The ‘Nazareth manifesto’ in Luke 4: a conversation


The lectionary reading for Epiphany 3 in Year C is Luke 4.14–21. As is often the case with the lectionary, the reading is rather displaced and truncated; the previous episode is the temptation in the wilderness, which we will read at the beginning of Lent, and the following week we revert back to Luke 2 as we celebrate the presentation of Jesus in the temple. More serious, though, is the ending of the passage at verse 21, when the whole episode runs to verse 28, and we should take the lectionary here as ‘advisory’ and read through to the end of the story as Luke presents it to us.

You can find a detailed exploration of this passage in the previous post on grace (and judgement?) in Luke 4 here.

In this video, I have a conversation with my friend James Blandford-Baker, who is vicar of Histon and Impington, just north of Cambridge. We talk about the bridging from Jesus’ temptations to the start of his ministry, why Luke includes this episode at this point in the gospel, and what Jesus and Luke are doing with the OT texts from Isaiah—and reflect on what we take away from it personally, and how we might preach on this well-known passage.

I hope you find it useful in bringing the word to life.


Come and join me for a Zoom teaching afternoon on Thursday 3rd February to explore all the issues around the ‘end times’ and end of the world.

We will look at: the background to this language in Jewish thinking; Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24 and Mark 13; the Rapture—what is it, and does the Bible really teach it; what the New Testament says about ‘tribulation’; the beast, the antichrist, and the Millennium in Rev 20; the significance of the state of Israel.

The cost is £10 per person, and you can book your tickets at the Eventbrite link here.


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2 thoughts on “The ‘Nazareth manifesto’ in Luke 4: a conversation”

  1. Notably, Jesus’ comparison with the Northern Kingdom under Ahab is a response to his previous statement about the expectation that Nazareth would be blessed by the same miracles, regardless of their hardened incredulity: “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

    So, Jesus’ comparison of God bestowing miraculous blessings on Gentiles (like Naaman) while so many widows languished due to God’s displeasure with the apostate Northern Kingdom must be analogous to the miracles in Capernaum (presumably included in Luke 4:14, as Mark 2 shows), while just “a few sick folk” were healed in Nazareth.

    At the very least, Nazareth’s hardened incredulity towards Jesus is analogous to Ahab’s treacherous apostasy.

    At the very least, in the face of such hardened unbelief and similar to the Northern Kingdom, there is an unfolding judgement as God largely withholds His miraculous intervention from those who spurn His grace, while He so lavishly bestows healing and supernatural providence through the gospel elsewhere.

    That reality is as much a part of the unfolding work of divine judgement and redemption as the eventual Day of the Lord.

    Reply
  2. A belated thought.
    “Can anything good come out of Nazareth” may have been stimulated by a memory of another scriptural Nazarite vow relating to Samson, a judge/deliver.
    This scripture is, in effect, a Nazarite vow by Jesus. In direct contrast to Samson, Jesus fulfilled his devotion, defeating and delivering us, in judgement falling in on him (cf Samson) from our ultimate enemies of satan, sin and death with outstretched arms on the cross.

    Reply

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