Leader Bible Study
Jesus was about thirty years old when He began His earthly ministry. After John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, Jesus was tempted in the desert. Jesus traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover. Then He headed north to Galilee. He went through the region of Samaria, stopping at Jacob’s well to talk to a Samaritan woman.
After, Jesus went to the town of Nazareth, where He had grown up. Nazareth was a small village in the hills between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea. On the Sabbath day, Jesus went into the synagogue to teach. He read aloud the words of the prophet Isaiah. (See Isa. 61:1-2.) Jesus sat down. Everyone’s eyes were on Him as He explained, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.” Jesus was saying, It’s Me. The words Jesus read were coming true. Some people remembered Jesus from His youth. They asked, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
Jesus knew their thoughts; Jesus had performed miracles in Capernaum, and the people wanted Jesus to do miracles in His hometown too. Jesus reminded them of two Old Testament accounts. Many widows lived in Israel when the prophet Elijah was there, but God sent Elijah to help a widow in another country. And Elisha likely encountered Israelites who had leprosy, but he healed Naaman the Syrian.
Jesus wanted the people to understand that His miracles were an act of grace—a gift. No one deserves God’s grace, so God may show grace to whomever He pleases—even Gentiles. The people were angry about that last part. They drove Jesus away, intending to kill Him, but Jesus escaped through the crowd.
As you teach, explain that Jesus came to give sight to the blind and to set the captives free. He came preaching good news to all the people groups. Finally, the Messiah had come! Jesus was God’s plan to save sinners.
The BIBLE Story
Jesus Taught in Nazareth
Jesus went to the town of Nazareth where He had lived when He was a boy. Now Jesus was grown. He traveled all around, teaching people about God. On the Sabbath day, Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth. The synagogue was a special building where Jews met together to pray, worship, and learn about the Scriptures.
Jesus stood up to read Scripture. He unrolled the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and read: “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me. He has chosen Me to tell good news to the poor. He has sent Me to tell the captives that they are free, to tell the blind that they can see, to free people who have been treated badly, and to announce that the Lord’s favor is on us.” Then Jesus rolled up the scroll. He gave it to the attendant and sat down.
Everyone in the synagogue stared at Jesus. Jesus said, “Today as you listened to Me reading these words, they came true.”
The people said good things about Jesus, and they were amazed at Him. But some of the people in Nazareth had known Jesus from His youth. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
Jesus said, “No prophet is accepted in his hometown.” Jesus told the people about times when God used prophets to help people who were not Jews. He reminded them of Elijah and Elisha. When there was a terrible famine in Israel and no rain fell there for three and a half years, plenty of widows in the country needed help. But the prophet Elijah did not help the widows in Israel. Instead, God sent Elijah to help a widow in another land.
And when Elisha was a prophet, many people in Israel had leprosy. They wanted to be healed, but Elisha did not heal them. Instead, he healed a man named Naaman (NAY muhn), and Naaman was from Syria—a country that hated God’s people.
The people in the synagogue were angry. They forced Jesus out of town. They wanted to throw Him off a cliff, but Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on His way.
Christ Connection: Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah wrote about God’s plan to send a Messiah. The Messiah would bring good news and redeem people who were broken and hurting. Jesus read Isaiah’s words and announced that He is the promised Messiah.
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