Nazareth’s Rejection of Jesus

Jesus was rejected by the Jews of his hometown twice, once at the beginning of the Galilean ministry (Luke 4:16-31a) and once at the end of the Galilean Ministry (Matthew 13:54ff). Jesus gave even those who tried to kill him a second chance. It was the custom of Jesus to regularly attend synagogue worship and to participate in a public way in the services. According to Jewish obligatory customs, those reading in synagogue worship from the law and the prophets were required to stand while reading.

v16-20, Jesus unrolled the scroll which was like scrolls in Jewish synagogues today, Reading from Isaiah 61:1ff.  The Messiah would have the Spirit of God upon him, He would…

…be anointed to preach good tidings to the poor,

…proclaim release to the captives, 2 Timothy 2:26, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

…proclaim recovery of sight to the blind.  John 9:39, Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will  see and those who see will become blind”,

…set at liberty those who are bruised and proclaim the acceptable year of God.

Jesus rolled up the scroll and returned it to the attendant, sat down to teach as was the custom of that time, and had all the eyes in the synagogue glued on him. This indicated interest in what was read and the loving way in which Jesus had read the passage.

v21-24 Here Jesus declared that he was the fulfillment of this prophecy, the long awaited Messiah. The initial reaction to Jesus’ presentation was favorable. Jesus was a godly orator of scripture.  His speech is here called “words of grace.” They were amazed that a carpenter’s son who had grown up among them could speak in such a confident & educated way. They knew Joseph who may have still been living. Jesus anticipated the objections of the people of his hometown and that his listeners would want a duplication of the miracles performed in Capernaum.  Matthew 11:23, And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies?  No, you will go down to the depths.  If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. Jesus said no prophet has honor in his hometown and that miraculous performances would not change this. The people must have begun to murmur while Jesus was speaking. This same type of objection continued even to the cross.  “Physician, heal thyself…”  “He saved others; himself he cannot save.”  (Matthew 27:42) The Nazarenes may have been jealous that Jesus had performed miracles in Capernaum instead of in his home town, Nazareth.

v25-28, see 1Kings 17-18, Compare  James 5:17,  Elijah prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. A Gentile widow, a Sidonian, was the one to whom Elijah was sent, not to Jewish widows. The Jews of that day were filled with unbelief.  Elijah went to a person with an open mind. So it was with Jesus who worked miracles in Capernaum rather than Nazareth. Many lepers were suffering in the days of Elisha, but he only healed Naaman the Syrian, a Gentile, see 2 Kings 5:1-14. The prophet then as Jesus in his day performed miracles among people of faith, Jew or Gentile. These illustrations aroused prejudice against Jesus from the Jews.

v29-30, These “religious leaders” of Jesus’ hometown attempted to murder him without a trial. Unbridled anger is a terrible thing & seen elsewhere, John 8:59, At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. John 10:21. But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon.  Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”  Accept Jesus & follow Him because  we don’t want to be like those who rejected Him and left. He loves His enemies, do we?

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