Jesus Rejected at Nazareth (Part 3)
After Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth and claimed to be the Messiah, the people were shocked but did not believe. Jesus proceeded to explain that His actions (i.e., of not performing many miracles in Nazareth), were in harmony with two of their greatest prophets. Elijah and Elisha had exercised their miraculous powers on strangers for a good reason. The implication was that those of Nazareth had hearts that were hard and full of wickedness. This angered them greatly!

"So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way" (Luke 4:28-30).

Jesus infuriated these Jews so much that they were ready to kill Him--in an unorthodox way (although this method of execution was not without precedent - II Chron. 25:12). The action they pursue indicates just how angry Jesus had made them. They evidently didn't like the Lord comparing Himself to Elijah and Elisha and them to starving widows and unclean lepers! They are definitely demonstrating the truthfulness of Jesus' claim in Luke 4:24.

As they are about to throw Him over a cliff, Jesus suddenly passed through the midst of them and went on His way. They now had no one on which to pour out their hatred. Although Jesus may have miraculously passed through their midst, it is also possible that He could have escaped by His composure and self-control by blending into the frenzied crowd and walking away. We simply don't know whether this was a miraculous escape or not. As far as the Scriptures record, Jesus never returned to Nazareth again--how sad!

"Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief" (Matt. 13:58). Jesus performed miracles with the intention of producing faith in the witnesses. However, He knew beforehand that regardless of what He did, the people of Nazareth would not believe in Him because of their prejudice against Him. Thus, He had no desire to do mighty works there. They had been given sufficient proof to believe and they would be given no more. This is a good example of not casting one's pearls before swine (cf. Matt. 7:6).

Let it be observed that Matthew 13:58 is a great mark of integrity in the writing of Matthew. If Matthew's intention had been to describe Jesus in the best possible way, then he would not have recorded this rejection of Jesus by His hometown. However, the simple fact that Matthew includes such shows him to be an accurate and honest writer. Matthew told the story like it was, and in so doing, he actually indirectly gives great support to Jesus' character. After all, the fact that the Nazarenes, who had known Jesus from His childhood, rejected Him only because of His humble family connections is strong proof that He had been guilty of no perceptible wrongdoing. The people of Nazareth knew of no skeletons in Jesus' closet, so to speak, because there weren't any!

In Mark's account of this narrative, he mentions that Jesus "marveled because of their unbelief" (Mark 6:6). The fact that Jesus marveled at their lack of faith clearly disproves the notion that the Holy Spirit produces faith in individuals by a direct operation. Jesus would not have been astonished at their unbelief if God were responsible for it! Jesus was somewhat surprised at their rejection of Him (in the sense that their rejection was irrational), though He knew that prophets were often not accepted by their own. Certainly this rejection was hard to bear, but Jesus had no time to feel sorry for Himself. The work that God had given Him had to continue!