Hometown Boy Makes Good!


Jesus was rejected in his own hometown.


Picture of Del Ennis (see below sermon)


Jumping up, they mobbed him and took him to the edge of the hill on which the city was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, but he slipped away through the crowd and left them. Luke 4:29-30 (NIV)

I doubt if any of you have ever heard of Del Ennis. He was a professional baseball player—and a very good one too. He played in the Major Leagues, and during his fourteen-year career, he hit 288 home runs. Seven times during his career he hit 25 or more home runs in a season.

Del Ennis played for his hometown Philadelphia Phillies. You would think that being such a good player and being a hometown boy would make Del Ennis very popular with the Philadelphia fans, but for some reason, it didn't. During the eleven years that he played for the Phillies, the fans booed him every time he came up to bat. No matter what he did, it never seemed to be good enough. He never understood it. It didn't make sense.

Later in his career, Del Ennis moved to the St. Louis Cardinals. Although he still loved his hometown team, he was treated much better by the fans in St. Louis. Sometimes, it seems that even when a hometown boy makes good, he just can't please the hometown crowd.

The hometown of Jesus was Nazareth. It might surprise you to know that Jesus wasn't treated very well in his hometown either. One day, Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth. After reading from the prophet Isaiah, he told the people in the synagogue that he was the one that Isaiah had written about. He was the one sent from God to preach the good news to the poor and heal the sick and give sight to the blind.

Everyone was quite impressed with the words of Jesus until some of them recognized that he was a hometown boy. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked.

They demanded that Jesus perform some miracles such as the ones they had heard about that he had performed in other places. When Jesus refused to put on a show for the people, the crowd began to turn against him. They mobbed him and took him out to the edge of a hill on which the city was built. They planned to throw him off the edge of a cliff, but Jesus slipped away from them and escaped through the crowd.

That isn't very good treatment for a hometown boy, is it? It seems that no matter what Jesus did, he just couldn't seem to please the hometown crowd. I wonder...if you and I had lived in Nazareth during Jesus' day, would we have treated him any better, or would we have gone along with the crowd?

Dear Jesus, help us to be loyal and true, even when the crowd has turned against you. Amen.

Picture of Del Ennis