The town reacts to Jesus


In Nazareth: at the brow of the hill

Luke 4:22-30

There was a general stir of admiration; but they were surprised that words of such grace should fall from his lips. “Is not this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

Then Jesus said, “No doubt you will quote the proverb to me, “Physician, heal yourself!” and say, “We have heard of all your doings at Capernaum; do the same here in your own home town. I tell you this,” he went on, “no prophet is recognized in his own country. There were many widows in Israel, you may be sure, in Elijah’s time, when for three years and six months the skies never opened, and famine lay hard upon the whole country; yet it was to none of those that Elijah was sent, but to a widow at Sarepta in the territory of Sidon (see 1 Kings 17). Again, in the time of the prophet Elisha there were many lepers in Israel, and not one of them was healed, but only Naaman, the Syrian” (see 2 Kings 5).

At these words the whole congregation was infuriated. They leapt up, threw him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which it was built, meaning to hurl him over the edge. But he walked straight through them all, and went away.

Surprised: Why were they surprised? *

Thoughts: on rejecting the message

How do I know if a speaker is truthful? And how do I know the speaker’s message is true? (And even when I trust the speaker, I may not accept the message if it conflicts with what I already “know” to be true.)

The Brow of the Hill – Dave Baldwin (Luke 4:16-30)

Jesus spoke after reading from the prophet Isaiah,
“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
The stunned silence was broken by one sneering
villager who wondered: “What makes you so special?”
(The Israelites claimed God was only on their side.)
The villager asked, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
“No prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town,”
said Jesus. “The Gentiles are not to be denied:
They are not created to fuel the fires of hell;
Elijah sought out lodging with a widow of Zarephath
and Elisha cleansed Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy.”
For praising the Gentiles, the good people of Nazareth
were furious. They led Jesus to the brow of the hill,
but he passed through their midst to launch his ministry.

* Surprised:

The congregation was not only surprised by Jesus’ gifts (since he was only Joseph’s son), but surprised by his interpretation of Isaiah. In Jesus’ day, the rabbis interpreted “the year of the Lord’s favor” (see Isaiah 61:2) as the time when God would restore Israel’s fortunes, freeing the people from their Gentile captors. But Jesus is clearly saying that “the year of the Lord’s favor” is coming for the Gentiles also – indeed, coming for the poor and oppressed of all nations.

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