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17: Jesus Returns to Nazareth and is Rejected

May 14, 2009

Major Text: Luke 4:16-31; Matt. 4:13-16

Key Verse: Luke 4:21


  1. Jesus Reads the Word                              Luke 4:16-20
  2. Jesus Reveals the Word                           Luke 4:17-27
  3. The Nazarites Reject the Word                Luke 4:28-29
  4. Jesus Rejects the Nazarites                       Luke 4:30-31; Matt. 4:13-16


Here we see Jesus visiting Nazareth, the town in which He grew up.  Nazareth is near the main road from Judea to Galilee if one is going through Samaria [which Jesus did].  It had a bad reputation.  Their people were aloof and proud.  Cana, where Jesus had come from, is a small out-of the way town north of Nazareth.  Capernaum was located on the Seas of Galilee and had a significant fishing industry.

Jesus went to Nazareth which implies that He no longer lived there [see the previous lessons’ speculation].  He goes to the local synagogue on the Sabbath and reads from the prophet Isaiah and proclaims to tell those in attendance that He is the fulfillment of that prophecy.

They were amazed at His gracious words, especially since they knew Him as Joseph’s son.  But I also speculate that the dialogue is incomplete in that only Jesus’ words are given.  I suspect that the people began questioning Jesus as to His authority such as: If you are Joseph’s son, how can you claim to be the Son of God? You healed in Capernaum so why can’t you heal yourself? [Perhaps Jesus was limping from all the walking He has done.]  You even healed a gentile in Capernaum but you won’t do likewise here in your hometown?  What they were saying is “We don’t believe you.”  He sensed their attitude and equated it with a similar experience of Elijah’s.  This really outraged the Nazarites. In fact, they were willing to kill Jesus for His refusal to do miracles in their midst.  After all they were worthy, not unworthy.  They were deserving, not repentant.  Jesus was not worthy of their worship.

He came to serve but caused tension because they refused to accept His credentials.  Jesus avoids their lynch mob and moves to Capernaum, thus fulfilling another prophecy of Isaiah.



1) With whom are you placing your faith?

  • The Inspired Word of God?
  • The inspired word of religious leaders?
  • The inspired word of higher education?
  • The inspired word of political leaders?
  • The inspired word of Wall Street?
  • The inspired word of the media?
  • The inspired word of self?
  • Others? None of the above?

Recognize who Jesus is and make the right decision.

2) Recognize that the TRUTH doesn’t guarantee acceptance by others.
3) When you witness that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and God Incarnate, don’t
expect applause; expect stones.
4) It sometimes requires more boldness to witness to those closest to us [our
families]. In times of tension, use gracious words.
5) Jesus came to Read the Word and to Reveal the Word. It’s called witnessing.

Witnessing is Personal

It is a:     PERSONAL PRESENTATION …………about a
PERSONAL GOD ………………………requiring a

Consider the application of the following diagram.


Hub:       Christ’s Purpose
Spokes:  Christ’s Means
Rim:       Christ’s Provision

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