In my previous post I began with a story of a sermon on Luke 4 that I heard at a conference. This conference was my first visit to Indianapolis in 2019, when I attended the conference here with my former lead pastor Charlie. My favorite memories from that trip were simply enjoying the city with him, which I believe primed my heart to think fondly of Indianapolis as a place for our current ministry.
I have a great video of Charlie and I taking electric scooters out along the White River near the IUPUI campus. The video starts out well, as I am excitedly surveying all the sights around the river: Lucas Oil Stadium, the campus, the beautiful waterfront parks. The video ends poorly, however, when I crash into a small hill I didn’t see right in front of me. As I go flying off the scooter onto the ground, you can hear me trying to laugh it off so as not to embarrass myself in front of my boss!
This tumble is illustrative of what I described was going on in my heart at the time. Like my scooter ride, I realized I could be so preoccupied with surveying everything about Luke 4, that I couldn’t see Jesus clearly standing right in front of me! Unfortunately, I think this is a common mistake many of us make in a text like this. We can be so quick to layer our cultural biases, theological categories, or missiological priorities onto the text. We confidently and comfortably make the passage fit our paradigms, while completely missing the magnitude of who Jesus is and what he is trying to say to us. In so doing, we become just like the people in Jesus’ hometown who close off their hearts toward him. We may not think we want to kill him, but we do want to drive him out of the comfortable parts of our lives we hold most dear.