A SYNAGOGUE CONGREGATION TURNS INTO A LYNCHING MOB
This text contains four thought sections:
- Verse 22: The admiration and surprise of the audience turns into skepticism.
- Verses 23-24: In His omniscience Jesus tells the audience what their true attitude toward Him is.
- Verses 25-27: Jesus plainly tells them that acceptance with Him is based, not on merit or nationalism, but, on grace.
- Verses 28-29: Their violent reaction leads to an attempt to lynch Jesus.
As was mentioned in the study of the Third Sunday after Epiphany Gospel, commentators differ as to whether this text is parallel to Matthew 13:54-58 and Mark 6:1-6. For example, Arndt things they are different occasions, but Lenski thinks they are the same.
Luke 4:22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked.
All our translations and commentaries take this verse to mean: "All bore testimony to Him and were admiring Him for the beautiful words which were coming from His mouth but they began saying: 'Isn't this fellow the son of Joseph?'" This is preferable.
Even unbelievers attested to the beauty of Jesus' words.
Their question, however, is derogatory. They are practically saying: "We cannot take Him seriously. He's just one of us" which, by the way, indicates a low estimate of themselves.
Luke 4:23 Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'"
Jesus reads their hearts and thoughts. He was sure.
SURELY - "Undoubtedly."
Plummer: The words were 'fulfilled in their ears' but not in their hearts.
PROVERB - This word is used only in the Synoptics and Hebrews and always means an utterance which involves a comparison: "You are not doing for yourselves and us what you've done elsewhere," precisely the attitude of Luke 23:35-39: "If He is the Christ, let Him save Himself." That is not faith. It is antagonistic doubt and denial.
Luke 4:24 "I tell you the truth," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown.
CONTINUED - "And He said in addition." He uses a second proverb to show them their true attitude.
Marshall: The use of 'truth' and the existence of the Johannine parallel in John 4:44 show that Luke is not here dependent on Mark 6:4.
Jesus is asserting that the proverb fits His own circumstance. He is implying that they are denying that He is the Messiah, as He had plainly indicated in verses 18:21.
Luke 4:25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.
I ASSURE YOU - This clearly shows divine authority, just as in verse 24. This covers what Jesus says in verses 25-27. Note that He appeals to Scripture, I Kings 17 and 18, which ought be read.
Arndt: Then the language of Jesus assumed a sever tone. The pride of the people of Nazareth, based on their outward membership in Israel, had to be rebuked.
God is the agent of the passive verbs in this verse.
Luke 4:26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.
Note the utter contrast between "many" and "and yet to not one of them."
Again, God is the agent of the passive verb.
The widow of Sarepta and Naaman were not exceptions but rather the purposeful objects of God's mercy.
Luke 4:27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed -- only Naaman the Syrian."
AND - Furthermore.
Jesus uses two illustrations from Scripture in 26 and 27, one of a pagan widow and the other of a pagan general, to drive His point home, just as He had used two proverbs in verses 23-24 to uncover and reveal the rejecting and proud attitude of the people of Nazareth.
Note again the great contrast between "many lepers in Israel" and "one Syrian." Note the beautiful symmetry between verses 26 and 27. These two verses show two things:
This angered the impenitent Jews. This is sharp law. Jesus, for their own good, wants to make them see themselves as they really are: proud, jealous, self-righteous.
- 1) Help from God comes purely on the basis of grace and mercy, not on the basis of merit or nationalism.
- 2) God is the Savior of Gentiles also.
Luke 4:28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.
This is the result. Note the utter contrast between the beginning of verse 22 and this verse. Between the two "all" lies commendation, then doubt, then hostility, then rage. They were furious because they were hearing these things.
Luke 4:29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.
Why did Jesus allow the violent action in verse 29 but called a halt to it in verse 30? Perhaps He did this so that they would remember this later on.
Luke 4:30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
This verse is much discussed. The text does not say that Jesus became invisible. It does say that He passed through their midst and went on His way. The best explanation is: "Mine hour is not yet come." The God-man would not allow His life to be taken until He gave it willingly.
Already at the beginning of His great Galilean ministry Jesus "was despised and rejected of men." "He came unto His own but His own received Him not." John 1:11. See also John 10:18.
Adapted from Exegetical Notes, Series C Luke-John, Festival Season Sundays Gospel Texts, by Harold H. Buls, Concordia Theological Seminary Press: Ft Wayne IN, 1979, pp. 25-26. Used with permission.
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