Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom

Part XV: Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen By The Opposition To His Ministry, Matthew 11:2-16:12

I. Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Response To His Hometown's Unbelief

(Matthew 13:53-58)


I.                 Introduction

A.    Jesus was rejected not only by His leaders (Matthew 12:14-45), but also by His hometown, Matthew 13:53-58.

B.     His response to this rejection reveals Jesus' thinking was spiritual, not natural, indicating He was from God:

II.              Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Response To His Hometown's Unbelief, Matthew 13:53-58.

A.    After teaching His parables by the Sea of Galilee on God's altered program of the Kingdom due to His rejection by Israel's leaders (Matthew 13:1), Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth, Matthew 13:53-54.

B.     While there, as He had done at the beginning of His ministry (Luke 4:14-16), Jesus taught His townspeople in their synagogue at Nazareth, Matthew 13:54b.

C.     However, His teaching "amazed, overwhelmed" (ekplesso, Arndt & Gingrich, A Grk.-Eng. Lex. of the N. T., 1967, p. 243) these townspeople, for they could not understand how Jesus had such great wisdom and could perform such great miracles in view of the ordinary, non-formal education background of the rest of His earthly family, Matthew 13:54-56:

1.      These people had known Jesus as Joseph the middle class carpenter's son, Matthew 13:55a.

2.      They had known Jesus as the child of Mary, the wife of Joseph the carpenter, Matthew 13:55b.

3.      The townspeople at Nazareth were also familiar with Jesus' earthly siblings, what we know (due to Jesus' virgin birth, cf. Matthew 1:18-25) where his half brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, Judas and His half sisters, Matthew 13:55-56a.

4.      These other members of Jesus' family were quite ordinary townspeople as to wisdom and human education as viewed by the townspeople themselves, but Jesus' wisdom and works were far greater than theirs!

5.      Accordingly, not viewing Jesus by FAITH in how He was FULFILLING SCRIPTURE, and THUS as the MESSENGER of God, the townspeople could not understand Jesus' superior qualities!

D.    Accordingly, they asked from what source or how had He obtained His vastly super human wisdom and powers to do His great miraculous works, Matthew 13:56b.

E.     Since there was no natural explanation, and since the people did not trust Jesus to be the Messiah or Son of God as they were not heeding how He spiritually fulfilled Scripture, Matthew records they were "offended" at Him, Matthew 13:57a.  This word, skandalizo, "take offense" (Ibid., p. 760) reveals the townspeople had no natural explanation for Jesus' superior wisdom and power, and as they were comparing Him with themselves on the natural level, they were hurt at His superior human qualities, errantly hating Him in their false pride.

F.      However, Jesus did not react to this problem with the natural viewpoint; rather, He simply claimed as He had at the beginning of His ministry and its rejection in Nazareth, "A prophet is not without honour save in his own country, and in his own house," Matthew 13:57 KJV with Luke 4:24.

G.    In other words, Jesus realized that His calling and empowering was of God (cf. Matthew 3:16) as had been the calling and empowering of a long line of Old Testament prophets, that He was the true Son of God come in the flesh (Matthew 3:17) in fulfillment of Scripture, and that His townspeople were functioning in unbelief as He had noted of the hard ground in the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:18-23.

H.    As a result, He did not perform many miracles there because of their unbelief, Matthew 13:58.


Lesson: When His townspeople evaluated Jesus by use of the natural point of view and so could not understand His supernatural abilities and works, and thus they became proudly offended at Him, Jesus did not react by using the natural view to retaliate in pride or hurt, but claimed the townspeople's evaluation with the natural mind had led to unbelief, and so He performed only a few miracles among them.  Jesus thus used the spiritual mind as the Holy Spirit empowered Messiah, cf. Matthew 3:16 with Isaiah 11:1-3.


Application: May we (1) examine the life of Christ in light of Scripture revelation to see that He is truly God's spiritual and hence true Messiah, and thus trust in Him for salvation, John 20:31.  (2) May we also view the spiritually gifted abilities and works of believers today in light of Scripture so as not to be offended at their abilities like Jesus' townspeople were at His abilities, but appreciate them as God's supernatural gifts for helping the rest of us in the Church! (1 Corinthians 12:14-27; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, 9-13)