Humble Hero


“Is Not This the Carpenter’s Son?”

This chapter is based on Luke 4:16-30.

One shadow intruded on the bright days of Christ’s ministry in Galilee—the people of Nazareth rejected Him. “Is this not the carpenter’s son?” they said. Matthew 13:55. During His youth, Jesus had worshiped among His friends and family in the synagogue at Nazareth. Since the beginning of His ministry, He had been away from them, but when He appeared again, their expectations rose to the highest pitch. Here were the familiar faces He had known from infancy. Here were His mother, His brothers and sisters, and all eyes turned toward Him as He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and took His place among the worshipers. HH 102.1

In the regular service, the elder urged the people still to hope for the Coming One who would reign gloriously and banish all oppression. He tried to encourage his hearers by going over the evidence that the Messiah’s coming was near. He emphasized the thought that He would lead armies to deliver Israel. HH 102.2

When a rabbi was present, he was expected to deliver the sermon, and any Israelite could give the reading from the prophets. On this Sabbath, Jesus was asked to take part in the service. He “stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah.” The scripture He read was understood as referring to the Messiah: HH 102.3

“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 broken-hearted,
To preach deliverance to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
HH 102.4

“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. ... So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.” HH 102.5

Explaining the words He had read, Jesus spoke of the Messiah as One who would relieve the oppressed, heal the afflicted, restore sight to the blind, and reveal the light of truth. The wonderful meaning of His words thrilled the hearers with a power they had never felt before. The tide of divine influence broke every barrier down. As the Holy Spirit moved their hearts, they responded with fervent amens and praises to the Lord. HH 102.6

But when Jesus announced, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” they suddenly were called upon to think of the claims of Him who had been addressing them. He had represented them, children of Abraham, as being in bondage, prisoners to be delivered from the power of evil, in darkness, and needing the light of truth. This offended their pride. Jesus’ work for them was to be entirely different from what they wanted. He might investigate their deeds too closely. They shrank from inspection by those clear, searching eyes. HH 103.1

“Who is this Jesus?” they questioned. He who had claimed the glory of the Messiah was the Son of a carpenter. They had seen Him toiling up and down the hills. They were acquainted with His brothers and sisters, and they knew His life and labors. They had seen Him develop from childhood to manhood. Although His life had been spotless, they would not believe that He was the Promised One. They opened the door to doubt, and their hearts became harder for having been briefly softened. With intense energy, Satan worked to fasten them in unbelief. HH 103.2

They had been stirred by the conviction that it was their Redeemer who addressed them. But Jesus now gave them evidence of His divinity by revealing their secret thoughts. “No prophet is accepted in his own country. 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; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed, except Naaman the Syrian.” HH 103.3

The prophets whom God had chosen were not allowed to labor for a hardhearted, unbelieving people. In the days of Elijah, Israel had rejected the Lord’s messengers, so God found a refuge for His servant in a heathen land, with a woman who did not belong to the chosen people. But this woman’s heart was open to the greater light that God sent through His prophet. HH 103.4

In Elisha’s time, the lepers of Israel were passed by for the same reason. But Naaman, a heathen nobleman, was ready to receive the gifts of God’s grace. He was not only cleansed from leprosy but blessed with a knowledge of the true God. The heathen who choose the right as far as they can distinguish it are in a better condition than those who profess to serve God but disregard light and whose daily lives contradict their profession. HH 103.5