No Prophet Is Accepted in His Own Native Place


Awhile back, the angels asked me to dedicate Sundays to the Gospels. With Love and Gratitude, here is the Gospel of Luke 4:21-30

Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying:
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say,
‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”
And he said, “Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.


The angels said that Jesus was rejected by his own hometown.

Jesus is home, led there by the Spirit, and he has just proclaimed an Isaian text declaring the release to prisoners and sight to the blind. But his own neighbors will suffer a peculiar kind of blindness that afflicts those who have lived  alongside the fountain of truth without drinking deep from its refreshing waters. They respond well, glowingly in fact, to his initial utterance. Luke tells us they ” were amazed” and commented on his gracious words. But he also gives us a clue that acquits Jesus of intentionally provoking his neighbors with inflammatory words about the thick blood of their ancestors running in their own veins.

They also asked, “isn’t this the son of Joseph?” Luke tells us. That’s all Jesus needed to read their hearts. Already some of them are wondering how a hometown boy can be so smart. After all, they have known him and his family. He has been away and now comes home with insight and authority beyond his stature. How could he suggest that Isaiah’s words were, now being fulfilled? Perhaps Luke is preparing for us the inevitable and showing us, through adulation turned to violence, what will be the pattern of Jesus’ ministry. What happens in his hometown will be repeated in Jerusalem.

Because the liberation that Jesus was to bring would not be what his people expected, Jesus already understands that his people will not satisfy many. They seek signs and wonders, but not the truth that is within him. They are not willing to believe that he could be who he has suggested he is. So Jesus confronts them and cites two prophets who,  because their message was rejected by their own people, took their ministry to the gentiles. And like a match tossed among tumbleweeds, Jesus’ words ignite their passions and drive them from their midst. An ancient pattern is repeated and another prophet knows the burden of bearing God’s word. [see reference below]

Reference : Workbook for Lectors. Gospel Readers and Proclaimers of the Word- 2016 edition

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