No Other Name // Part 4
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Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 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?”
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 country.’ ” Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. 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; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
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 4:14-30 (NKJV)
Where do most political candidates begin their campaigns? Usually in their hometown because it is there that they expect the most support. Jesus announced the beginning of His Messianic ministry in His hometown of Nazareth. Jesus’ place of birth was prophesied:
Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. /// Matthew 2:22-23
The interesting thing about this is that there are no prophecies in the Old Testament that mention the Messiah being a Nazarene. Where did Matthew get this? It is unknown. It could be referring to the Messianic prophecy:
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. /// Isaiah 53:2
The Hebrew word for “plant” or “shoot” as it is used in Isaiah 53:2 is: “netser.” This could be what is being referred to by Matthew. Another great story is the correlation between the Nazirite vow found in Numbers 6. One who took a Nazirite vow would consecrate themselves to the Lord for a time or a lifetime in some cases. Samson was one of the lifetime cases as it appears was John the Baptist. Nazarite comes from the Hebrew word: “nazir” which means “consecrated” or “separated.” Nazareth was important to Jesus’ calling. The events of Jesus’ appearance and announcement of His Messianic ministry in Nazareth tell us two important things about His ministry:
Jesus begins His announcement to those in His hometown by reading the Messianic passage found in Isaiah 61. There is much more found in Isaiah 61 about the ministry of the Messiah than what Jesus read. He was using what He read as an announcement and a reference to point to what was happening. The description of what Messiah’s ministry brings to believers in Isaiah 61 is beautiful! The best part of Jesus’ announcement is found in one word: TODAY. Jesus is speaking of fulfillment. No more waiting on the kingdom of God’s influence on the earth. What did Jesus preach when He went out?
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." /// Matthew 4:17 (NIV)
Here is how it was put by the disciples:
For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. /// 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV)
The reference in this scripture is to another one of Isaiah’s Messianic prophecies found in chapter 49, verse 8. The second important thing Jesus’ announcement in Nazareth tells us:
Wouldn’t you think that the people of His hometown would be excited about what Jesus said? They weren’t. They were a precursor to what Jesus would face His entire ministry: rejection over the instrument God decided to use. Even though His ministry fulfilled so many prophecies exactly, the Israelites still were offended at Him. The Nazarenes said, “Who does He think He is? We know His father.”
He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” And they took offense at him. /// Matthew 13:54-57 (NLT)
If you’re offended at the messenger, you can miss the message!
God can choose any messenger He wishes! He can and has spoken through a donkey before! Now, Jesus is certainly not a donkey but we can look at what God chooses and get offended at that and that will affect our response to the message. In Jesus’ use of Elijah and Naaman, He prophesies that in general, the Israelites will reject Jesus’ Messianic ministry but the Gentiles will be more open to it. Instead of conviction, Jesus’ words brought wrath on the parts of the listeners. Think of this: What should have been a time of celebration and support became a time of rejection of Jesus’ ministry.
One final thought: While they tried to kill Jesus, they couldn’t until His time was come! He went HIS way! Until your time is up, you are protected and will go His way too!
- Luke 4:14-30 (NKJV)
- Matthew 2:22-23
- Isaiah 53:2
- Matthew 4:17 (NIV)
- 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV)
- Matthew 13:54-57 (NLT)
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