A prophet has no honour in his own country

Posted by admin on 19 February 2023 in John, Luke, Mark, Matthew |

John 4:43-44 [1]

43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honour in his own country.)

When Jesus went to Samaria (John 4:4), a Samaritan woman accepted him as Messiah she was waiting for (John 4:25-26). She invited people in her town to Jesus (John 4:29) and they welcomed and discovered Jesus being the Saviour of the world (John 4:42). Jesus was honoured by Samaritans whom the Jews despised and rejected.

After two days in Samaria, Jesus left for Galilee (43). He went to his home town (Matthew 13:54, Mark 6:1, Luke 4:16) in Galilee. There, Jesus found no honour.

I. They took offence at Jesus in His home town

See v44.

44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honour in his own country.)

Parallel verses related to John 4:44 are Matthew 13:53-57, Mark 6:1-4, and Luke 4:22-23. They give us information about what happened before Jesus pointed this out. According to Matthew 13:54-57a and Mark 6:1-2a, Jesus came to his home town (Nazareth, Luke 4:16) and began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed.

They said in Matthew 13:55b-56,

‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked. 55 ‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’

And they took offence at him (57a).

People in his home town only saw him apparently and didn’t see his heavenly origin. Joseph was His father apparently. However, he was not Jesus’ biological father, but God was. But they knew nothing about His heavenly origin.

II. A prophet has no honour in his own country

What Jesus said in response is written in Matthew 13:57b and Mark 6:4.

But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town and in his own home.’

Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’

Luke 4:23-30 shows more information about Jesus’ response to the offence.

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 home town what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.” ’

24 ‘Truly I tell you,’ he continued, ‘no prophet is accepted in his home town. 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 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.

The people’s reason behind the offence is revealed in the word of Jesus in Luke 4:23.

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 home town what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.” ’

That is, they doubted and demanded that Jesus perform the alleged miracles before them [2].

Jesus mentioned that Elijah the prophet was sent to only a gentile person during a severe famine throughout the land and only a gentile person was cleaned from leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet.

People’s response (Luke 4:28, 29) to what Jesus mentioned above foreshadows the coming crucifixion to some degree [2].

References

  1. The Holy Bible: New International Version. Anglicised. Revised and updated. ed. 2011: London: Hodder & Stoughton.
  2. Borchert, G.L., The New American Commentary: John 1-11. 1996: Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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