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The gospel message is only Good News to those who humble themselves and acknowledge that their spiritual condition is characterized by poverty, bondage, blindness and oppression. The launch of the public ministry of Jesus in His hometown setting of Nazareth in the synagogue that He knew so well stirred up extreme opposition. The Jews were inclined to seek after signs and miracles rather than embrace God’s Word with hearts of faith. They especially hated to hear about God sovereignly passing over unrepentant Jews to show His mercy to pagan Gentiles. What started out as hometown curiously quickly degenerated into crowd rage. Jesus in turn rejected the city of Nazareth and moved on to offer His ministry to other regions.



A. (:16-17) Preparation for the Public Reading of Scripture

1. (:16a) Stopping in His Home Town for a Public Appearance

“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up;”

2. (:16b) Speaking in the Synagogue on the Sabbath

“and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.”

3. (:17) Selecting the Text

“And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him.

And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written,”

B. (:18-19) Proclamation of the Messianic Text from Isaiah 61

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,”

Don’t overlook the importance of the role of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of Jesus

Chiastic Structure:

1a. (:18a) Preaching the Gospel

“Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.”

2a. (:18b) Proclaiming Release

“He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,”

3. (:18c) Restoring Sight

“And recovery of sight to the blind,”

2b. (:18d) Setting Free

“To set free those who are downtrodden,”

1b. (:19) Proclaiming Blessing

“To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

C. (:20-21) Prophetic Fulfillment of the Scripture

1. (:20a) Conclusion of the Prophetic Reading

“And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down;”

2. (:20b) Concentration of the Curious Worshipers

“and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him.”

Lenski: There must have been a dignity and a power in his whole appearance, in every inflection of his voice, and in every gesture and movement, that riveted all eyes in the synagogue upon him. The scene was far above what any one in Nazareth realized. The Word himself had read the Word to them. When Jesus sat down, this was a signal that he would make an address.

3. (:21) Clarification of the Messianic Fulfillment

“And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’”

Donald Miller: So, Jesus boldly links this Coming Age to himself. . Here we see that the heart of Jesus’ message lay in the fact that he was the fulfiller of the Old Testament. Now is God’s gracious time, for the One who is to usher it in is in their midst. All that the prophets had announced, all that Jewish history prefigured, was unrolling before their very eyes in him! There was a deeper poverty, a worse captivity, a more tragic blindness, a more shattering oppression, than that of ancient Babylon or the Rome of their day. It was that wrought by Satan. Here was the “stronger” One who had come to invade Satan’s domain and conquer him (Luke 11:22).



A. (:22) Superficial Praise

“All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ they asked.”

Wiersbe: At first, they admired the way He taught, but it didn’t take long for their admiration to turn into antagonism. Why? Because Jesus began to remind them of God’s goodness to the Gentiles. . . Our Lord’s message of grace was a blow to the proud Jewish exclusivism of the congregation, and they would not repent. Imagine this hometown Boy saying that Jews had to be saved by grace just like the pagan Gentiles!

B. (:23-24) Stunning Principle

1. Hometown Expecations

a. Expectation of Healing

“Jesus said to them, ‘Surely you will quote this proverb to me: Physician, heal yourself!’”

Cf. mocking taunts hurled at Jesus when He was on the cross

b. Expectation of Miracles

“And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

Donald Miller: Men cannot demand of God that he send the Messiah in the form they have predetermined. Faith cannot rest on visible confirmation of a sort which the believer himself has determined.

2. Hometown Rejection

“’Truly I tell you,’ he continued, ‘no prophet is accepted in his hometown.’”

Luke has primarily Gentile audience in view; stresses the universality of the gospel

C. (:25-27) Surprising Proof – 2 OT Examples of Prophetic Blessing Directed Towards Outsiders Instead of Insiders

1. (:25-26) Example from Ministry of Elijah 1 Kings 17:8-16

“I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.”

Hiding him from wrath of King Ahab; the queen was on a mission to butcher God’s prophets; withdrawal of God’s Word from the land in preparation for judgment; the heart of Baal worship – showing God’s grace extending beyond the scope of Jewish nationalistic pride; every morning was a fresh evidence of the gracious provision of the Lord

2. (:27) Example from Ministry of Elisha 2 Kings 5:1-14

“And 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.”

Look at his testimony in vs. 15 — would that the Jews had the same depth of theology and testimony

J. Ligon Duncan: What’s different about them and the people in Nazareth and the people in Israel around them in their own time? They believed the prophets’ words. And Jesus says, ‘You know, you people here in Galilee, you haven’t learned much in the last 800 years. You’re just like your forebears before you: you don’t believe. God sent His anointed to you, and His word’s not enough. You want to see a miracle, and you don’t even think that I’ve done the miracles that I’ve done in the other parts of this place.’ And He says, ‘So guess what? God’s going to do you just like He did them. He’s not going to give you the miracles. There will be no miracle-doing here in Nazareth because you’ve got hard hearts. You’re laden with your sins, and you don’t believe My words.’

People of Nazareth got the point of these 2 OT examples

D. (:28-30) Severe Persecution – Complete Reversal of Reaction from the People

“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 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 off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.”

Remember reaction of Jonah to God’s mercy in sparing the people of Nineveh

Am I right to be angry?? These people were furious

Leon Morris: He simply passed through the midst of them and went away. He spoke no angry word, nor did He work any spectacular miracle. He simply walked through the mob. Some have felt that this was itself a miracle – though not the kind of miracle the Nazarenes wanted! As far as is known Jesus never returned to Nazareth. Rejection can be final.