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.


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.


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.

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