If you skim the passage too quickly you might just miss her. She’s a little inconspicuous amidst the dramatic surroundings. Jesus has returned to his boyhood village. You know, that grubby, little, insignificant Jewish settlement called Nazareth. Glowing reports of His ministry had reached their ears and now the hometown boy was standing before old familiar faces reading from the opened scroll of Isaiah (Luke 4:14–30).
He makes the pronouncement that the time they’d all been waiting for has arrived! The “year of the Lord’s favor” was upon them. His listeners excitedly gobble up this news, but as they are marveling over His words, He sets up a nameless Gentile woman as an example to them. And they do not like it!
He briefly makes mention of her as one who recognized her need and humbly responded in faith and obedience. She lived more than 800 years before they were born. He pulls up this seemingly random widow-lady from 1 Kings 17 and arouses their hostility by pointing to her as an example for them!
The point is—they were the favored people of God and proud of it—but their pride had blinded them to their great need for God. And He is opposed to the proud. He commends this Gentile woman, who would be despised on the street if they encountered her, and uses her example to evoke a powerful response. They become filled with rage and attempt to murder Jesus, revealing the wicked state of their hearts.
There are many interesting side roads we could take in studying this passage: the fact that He chose this time and place to announce His Messiahship; the fickle response of a familiar crowd whose emotions range from adulation to annihilation; how He slipped away from them unharmed.
But the road I took the morning I spent meditating on this passage was this: Nothing gets past Him! I love the fact that at least eight centuries before the Messiah would come, God revealed Himself to a humble, Gentile, widow-woman who He would later use as an example in Jesus’ gospel message to His hometown.
Little did she know, as she and her son faced starvation, as she was making preparations for their final meal, that her act of faith would be used as an object lesson by the Messiah more than 800 years later!
He notices your simple acts of service, your every tearful trial, your struggles, and your failures. He notices your humble acts of obedience, and He notes every step of faith. No one else may see, but He does. I love Him for that.
As you spend your day in what may seem ordinary duties, remember He’s watching . . . noting your attitude, your trust level, your obedience, and your faith. Nothing gets past Him.