By R. Herbert

We tend to think of events described in the Book of Acts as the beginning of faith among the Gentiles, but earlier biblical examples of faith in both the Old and New Testaments are instructive. There is also a striking parallel between these examples that deserves our attention.

Three of the gospels tell how Jesus spoke in the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth, but was rejected by the people there. It is clear that the message Jesus took to these people was not welcomed by the Nazarenes, but his response to their rejection particularly enraged them. Luke tells us that as a result of the rejection, Jesus said: “Truly I tell you … no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 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” (Luke 4:24-27).

When they heard this, the Nazarenes’ rejection turned to outright rage, and they attempted to kill Jesus because he had said that God had chosen to send His servant Elijah to a widow in Sidon (a non-Jewish area) and had Elisha heal Naaman (another non-Jewish person) over people of Judah with the same problems.

It is easy to continue reading the Gospel accounts without noticing the striking parallels between the examples Jesus gave…”

(This is an excerpt from the Sept-Oct 2014 edition of The Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 10, click this link:

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