Not surprisingly, the rejection of Jesus in Luke 4 (beginning in verse 16) is often mistaken as being the same event as the one written about in Matthew 13:54-58 and Mark 6:1-6. Both the Luke event and the one in Matthew and Mark took place in His home town of Nazareth. But the one in Luke took place at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.
Recall that the rejection written about by Matthew and Mark occurred after Jesus had explained the parables to his disciples (Matthew 13:36-52). It should not be surprising to us that Jesus would go back there, much less that he would be trying to teach them when he did. That second rejection was fairly uneventful, relatively speaking. This first rejection in Nazareth, however, resulted in a mob attempting to kill him.
After his temptations in the wilderness, Jesus returned to Galilee, and the word was spreading about him. He taught in the synagogues, and verse 15 says He was “being glorified by all.” Then we find Jesus in Nazareth in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Luke says that this was His custom, which is, of course, what we would expect. He stood up to read, and the scroll of Isaiah was given to Him. He quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2, which is part of what is known as the fifth “servant song” in Isaiah. This one would seem to speak to those returning from exile at the time Isaiah wrote it. And at first (although all eyes were on Him after reading it), many of those in the synagogue appeared not to “get it” at first.
Then, as understanding began to come to them, some reminded others that He was Joseph’s son. Jesus perceived the way they were headed, telling them that “no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.” He then cites 1 Kings 17:9, where Elijah (during the famine) was sent to the Gentile widow in Sidon. Next, He refers to 2 Kings 5:1-14, where (though there were plenty of lepers in Israel in Elisha’s time), only Naaman of Syria was cleansed. The point of referring to these incidents was to underscore the unbelief that was widespread in Israel at the time, and the contrasting faith shown by these Gentiles.
Filled with rage, the people drove Him out to the edge of the hill on which the town was built, intending to throw Him down. It was the same murderous rage that nearly got Paul killed in Acts 22:17-22, as he also referred to Gentiles. But this was not the time for Jesus to be murdered, and so verse 30 says that He went away, “passing through their midst.”
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.