a. Indicate which passage you have chosen and summarize it in no more than 3 sentences.
The passage that has been chose for analysis is Luke 4:14-30. This passage describes Jesus' return to Galilee. During this time he begins to preach to the community, and gives them the prophecy that had been spoken to him. The people become angry with him, although impressed by his wisdom. He then leaves town by parting the crowd and walking through.
b. Introduce the reader to your argument.
Within the passage, the people of the community at first seem to see him in a positive light. It is when he discusses the prophecy and describes himself as the fulfillment of the messiah that they become angry with him. They chase him to a cliff within the passage, attempting to throw him off. He simply parts the crowd and exits, however, demonstrating his peaceful bearing. The anger that the people show him after he gives his speech demonstrates a foreshadowing of his eventual crucifixion at the hands of an angry mob. This passage is therefore an important indication of the general expectations that should be viewed in regards to the reactions that people would have to the teachings that Jesus was spreading.
c. Summarize the ways your 2 chosen Bible commentaries have interpreted the passage. One paragraph each.
The first commentary states that “Jesus knew that the people in Nazareth would not accept him” (Mackervoy). This, it argues, is evident in his statement that those of their own community. He goes on to argue that people will more often view complete strangers as prophets than those that they know well. Furthermore, the discussion that the commentary presents sheds light on the underlying purpose of the passage. The mention of Elijah alludes to a story in which he marries outside of his community which seems to indicate that “prophets do not have much honour among their own people” (Mackervoy). The commentary seems to interpret the passage as recognition of the doubt that people would have of Jesus and his divinity. Furthermore, the passages demonstrate that there is a major concern with his divinity due to his relations with those of other nations. This is indicated in the interpretation that demonstrates the belief that “could not agree that God would be kind to people from other nations” (Mackervoy). This commentary interprets the passage as being an indication of how people of his own nation would accept his divinity.
The second commentary is more concerned with the implications that arise from the symbolic nature of the attempt of Jesus' life that occurs in the passage. The commentary indicates that the purpose of the passage is to demonstrate that the whole gospel will be read in the light of the climax towards which it is pointing” (Biblical Studies 8). This seems to indicate that the purpose of the passage is to indicate the reaction that most will have of the teachings that Christ has to offer. Furthermore, the passage indicates that he “will have to suffer at the hands of his own people” (Biblical Studies 8). The anger that people fear due to the disbelief that is associated with his teachings is foreshadowed in the passage and the attempt on his life underscores an important message that his ministry was attempting to convey. That is that doubt and disbelief can be a major barrier to the establishment of a true relationship with the divine. The commentary argues that the fundamental meaning of his journey within the Bible was “to go through their midst announcing the good news of salvation, making his way to Jerusalem, and through death, resurrection and ascension, into the glory of the Father” (Biblical Studies 9). The passage is therefore a metaphor for his journey throughout the New Testament.
d. Explain your own interpretation of the passage:
i. What hermeneutical approaches would be best to use for this passage? Why?
The best hermeneutical approach to this passage would be understanding it through allegory. Both commentaries expressed the importance of the symbolic nature behind the passage and what it represents. In this sense, the foreshadowing of events to come that seems to be apparent in this passage could be better understood through this type of approach. In looking at the passage this way, a better understanding of how these representations reflect on the larger context of the Bible could be established. This could provide a deeper perspective regarding the role of the passage in demonstrating the intentions of the bible as a whole.
A moral hermeneutical approach would also be possible. The very nature of the reaction that the people have, erupting in violence over a deeply religious issue, presents an important lesson in relation to morality. The people of Galilee almost killed the messiah because of their own disbelief. In viewing the passage through a moral lens, it would seem that there are various important lessons that could be gleamed from these reactions.
ii. Did you agree/disagree with the commentaries’ arguments? Why?
I agreed with the commentaries for the most part. The arguments that were made seemed to indicate a deeper perspective in regards to the Biblical passage and the context of the return of Jesus to Galilee. The argument from the first commentary demonstrated that there were important implications to the message that Jesus was attempting to convey. It presented the relationship between Jesus and the larger Jewish community. The second passage demonstrated the underlying symbolic representation that seem to be present in the outcome of the passage. From the attack on Jesus to his solemn exit, both passages seem to present strong interpretations of the events.
iii. What are your own thoughts on this passage?
The passage is interesting as it presents evidence of the early reactions to Jesus within his own community. These reactions were profoundly negative and ultimately erupted in violence. It also demonstrates an important revelation in regards to the idea of divinity. That is, that it would seem unlikely that many would easily believe that somebody that they know would be a messiah or any sort of divine figure. The doubt that is evident within the passage is indicative of the attitudes that he would face throughout his journeys. This demonstrates the importance of the passage and why it is interesting.
e. Write a compelling conclusion.
The passage Luke 4:14-30 presents the experience that Jesus had when he returned to Galilee and presented the prophecy to the community. The subsequent disbelief and angry reaction of the people demonstrates an important consideration in regards to the message that is being conveyed in the New Testament. The disbelief and hatred that would ultimately lead to the death and resurrection of Jesus is foreshadowed within the passage. Through analysis of the associated commentaries it seems evident that this passage is not only an important lesson in regards to faith, but it also indicates in abstract terms the ultimate conclusion that the New Testament would lead to.
Mackervoy, Ian. The people in Nazareth refuse to accept Jesus – Luke 4:14-30. Bible- Commentary. 2013. Web. 2016.
“The Rejection at Nazareth: Luke 4:14-30.” Biblical Studies. Web. Biblicalstudies.org. 2015.