When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
Then he said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’ But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.”
Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-2. Isaiah pictures the deliverance of Israel from exile in Babylon as a Year of Jubilee when all debts are cancelled, all slaves are freed, and all property is returned to original owners (Leviticus 25). But the release from Babylonian exile had not brought the fulfillment the people had expected; they were still a conquered and oppressed people. So Isaiah must have been referring to a future messianic age. Jesus boldly announced, “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” Jesus was proclaiming himself as the One who would bring this good news to pass, but in a way that the people would not yet be able to grasp.
Yet Jesus was not accepted as a prophet in his own hometown. He understood this, and was grieved by the people’s rejection. Many people have a similar attitude—an expert is anyone who carries a briefcase and comes from more than 200 miles away. Yet God can work in an amazing way through someone next door or even in your own house.
Don’t be surprised when your Christian life and faith are not easily understood or accepted by those who know you well. If you’re suffering the sting of someone’s rejection, take that to the Lord.