All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 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 off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way (Luke 4:28-30 NIV).
Jesus spoke gracious words (4:22) to the people of his hometown of Nazareth. He read them the Scriptures (4:18-19), announcing the good news of freedom and the Lord’s favor. The hometown folks liked that. But when he spoke to their hearts about their rebellion against God’s ways and the sovereignty of God in the giving of his grace, they didn’t like his message anymore. That is an understatement.
People who are strangers to God and his grace do not like to hear about either for very long. They grow restless, then agitated, and then violent. They willingly forget that the Sovereign God once destroyed a world that was given over to evil (Genesis 6:5-6; 2 Peter 3:6). They refuse to consider that this present world is ready for judgment by God. By the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly (2 Peter 3:7 CSB).
Let’s consider three outcomes of Jesus’ brief ministry at Nazareth, which includes his refusal to perform signs and wonders for them. We ought to see the last, because his refusal, though according to his Father’s will, definitely stirred them up against him. We need to look at all the scene when we talk about human behavior. Many factors stir everyone. Hopefully, love for God and delight in his grace motivate ours.
First outcome: they were furious and tried to kill Jesus. Though they did not know, and I doubt they cared, their action pictured human hatred for God and the Messiah. Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers conspire together against the Lord and his Anointed One (Psalm 2:1-2 CSB). They hated the message that God was sovereign in his grace. They hated Jesus, the Prophet who had told them the truth, just as their ancestors had hated the prophets who came before Jesus. Follower of Christ, do not be surprised if the world hates you, because it will.
Second outcome: Jesus escaped from them. Every day during Jesus’ life was scheduled by the sovereign God. This was not the time or place or the way for Jesus to die to save his people. He had much to do for God his Father, many words of life to declare, and apostles to choose and to train to carry God’s message of salvation by grace to the nations. We are not told how Jesus was able to escape through the violent crowd, but he did. Later in Jerusalem, Jesus will escape from an angry crowd after he preached God’s sovereign grace to them (John 8:58-59). God had also protected Elijah and Elisha from harm (2 Kings 1:1-15; 6:8-24). The Lord would later deliver the apostles (Acts 5:17-20) and Peter (Acts 12:1-19). As no bird falls to the ground apart from the will of the Father in heaven, so our lives are safe in God’s hands.
Third outcome: Nazareth, except as part of Jesus’ name (Jesus of Nazareth) disappears from the Biblical narrative. This town gained nothing from its opposition to the Lord. Instead of hatred, they should have fallen on their faces and begged for mercy. But no, they foolishly despised and rejected the God of hope and fell into eternal hopelessness. If you understand, weep!
There are many antichrists in the world today, stirring up hatred against Jesus and his people. They appear to offer hope to people in despair. But the only hope is when people humble themselves, repent, and trust God for his mercy in the Lord Jesus Christ. Is your only hope for the future in Jesus, the Son of God?Grace and peace,