Jesus Visits Nazareth and Is Rejected.

5-24. JESUS VISITS NAZARETH AND IS REJECTED.
a MATT. 13:54-58; b MARK 6:1-6; c LUKE 4:16-31.

      b 1 And he went out from thence [from Capernaum]; and he cometh {a And coming} b into his own country; and his disciples follow him.

  c 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up [As to this city, see Section 6 and Section 15. As to the early years of Jesus at Nazareth, see Section 16]:

  b 2 And when the sabbath was come c he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. [This does not mean that it had been the custom of Jesus when he was a young man in Nazareth to read in the synagogue. It means that after he entered his public ministry it was his custom to use the synagogue as his place of teaching on the sabbath day ( Mark 1:39 ; Mark 3:1 Mark 3:2 ). For comment on this usage of the synagogue see Section 33.]

  17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place [ Isaiah 61:1 Isaiah 61:2 ; but the quotation embraces other lines from Isaiah.] where it was written,

  18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor [Anointing was the method by which prophets, priests, and kings were consecrated or set apart to their several offices. This prophecy says that the a work of divine helpfulness]: He hath sent me to preach release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised,

  19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. [The prophecy set forth in physical terms what Jesus should perform in both the physical and spiritual realms. The prophecy closes with a reference to the jubilee year, which, being a time of liberation, forgiveness, and fresh starts, was a type of Christ's ministry and kingdom.]

  20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant [This officer corresponded to our sexton. Part of this duty was to take charge of the synagogue rolls], and sat down [Reader and congregation both stood during the reading; then, usually, both sat down to hear the passage explained. They stood out of reverence for God's word]: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. [They had heard of his miracles, and were curious to see what he would say and do.]

  21 And he began to say unto them, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears.

  22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth [The word grace refers rather to the manner than to the matter. The speech of Jesus flowed easily, and gracefully]:

  a 54 And he taught {b began to teach} a them in their {b the synagogue}: a insomuch that b many hearing him were astonished, a and said, {b saying,} Whence hath this man these things? a this wisdom, and these might works? b and, What is the wisdom that is given unto this man, and what mean such mighty works wrought by his hands? [They admitted his marvelous teaching and miraculous works, but were at a loss to account for them because their extreme familiarity with his humanity made it hard for them to believe in his divinity, by which alone his actions would be rightly explained. Twice in the early part of his ministry Jesus had been at Cana, within a few miles of Nazareth, and turning away from it had gone down to Capernaum. He did not call the evidences were so full that they could not deny them.]

  3 Is not this the carpenter, c Joseph's son? a the carpenter's son? b the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? a is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas?

  56 And his sisters, are they not all b here with us? [They brought forth every item of trade and relationship by which they could confirm themselves in their conviction that he was simply a human being like themselves. The question as to his identity, however, suggests that he may have been absent from Nazareth some little time. As to Jesus' kindred, see Section 41.] a Whence then hath this man all these things?

  57 And they were offended in him. [His claims were too high for them to admit, and too well accredited for them to despise, so they sought refuge from their perplexity by getting angry at Jesus.]

  c 23 And he said unto them, Doubtless ye will say unto me this parable, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in thine own country. [Jesus quoted a familiar proverb, the meaning of which is this: he was part of Nazareth, and hence the claims of Nazareth upon him were superior to those of Capernaum, and therefore Nazareth should have been blessed by his healing. But the expression was evidently used contemptuously, as if they said, "You can do big things at Capernaum, but you can not do them here. You can not deceive us; we know you."]

a But {b And} Jesus said unto them, c Verily I say unto you, b a prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. c No prophet is acceptable in his own country. [Jealousy forbids the countrymen of a prophet to honor him. Base as this passion is, it is a very common one, and is not easily subdued, even by the best of men. In Nazareth Jesus was no more than the son of a carpenter, and the brother of a certain very common young men and girls, while abroad he was hailed as the prophet of Galilee, mighty in word and deed.]

  25 But of a truth I say unto you [Jesus now proceeds to make two close applications of the proverb], There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land;

  26 and unto none of them was Elijah sent, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, unto a woman [a Gentile] that was a widow

  27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet: and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. [Naaman also was a Gentile. The first instance cited by Jesus will be found at 1 Kings 17:8-16 , and the second at 2 Kings 5:1-14 . Palestine was filled with poor people even in times of plenty, so there must have been large numbers of hungry people during the long-continued period of famine. There has always been a large number of lepers in the land, and surely if any disease ought to prompt a man to lay aside his prejudices that he might obtain healing it was leprosy; but as Nazareth was now rejecting Jesus, so their ancestors had despised the two mighty prophets. Not one of all the hungry would have received bread from Elijah by an act of faith, nor did one of all the lepers ask healing from Elisha.]

  28 And they were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things [The Nazarenes were jealous enough of the claims of Jesus when put in their most modest dress; but when Jesus placed himself alongside Elijah and Elisha, and likened his hearers to widows for want, and lepers for uncleanness, they were ready to dash him to pieces];

  29 and they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him [they evidently had hold of him] unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. [Near the eastern end of Nazareth there is a cavern in the rock which forms a precipice down which, if a man were hurled, he would be killed. At the western end there is a perpendicular cliff about forty feet high, with a naked floor of rock at the bottom. To which place they led Jesus we can not decide.]

went his way. [A simple statement of a marvelous fact. Miracles are not explained in the Bible.]

  b 5 And he could there do no mighty work,

  a 58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. b save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.

  6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. [As to this statement that Jesus felt surprised, see Section 43. "It should also be borne in mind," says Canon Cook, "that surprise at the obtuseness and unreasonableness of sin is constantly attributed to God by the prophets." The statement, therefore, is perfectly consonant with the divinity of Jesus.]

  c 31 And he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. [We have followed the chronology of Mark, according to which Jesus had already been living in Capernaum for some time. Luke tells of the rejection early in his narrative, and adds this line to show that from the earlier days of his ministry Jesus made Capernaum his headquarters.]