Have you ever been so angered by the truth that you wanted to kill the messenger?

Like the people of Nazareth in today’s gospel, I think we sometimes want to be affirmed in our limited image of God. I want to believe in a God who rewards those who work hard, say our prayers, go to Church on Sunday, and follow the rules.

It is never this simple with Jesus.

Prophets draw our attention to the truth we would rather ignore. In speaking about the widow in Zarephath and the leper from Syria, Jesus makes a radical statement about God’s faithfulness to the poor, the foreigner, and the outcast. The people were so outraged, they wished him dead!

I wonder what egregious examples Jesus would give today. Would Jesus point to the racial tensions in our country? Would he remind us of the inherent dignity of death row inmates, people with disabilities, and the life inside a mother’s womb? Would Jesus challenge me to befriend people of different political persuasions or someone who does not share my same religious convictions?

As followers of Jesus, we are called to be a prophetic voice for justice in our world. Am I righteously angry and moved to action or prayer? Or am I appalled that God would ask such a thing of me?

—Beth Knobbe is an author and ministry professional based in Chicago, IL. She blogs at www.bethknobbe.com .