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Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time. The reading is from Gospel of Matthew 13:54-58.

The Rejection of Jesus in Nazareth – Matthew 13:54-58

He came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.

They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds?

Is he not the carpenter’s son?

Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?

Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?”

And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.”

And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.

The above passage is the beginning of the narrative part of the fourth book of the gospel of Matthew.

Matthew confirms the  tradition of Jesus’ residence in Nazareth in

  • He came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? (Matthew 13:54)

The tradition of Jesus’ residence in Nazareth was firmly established earlier by Matthew in

  • He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazorean.” (Matthew 2:23)

Matthew sees it as being in accordance with the foreannounced plan of God.

The town of Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament, and no such prophecy can be found there. The vague expression “through the prophets” may be due to Matthew’s seeing a connection between Nazareth and certain texts in which there are words with a remote similarity to the name of that town. Some such Old Testament texts are

  • But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. (Isaiah 11:1)

(Isaiah 11:1) וְיָצָ֥א חֹ֖טֶר מִגֵּ֣זַע יִשָׁ֑י וְנֵ֖צֶר מִשָּׁרָשָׁ֥יו יִפְרֶֽה׃

where the Davidic king of the future is called וְנֵ֖צֶר (wə·nê·ṣer) “a bud” that shall blossom from the roots of Jesse, and

  • An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her: Though you are barren and have had no children, you will conceive and bear a son. Now, then, be careful to drink no wine or beer and to eat nothing unclean, for you will conceive and bear a son. No razor shall touch his head, for the boy is to be a nazirite for God from the womb. It is he who will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines. (Judges 13:3-5)

But he said to me, ‘You will conceive and bear a son. So drink no wine or beer, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy shall be a nazirite for God from the womb, until the day of his death.’” (Judges 13:7)

where Samson, the future deliverer of Israel from the Philistines, is called one who shall be consecrated נְזִ֤יר (nə·zîr) a nazirite to God.

The astonishment is of those who take offense at Jesus.

  • But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:46)
  • The Jews were amazed and said, “How does he know scripture without having studied?” (John 7:15)

For the residents of Nazareth familiarity with his background and family leads them to regard him as pretentious.

Matthew has modified his Marcan source namely Matthew 6:1–6. In his gospel, Jesus is not the carpenter but the carpenter’s son

  • Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? (Matthew 13:55),

The phrase “and among his own kin” found in Mark

  • Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.” (Mark 6:4)

is omitted in

  • And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” (Matthew 13:57)

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