Family Group Night | April 30, 2023
“And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
One day, Jesus went back to his hometown of Nazareth. On the Sabbath day he went to the synagogue and stood up to read a scripture from the book of the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” After he read, he proclaimed to the congregation, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” This seemed to please the crowd. But when he proclaimed salvation and healing for other people of other nations, the crowd was enraged. They took him to a cliff to throw him to his death. But the time had not yet come for him to die as he simply walked through the crowd and went on his way.
1. In verse 27 of our scripture, Jesus mentioned that in the time of Elisha the prophet there were many lepers in Israel, but God called Elisha to heal only one – Naaman, an army commander from Syria (you can read about this in 2 Kings 5). Why do you think God sometimes blessed foreigners and left His people to suffer?
2. In verse 28 we read that this infuriated the people! Why do you think the Jews reacted so strongly against the idea of Jesus healing the Syrian instead of the people from their home country of Israel? Do we ever react this way today?
3. In verse 29 they took Jesus to throw Him off of a cliff. People sometimes attack the messenger, even when they know his message is true! Are we ever tempted to do this? Why?
1. LISTEN AFFIRMATIVELY TO JESUS – Your attitude should be one of “yes” whenever you hear God’s word taught and preached.
2. WELCOME THE FOREIGNER – Remember that God loves the outcast just as much as he loves you. So, make sure to treat the poor, the addicts, and those of different races and cultures with honor, dignity, and love. Rejoice and don’t be offended when God brings them his salvation!
Lord, thank you for coming to the last, the lost, and the least with your saving love. May they believe and know that they have in You the recognition and acceptance they need. And help me to realize that I too am a broken vessel that you can use for your glory. No matter where we are on the social spectrum, may we all give our lives in your service and building your Kingdom! In Jesus name, AMEN.