Rejection at Home - Luke 4

Rejection at Home

Luke 4:1-44

There's no place like home.  Home for Jesus was Nazareth. That's where He had grown up.  It was the hometown of Joseph and Mary.  This village in the northern province of Galilee was always small and isolated.  It's never mentioned in the Old Testament.  Trade routes passed nearby, but the town itself was not located on any main road.  In the first chapter of John when Nathaniel first heard of Jesus of Nazareth, he wryly asked, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"

Jesus was not a stranger to the people there.  They knew Him as a child, a teenager, a young adult.  His father was Joseph, the carpenter, and there had been talk that Mary was Jesus' mother, but Joseph was not the biological father.  Everyone seems to know everybody in small towns.

Word had reached Nazareth that Jesus had been preaching and healing the sick in Capernaum, which was also in Galilee on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.  "News of Him went out through all the surrounding region.  And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all."  Luke 4:14, 15.

Jesus returned home, and on the Sabbath went into the synagogue, where He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah.  He read from Isaiah 61:1, 2: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." 

The people were confused.  How could the son of Joseph be the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy?  They "marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth."  But they had seen no miracles of healing.

Jesus knew their thoughts, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country."  This was true throughout the history of the nation of Israel.  Then Jesus cited incidents related to two of Israel's greatest prophets, Elijah and Elisha.  In a time of drought and famine Elijah had been sent by God to a widow woman, a Gentile, who lived in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.  There were many lepers in Israel, but God used Elisha in the miraculous cleansing of another Gentile, Naaman of Syria.  Elijah and Elijah were two prophets that were not accepted in their own country, and He was also being rejected.

The people of Nazareth demonstrated that Jesus was right.  They did not honor Him.  In fact "all those in the synagogue...were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city, and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff."  Luke 4:28, 29.  Welcome home!

The next verse simply says, "Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way."  (Jesus had a similar experience in the temple in Jerusalem.  See John 8:59.)  Yes, He went His way.  As far as we know, He never returned to His home town.

Rejection is a common experience among Christians.  "For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls."  Take heart, and move on, following Jesus in the way.

 

Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus.  We desire to honor you in all that we do.  Keep us from discouragement and despair when we encounter indifference and rejection.  We pray in Jesus' name.  Amen! 

 

Following Jesus - Luke 5

 
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