“Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ they asked. Jesus said to them, ‘Surely you will quote this proverb to me: “Physician, heal yourself!” And you will tell me, “Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.”’ ‘Truly I tell you,’ he continued, ‘no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.’ All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” Luke 4:20-30
Jesus had grown up in Nazareth, a quaint little town in the Galilee, small enough that probably everyone knew everyone.
He stood up to teach. Jesus said He had good news and the crowds praised Him. He talked about sight for the blind and the people spoke well of Him. When He mentioned freedom and release for the oppressed, the people were amazed. This was a message they wanted to hear. Rome had been their taskmaster for many years and this teaching was delivered with authority and heard with great joy.
But…“Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
The people knew Joseph. They knew Mary. Jesus was a hometown boy.
But Jesus could see their hearts. He knew their unbelief. Of course, the crowds would like to see miracles, but miracles would not be done there.
“No prophet is accepted in his hometown.”
He told the story of Elijah being sent to save a widow in Zarephath in the Gentile region of Sidon. Jesus spoke about many people in Israel who had leprosy at the time of Elisha, but only Naaman, a Syrian, had been cleansed.
Gentiles? Syrians? These words were not amazing, nor were they well received. Here was Jesus speaking about help for Gentiles, the very dogs who were holding Israel captive. This was not a message the people wanted to hear. This was not the good news they thought He was there to deliver. And delight turned to fury. Glorious words became murderous and the crowds drove Jesus to a cliff. They wanted to throw Him down.
But His time had not yet come. The day would arrive when the crowds would see to it that Jesus paid with His life for His teaching, but that day was not today. Jesus walked through the crowds and went on His way to preach the Good News to those who were ready to listen.