14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[a] 20 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. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 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. 23 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.’” 24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 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. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy[b] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 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. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
What an extraordinary story.
Luke has described Jesus origins: the Son of God, announced by angels, conceived of the Holy Spirit, promised to Abraham, foretold by the prophets; and Jesus called the Son of Joseph, descended from David (and heir of his promises), but also the son of Adam, the second Adam who would put right what Adam made wrong. It’s essential that he is both. But the people of his home town can’t see how can he be the fulfilment of prophesy and the son of Joseph they think they know.
They’ve heard of his teachings and the miracles he has done in Capernaum. Jesus reads from Isaiah and tells them that the law (“year of Jubilee” from Leviticus when slaves are set free and debts cancelled) and the prophets are fulfilled in their presence. This is one of those times when the threads of God’s plans coming together in a way that sends a tingle down my spine. And yet these people think they know Jesus. They can’t see past their preconceptions that he’s just Joseph’s son.
Jesus sees into their hearts (as he often does) and sees their disbelief: they want to see proof, they want to see a miracle. They are wrong on so many levels. God is not subject to our judgement, we are subject to His. God gives blessing where He chooses, not where we demand.
They are so outraged at his suggestion that they would reject him that they not only reject him, they try to kill him: an extraordinary reaction.
So do I rush off with what I think I know and fail to hear what God is saying? Do I expect God to support my expectations, or do I change my thinking (repent) to align with his?
Written by David Cornell