“Sent To None Of Them” ( Luke 4: 25 – 27, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Jesus apparently is not sent to his hometown to perform miracles, but to tell his neighbors that He is not going to be accepted by them. He says to them, “No prophet is acceptable in his hometown.” (Luke 4:24) Then He proceeds to provide two examples of this truth. Jesus speaks of the widows in Israel that Elijah was not sent to “when the heavens were shut up for three years and six months.” (Luke 4:25) Instead Elijah was sent to Zarephath, a widow from the land of Sidon. Jesus also speaks of the many lepers in Israel that Elisha was not sent to cleanse. Instead Elisha was sent “only to Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:27)

Yet, when the Canaanite woman asks Jesus to have mercy on her and drive out a demon from her daughter, Jesus ignores her completely. So, she cries out to His disciples. They beg Jesus to “send her away.” (Matthew 15:23) He says to them (and not to her), “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24) The Canaanite woman persists, saying: “Lord, help me.” (Matthew 15:25) Jesus responds, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15:26) The woman does not appear to be insulted or even surprised by our Lord’s attitude. Instead she agrees with Him. She says, “Yes, Lord.” But then she uses a perfectly logical argument with Him. She continues, “Yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” (Matthew 15:27) Jesus is impressed with the level of this Gentile’s faith, and He proclaims, “Be it done for you as you desire.” (Matthew 15:28) He gives her the desire of her heart because of her persistence and her logic.

The Canaanite woman’s persistence, her acceptance of Jesus’ rejection, and her logical argument are opposites from the reaction of the crowd in Nazareth when Jesus finishes reading from “the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.” (Luke 4:17) When Jesus tells His friends and neighbors that He fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, at first the crowd “speaks well of Him and marvels at the gracious words that are coming from His mouth.” (Luke 4:22) But when Jesus gives examples of how the prophets Elijah and Elisha were sent to persons not within the house of Israel, “all in the synagogue are filled with wrath.” (Luke 4:28)

Jesus’ neighbors “rise up and drive Him out of the town and bring Him to the brow of the hill on which their town is built, so they can throw Him down the cliff.” (Luke 4:29)

Jesus “passes through their midst” and literally leaves them behind. With the Canaanite woman, He turns the tables just as Elijah and Elisha once did; He gives her that which is meant only for Israel, only for the children of God. He gives her the desire of her heart.

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“And Not A Few” ( 2 Kings 4: 3, ESV ) by Carley Evans


A widow of one of the sons of the prophets calls out to Elisha, telling him “that the creditor has come to take [her] two children to be slaves” since she is unable to pay her debts. (2 Kings 4:1) Elisha seems to rhetorically ask, “What shall I do for you?” then comes up with an answer immediately. He asks the widow what she has in her house. She says, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” (2 Kings 4:2)

She has nothing. Yet, she has something.

Elisha tells her to go to her neighbors and “borrow vessels, empty vessels and not too few.” She complies. Elisha tells her to also go inside, shut her door “behind [herself] and [her] sons and pour into all these vessels” the oil from the one jar she still has in her house. She continues pouring oil from the jar, filling each vessel until her sons have no more vessels to bring to her. At this point, the oil from the jar stops flowing.

The only limit to the flow of oil is how many empty vessels she has borrowed. Hence, Elisha’s advice: Borrow “not too few.” She has nothing. Yet, she has something. Now she has more than enough. Yet, there is potential for even more.

The widow tells Elisha that she has no more vessels to fill, that the oil has stopped flowing. He tells her to sell the oil and pay her debts, “and you and your sons can live on the rest.” (2 Kings 4:7)

She has nothing. Yet, she has something. Then she has more than enough. Now, she has everything she needs, both for herself and her sons.

Suppose she gave any oil to her neighbors when she returned their once-empty vessels?

“Open Talk” ( Mark 8: 32, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


While traveling between villages, Jesus asks His disciples who the people believe He is. They say, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” (Mark 8:28) Oddly enough, these opinions of Jesus’ true identity show that belief in resurrection from the dead is not an issue for “the people.”

Jesus then asks the disciples, “But you, who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29) And Peter’s response is immediate. Peter calls Jesus “the Messiah!” (Mark 8:30) Jesus warns Peter and the disciples to keep this information to themselves.

As they continue, Jesus begins to teach them about His upcoming rejection, trial, scourging, crucifixion, and His ultimate triumph: His resurrection. “He is openly talking about this.” (Mark 8:32) And this bothers Peter so much that he takes Jesus aside. “Come here, Jesus.” He “begins to rebuke Him.” (Mark 8:32)

If you will indulge me some conjecture, imagine Peter standing tall over Jesus like a big brother telling Him, “You mustn’t talk about these things; don’t You know how upsetting this is for those of us who have given up everything to follow You? Don’t you know we’re scared? Can’t You tell that we keep anticipating Your triumph over this evil regime? What are you talking about? Come on, get Yourself together and let’s make this happen already!”

Jesus turns away from Peter, and “looking at His disciples, He rebukes Peter and says, “Get behind Me, Satan, because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s!” (Mark 8:33) Then He calls out for the crowd that has obviously been following closely and says, “If anyone wants to be My follower, He must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)

“Completely Open Before God” ( Romans 12: 3, NEB ) by Carley Evans


Paul suggests, rather strongly I think, “in virtue of the gift that God in His grace has given [him]” that each of us should “not be conceited or think too highly of [ourselves]; but think [our] way to a sober estimate based on the measure of faith that God has dealt to each of [us].”

Too often, we seem to be akin to Peter, James and John the brother of James on the mount where Jesus is transfigured before them. Peter says, “Lord, how good it is that we are here! If you wish it, I will make three shelters here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Matthew 17:4-5) We just want to sit down and be in the Presence of the Glory of God. We want to leave the lost world behind, and rest. But Paul tells us not to desire to abandon the world; instead, we are to remain in it. He reminds us that “we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God.'” (2 Corinthians 5:20, HCSB) “Because we know the fear of the Lord, we seek to persuade people. We are completely open before God.” (2 Corinthians 5:11)

Paul warns us not to “take pride in the outward appearance rather than in the heart.” (2 Corinthians 5:12) We are not to “think too highly of [ourselves].” “So the one who boasts must boast in the Lord. For it is not the one commending himself who is approved, but the one the Lord commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:17-18)

“Neither Do I Condemn You” (1 Kings 17: 18, HCSB) by Carley Evans


The widow asks Elijah, “Have you come to remind me of my guilt?”

Elijah asks God, “My Lord God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow I am staying with by killing her son?” (1 Kings 17: 20)

Jesus says to the woman caught in adultery, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answers. “Neither do I condemn you,” says Jesus. “Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” (John 8: 10 – 12)

God does not send His Son, Jesus to earth to condemn us, but to save us. (John 3: 17) “Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the One and Only Son of God.” (John 3: 18)

In the land of Gennesaret, the people bring the sick on mats to Jesus when they recognize Him. “Whenever He goes into villages, towns, or the country, they lay the sick in the marketplaces and beg Him that they might touch just the tassel of His robe. And everyone who touches it is made well.” (Mark 6: 56)

Jesus does not come to remind us of our guilt, but to rescue us from it. Like Elijah, he does not come to kill our sons and daughters, but to heal them of their illnesses, raise them from the dead and bestow on them the gift of eternal life.

“The Prayer Of Great Power” (James 5: 16, ESV) by Carley Evans


“And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5: 15)

James calls us to pray for one another. Our prayers are for healing; our prayers are for forgiveness. We forgive each other; God forgives us.

“The prayer of a righteous person has great power.”

James tells us of Elijah who “prays fervently that it might not rain.” (James 5: 17) For three and a half years, no rain falls until Elijah “prays again, and heaven gives rain, and the earth bears its fruit.” (James 5: 18)

James is certain to remind us that “Elijah is a man with a nature like ours.” (James 5: 17) Yet, his prayer is powerful beyond what we often expect our prayers to be.

Let us pray fervently, confessing our wrongdoings to each other, expecting the best gifts from God. For “the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” (James 5: 11)