Morning Bible Study
Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.
He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.
In writing his book, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel
of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.
After being baptized, Jesus spent time in the desert being tested by Satan.
He has now returned to the Galilee area, and just spoke in the synagogue at
Nazareth, where he read from Isaiah 61, and declared that He was the Messiah.
4:22-30 Rejection at Nazareth
:22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which
proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
:22 marveled at the gracious words
The Greek text literally reads that they marveled at the “words of grace”
Maybe Luke is just saying that the people liked the nice things Jesus said.
It could be that Luke is telling us that even from the beginning, Jesus was
speaking words that were all about grace.
Grace is what God does for us, even though we don’t deserve it.
The Bible says,
(Romans 5:8 NKJV) But God
demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.
God didn’t wait for mankind to clean up its act before
sending His Son. God sent His Son while
we were still angry at God, shaking our fists at Him.
(John 1:17 NKJV) For the law
was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
:22 Is this not Joseph’s son?
We might look at Jesus and be in awe of who He was.
But for many of these people in Nazareth, Jesus was the young man that had
grown up in their village.
They had known Him and his family for some 25 years, ever since they had
returned from their time in Bethlehem and Egypt.
Matthew records the people of Nazareth saying,
13:55–56 NKJV) —55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called
Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His
sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these
Joseph was a carpenter, and we can assume that Jesus had also been trained
in that trade.
1st century carpenters not only worked with wood, but also with
There were many building projects going on in the region in these days, and
Joseph and Jesus may have been part of the construction crews.
The city of Sepphoris was about four miles north of Nazareth.
In the days of Jesus’ youth, Sepphoris had been undergoing
a massive rebuilding project under the direction of Herod Antipas.
Video: Sepphoris Theater
Sepphoris was a fairly large city filled with expensive
houses, markets, an amphitheater, and a synagogue. It was where the rich, secular Jews lived in
One of the things Sepphoris was famous for was it’s beautiful
mosaics, such as this one often referred to as the “Mona Lisa of the Galilee”
Could it be possible that as Jesus was growing up, He and Joseph were among
the contractors that rebuilt Sepphoris?
Video: Nazareth zoom map clip
Today, Nazareth is a predominantly Arab city in Israel, with a population
of 81,000. But back in Jesus day, it was
a small village of a couple hundred people.
Video: Nazareth Overlook
The people of Nazareth still knew Joseph.
They couldn’t get beyond seeing Jesus as Joseph’s son instead of realizing
that He was in fact God’s Son.
Sometimes we have a hard time thinking that someone is pretty special
because we’ve known them a long time.
Have you ever seen pictures of famous, beautiful people, before they were
famous? Can you guess who these people
I wonder if any childhood friends of these folks were
surprised at how they turned out?
When it comes to believing that God can use somebody, I wonder if we just
think that God only uses very, very special, supernatural people, and not
ordinary people like us.
When we’ve known somebody their whole life, they just seem too ordinary for
God to use them.
The truth is, except for Jesus, every single person that
God has used has been an ordinary person.
Wives, could God actually use your husband?
Husbands, could God actually speak to you through your wife?
Parents, could God actually use your kids in your life?
It’s not impossible for God to work through people we’re familiar with,
it’s just harder for us to accept it.
:23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician,
heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your
:23 we have heard done in Capernaum
Before Jesus came to Nazareth to declare Himself as Messiah, we know He
spent time at Cana and Capernaum.
Video: Capernaum to Nazareth map
The village of Cana is about 4 miles northeast of Nazareth.
Capernaum is about twenty miles northeast of Nazareth.
His first recorded miracle took place in Cana of Galilee, where Jesus
turned water into wine when He had been invited to a wedding (John 2:1-11)
All we know of Capernaum up to this time was that He had spent some time
there (John 2:12)
We can assume though that He must have done at least a couple of miracles.
:23 Physician, heal yourself
It’s interesting that our author, Dr. Luke is the only one who records this
The general idea is that a physician should take his own medicine.
The connotation for the people of Nazareth is:
If Jesus is indeed claiming to be the Messiah, then He should do the same
kinds of miracles in Nazareth (his own hometown) as He has been doing in places
like Capernaum (and Cana).
:24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his
:24 no prophet is accepted in his own country
Prophets are honored by a lot of people, but it’s not uncommon for them to
not be too popular when they are at home.
Jesus’ lack of acceptance goes deeper, because it’s really a …
Lack of faith
Matthew tells us that Jesus didn’t do miracles in Nazareth, and why.
NKJV) —57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in
his own country and in his own house.” 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
The people of Nazareth did not see any miracles because they had a hard
time believing that Jesus could do it.
I don’t think that “faith” is some kind of magic power that gives God the
energy to do miracles.
Faith is nothing more than trusting God.
God is pleased and honors those who are willing to trust Him.
11:6 NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for
he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder
of those who diligently seek Him.
God is looking for men and women who will trust Him,
despite what they see or what they experience.
Miracles don’t produce faith.
Some people will say things like, “I won’t believe in God unless I see a miracle”.
But look at the evidence of history.
Who did more miracles than Jesus?
And yet when He stood on trial before Pilate, the crowd
cried “Crucify Him”. (Mark 15:13)
When the apostle Paul was in Lystra, he healed a man who
had crippled since birth. At first the
crowds responded by calling Paul and Barnabas “gods”, but it wasn’t long before
they turned on them and had them stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19).
The apostle Thomas wouldn’t believe in the resurrection until he had seen
Jesus himself and put his finger in His wounds.
Jesus did respond to Thomas’ request, but …
20:29 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have
believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have
You might say, “Show me and I’ll believe”. Jesus says, “Believe and I’ll show you”
Jesus will then give two examples of a prophet not being accepted …
:25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah,
when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great
famine throughout all the land;
:26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the
region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
:25 in the days of Elijah
Even though Elijah performed many miracles, there was a period of 3 ½ years
where there was nothing but drought in the land, and the only person God
performed a miracle for was a widow who lived in Sidon.
It was during that time that God was trying to get the people of Israel to reject
the Baals and the Asherah that Ahab and Jezebel were leading the people astray
It was a time when the people of Israel did not trust in God.
God took care of Elijah during this drought by leading him somewhere
unexpected, the Gentile city of Zarephath.
(1 Kings 17:10–16 NKJV) —10 So he arose
and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow
was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring
me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it,
he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 So she said,
“As the Lord your God lives, I do
not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar;
and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare
it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” 13 And Elijah
said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a
small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some
for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord
God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil
run dry, until the day the Lord
sends rain on the earth.’ ” 15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she
and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of
flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of
the Lord which He spoke by
For 3 ½ years, this was the only miracle that happened in the land.
The bin of flour didn’t not go empty, and the jar of oil
was not dry.
The miracle didn’t take place until the widow was willing to obey what
Elijah asked her to do – make him something to eat.
It’s when she chose to obey that she was blessed.
The offensive thing for the Jewish people in the synagogue of Nazareth was
that the only “believer” in those days of Elijah was a Gentile woman living in Zarephath.
:27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and
none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
:27 the time of Elisha the prophet
Leprosy is a terrible disease, and in those ancient days there was no cure.
Elisha the prophet did twice as many miracles as Elijah, but he only healed
one leper, a man named Naaman.
Naaman was a great Gentile general of Syria, Israel’s enemy. When he came down with leprosy, his little
Jewish servant girl told him to go to Israel and find the prophet there.
(2 Kings 5:9–14 NKJV) —9 Then Naaman
went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha
sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and
your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman
became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will
surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over
the place, and heal the leprosy.’ 12 Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better
than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he
turned and went away in a rage. 13 And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if
the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it?
How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went
down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man
of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was
Just like the story of the widow in Sidon, Naaman is not a Jew. He’s a hated Syrian Gentile. And yet God healed him.
This is a pretty harsh thing for Jesus to point out, that these two pagan
Gentiles saw God work, while the Jews of Nazareth did not.
Reluctant obedience is still
Both the widow at Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian were a little reluctant
to do what the prophets told them.
But they did it anyway.
As a result, they saw God work in their lives.
The people of Nazareth didn’t see Jesus perform miracles because of their
lack of faith.
The widow and Naaman saw miracles because they had enough faith to at
least, though reluctantly, do what they were asked.
Their faith was expressed by their obedience.
Do you want to see God work in your life?
Here’s something to ask yourself: Are
you doing what He says?
(James 2:18 NLT) Now someone
may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How
can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my
faith by my good deeds.”
Are there areas of your life that God has been wanting you to work on but
you’ve been putting Him off?
Does it bother you that this woman wants advice for
telling lies when she goes to church?
Does it bother you that she’s not bothered by this?
Sometimes God’s work in our lives is connected to our obedience.
Even if you’re reluctant, obey God.
:28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were
filled with wrath,
:29 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.
They didn’t like the implication that they were inferior to the Gentiles
that Jesus referred to.
:30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.
It doesn’t exactly sound like a miracle here, but something happens so that
Jesus is able to simply walk through this crowd that was intent on throwing Him
off the cliff.
:28 they … were filled with wrath
I think that most of us know too well the pain of being rejected.
For Sparky, school was all but impossible. He failed every subject in the
eighth grade. He flunked physics in high school, getting a grade of zero.
Sparky also flunked Latin, algebra and English. He didn’t do much better in
sports. Although he did manage to make the school’s golf team, he promptly lost
the only important match of the season. There was a consolation match; he lost
Throughout his youth Sparky was awkward socially. He was not actually
disliked by the other students; no one cared that much. He was astonished if a
classmate ever said hello to him outside of school hours. There’s no way to
tell how he might have done at dating. Sparky never once asked a girl to go out
in high school. He was too afraid of being turned down.
Sparky was a loser. He, his classmates...everyone knew it. So he rolled
with it. Sparky had made up his mind early in life that if things were meant to
work out, they would. Otherwise he would content himself with what appeared to
be his inevitable mediocrity.
However, one thing was important to Sparky - drawing. He was proud of his
artwork. Of course, no one else appreciated it. In his senior year of high
school, he submitted some cartoons to the editors of the yearbook. The cartoons
were turned down. Despite this particular rejection, Sparky was so convinced of
his ability that he decided to become a professional artist.
After completing high school, he wrote a letter to Walt Disney Studios. He
was told to send some samples of his artwork, and the subject for a cartoon was
suggested. Sparky drew the proposed cartoon. He spent a great deal of time on
it and on all the other drawings he submitted. Finally, the reply came from
Disney Studios. He had been rejected once again. Another loss for the loser.
So Sparky decided to write his own autobiography in cartoons…
Sparky was Charles Schultz
I think that’s why so many of us have loved Charlie Brown,
because we identify.
Jesus also knows what it’s like to be rejected, and by people close to him.
1:11 NKJV) He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
53:3a NKJV) He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with
Can I make a simple suggestion if you are struggling with rejection?
Come and join the rest of us rejects and open your heart to Jesus.
Jesus will not reject you.
6:37 NKJV) All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes
to Me I will by no means cast out.
He understands what you’re going through.
He can give you strength to keep going.