Jesus came to Nazareth, the place where He had grown up and as it was His custom, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read in front of the people. He opened the book and found the place in the book of Isaiah where it was written: “ The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,“ To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. There seemed to be a pregnant pause as everyone’s eyes were fixed on Him. Then, Jesus dropped the bombshell. “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
The people began to talk about Jesus, marveling at the wonderful things He said and then they asked among themselves, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” They failed to see Him as the One whom Isaiah spoke of in the Scripture Jesus had just read. Instead they only saw Him as the Son of the carpenter. How many people today fail to recognize Jesus as the Son of God because they only see Him as a good teacher or a prophet?
Jesus said to them, “You will certainly want to tell me this saying, “Doctor, first make yourself well.” You will tell me to do the same things here in my own hometown that you heard I did in Capernaum. But you can be sure that no prophets are liked by the people of their own hometown” (CEV).
Jesus responded to their unbelief by telling them about the non-Jews whom God had shown His salvation to because of the unbelief in Israel. Although there were many widows in Israel at the time of a great famine which lasted for three years and six months, God sent Elijah to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon to a widow living there. There were many lepers in Israel but God sent Elisha to Naaman, the Syrian instead to cleanse him. The people in the synagogue did not appreciate what Jesus was saying to them. In fact, they became so angry that they caught hold of Him and threw Him out of town. They dragged Him to the edge of the cliff on which the town was built and were going to throw Him off but Jesus managed to get away.
How many Christians are rejected by their families, friends, neighbors and co-workers who only see them as they were before they accepted Christ? They resent new believers telling them about Christ when not so long ago they were drinking, going to clubs and doing all manner of things. The people of Nazareth resented Jesus teaching them the things of God. In their minds they asked, “Who does He think He is? His father was a carpenter. We watched Him grow up and now He is trying to tell us how to live?”
Many of us are going to face rejection when we try to share the Good News with others but we must not let this discourage us. God will send us to the people we need to reach just as He sent Elijah to the widow of Zarepheth and Elisha to Naaman, the Syrian.