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A Prophet Without Honor

When I first came to faith in Christ, I found it difficult to share the gospel with my father. He did not want to accept spiritual advice from someone who was so much younger. “I used to change your diapers!” he would say.

Those who knew Jesus from His youth had a similar trouble. They had a hard time accepting Jesus as anything more than “the carpenter’s son” (v. 54). But their doubt was also evidence of their hardened hearts. Like the religious leaders, they wanted Jesus to prove Himself by performing miracles on demand.

Luke 4:16–30 describes Jesus’ visit in more detail. Jesus summarizes their request with these words: “Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum” (Luke 4:23). Jesus’ answer pointed to their unbelief and He made it clear that He was not at their beck and call. The townspeople were so infuriated that they tried to push Jesus over a cliff. Instead, Jesus passed through the crowd unharmed. Luke does not say that this was a miracle, but the incident is reminiscent of Elisha’s escape from the horses and chariots of Aram (2 Kings 6:8–23).

The townspeople of Nazareth admitted that Jesus had displayed both wisdom and miraculous powers (Matt. 13:54). But instead of elevating their opinion of Jesus, these facts seemed like Jesus was acting above His station. “Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?” they said. “Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” The people of Nazareth stumbled over Jesus’ human nature. The Savior’s ordinary life during the years prior to His ministry kept them from seeing Jesus in any other way.

>> We may have our predisposed view of Jesus. Perhaps we see Jesus as a moral teacher, the revolutionary, or a friend. Our preconceptions of Jesus can blind us to His true nature and work. Instead, let Jesus’ words and works shape your view of Him.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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