What really happened in the synagog in Nazareth?

Today I found something really cool and profound in Luke chapter 4.  I came to a new understanding of the account recorded in verses 16 – 30. Not a new revelation. The information was there all the time, and I just hadn’t processed it correctly. As I pondered this in my own mind, I wondered how many others had the same misunderstanding I had, and decided I needed to share my new understanding with others, so here we go…

As the scripture records, Jesus, who had started His traveling preaching ministry, came to His hometown of Nazareth. Taking His usual approach, He went into the synagog on the Sabbath and stood up to read. The reading He selected was from the book of Isaiah. (In modern Bible translations it is filed as chapter 61, verses 1 and 2) “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME. BECAUSE HE HAS ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE DOWNTRODDEN, AND TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

After Jesus read the passage He said, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

All of this prompted a question from those in attendance, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

Now here is where a new understanding begins. You see, I previously understood that the question from the people was a raised as a challenge to the Lord’s proclamation that the Scripture had been fulfilled. I have heard it preached and taught, and I am sure I have taught it myself, that the people were challenging Jesus based on the fact that He was only the son of a carpenter, but that is not what went on there that day!

When we look further to the word’s of Jesus recorded in Luke 4 verses 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27 and examine the question fully within the context, we find that the people were not challenging the authority of Jesus. The Lord knew and spoke against not what the people said, but the condition of their hearts, and what they were about to ask.

By their question, the people in that meeting were recognizing Jesus as the son of Joseph (and Mary). The one who performed the miracle of turning water to wine in Capernaum. By His reading from Isaiah and proclamation they were  suddenly enlightened as to whose presence they were in.  Their problem was not that they refused to recognize Jesus, but that they DID!

Their problem was that because of the condition on their hearts, their enlightenment did not result in a time of praise, adoration and worship for the Lord. Jesus immediately knew that the condition of their hearts was about to turn them to the selfish objectives and ambitions of seeking the miracles He could perform.

What occurred that day in Nazareth happens to this day, and is something we must be careful to guard ourselves against. Enlightenment in Jesus is not supposed to be about seeking the miracles He may work for us. Enlightenment in Jesus is supposed to be about seeking Him and having fellowship with Him through praise, adoration and worship!

Yes, God is a God of miracles, but if what we are seeking is miracles, we have missed the message.

(Note: All excerpts are from the NASB published by Holman in Nashville, TN.)


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