"And all the eyes of the synagogue were fixed on him" (4:20). Jesus certainly was not afraid to say what needed to be said. And in cases like this one, in Jesus's home town, he most certainly drew their attention by his words.
He was back in Nazareth, just after beginning his ministry, and the scroll of Isaiah was given to him. He read Isaiah 61:1-2, scripture about the coming savior, anointed to bring the good news, healing, and liberty.
It seems the hearers in the synagogue were a little perplexed as to why he chose this scripture. He just read it and sat down. This is when they stared, probably trying to figure out what he was trying to say, for they know this is just Joseph's son.
This excuse, though turned around a little, is what is heard time and time again from some of the "oldest" Dong Christians. "In our home villages, everybody knows us too well and has already heard it too much; none of them want to hear the good news."
Truth be told, when many of these Dong Christians are asked whether they are Christians, they regularly say "no" because they want to avoid any trouble. And more than that, no Christians in that area have come to faith through the witness of Dong people, but only from the direct witness of outsiders (Chinese and foreigners). Effectively, these Dong Christians do not have any witness at all.
We do not sit in judgement, for many of us are much the same: going about our daily business, rarely living out or speaking out the good news of Christ. Rather, we are here to join them in prayer.
Pray that, especially in their home villages, our Dong brothers and sisters will have the courage to live and speak for Christ, to live out their faith. Pray that they will begin to live lives that obviously have the mark of Christ: love for their neighbors, selflessness, open worship, and a peace that passes understanding.
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