(16) He went to where he had been raised, Nazareth, and on the Sabbath day, as was his habit, he entered the synagogue there. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
(18) “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, freedom to prisoners, healing to the blind, liberty to the oppressed, and to all that this is the year of the Lord’s great blessing.”
(20) Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. Every eye in the synagogue was on him. He began by saying to them, “This Scripture is fulfilled as you hear it today.”
(22) Everyone there bore witness to his words and were staggered because of these words of grace that he had uttered. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
(23) Jesus said to them, “No doubt you will quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your own hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”
(24) “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “prophets are not accepted in their hometowns. I assure you that when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land in Elijah’s time, there were many widows in Israel. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And in the time of Elisha the prophet there were many in Israel with leprosy, yet not one of them was cleansed — only a Syrian named Naaman.”
(28) When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue became furious. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the top of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. (Luke 4:16-30 DSV; Nazareth rejects Jesus)
1. What was a typical synagogue assembly on the Sabbath like in Jesus’ time (vs.16)?
2. What is the surrounding context of the passages Jesus read in Isaiah 61:1-2 (vs.18-19)?
3. The text says Jesus was seated when he spoke (vs.20). On what other occasions in Luke (or the other Gospels) is Jesus depicted as sitting while he spoke?
4. The typical English rendering of vs.22 implies the people in the synagogue were pleased with Jesus’ words. This is a strong contrast to the immediate developments within the account (i.e. – they seek to kill him). Are there other ways vs.22 might legitimately be rendered?
5. What is meant by the phrase “words of grace” in vs.22?
6. Is the proverb ‘Physician, heal yourself’ known to us from any other source other than this text (vs.23)? Does it sound like or remind you of any other words spoken in Luke’s Gospel?
7. What exactly had Jesus done in Capernaum that the people in his hometown, Nazareth, had heard about? Is there resentment in their question? In what ways were Capernaum and Nazareth different and do those differences color the statement made here (vs.23)?
8. Where are the accounts and what was the context of the specific points of ministry by Elijah and Elisha mentioned in this passage (vs.24-27)?
9. What do we know of the geography surrounding Nazareth? Can the hill and cliff be pinpointed today (vs.28-29)?
10. Was Jesus able to slip away through the crowd in the midst of (due to?) the crowd’s chaos and confusion or was his escape miraculous (vs.30)?