I once stopped at one of the shops in the village in which I was raised as a kid, and was met with this odd response. After exchanging pleasantries with the shopkeeper, I introduced myself as a long-lost-local and asked him how long he had lived in the area. Strangely, he looked at me as if I were from the FBI, mumbled a few unintelligible words, handed me my change, and disappeared out the back of the shop. I guess the shop was mine to raid if I was so inclined.
Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth (Luke 4), and the villagers greeted him as their own. Having come on a mission, he went to the synagogue and read from Isaiah 61:1-2; applying this Messianic passage to himself.
They were obviously impressed that one of their local boys had become a popular preacher and spoke well of him. That was until they decided to put Jesus back into the “box” from which he had originated: “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked (Luke 4:22). This was lest he thought himself superior; they were not about to let him escape his humble beginnings.
From that point, things escalated quickly to where they wanted Jesus dead (Luke 4:28-29).
What drove them to want to drive him off a cliff? It was Jesus’ refusal to be treated as anything other than what he was—The Messiah!
He was not there to prove to them that the rumours of his great works in the city were true (Luke 6:23). Instead, he was there to tell them that God was using him to take the blessings of salvation to everyone—and like Elijah and Elisha, beyond the borders of Israel. They didn’t want to hear it!
Jesus summed up their attitude with these words:
“A prophet is honoured everywhere except in his hometown and in his own home” (Matthew 13:57NCV).