Jesus Rejected

Luke 4: 23–30

In response, Jesus assaulted their “acceptance” of him: “Jesus said to them, ‘Surely you will quote this proverb to me: “Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your home town what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.” I tell you the truth,’ he continued, ‘no prophet is accepted in his home town’ ” (vv. 23, 24). Jesus said exactly what the pious worshipers, the good people of Nazareth, were thinking. “If he’s a prophet, I’m Isaiah! How about a few tricks? It’s not too much to ask of a real prophet. Blind? Poor? Prisoners? Oppressed? Who does he think he is?”

The fact is, they already had enough evidence to believe in him—the objective evidence of the miracles in Capernaum Jesus had alluded to. All Galilee, which was only twenty-five by forty miles, was talking about what had happened. Their difficulty in accepting him did not come from the lack of objective evidence. As David Gooding writes: “It was an irrational—or at least non-rational-instinctive, emotional bias. It would be difficult for them to overcome this emotional bias; but the difficulty was on their side not on his. They would have to recognize its existence, and overcome it, if ever they were going to be fair to the evidence.”

But the debate over evidence aside, Jesus went right to the heart of the matter, which was their spiritual self-sufficiency and pride. To make his point, he cited two famous Old Testament examples: Elijah and the Widow, and Elisha and Naaman. The fine citizens of Nazareth had heard enough. “All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff” (vv. 28, 29). But hear also the warning: “There were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian” (v. 27).

Hughes, R. K. (1998). Luke: that you may know the truth (pp. 143–146). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.