Jesus. Carnival Side Show, or more, the Messiah?

“Then he said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’”

Luke 4:23 NLT

This is the second time in the Gospels someone wanted to kill Jesus. It won’t be the last.

The first was King Herod at Jesus’ birth. This, the second, is not His enemies or foreign powers, but instead Jesus’ kinsmen from His own hometown, Nazareth.

At first, they are impressed. Even amazed. They have heard, no doubt, about the water being turned into wine in nearby Cana. They have heard reports of Him standing up to the Pharisees at Passover, and of Him turning over the tables of the corrupt and despised money changers. They have heard reports of Him performing miracles in Jerusalem. And now, most recently, they have heard of the Royal Official’s son being healed in Capernaum.

While they’re impressed with His reading of Isaiah’s prophecy, and perhaps amused or surprised by Him declaring that He was fulfilling that Messianic prophecy, what they’re really interested in is a show, just like Herod would be a few years later prior to the crucifixion.

Perhaps the people of Nazareth were thinking, “Well, if you were willing to heal that Royal Official’s son in Capernaum, and he’s a Gentile, then what more will you of course do for us Jews here in your hometown!”

Jesus’ stories from their own history, the stories He recounted of the prophet Elijah’s kindness to the Gentile widow from Zarephath, and Elisha’s healing of the Gentile from Syria, Naaman, were Jesus’ way of telling them that His miracle for the Gentile Royal Official in Capernaum would not be repeated in Nazareth.

They were angered. Enraged. Filled with murderous intent. Maybe their excuse for murder would have been that Jesus was no Messiah as He claimed to be, and that He was guilty of the sin of blasphemy.

Why would Jesus say this? Why no miracle in His hometown, among family friends and perhaps even relatives? And I wonder what His brothers were doing while the crowd tried to kill Him? Did they join in? Did they stand idly by? Did they run in fear? Did they unsuccessfully try to stop them?

Jesus said what He said because they lacked faith. What kind of faith? Did they not believe He could do these miracles? They had heard stories. They evidently believed the stories and wanted to see a repeat performance. So evidently, they must have had some measure of faith that Jesus was a miracle-worker, even a prophet. So what faith, then, was lacking?

Faith in Him.

Belief that He was the Messiah, the promised deliverer, the Savior.

They had faith, perhaps, for their physical needs. What they refused to see, though, was their spiritual need. They might have believed Israel needed a political deliverer, a king. They just couldn’t see that they needed a personal deliverer, a Savior.

Jesus refused to play their game. He refused to be accepted only as a carnival side show, a miracle-working entertainer. There, in His hometown, among those who’d seen Him grow up His whole life, He demanded more. He demanded belief in Him for who He was, not just for what He could do.

Belief in God.. belief in miracles… is not the same as belief in Jesus.

Belief in Jesus requires an admission of sin and an acceptance of the Savior.


“When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures.”

Luke 4:16 NLT

Two words stand out. “As usual.” For those who downplay the importance of church attendance, of gathering with a local body of believers for worship… for those who say I don’t need to go to church. I can worship God in my own way anywhere… notice the model, the pattern, the priority of Jesus.

“He went AS USUAL to the synagogue on the Sabbath.”

Regular time. Sabbath.

Regular place. Synagogue.

Regular practice. As usual.

NOTE: Today’s blogpost is based upon Sonlife’s study, Knowing Him / A 50 Day Study in the Life of Christ / Day 15