Jesus manifests the compassionate love of his Father. He knew that he was loved and that his Father loves us. Nevertheless the first preaching of Jesus recorded by Luke was a confrontation (Lk 4). How can that be? Love is not always comforting. Confrontation was sometimes the only way Jesus could get people’s attention, so that they could be healed of serious faults that stood in the way of their salvation.
When Jesus read the consoling text of Isaiah about the Messiah liberating captives his hearers were pleased. They thought of their own oppression by the Romans. There was nothing wrong with wanting to be free of oppression, but underneath their pleasure was an extremely self-centered and bigoted attitude. The notion that God could love foreigners was impossible for them to accept. Some of the greatest prophets had had a much larger vision. Jesus’ neighbors did not.
Lord, give me a view of the world that is tolerant of difference of culture and respectful of the consciences of others. I thank you for all my brothers and sisters in the family of God.