14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.
15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
(iii) The passage ends by saying that he was held in high reputation by all. This period of Jesus’ ministry has been called the Galilaean springtime. He had come like a breath of the very wind of God. The opposition had not yet crystallized. Men’s hearts were hungry for the word of life, and they had not yet realized what a blow he was to strike at the orthodoxy of his time. A man with a message will always command an audience.

He was glorified by the people; He was praised and complimented. This verse sounds like a doxology. You know, it is possible to praise Him and still reject Him. It is possible to sing the doxology and turn down His claims. The same crowd that sang “Hosanna” and wanted to crown Him, the next day joined the mob to crucify Him. I think of a picture of the Crucifixion with the empty cross in the foreground and in the background is the donkey feeding on withered palm branches. That is the way it was. One day the Lord was praised, and the next day He was crucified.

16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
We are told that after the temptation, the Lord returned to His hometown. Generally the hometown is proud of the local boy who has become famous. As was His custom on the Sabbath, He went to the synagogue in Nazareth.

17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
In the synagogue service there were three parts.

(a) The worship part in which prayer was offered.

(b) The reading of the scriptures. Seven people from the congregation read. As they read, the ancient Hebrew, which was no longer widely understood, was translated by the Targumist into Aramaic or Greek, in the case of the Law, one verse at a time, in the case of the prophets, three verses at a time.

(c) The teaching part. In the synagogue there was no professional ministry nor any one person to give the address; the president would invite any distinguished person present to speak and discussion and talk would follow. That is how Jesus got his chance. The synagogue and its platform were open to him at this stage.

18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. ‘
20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
The important thing to notice is where He broke off reading. He did not read, “. . . and the day of vengeance of our God. . . .” He closed the Book and gave it back to the minister. The amazing thing is that He did not stop reading at the end of a sentence but stopped before finishing it. In our translation, He stopped reading at the comma, but there was no comma in the text He was reading. He made absolutely no mention of the phrase, “the day of vengeance of our God.” He made no mention of any of the text that followed this phrase. Do you know why? He looked at that crowd and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

Here is a passage of Scripture that was going to be fulfilled down to a comma, and the rest of the passage would not be fulfilled until He came back the second time. The day of vengeance had not yet come. What is the day of vengeance? It is that time of which God said, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Ps. 2:8). How is the Lord going to get the heathen for His inheritance? “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Ps. 2:9). That is the way the Lord will come to power. That will be the day of vengeance. That is the great Day of the Lord, and it will take place when Christ comes the second time. He came the first time to preach the gospel to the poor that they might be saved. He came anointed by the Holy Spirit to bring the glorious message of salvation. We are still living in that wonderful day, the day of the gospel. When He comes the second time, it will be the day of vengeance.

We have already described the synagogue service and this passage gives us a vivid picture of it in action. It was not a book which Jesus took, for at this time everything was written on rolls. It was from Isa 61 that he read. In Lk 4:20 the King James Version speaks misleadingly of the minister. The official in question was the Chazzan. He had many duties. He had to take out and put back the sacred rolls of scripture; he had to keep the synagogue clean; he had to announce the coming of the Sabbath with three blasts of the silver trumpet from the synagogue roof; and he was also the teacher in the village school. Lk 4:20 says that Jesus sat down. That gives us the impression that he was finished. In point of fact it means that he was about to start, because the speaker gave the address seated and Rabbis taught sitting down. (compare our own phrase, a professor’s chair).

What angered the people was the apparent compliment that Jesus paid to gentiles. The Jews were so sure that they were God’s people that they utterly despised all others. They believed that “God had created the gentiles to be fuel for the fires of hell.” And here was this young Jesus, whom they all knew, preaching as if the gentiles were specially favoured by God. It was beginning to dawn upon them that there were things in this new message the like of which they had never dreamed.

We must note two other things.

(i) It was Jesus’ habit to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath. There must have been many things with which he radically disagreed and which grated on him–yet he went. The worship of the synagogue might be far from perfect; yet Jesus never omitted to join himself to God’s worshipping people on God’s day.

(ii) We have only to read the passage of Isaiah that Jesus read to see the difference between Jesus and John the Baptist. John was the preacher of doom and at his message men must have shuddered with terror. It was a gospel–Good News–which Jesus brought. Jesus, too, knew the wrath of God but it was always the wrath of love.

22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

22 All who were there spoke well of him and were amazed by the beautiful words that fell from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
Luke 4:22 (Living)

The people looked at Him and remembered Him as Joseph’s son, a carpenter. That seemed to spoil it all. How could He be the Messiah? Luke is making it very clear that He took upon Himself our frail humanity.

23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ”
24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.
25 “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;
26 “but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
27 “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
The Lord is illustrating this in a marvelous way. He cited two Gentiles who lived outside of the land of Israel — the widow of Sarepta and Naaman of Syria — in whose lives God worked miraculously. He is trying to show them that they, His own people, were apt to miss a great blessing because they would not accept who He was. They would be like the many widows and the many lepers of Israel who were not healed during the time of Elijah.

28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.
30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.
Luke 4:14-30 (NKJV)
The people of Jesus’ hometown rejected Him. The country around Nazareth is rough country, and they led Him to the brow of a hill, intending to push Him off to His death. His escape from this mob was a miracle.