Luke 4:16-30 ASV

16And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place where it was written,

18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised,

19To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. 20And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21And he began to say unto them, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears. 22And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth: and they said, Is not this Joseph's son? 23And he said unto them, Doubtless ye will say unto me this parable, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in thine own country. 24And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is acceptable in his own country. 25But of a truth I say unto you, There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; 26and unto none of them was Elijah sent, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 27And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. 28And they were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things; 29and they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. 30But he passing through the midst of them went his way.

  • Just after Satan’s tempting, it does say he left Jesus until a more opportune time. Could that refer to this?
    – Tara Hall
    Nov 10, 2023 at 10:42

4 Answers 4


The people in the Synagogue were incensed, affronted and offended that Jesus comments in Luke 4:24-27 implied (in no uncertain terms) that the spirituality of those outside Israel/Judah were more worthy than the Jews themselves - scandalous!!

This betrayed the fundamental religious pride, arrogance and bigotry of some Jews, especially among the leadership who believed they were the sole possessors of spiritual truth, despite John 1:9, Rom 1:18-20, 2:14-16. This made them very angry.

Note the comments of Ellicott:

(Luke 4:28) Were filled with wrath.—The admiration they had felt at first was soon turned into bitterness. They heard themselves spoken of as though there might be a faith in Zidon and in Syria which was not found in Israel, of which they themselves were altogether destitute.

Benson is similar:

Luke 4:28-30. And all they in the synagogue were filled with wrath — The Nazarenes, perceiving the purport of his discourse, namely, that the blessings which they despised would be offered to, and accepted by, the Gentiles, were enraged to such a pitch, that, forgetting the sanctity of the sabbath, they gathered around him tumultuously, forced him out of the synagogue, and rushed with him through the streets to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built; that they might cast him down headlong. So changeable are the hearts of wicked men! So little are their starts of love to be depended on! So unable are they to bear the close application, even of a discourse which they most admire! But he, passing through the midst of them — Probably by making himself invisible; or by overawing them: so that, though they saw, they had not power to touch him.

Barnes is much more detailed:

Filled with wrath - They were enraged, probably, for the following reasons:

  1. They saw that the cases applied to themselves, because they would not receive the miraculous evidences of his mission.

  2. That he would direct his attention to others, and not to them.

  3. That the "Gentiles" were objects of compassion with God, and that God often showed more favor to a "single" Gentile than to multitudes of Jews in the same circumstances.

  4. That they might be "worse" than the Gentiles. And,

  5. That it was a part of his design to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, and not confine his labors to them only.


The reason is that the Lord quoted from the book of Isaiah the passage about coming of Messiah, claiming that the one mentioned in the passage was He Himself. But this was fine with those in the synagogue, moreover that the Lord Jesus Christ made Himself already popular by His teachings and miracles. But what He said next was a scandal for them.

They expected Messiah to speak about His visions and political plans how to overthrow the Roman yoke and restore the Jewish Kingdom in its former glory, Himself featuring as the messianic King. However, the Lord brought examples where prophets, not being accepted by the Jews, were accepted by people of other nations, thus giving them a clear message that His messiahship did not entail their coveted political goals for the political liberation of the Jewish nation, but was addressed to all humans with a good heart, to Jews and Romans likewise, and since Messiah was to liberate, this liberation meant already a loftier thing: liberation of hearts from sinfulness and through this establishment in them of the invisible Kingdom of Heaven.

Being not ready to accept such a lofty message, being deprived of their coveted political expectations for vengeance over the Romans and gaining the political grandeur, they went mad and tried to kill the Lord, whom now they started to regard - through trampling their own consciences - as a false-messiah.


Because Jesus is preaching in his home town of Nazareth and the local people who saw him grow up are now questioning how he came to have such knowledge and power. They have heard of the many miracles he did in Capernaum but questioning how it is possible that he did these having known him from his youth.

"Is this not Joseph's son?"

Similar passages from Matthews gospel reinforce the same. See Matthew 13:54-58

Isn't this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things ? And they took offense at him.

Essentially they take offense and doubt the stories and claims made about him due to having known him and his family. In response he then proceeds to tell them that "no prophet is accepted in his home town" and uses examples of Elijah performing miracles and healing on foreign lands but not in his home land to show this. He states that because of their unbelief and lack of faith he won't perform great miracles in their region. This causes them to become angry and aggressive towards him.

And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith

As a side note I have often wondered if this specific section of the gospels corresponds with part of Satan's testing of Jesus in the wilderness. Specifically Satan asking him to "prove" he is the son of God. Where by he is tempted to turn stones into bread - and taken to a high place and Satan tempts him to command angels to catch him. I had wondered if him returning to his home town and them doubting him was a test - of whether he would "misuse" his power to prove himself rather then serve and honour God. But this is just a personal ponderance as they seem to have some similarity.


There are many valuable commentaries about the account "Jesus in Nazareth" and its theological significance. However, I would like to discuss from a different perspective and highlight how the weakness of human mind can be easily manipulated by the evil one.

To begin with, we can start from Luke 4:14, where it says "the news of Jesus spread through the whole countryside (NIV)". This implies that the Nazarene had heard about Jesus but had never met him, nor realized that he was the son of Joseph from their village.

The 1st stage - The earnest hope of the Nazarene

In Luke 4:16-20, the Nazarene finally met Jesus. They let him lead the reading and expected him to perform miracles as they had heard about him. Although they didn't tell Jesus their expectations, he knew their intentions.

Luke 4:23 NIV

Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

The 2nd stage - The doubt of the Nazarene - bitterness and jealousy

In Luke 4:22, someone began to recognize Jesus, and people asserted that Jesus was a Nazarene. We may recall in John 1:46, Nathanael had a weird comment about Nazareth, saying,“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”. Regardless of its validity, the Nazarene should be aware that they were not generally respected, and their minds became bitter when someone within their community became a prominent figure.

The 3rd stage - Rages of the Nazarene

In Luke 4:23, Jesus refused to do what they were hoping for. In Luke 4:24-27, Jesus reminded them about the story of Elijah and Elisha, implying that the Nazarene were not worth saving compared to the Gentiles, which immediately ignited the fury of the Nazarene.

The Nazarene might have be able to accept the disdain of the teachers of the law, who had once commented in John 7:52, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”. However, they would have at least expected Jesus to treat them similar to how he treated Capernaum (Luke 4:23). Instead, they heard that they were worse than the Gentiles.

Final discussion

It is unclear why Jesus felt the need to provoke the anger of the Nazarene. They were clearly expecting something from Jesus, rather than putting their faith in Him. As a result, Jesus refused to heal them. Satan, as usual, skillfully manipulated the mind of the Nazarene. He began by implanting a doubt in their mind, same as he did to seduce Eve, and the first question he asked Jesus when he was tested (Luke 4:3).

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