The synagogue at Nazareth

Soon after returning to Galilee, Jesus visited his home town of Nazareth. Being a genuine God- fearing Israelite, he went on the Sabbath to join with other Jews in worshipping God at the synagogue. In keeping with the synagogue custom of standing to read and sitting to preach, Jesus stood and read Isaiah 61:1-2, then sat down and explained how the passage applied to him. He was the Messiah who brought God’s salvation to a world oppressed by sin (Luke 4:16-21).

The people were surprised that the one they previously knew only as the carpenter’s son could preach so well. But before they would accept him as the Messiah, they wanted him to do miracles in Nazareth as he had done in other places. Jesus refused. He knew they did not believe in him but were interested only in seeing some spectacular performance (Luke 4:22-23).

Jesus quoted a proverb to show that God’s messengers are often not appreciated by those among whom they live, but are welcomed by people elsewhere. He gave two illustrations from the Old Testament. Elijah was unpopular in Israel but was welcomed by a woman in Phoenicia. Elisha was rejected by Israelites, but was sought by a soldier from Syria. When Israelites rejected God’s servants, God sent his blessings to people of other countries (Luke 4:24-27; cf. 1 Kings 17:9-16; 2 Kings 5:1-14). The lesson for the people of Jesus’ home town was that if they did not want God’s blessing, it would be sent to others, even to the despised Gentiles, and they would receive it.

The people of Nazareth understood what Jesus was saying and burst into anger. Their actions showed that Jesus had read the condition of their hearts correctly, for instead of believing they tried to murder him. But Jesus escaped unharmed (Luke 4:28-30).

Privacy Policy