Given by Rev. Madison Shockley January 23, 2022

The life of Jesus was bracketed by danger. Luke tells the story of Jesus visiting Nazareth during his ministry. At first, the people welcome him. They liked his powerful message and teachings. After his baptism and spiritual journey into the wilderness, Jesus gained the power of the Holy Spirit. He learned that he was a child of God. He was loved without having to do anything. In the desert, Jesus learned that even though you are poor and hungry, you do not sell your integrity for bread or riches. Do not abandon your values to get ahead in the world. Do not test God. Jesus taught about the Empire of God. This was opposed to the empire of the Romans. This got him into trouble.  Jesus taught that it was how much you give of yourself that counts. His teachings also warned that following these teachings may strain your relationships with family and friends. The people of Nazareth missed the point though. It did not matter who your family was. It only mattered that you were a child of God. They should love God with all their mind and strength. For these lessons, the crowd nearly threw Jesus off a cliff. When we learn the lessons of Jesus, we will be filled and fulfilled as children of God.