ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Jesus Cast in the Odd Role of Villian in Biblical "Cliffhanger"

Updated on March 21, 2020
The crowd in the synagogue would soon turn on Jesus after He challenged them to share God's Kingdom with the Gentiles
The crowd in the synagogue would soon turn on Jesus after He challenged them to share God's Kingdom with the Gentiles

No love for the returning local hero

What a difference a sentence or two can make.

In today's Gospel (Luke 4: 21-30), we find Jesus the Nazarene returning home to deliver an address which those in attendance apparently assumed would be nothing more than a tossed bouquet of azaleas followed by a victory lap.

But the fateful message on this particular day was far from obligatory in nature; business as usual would no longer be the norm.

But more on that in a moment.

In our first reading, the prophet Jeremiah learns of his calling from God ("before I formed you in the womb I knew you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you" ~ Jer 1:5). Jeremiah, often referred to as the "weeping prophet,” would then go on to learn about the source of his upcoming lament. In a genuine spiritual foreshadowing, God goes on to implore Jeremiah to hang tough:

"But do not gird your loins; stand up and tell them all that I command you. Be not crushed on their account, as though I would leave you crushed before them; for it is I this day who have made you a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of brass, against the whole land: against Judah's kings and princes, against its priests and people. They will fight against you but not prevail over you,for I am with you to deliver you"

Galvanized by the faith and fortitude instilled in him by God, Jeremiah soldiered on and thus fulfilled his destiny as a prophet whose words would echo throughout time. This Reading (Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19) serves as the perfect segue into today's Gospel, wherein Jesus essentially goes on to show Jeremiah how it's done in the face of His oppressors.

Jesus was suddenly faced with a hostile mob after explaining to them that the Gentiles too were God's children and thus equally worthy of God's favor and citizenship in His eternal kingdom. So incensed with fury were the Jews that they rose up, drove Jesus out of town and all the way to the threshold of the cliff where they had literally planned to shove him off the edge.

Had this been a Hollywood Movie, Jesus would have undoubtedly been forced to dodge a hail storm of bullets while single-handedly laying a well-deserved beat down on each thuggish tattooed member of the angry Israeli mob, complete with dramatic catch-phrases and the compensation of popcorn and milk duds. After all, He still had much work to do in order to fulfill the will of God and couldn't meet His demise in such anti-climatic and unanticipated fashion.

But Jesus avoids the cliches that make for big box office and instead calmly passes through the crowd and departs, no doubt extremely disappointed but fully aware that this was to be His fate, just as Jeremiah and the other prophets chosen by God lived out their fate. Just as all of us are called to carry out God's will and therefore fulfill our fate as members of a thriving Parish Community.

Perhaps the Jews were more interested in a Political Leader than a Spiritual Leader. History indicates that spirituality was on the decline at the time ~ sound familiar? ~ but Jesus' message on that day was one of inclusion and acceptance of all people, He had no interest in the seedy underbelly of the political landscape of the time.

Now it's certainly easy to criticize the Israelites and their hostile reaction, particularly with our unique benefit of hindsight. Certainly we wouldn't look to push Jesus off a cliff if He were to appear today would we? Or in keeping up with modern day vernacular and department of worn-out cliches, surely we would never "throw Jesus under the bus?”

Yet if we were to carefully examine our choices and decisions, we would have to agree that at times we try to shape or even manipulate Jesus and His law to our liking and preference as opposed to following His law so that we may be made one with Him. Do you know any Pro-Choice Catholics? How about those Catholics who are in favor of Capital Punishment? The Church's stance on these issues consistently underscore inclusion and respect as reflected in the sanctity of all human life, just as Jesus did on that fateful day.

We're constantly presented with the opportunity to embrace this notion of inclusion and acceptance in our daily lives. The high school in my neighborhood recently offered up a rendition of the ground-breaking Broadway Musical "Rent". Viewed as edgy and controversial when first introduced in 1994, these high schoolers should be applauded for taking on a project of such depth and complexity. But make no mistake, the prevailing theme of "Rent" is about so much more than coping with AIDS or sexual orientation; it's about acceptance, the kind of acceptance that can only be achieved through the outpouring of love. Each character struggles to find their way, and with the help of one another they stumble and stagger along life's journey together, accepting their fate buoyed by faith in each other and faith in their own hazy identities. This message must come to life and echo far beyond the eastern outskirts of Avenue C, affectionately known as "Loisaida Ave." in the local denizen's loosely translated Spanglish take on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where the young cast of "Rent" set out to find their way.

The challenge as always is to exist and thrive in the day-to-day life despite the fact that we are made for and subsequently destined to dwell in eternity with God. How can this be done you might ask? St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians suggests that it can only be done through love, which is more important that any other gift or talent that we may possess:

"For if I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge, if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing"

Those of you who have recently borne witness to the Sacrament of Marriage might recognize this passage. Oftentimes referred to as the "Wedding Reading" (1 Corinthians 12:31 - 13:13) young couples choose this scriptural text in order to underscore the love that takes two people and makes them one (" bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things").

In so many respects, love is a challenge. It's complicated. It seeks out others rather than remaining insular or comfortable. But one thing is for sure: God is love. As we seek Him out in all people and all encounters, we too can become the embodiment of love. Not perfect, but that's OK.

From love all else flows. God's message resonates now as strongly as it always has: "Love one another as I have loved you".

A perfect example of perfect love in an imperfect world.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)