Salvation Through the Cross,
Published by Christian Witness Press,
Published in the 1930's
© Christian Art * Chinese Christian Posters

Salvation Through the Cross,
Published by Christian Witness Press,
Published in the 1930's
© Christian Art * Chinese Christian Posters

Gospel of 8 March 2021

The people of Nazareth intended to throw Jesus down the cliff

Luke 4:24-30

Jesus came to Nazara and spoke to the people in the synagogue: 'I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.

'There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah's day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha's time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.'

When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.

Reflection on the Chinese Christin Poster

When we read the Old Testament and New Testament readings, it is tempting to ask why people didn't listen to the prophets (such as Elijah mentioned in our passage) who were sent into their midst. Two thousand years later we have the benefit of hindsight and therefore we can be somewhat critical of the people mentioned in the Bible as to why they didn't act sooner, or believe sooner, or convert sooner. During Lent, God is asking for our own response to these readings and to the prophets. Does having the benefit of hindsight mean that we believe even more in the prophets who were sent? It sometimes feels that God sent all these prophets and His Son, and we still don't listen…

The reality is that we are now nearly halfway through Lent, so this reading is one that prompts us to take stock. Have we quieted down our hearts and stilled our minds? Have we spent more time in prayer? Or do we feel like the people in Jesus' home town in Nazareth, 'thinking' we know Him, and still not letting Him take full control? Jesus was on the edge of being thrown down a cliff by his own people. Would we be part of this crowd?

In our poster, which was designed for Christian evangelisation efforts in China, we see a young man climbing up from a cliff. A friend is helping him to find his way back up. He is embracing and using a red cross to support their combined effort. The cross is their salvation, it is what they hold on to. The same sense of imminent danger emanates from Luke's Gospel today. We too are at risk of rejecting Jesus because of overfamiliarity and pushing Jesus or ourselves down a cliff… This warning comes to us in the middle of Lent… 

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