Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about Him spread quickly through the whole region. He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. When He came to the village of Nazareth, His boyhood home, He went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favour has come. ” He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at Him intently. Then He began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
Everyone spoke well of Him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from His lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
Then He said, “You will undoubtedly quote Me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in Your hometown like those You did in Capernaum.’ But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in His own hometown. “Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.”
When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed Him and forced Him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push Him over the cliff, but He passed right through the crowd and went on His way.Luke 4:14-30
These two accounts, Luke and Matthew / Mark’s, have been placed at entirely different stages of the Galilee campaign. Luke uses this segment (pericope) to open the ministry in Galilee while Matthew and Mark use it to close the campaign. We could talk more about the comparisons but I will leave you to do that for yourself. In fact there is much to comment on in this passage but I am going to control myself and not turn this into another long sdries of Gems. I would like to focus on what Luke does with this segment. It is clear to me that it is Luke who has re-ordered the story and moved it to the beginning of Jesus ministry.
Luke links this to the beginning of Jesus ministry when He has come fresh from the temptations in the wilderness and is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus begins by reading the passage from Isaiah. The one which reads: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” This is a Messianic passage and by reading this passage He is alluding to the fact that He indeed is the One on Whom the Spirit of God rests. After all, that was made clear at His baptism. it was also made clear in the wilderness with the temptations. Now it is made clear again. But in case you miss the point people; you people who “know” Me, He makes it clearer by saying: “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” Luke uses this element to set the scene for their queries about whose son He is.
Luke has picked up on the query about whose son this is and then has added so much more than Matthew and Mark. He keeps the statement of the principle that a prophet is not honoured or accepted in his hometown. The main point of the other two writers is that this One among them is The Prophet who has been expected. This child that everyone in Nazareth knows is actually the One they are all waiting for. My goodness, could this child in our midst be the One who comes in the name of LORD? But we know his family; what his dad does, his mum and his brothers and sisters. How can this child of Nazareth be the One? We have heard all He has been doing in Capernaum. The stories about the Messiah have been going far and wide. Of course they would get back to His home town. But these stories spark incredulity. This cannot be. He is just the carpenter’s son. We know his lineage!
Notice two things here and then I am going to leave you to ponder on it. Luke has already given you and them His lineage. Each step of the way it has been spelled out in no uncertain terms who we are dealing with here. Luke takes great pains to spell it out. After all that is what he has stated in the beginning of his gospel. This is a ordered, full account of the events that took place for Theophilus, all God lovers. So this is for you, Gems reader, as much as it is for the inhabitants of Nazareth. The inhabitants of Nazareth may stumble over who this One is, because their reason tells them he is just an ordinary child of the town of Nazareth. But you, reader of Luke, know much more. Luke has given you His genealogy. Luke has spelled it all out step by step. This One is the long awaited Messiah, the Saviour of the world.
Now note the second thing. “Do miracles here in Your hometown like those You did in Capernaum.” Sound familiar? Is this any different from the temptation the devil threw at Him to prove His Messiahship with frivolous miracles? The temptations continue and the opposition grows from the beginning. Starting with His home town. Should He expect different? No this is what happens with all prophets. There even seems to be a saying about it. But where are the Capernaum miracles? Luke has re-ordered the events and has gone straight to the events in Nazareth. This indicates that the order of the units from Matthew and Mark are the standard story and Luke has changed it. But why?
And why do we now have these strange additions from Luke which Matthew and Mark don’t include, at least don’t include here? I am talking about Luke using the examples of Elijah and Elisha. Matthew and Mark don’t include these examples here. Why does Luke? And why does this series of events end up with the people in His home town trying to push Him off a cliff? Again another Lukan addition. What is he saying in his re-ordering of the story.
And at the point I will leave you to ponder it. More in the next Gem.
When hardship arrives you must press through it; no one else can do that for you.Joyce Meyer
As long as your are stationary, no one will complain. Dogs don’t bark at parked cars.Max Lucado
When small, you’ll be ignored; When you grow, you’ll be criticized; If you get big, you’ll be resented. “Live for Him!”Rick Warren
Neither your critics nor your competitors should determine the standards you set for yourself.Anon