Nazareth was a tough place for Jesus. Hometowns are always tough on homegrown prophets. In Luke 4:16-30, Luke gives us a snapshot of Jesus ministering in the synagogue of Nazareth. The adults are talking among themselves, "Isn't this Joseph's son? Where did he get these amazing words? How about the miracles they say he does?" Actually, they're hometown pride is causing them to turn away. He’s just an artisan. He doesn't have a degree from a prestigious rabbinic school in Jerusalem. Things got really bad when he mentioned the widow of Zarephath whom Elijah cared for and the Syrian, Namaan, who got healed from his leprosy.

It wasn't just hometown pride. It was racial hatred against the Gentiles that caused the crowd to get up in hot anger, run him out of town, and almost throw him over the edge of a cliff. We need to be careful not to let some religionist with their beautiful robes, prestigious degrees, and moralistic platitudes keep us from listening to the plain spoken country boy from Galilee. But it’s the man who spent years building houses, working with stone, and doing menial tasks who is truly Immanuel, God with us.

 

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