The room was quiet.
The congregation was attentive.
All eyes were on Jesus.
He stood there before the synagogue, the Word of God rolled out in front of Him. And, filled with the Holy Spirit's power, He began to read from the scroll of Isaiah.
His voice boomed with authority throughout the sanctuary.
Everyone's hearts were captivated.
Everyone's lips praised Him.
But then Jesus continued speaking. And, before He could even finish, the dynamic of the room changed drastically.
People began furrowing their eyebrows at His words, scratching their foreheads, tilting their heads to the side. "Hold on," they whispered amongst one another. "Did He just say what we think He said?"
And, in a moment's time, the same people who were amazed at His authority, the same people who praised Him and spoke well of Him and were in awe at the gracious words that spilled from His lips, were the same people who jumped to their feet, forcing Him to the edge of the cliff with every intention to kill Him. And, while you would think this would scare Jesus into conforming, that this reaction would lead Him to compromise His character for the sake of His safety, He instead walked on completely unbothered—passing through the crowd, going right on His way.
And, as impossible as this may seem, the record of this account is true.
Crazy, right? But, you can read it for yourselves in Luke 4:14-30. The text is proof that living a life of integrity is possible—that you can speak the truth boldly, challenge the current culture unapologetically, and stay true to the person God is calling you to be without relying on the thoughts and opinions of others.
The text is proof that we—you and I—don't have to live our lives as codependents. We don't have to live a life walking on eggshells careful to avoid conflict in order to make everyone else around us happy. We don't have to wait until others are okay for us to be okay. We can live like Jesus did—speak the truth, stay true to ourselves, and not cave under the pressure of the world's culture.
I didn't know how encouraging Luke 4:14-30 would be for me until I realized my response would be different from Jesus' response. If I were in His position that day, speaking in a room full of people who loved me one moment only to have them all turn around wanting to kill me the next, if I'm honest—
I'd probably be tempted to take my words back!
I'd probably apologize for what I said!
I'd most likely reject myself just to get them off my case!
He said what He said, passed through the angry mob, and kept it moving.
And so, the question becomes: How did He do this? How did He manage to maintain His composure in the face of all of those who wanted to cancel Him?
The answer is found in Luke 3:21-22. It says:
One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus Himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in a bodily form, descended on Him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, "You are My dearly loved Son, and You bring Me great joy."
In other words, the answer is found in what God said about Him. Jesus didn't let what others said get to Him because He was too busy believing what His Father said about Him. And, His Father called Him dearly loved. His Father identified Jesus as His Own Son. His Father told Him that Jesus brings Him great joy. And, I wonder how many of us would heal from our codependency—would rid ourselves of the need to please everyone around us in order to feel good about ourselves—if we started to believe the truth about ourselves too.
If we started to believe that we're dearly loved (John 3:16), marvelously made (Psalms 139:14), chosen (Ephesians 1:4), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). If we started to believe the truth of what God says about us so much so that we are unfazed by what others say about us. Because then, we wouldn't have to play the "I'm-OK-if-you're-OK" game with other people, depending our mood on someone else's mood. No, we can be in a good mood because God is in a good mood. We can be at peace because Jesus is Peace. We can have joy because He has joy. We don't have to depend on whether or not someone around us is having a mood swing or is causing drama or is making their problems ours. We can just depend on Jesus and depend on His truth alone.
Because Luke 4 shows that people's moods, opinions, and thoughts change like the weather. The crowds may love us one moment and then hate us the next. And, that's why it's a good idea to pluck our identity out of their hands and place it back into God's hands. We can believe what God says about us, allow that to be enough, and live out the lives He's designed for us boldly—unbothered by who has to say what.