This topic is collecting lesson ideas for Luke 4:14-29
"Jesus' Rejection in his hometown of Nazareth"
The story takes place immediately after his temptation in the wilderness. By quoting Isaiah 58 and 61 and saying it is fulfilled, Jesus is announcing his identity and mission as the Messiah.
This collection doesn't have much in it because Rotation Model Sunday Schools (for whom this site was originally created) do not typically include this passage as one of the "major" stories they teach about Jesus to their students. That's simply because some 30 to other 40 stories, like the parables or the Cross, are considered more "major" and because we can only teach 8 to 12 stories a year when you spend four or five weeks in a row on one major story (to really learn it). That said, it's an important story, and we do have some resources for it! Feel free to add yours.
Who are the "poor," "blind," "captives" that Jesus is speaking about in today's world? In your community? How are you "poor," "captive," or "blind"?
What kinds of sight and freedom do Jesus and his follower want the world to have?
How do people reject Jesus today without saying the word "reject"?
How does a person "reject" Jesus with the way they live their life, talk about others, spend their time and money?
How was it possible for his hometown people to reject him when he was standing right in front of them?
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth (NIV)
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “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,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
23 Jesus said to them, “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.’”
24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy[g] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”
28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Jesus, the preacher of freedom and release from captivity
I don't know the source of this starling image of Jesus behind barbed wire illustrated in the style of an icon, but it illustrates a form of "the rejection of Jesus" when we do not proclaim the freedom Jesus says he has come to proclaim in Luke 4. Fascinatingly, we are reminded of Jesus' opening declaration once again after his resurrection in Matthew 25:
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
The story of Peter's denial and Jesus' arrest and crucifixion more fully explore WHY Jesus was rejected. Check out those lesson forums for some great lesson ideas.