The Acceptance and Rejection of Jesus
Luke 4:14-30 – August 22, 2021
4:14-15 – Jesus after his baptism was, Luke 4:1, full of the Holy Spirit, and was now, after 40 days of fasting and temptation by Satan, He was walking in the power of the Spirit.
He went to Galilee, where according to the Jewish historian Josephus, some 3 million people lived in over 240 towns and cities, most with a population of 15,000 or more.
What was Jesus doing there? He was teaching and throughout the Gospels He was primarily a teacher or preacher, not a miracle worker. We tend to focus on His miracles, but He was primarily a teacher.
4:16-17 – Being this was in the beginning of His teaching; it was not that long ago people in Nazareth knew Him and had not seen anything special about Him. He was simply one of them to the best of their knowledge, except for the stories they had already heard of Him from the countryside. Only recently according to Matthew 4:13 He had left Nazareth and moved to Capernaum.
He was in the synagogue and stood up to read. It is useful to know the usual order of a service in the synagogue. It normally began with an opening prayer and praise; then a reading from the Law; then a reading from the prophets and then a sermon – sometimes from a learned visitor. On this day Jesus took the position of such a visitor. Now, after teaching in synagogues throughout the countryside, He would teach in the synagogue He grew up attending.
4:18-19 – The amazing thing here is the one speaking here is the Anointed One; the Messiah, the Christ. Remember the word anoint means apply an oil of sorts to the one being anointed. In the OT anointing with oil was common, especially upon priests where it was a sign of the Holy Spirit upon their life symbolizing the spiritual work going on inside.
In this prophecy of Isaiah, the Messiah announced that He came to heal the five areas of damage that sin brings.
To preach the gospel to the poor: Sin bankrupts, and the Messiah brings good news to the poor.
To heal the brokenhearted: Sin breaks hearts, and the Messiah has good news for the brokenhearted.
To proclaim liberty to the captives: Sin makes people captive and enslaves them, and the Messiah comes to set them free.
Recovery of sight to the blind: Sin blinds us, and the Messiah comes to heal our spiritual and moral blindness.
To set at liberty those who are oppressed: Sin oppresses its victims, and the Messiah comes to bring liberty to the oppressed.
Jesus would do all these things at the end of His ministry when He would die for our sins. He would deliver us.
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD: Jesus at the end the idea of His ministry would effectively claim the the year of Jubilee where Jubilee slaves were set free, debts cancelled: freedom as described in Leviticus 25.
4:20-22 – Jesus sat and prepared to teach with everyone’s eyes upon Him waiting to hear what He would say. They must have been shocked to hear Him say Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. He was saying Isaiah wrote of Him and the time of the anointed one was now!
Initially those listening spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. Somehow they were aware – again initially – that the anointed one, the Messiah was indeed in their presence.
Then somewhere during His teaching a murmuring began asking Isn’t this Joseph’s son? There must have been much more, and it must have become more than a murmur because Jesus decided to address this question and all that it implied. Somehow, after being amazed at His teaching they began to be filled without doubt. After all how could Joseph’s son speak with such authority and claim to be the Messiah? Who did He think He was? He is one of us!
4:23-27 – What is going on here? Bottom line, they were not buying that Jesus was the anointed one. If He was the anointed one then they wanted Jesus to prove His claim with miracles as they had heard He had done in Capernaum. They were like folks from Missouri, the “Show me” state. Plus they knew this was His hometown and they wanted some special dispensation. Show us they demanded.
When Jesus said, No prophet is accepted in his own country, He understood how easy it is to doubt the power and work of God among those who know us best – or think they do. Clearly it was easier for those in Nazareth both to doubt and reject Jesus simply because He seemed so ordinary and familiar to them.How did Jesus answer their doubts? He used the examples of Elijah and Elisha showing God would help those He chose to help and in the latter example of helping Naaman the Syrian, He would help Gentiles.
4:28-30 – Imagine that. The response to His message and answer to their objections was to kill Him. Something that would occur regularly in His ministry. One thing for sure He did not seek the approval of those listening to His message.
They wanted to throw Him down over the cliff as a prelude to stoning Him to death. Pushing someone off a small cliff was often the first step in the process of stoning. Once the victim fell down, they were pelted with rocks until dead.
Then a miracle occurred, He walked right through them and went on his way.