then we will be given the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth concerning our need of a Savior and His saving action which was worked for us on the cross and empty tomb. May the Lord so lead us to be able to handle the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!  Amen.

+ Soli Deo Gloria+