7613 - Rejection at Nazareth


Let’s consider the message that Jesus brought to the people of his hometown.

We are now studying in Luke 4. Listen to verses 14-21:
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

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, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

In the first sentence we find that Jesus was “in the power of the Spirit.” This truth characterizes the years of ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived in the dynamics of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and also of Father God living in and through Him. In the Gospel of John, Chapter 14 (v.10) Jesus told His disciples that “it is the Father living in me, who is doing His work.” This accounted for the continual flow of divine power through Jesus.

Friends, prior to Luke’s passage for today, the gospel of John gives us insight into what is called the “Early Judean Ministry” which covered six to eight months. During this period Jesus allowed Himself to be regarded as Messiah by his disciples.

This period includes the record of John the Baptist identifying Jesus as the Messiah in the area near the Jordan River. It was also in this region where Jesus first met several of the men who became disciples.

The wedding festival in Cana where Jesus performed His first miracle occurs in this interval.

There was also a sojourn to Capernaum, followed by a trip to Jerusalem for Passover. It was on this trip when Jesus offended the Jewish leaders by cleansing the Temple of oxen and sheep and doves and of the money changers.

On the return trip to Galilee He passed through Samaria and made an impact on the city of Sychar through the woman at the well. He personally declared to this woman that He is Messiah.

Now back in Galilee, notice Jesus taught in their synagogues. Any town with at least ten Jewish families could have a synagogue. It was customary for the synagogue leader to invite important visitors to speak in the service. Such was the occasion when Jesus read the passage from Isaiah, which we read.

This passage refers to the Spirit of the Lord being upon me. It talks about proclaiming freedom to prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, and giving release to the oppressed. Jesus then announced, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The people approved of what they heard.
Then Jesus acknowledges to the people that no prophet is accepted in his home town.

He reminded the people that Elijah was sent to relieve the suffering of a foreign widow. He also related how Naaman, from Syria, was healed of leprosy by Elisha while Israelites were passed over. This reminder that God in past history had been gracious to Gentiles angered the people, so they drove Him out of town.

The people of Nazareth rejected Jesus and refused to even consider the facts, which were emerging, which demonstrated that Jesus was the Messiah.

The Jewish people could not accept that God was interested in Gentiles. They expected a conquering Messiah to come and set up the glorious kingdom talked about in prophecy, and to vanquish the Gentiles.

They completely missed those prophetic passages, which tell of the suffering Savior.