Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 3
August 13, 2006
Lincolnton, N.C.

<270> Thesis: God typically rejects those who respond to the "Nazareth" issue by using "religion" to build themselves up in the eyes of others. Introduction: We got bogged down last week in our study and, as a consequence, we did not finish our look at what I called "the Nazareth issue". That means we are returning this morning to the issue that the story of Jesus' raises. On the one hand, Luke introduces the ministry of Jesus by telling us that He was widely accepted in the synagogues in Galilee, but on the other hand, the very first story that he relates in any detail is a story of how the people in Nazareth were so incensed by Jesus' teaching in their synagogue that they tried to murder Him. This kind of contrast calls for some thoughtfulness on our part: why would Luke tell us that the people of Nazareth did not receive Jesus like those in the other synagogues in Galilee? Why did he set the stage of his presentation of Jesus with such a negative account? In an attempt to answer those questions, we looked into "the Nazareth issue." In the beginning of our study last week we saw that the Bible highlights two things about Nazareth. One of those things is the comment by Nathanael in John 1:46 by which we understand that "Nazareth" was a despised and dismissed "backwater" in Galilee. The other of those things is Matthew's claim in Matthew 2:23 that the reason for Jesus' "dwelling in Nazareth" was so that He might be a fulfillment of the "theme" of the prophets that Messiah would be a "Nazarene". The conclusion that we drew was that being a "Nazarene" was to be one of those dismissively considered by men as weak and insignificant. This conclusion is not only pressed upon us by the only relevant "fact" that the Bible contains about Nazareth, but it is also pressed upon us by the "theme of the prophets" that Messiah would be a "Netzerene" -- a "branch" out of the root of Jesse which would be considered dismissively by the vast majority of humanity as He accomplished the most significant and powerful "feat" in human history. Now, as we continue where we left off last week, we are going to look at the reason Jesus was not well received by those in Nazareth.