Here comes my children’s sermon on Luke 4:21-30. We pick up with the last verse from last week’s Gospel reading. (You can find my regular Monday Meditation on this text here.)
As I noted a week ago, this odd division by the lectioneers (is that what you call people who make a lectionary?) gives us two radically different readings out of what is, in reality, one story.
Last week, Jesus announced to his hometown synagogue that he was the Messiah. Everything seemed hunky dory.
This week we see the very strange aftermath.
- Yes they are pleased with Jesus’ announcement. This lasts for about one verse.
- Then Jesus taunts and goads them to the point that they quite literally try to kill him.
Happily he pulls a God moment and walks out unscathed.
You are, of course, free to use this children’s sermon, or adapt it as you find most useful. But, if you use it, please do one (or more!) of the following.
- You can let me know that you are using it, either in the comments below, or using the contact form above.
- You can put a little notice in your church bulletin that your children’s sermon is adapted from one published on GaryNealHansen.com.
- You can support my work over on Patreon. (Just $1 per month brings my children’s sermons straight to your inbox about two minutes after they go live. And every little bit keeps me going…)
So, here we go with a children’s sermon on Luke 4:21-30.
A Children’s Sermon on Luke 4:21-30
Good morning kids! I’m so glad you are here in worship this morning. Thanks for coming up to hear the children’s sermon.
Today’s Gospel story is the second half of the one we started last week.
Last week, Jesus had just started to go out into the world, telling people about the Kingdom of God. After teaching in a few towns, he came back home to Nazareth. On the Sabbath, he went to the synagogue.
During the service, Jesus read a passage from the Prophet Isaiah about the Messiah. Then he told them that he was the one Isaiah was writing about.
The Other Side of the Conversation
That’s where last week’s reading ended, but the story goes on. And it gets kind of surprising. And maybe, in one place, a tiny bit scary. But don’t worry: everything works out okay.
It’s actually kind of an odd story. The Bible tells us a bunch of things Jesus says. To me it sounds like just one side of a conversation. So I tried to imagine what the other people said.
Here’s how I imagine it going.
When Jesus finished reading what the Prophet Isaiah had written he rolled up the scroll. Jesus handed the scroll to a man who put it back with all the other holy books.
Then Jesus looked out at all his friends and neighbors. He held onto the pulpit with his hands and he rocked from foot to foot.
Then he said “I have a surprise for you: All that stuff that Isaiah wrote about the Messiah? Well today it’s all fulfilled!”
They looked up, kind of mystified.
“Isaiah was describing me!” Jesus said. “I’m the Messiah!”
Then they were silent for a minute, just looking at Jesus.
But then some of the older folks started to smile. “I always knew Jesus was something special,” said one man. “I remember when he was just a baby. He had sort of a look about him, you know?”
Well, one person said this, and another said that, and pretty soon there was a happy rumble of conversation running through the crowd.
“The Messiah!” said someone. “Well, isn’t that something! He made our dining room table, you know? I used to talk to him while he worked. He did always seem wise.”
“I’ve been waiting for the Messiah my whole life!”
“This is great!”
“This is amazing!”
The Messiah? Really?
But then one fellow raised his hand. “Excuse me,” he said, in a kind of grumpy voice, “but how do we know that’s true? How do we know you’re really the Messiah?”
“Yeah,” said another, in a doubting voice. “That passage of Isaiah said the Messiah would do all kinds of cool things—making blind people see, and releasing prisoners. We’ve never seen you do any of that stuff.”
“Plus,” said another, “it sounds like you have a stuffy nose. If you can really make blind people see, why can’t you cure your own cold?”
Jesus said “I figured someone would bring up that old saying. You know—‘If you’re really a doctor, heal yourself.’ Well it isn’t quite like that. I’m not here to serve myself.”
Then somebody who really liked Jesus said “You know, Jesus spent the last couple weeks teaching and helping people over around Capernaum.”
Jesus jumped in again, “Yeah but don’t ask me to do here what I did in Capernaum. It doesn’t work like that either.”
“Why not?” somebody called out.
Jesus said, “Because I’m not here to do tricks. I came to teach people–to show them the Kingdom of God.”
Then someone who really hadn’t been listening said, “I know! I’ve got a cousin who’s blind. I run and get him, and you can give it a try. Heal him and we’ll all know you’re the Messiah.”
Jesus Loves Outsiders
“No,” said Jesus. “I don’t think I’m going to heal anybody today.”
“Why not?” asked the guy with the blind cousin.
Jesus said, “God is kind of picky about these things. God wants me to go invite other people from other countries into his kingdom.”
“Others?” said someone.
“Foreigners?” said another.
“Strangers?” said a third.
“It’s always been like that,” Jesus said. “Remember the prophet Elijah? In Elijah’s time there was a famine in all the countries around here. There were lots of starving widows in Israel. But God sent Elijah to a foreigner—to a widow in the country of Sidon.”
“Oh, sure,” said the guy with the blind cousin. “That happened once. But we’re Israel. We’re God’s people. You should heal our people—like my poor blind cousin!”
“Its not the only example” said Jesus. “God is always reaching out to people who aren’t like us. Think about the prophet Elisha. There were lots of sick people in Israel in his time. But God didn’t send Elisha to them. God sent Elisha to heal a the general of a foreign army—one of Israel’s enemies. Naaman the Syrian was his name.”
“So you aren’t going to heal my cousin?” asked the man.
“Nope,” said Jesus.
“Aren’t you going to do any of the things Isaiah said the Messiah would do?”
“Not here in Nazareth.” Jesus said. “Not today.”
A Mob Scene
Well, the happy rumble of voices became the angry growl of a mob.
“Let’s get him!” shouted someone.
So some big men grabbed Jesus.
“What should we do with him?” asked one of them.
“Throw him out of the synagogue!” said someone,
“Throw him off the cliff!” said someone else.
Things got pretty crazy—pretty scary, actually. They really did drag Jesus out of the synagogue. Then they really did drag him to the edge of the cliff. They really were going to throw Jesus off and be rid of him forever.
But just then, a very surprising thing happened.
Suddenly the big strong men couldn’t hold on to Jesus any more. Jesus dusted him self off, and walked straight through the crowd to freedom.
- I wonder what it felt like for the people when they first heard their neighbor Jesus say he was the Messiah?
- I wonder what it felt like when Jesus told the people that God didn’t want him to heal people in Nazareth?
- I wonder what they thought afterward, when Jesus just walked away from their trap?
It would totally make my day if I could send you all my new articles and announcements. Scroll down to the black box with the orange button to subscribe, and they’ll arrive by email most Fridays.