Luke 4 16 , Jesus rejected at Nazareth


I was wondering why this stage features so early in Luke, before even the disciples are called. Whereas it occurs much later in mark and Matthew


Well, one answer is that Luke may have thought that the story would make a good opener for Jesus’ ministry - it would answer why in the other gospels, Jesus decides to live in Capernaum.

You would notice that Luke reinterprets the story: in his version, the folks at Nazareth become angry at Jesus not so much because He is from their own town, or even because He refused to do miracles there, but because Jesus implies that others are to benefit from His work than those to whom He is related. This kind of ties in with Luke’s universal perspective: the Jews will eventually reject Jesus, so the gospel will go out to the gentiles instead. Nazareth is just the beginning of the road that will read to Jerusalem, Antioch, Asia Minor, Greece, and finally Rome. Jesus, just like Simeon said, is someone who will cause division: it happened as soon as He begins, in His own place no less.

Here’s another thing. Notice Luke places two stories of Jesus being rejected in parallel positions at the beginning of Luke’s major divisions of Jesus’ ministry: the rejection in Nazareth in 4:16-30 (the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee), and the rejection in Samaria in 9:51-56 (the beginning of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem). He follows it up with examples of faith from members of both rejecting groups (the Jewish leper in 5:12-16, the Samarian leper in 17:11-19).


In the gospels Jesus visits his home town on at least two different times during His public ministry. In Luke 4 we have the first visit at the very start of His ministry in Galilee and He was driven out from Nazareth so He settled in Capernaum. Luke and Mark were not eye witnesses although Luke relied on eye witnesses, and Mark gives us Peter’s account. The first 6 disciples had been following Jesus for a time after they met Him at John the Baptist, but in order for Jesus to select them rather than vice versa they had to stop following Him. So Luke’s account occurs during that interval before He came and called his disciples. In Mark 6 Jesus returns to Nazareth (about six weeks after He was driven out) and the people are no longer so hostile that they want to kill Him or drive Him out, but most are not yet ready to accept His message, because they think they know Him.
Grace and peace,


The supplemental commentary to the Confraternity Edition, “A Commentary on the New Testament,” published by the Catholic Biblical Association in 1942, in its commentary on Matthew 13:53-58, says:

13, 53-58: Jesus at Nazareth. Parallel in Mark 6, 1-6a and partial parallel in Luke 4, 16-30. The first two Evangelists agree in placing this scene towards the close of the Galilean ministry. Luke places it at the very beginning of this ministry. All three Evangelists agree in giving a twofold reaction on the part of the Nazarenes: (a) they are amazed at His wisdom; (b) because of their knowledge of His relatives and of His previous life among them, they refuse to believe in Him and consequently He cannot work miracles among them as He had done at Capharnaum. Various solutions at harmonizing these accounts are proposed. The most probable seems to be that Jesus visited Nazareth twice during His Galilean ministry. At the first visit He is, on the whole, favorably received, “and all bore him witness, and marvelled at the words of grace that came from his mouth” (Luke). At the second visit they are angry at Him and even try to put Him to death. Each of the three Evangelists combines both visits into a single account, the first two Gospels placing the combined account where only the second visit properly belongs, the Third Gospel placing its combined account where only the first visit properly belongs. Matthew probably refers to the first visit in 4, 13. Some commentators also see a reference to the rejection of Jesus at Nazareth in John 4, 44. (source)


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