Today we can imagine something similar happening in many churches. Jesus has just placed economic and social justice issues at the center of his ministry. That didn’t go over very well in his day, and it wouldn’t go over well in many churches today. We can imagine the reactions we might get just for speaking this truth. It’s likely that some congregations would show us the door.
Jesus then makes his point clear. God sent the prophets to feed a pagan while many Jews starved. God healed an enemy while Jews suffered. Just when they expected to hear about God’s vengeance on Israel’s enemies, Jesus says no, you are the despised. You are the unworthy. You are the unclean. You are the bastards. [Isaiah 61:2]
Many Christians today believe that Jesus will return to destroy the world, kill nonbelievers, and then sentence their souls to eternal torture and torment. This is not unlike the Jews in the synagogue who looked forward to God’s vengeance on their enemies and on Pagans, i.e., those of other faiths and cultures. What Jesus said to them he now says to us. God will surprise you! Those you think destined for torment, God will save; and those who you think are saved, God will ignore."