Evangelistic Apologetics: The Church Under Attack (Part 2)
by Mark McGee
We come to the question – Why? Why is the Christian Church here in the United States and around the world under such severe attack today? What did we do to make so many people so angry?
Two-thousand years ago this month, Jesus was a teenager in the little town of Nazareth. He was obedient to His earthly parents and “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:51-52).
Jesus was well aware during His teen years about why He was on earth. He went to the Temple in Jerusalem when He was 12 years old to talk with the teachers who were there. Mary, Jesus’ mother, asked Him why He had gone to the Temple instead of going home with her. He said to her – ”Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them” (Luke 2:49-50).
That was an interesting statement for many reasons, one being that Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, was standing with Mary in the Temple. Joseph was a carpenter. So, what was the “Father’s business” Jesus mentioned?
Jesus explained His purpose years later by reading from the Book of Isaiah in his local synagogue on the Sabbath.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19
Jesus then closed the Book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. Everybody was watching him closely to see what He would say next. They knew Jesus well. They were members of His synagogue. It was Jesus’ custom to read Scripture and share words of wisdom with them on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16). They had heard what Jesus had done in other cities (Luke 4:14-15) and wanted to see what He would say to them. They may have expected Jesus to say something extra special to them since He was one of their own.
“And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). The people marveled at the “gracious words” which Jesus spoke and said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” Instead of glorifying God as Jews in other synagogues had done, they questioned His authority. How would Jesus respond to their question?