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A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[John 4:43–45. Luke 4:16–30. Mark 6:1–6. Mat. 13:54]

FROM Sichar Jesus returned to Nazareth, in His own country, and preached the word of life, as He went. Now in Nazareth He entered the synagogue, on the Sabbath-day, and stood up to read. They gave Him the book of Isaias the prophet. He unfolded the book and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; wherefore He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He hath sent me to heal he contrite of heart, to preach deliverance to the captives and sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to breach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of reward.”

When He had closed the book, He returned it to the minister and sat down. But the eyes of all the synagogue were fixed upon Him. He then told them: “This day is fulfilled this scripture in your ears.”

As He thus continued His discourse, all wondered at the words of grace that fell from His lips. Still they did not believe in Him; for they said one to another: “Is not this the son of Joseph?”1

But He, answering them, said: “Amen, I say to you that no prophet is accepted1 in his own country1. There were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel, when heaven was shut three years and six months, when there was a great famine throughout all the land. Yet to none of them was Elias sent but to a widow at Sarepta of Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; yet none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian.”

Now all those who heard these things in the synagogue were filled with anger. And rising up, they drove Him out of the city, and took Him to the brow of a mountain to cast Him down headlong. But He, striking them with a sudden terror, passed through their midst and went His way.

Jesus is the Messias. He proclaimed Himself to be such, when He said: “What the prophet says about the Messias is fulfilled in and by Me.”

Jesus is God, He proved this by the miracle He wrought at Nazareth, passing through the crowd of the furious Nazarenes, who were thirsting for His Blood, without any one among them being able to withstand Him.

Resistance of Grace. In the last chapter we saw how salvation comes to those who correspond with grace. In this chapter we have a terrible example of how salvation is forfeited by resisting grace. The Nazarenes were impressed by the discourse of Jesus, but they did not obey the call of grace which was knocking at their hearts. They resisted it, and would not believe.

Causes of unbelief. The Nazarenes had heard of the great miracle which Jesus had worked close to them at Cana. They had also been to Jerusalem for the Pasch and had witnessed the miracles He worked there (chapter XV); and now He came to them and revealed Himself to be the Messias. Still they did not believe in Him, but tried to kill Him. What was the cause of their unbelief? Firstly, their carnal-mindedness. They expected an earthly Messias, who would be a great prince, and would drive away the Romans and make Israel great in the eyes of the world. The lowliness and poverty of Jesus, therefore, offended them. They wanted their Redeemer to bring them great worldly advantages; they did not care for truth, grace and salvation. Secondly, they despised Jesus, because they had known Him from His childhood; for, as a rule, men do not respect those with whom they are very familiar. Thirdly, a feeling of envy probably arose in them: “Is this man, who is poorer than any of us, to be greater than we are!” The same causes, antipathy to the supernatural, pride &c. &c., are in the present time at the root of much unbelief.

The Sanctification of the Sabbath by frequenting divine services and hearing the word of God. Jesus was in the habit, from His youth up, of going to the synagogue every Sabbath.

Labour honourable. Jesus has sanctified and raised labour and all handicraft to a position of dignity, because, until He began His public life, He followed the trade of a carpenter.

The Sufferings of Jesus. It wounded our Lord’s Sacred Heart to be ignored and rejected by His own townsfolk. The Samaritans believed, but the Nazarenes would not believe, and even maltreated Him. Jesus left Nazareth and wandered about without a home, among the very people whom He had come down from heaven to save.

Anger, a capital sin. It was anger which made the Nazarenes attempt to kill Jesus.

Holy Scripture. Jesus, by His reading and subsequent discourse, testified that the prophecies of Isaias were inspired by God. Also, by citing the cases of Elias and Eliseus, He attested that these holy men were indeed sent by God, and that they really worked the miracles which are related of them in Holy Scripture.

APPLICATION. You have been accustomed from your childhood to the Presence of Jesus in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar, and to the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Take care that you do not think lightly of them! “If this most holy Sacrament were only in one place, and consecrated by only one priest in the world, how great a desire would men have to go to that place and to such a priest of God, that they might see the divine mysteries celebrated” (Imit. of Christ 4:1). Should your reverence and devotion be less, because Jesus of His infinite love is present on so many altars, and is daily offered up? Would not this be a shameful want of gratitude?








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