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Why Was Jesus Rejected in His Hometown of Nazareth?
When the Lord Jesus came to work in the flesh, He performed many signs and wonders like calming the wind and sea, making the lame walk, and making the blind see. He also spoke many parables such as the parable of the sower, the parable of the net, the parable of the treasure, and so on, telling us the truth in language that was plain and homespun—what the Lordand did was sufficient to prove that He was the incarnate flesh of God. But there used to be one thing that confused me: People at that time all personally witnessed the Lord Jesus’ work, so why was it that many of them—even His people in Nazareth—did not acknowledge that the Lord Jesus was the incarnate Christ but instead rejected Him? Just as it is written in the Bible: “And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill where on their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong” (Luke 4:28–29). It was only through a sister’s fellowship one day that I finally came to know the reasons behind this. Now I’d like to communicate with you what I understand.
There are two main reasons for the Lord Jesus being rejected by people from His hometown. First, the Nazarenes stubbornly held to the literal meaning of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah and treated the Lord Jesus, the Messiah that had already come, according to their own notions and imaginings. When they saw the Bible say: “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son” (Isaiah 7:14), “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6–7), they took these prophecies as basis and believed that the coming Messiah would be born of a virgin, that He would be born into a king’s family with a magnificent appearance, and that He would lead them to throw off Roman rule. The Lord Jesus, however, had a mother, a father and siblings, and He was born in a manger, not in a palace—He was totally different from the Messiah of their own imaginings. Therefore, the Nazarenes did not seek from the Lord Jesus’ work and words at all, but instead interpreted the Bible literally based on their own notions and imaginations, and thus concluded that the Lord Jesus was not the Messiah.
The other reason is that the Nazarenes did not know the normal humanity of Christ. They saw that the Lord Jesus was ordinary in outward appearance and that He ate, dressed, lived, and acted just like an ordinary person, so they determined that the Lord Jesus was not the Messiah. I once read a passage on the Internet which says: “The life that Jesus lived on earth was a normal life of the flesh. He lived in the normal humanity of His flesh. His authority—to do His work and speak His word, or to heal the sick and cast out demons, to do such extraordinary things—did not manifest itself, for the most part, until He began His ministry. His life before age twenty-nine, before He performed His ministry, was proof enough that He was just a normal flesh. Because of this, and because He had not yet begun to perform His ministry, people saw nothing divine in Him, saw nothing more than a normal human being, an ordinary man—just as at that time some people believed Him to be Joseph’s son. People thought that He was the son of an ordinary man, had no way of telling that He was God’s incarnate flesh; even when, in the course of performing His ministry, He worked many miracles, most people still said that He was Joseph’s son, for He was the Christ with the outer shell of normal humanity” (“The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God”). This passage speaks very clearly: The Lordis the incarnate God Himself, who has both a normal humanity and a complete divinity. Prior to performing His ministry, the Lord Jesus grew up in a common family; He had joys and sorrows, learned things normally, and underwent a normal growth process, and He even would get sick like an average man. During this period of time, the humanity of the Lord Jesus’ flesh was so normal that nothing about Him was different from any ordinary person. That was why people in His hometown failed to recognize that He was God. Even after His humanity had matured and He began to formally undertake and perform the work of redeeming mankind, He still practically walked among all places, expressing the truth, preaching the way of repentance, and performing miracles. Although the Nazarenes knew that the Lord Jesus was able to express the truth and make the lame walk and the blind see, and they even personally saw Him resurrect Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, they still couldn’t accept the fact that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah just because He appeared so normal and ordinary, and they continued to treat the Lord Jesus, who lived among them, as an ordinary man. Just as what they said: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not His sisters here with us? And they were offended at Him” (Mark 6:3).
From this we can see that the Nazarenes didn’t know Christ’s normal humanity. They stubbornly clung to their own notions and relied on the literal meaning of the Old Testament prophecies to delimit the Lord’s work, and did not at all seek the truth or seek to know the Lord from His words and work. By doing so, they simply couldn’t obtain God’s salvation. But not everyone in that age, after witnessing the Lord Jesus’ work and words, acted like the Nazarenes who rejected the Lord merely based on their notions and what they had seen from the outside. It is written in the Bible: “Philip finds Nathanael, and said to him, We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said to him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip said to him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael said to Him, From where know You me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before that Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. Nathanael answered and said to Him, Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel” (John 1:45–49). It can be seen that, when Nathanael heard that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah, he at first had notions about it because he thought the Messiah couldn’t be born in a small place like Nazareth. But when he saw that the Lord Jesus’ words had authority and power and that He could examine his heart and soul, he let go of his notions and ideas, ignored the humble background of the Lord Jesus, and sought His work with an open mind. In the end, he gained the Lord’s salvation.
The Lord Jesus said: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7–8). These words of the Lord are sufficient for us to see that, when faced with God’s work, if we can let go of our notions, seek and investigate it with an open mind, and look for the truth, the way, and the life in the Lord’s word and work, then we will gain the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, come to know God, and keep up with God’s footsteps. On the contrary, if we arrogantly and stubbornly hold to our own notions and imaginations, do not seek for God’s will, but instead rely on our arrogant disposition to arbitrarily judge and condemn God’s work just like the Nazarenes did, then we will never be able to welcome the Savior whom we have expected for long, but will instead be abandoned and eliminated by God and lose His salvation for eternity. It can be seen that, people—even those who live in the same age—may end up differently because of their different attitudes toward God’s work.
Two thousand years have passed, and we are now in the end period of the last days where the prophecies of the Lord’s return have basically been fulfilled. At this crucial time to welcome the Lord Jesus’ return, we should absorb the strengths of previous generations and learn from their failures in order to welcome the Lord’s coming. I remember these words of the Lord Jesus: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13). “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2–3). The Lord’s words clearly tell us that the Lord has many truths to express and many mysteries to reveal, and that when He comes in the last days, He will certainly tell all this to the churches. But God’s wisdom and work are wonderful and unpredictable, and none of us can fathom which truths He will express or what kind of work He will do. Just as the Bible says: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been His counselor?” (Romans 11:33–34). Therefore, when we hear someone preach that the Lord has returned and is expressing the truth, this might be the Lord knocking at our doors. We should investigate it with an open mind and focus on listening to God’s voice, for only then will we have the chance to welcome the Lord.
After today’s fellowship, do you now have a path for how to approach the return of the Lord Jesus?
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