14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the entire vicinity. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone.
16 He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written: 18 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 to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.” 22 They were all speaking well of Him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from His mouth, yet they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” 23 Then He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me: ‘Doctor, heal yourself. So all we’ve heard that took place in Capernaum, do here in Your hometown also.’” 24 He also said, “I assure you: No prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them —but to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 And in the prophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had serious skin diseases, yet not one of them was healed —only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. 29 They got up, drove Him out of town, and brought Him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl Him over the cliff. 30 But He passed right through the crowd and went on His way.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
He began by saying to them,“Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.” They were all speaking well of Himand were amazed by the gracious words that came from His mouth, yet they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” —Luke 4:21-22
What if I gave you the opportunity to go back to your hometown? Upon arrival, you’d have the chance to see old friends, have dinner, and hang out for a while. There would be classmates, extended family, a few old teachers, a neighbor or two and all of your old “flames.”
Such an opportunity would bring mixed emotions for most. There’s no doubt we’d love to catch up with many of the old friends. But there’s a high probability that parts of the past we’d rather leave right there in the past.
Here’s where we find Jesus in today’s passage. He’s begun His ministry. Already, His popularity has grown as He continued to teach and perform miracles. To say the least, His ministry has been turning heads. But now led by the Spirit, Jesus goes home to Galilee—specifically Nazareth where He grew up as a child.
On the Sabbath, we find Jesus in the synagogue in front of many of the folks who knew him as a child. It’s here that Jesus chooses to make one of the biggest pronouncements of His early ministry. He announces that He’s the fulfillment of ancient Messianic prophecy from the book of Isaiah.
The reaction is the same that you'd get if you stood in front of your friends and announced you were Santa Claus. The crowd is astounded. There’s no way this guy—the same guy they watched grow up in the streets of Nazareth—could be the long-awaited Messiah. But he was.
Jesus goes on to remind them of how their ancestors had rejected some of the greatest prophets in Israel’s history. It’s as if Jesus was, well, let’s put it in the phrasing of one of today’s most overused statements: He was just saying…
Really—He was. He was simply telling the truth. He was making the world’s most significant announcement. So, why did they miss it? The friends and family and neighbors that gathered in the synagogue that day had the rare privilege of worshipping with the Savior. Yet, they missed it all. They refused to acknowledge what stood right in front of them.
There’s a danger you and I may do the same. They say “familiarity breeds contempt.” Maybe the people of Nazareth had become too accustomed to Jesus. Maybe you and I have done the same. Maybe the stories, the books, the songs and the sermons have caused us to become so familiar with what others think of Jesus that we’re unable to see who Jesus really is.
I want to invite you to do something different as you launch into 2014. Ask God to teach you something new about His Son, to show you things you’ve never seen or heard about the Messiah. Invite Him to destroy false images and clear up misunderstandings. Make it your goal to come to know Jesus—the pure, unadulterated man of Nazareth.
In doing so, I pray that you come to know the One who came “to proclaim freedomto the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed…” May your search of His Words lead you to a deeper, more intimate relationship with the true Son of God.
- Where do you get your information about Jesus—sermons, books, other friends, even the media?
- Have you become “too” familiar with these images of Jesus? Have you become so familiar with Jesus that you don’t think you could possibly know anything new about Him?
- Jesus said he came to proclaim freedom to captives, sight for the blind and to set free the oppressed. Do any of these describe where you are right now, even on a spiritual level? How would your new year look if you were to claim the promises of the Savior for yourself and come to know Him in a different way this year?