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Don’t Lose Heart . . . Don’t Lose Sight

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 4:14–30; John 4:43–54

The truth about Jesus always cuts two ways. Some believe and receive His blessings. Others reject the truth even when it is clear to them. Jesus Himself saw both responses, and His reaction to rejection provides a model for us when we face similar situations.


In this Wisdom Journey we find Jesus moving on to Galilee where He grew up as a little boy. The apostle John gives us a hint about this next season in the ministry of Jesus, as he writes in chapter 4 of his Gospel:

(For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. (verses 44-45)

Jesus might have been welcomed in Galilee, but that welcome mat is eventually going to change into a “get-out-of-town demand.”

Matthew says Jesus came into Galilee preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Mark’s Gospel also records that this is Jesus’ primary message (Mark 1:15). He is the King offering to the nation His kingdom.

Luke’s Gospel tells us that Jesus “returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and . . . taught in their synagogues” (Luke 4:14-15).

As you know, we’re studying the Gospels chronologically, and what happens first in Galilee is recorded in John 4:

So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. (verses 46-47)

The first thing that strikes you is that you have this nobleman of the Roman court coming to this poor carpenter’s Son, this traveling Jewish rabbi. Why? Because he believes Jesus can heal his son, no matter what others might say about Him. This father is desperate. And let me tell you, when people experience a crisis, they instinctively start praying. I have never met an atheist in an emergency room.

So, he is right to ask Jesus to heal his son. But he is wrong to assume that Jesus has to be physically present to heal his son. He does not know that Jesus is actually holding the universe together by His power, as Colossians 1:17 tells us.

But the wonderful thing here is that Jesus accepts anybody who will come to Him by faith, even if they don’t understand half of what they are asking.

This nobleman says to Jesus in verse 49, “Sir, come down before my child dies.’” The Greek word here for “Sir” is a title of respect addressed to a superior. He is effectively saying to Jesus, “I know You are more than some carpenter-turned-rabbi. You are the one with real authority!”

Jesus responds in verse 50, saying, “Go; your son will live.” That’s it! Jesus does not need to go to this nobleman’s home; He does not even need to touch his son. “Go, your son is healed!” And don’t overlook this man’s response: “The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.” That is faith in action!

And what occurs next is amazing. On his way home, the man meets one of his household servants who had run out to tell him his son was suddenly healed. They figure out together that the very hour Jesus said the boy would live, the fever had left him. With that, this man and his entire household believed in Jesus (verse 53).

With that, Jesus and His disciples leave Cana, and Luke 4:16 tells us they come “to Nazareth, where he had been brought up.” Nazareth was not a big city. Archeologists have determined that during Jesus’ childhood, Nazareth had a population of around 400 people. We now know that it was a rather poor village, too; no expensive pottery was ever discovered there—just common, ordinary stuff.[1]

Luke continues the account:

As was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (verses 16-19)

Listen, the Jewish people loved this particular prophecy from Isaiah 61, and for good reason. When the Anointed One arrives, life is going to get better for everyone—freedom, healing, and liberty! This was one of their favorite passages.

But then, verse 21 records Jesus’ words concerning this passage: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” You could translate this, “This Scripture has been fulfilled while you’ve been listening to it.”[2]  Jesus is announcing, “I’m the Anointed One; I’m the Messiah. Here I am!”

When you put Luke’s account together with the account in Mark 6, you see the people’s reactions grow from astonishment to outrage. “How could this young man claim to be the Messiah when we watched him grow up?” They don’t believe Him!

Jesus quiets the uproar and adds here in Luke 4:23, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’” In other words, He’s saying, “You want me to do a miracle for you, to prove my point!”

But instead, Jesus starts talking in the next few verses about how the prophets Elijah and Elisha were sent to preach to ungodly Gentiles because Israel would not listen to them.  

Well, these people in Nazareth immediately understand what He is saying: He is the prophet, but since they are refusing to believe Him, they are worse off than ungodly Gentiles.[3] And that does it! It was like a nuclear bomb went off in the synagogue.

Verse 29 records:

They rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.

Now if I were Jesus, I would have performed a miracle for them right about now—a miracle of judgment! After all, they are trying to throw Him off a cliff!

Instead, we are told He miraculously slipped through the crowd—becoming invisible perhaps. We don’t know exactly what He did, but He just disappeared and slipped away.

But, beloved, I want you to notice what Jesus didn’t do. First, He didn’t lose control. Verse 30 says, “But passing through their midst, he went away.” He left; He did not strike back.

Second, He didn’t lose heart. Think about it: Jesus is fully human, and this is His hometown; these are His friends and neighbors, and now they want to kill Him. Jesus, as a human being, would have been deeply hurt! But look at what He models for us: it’s possible to be hurt and not lose heart.

Finally, Jesus didn’t lose sight. Again, verse 30 tells us “He went away,” which means He pursued the ministry He had just begun. The tense of this verb means that He kept on going.[4]

He was not going to quit or get off track.

Maybe today you are facing rejection or ridicule from classmates or colleagues. Maybe you are married to someone who does not appreciate your love for Christ and His church. Maybe you have family members who think you are a fanatic, that you have lost your mind in following Christ.

Don’t lose control of your emotions and strike back. Don’t lose heart as you follow the Lord, who was also rejected. And don’t lose sight of the truth that you have what the world needs most—forgiveness, purpose, and at the end, a future in heaven forever.

So don’t lose control; don’t lose sight, and don’t lose heart. Keep pressing on for the glory of God.

[1] David E. Garland, Luke, Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Zondervan, 2011), 195.

[2] J. Reiling and J. L. Swellengrebel, A Translator's Handbook on the Gospel of Luke (United Bible Societies, 1971), 203.

[3] Garland, 195.

[4] See Charles R. Swindoll, Insights on Luke (Zondervan, 2012), 111.


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