Jesus mentioned Naaman once in Luke’s Gospel (4:27).
He used the veteran warrior from Syria to illustrate how God’s prophets go about their business. That inspirational message caused Jesus’ listeners (which is to say his friends and neighbors), to try to drop kick him off a nearby cliff. Less than happy with Jesus’ example, they wanted to see how far the messenger could spiral down before smacking the ground.
However, Jesus “passed through the midst of them, and went on his way.” In other words, he escaped a lynch mob. Preachers and writers: beware when Naaman is mentioned!
But why not talk about him? (You prepare your escape from angry crowds while I plan mine.)
Though the name Naaman surfaces several times in the Bible, I’m interested in the fellow that starred in the fifth chapter of Second Kings. Outside of Kings and Luke, this particular Naaman barely registers. As with many Biblical characters, he appears and then vanishes. But while “on stage,” he makes an impact (and I don’t mean like a body falling off a cliff.) Naaman, a “commander of the army of the King of Aram,” or Syria for modern Googlers, is by all accounts a warrior, feared and fearsome.
In other words, one tough dude. Continue reading →