“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The little town of Nazareth had been hearing about Jesus’ activities in Cana and Capernaum of northern Galilee. So, when He showed up for Sabbath service their expectations began to rise as he read a conflation of two messianic passages from the book of Isaiah concluding with a simple statement: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).
At first the reaction seemed to be mostly positive as the hum among attendees began to remark in amazement about Joseph’s son and His gracious words. Instead of questions about the reading, however, the murmurer began to give way to something that Jesus realized and addressed openly suggesting that they were about to ask him to ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum’ (Luke 4:23).
Aware of their thinking Jesus goes straight to the point to acknowledge the disadvantage of a prophet in his own home town and to state clearly that God has always been sensitive to the faith of people, regardless of nationality or gene pool. Citing two examples, Elijah and the widow of Zarapeth and Elisha and Naaman, the suggestion that God is throwing the doors open to the Gentiles was enough to enrage them. Forcing Him out of town to the edge of a cliff they were ready to push Him off to His death below (Luke 4:24-29).
The story closes with a simple summary statement: “But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way” (Luke 4;30).
Some might believe that a miracle occurred. Another option would be to conclude that the power of His personality and a simple look of incredulity froze the crowd in their tracks as they shuffled to the side to let Him pass. Clarity of mission and purpose coupled with the power of the Holy Spirit and armed with the Word of God, the authority with which Jesus taught exuded through His silence as He “walked through the crowd and went on his way.”