I'm sure we can imagine that a number of reactions were present that day when Jesus spoke those words. Some may have been amused since they knew Jesus when He was a child and were certain He was delusional by making such a fantastic claim. Others may have been angry thinking ‘how could a commoner like them claim the title of “The Promised One”’? In fact as Jesus presses the matter of why they are impressed with Him in the first place (the hopes that He will heal the sick in Nazareth as He had in Capernaum) their admiration turns to anger and they attempt to drive Jesus over the edge of a cliff (Lk. 4:22-30)!
The hope for a Messiah had a lengthy history in the Jewish mind, beginning with the promise to Eve in Gen. 3:15, on through the calling of Abraham in Gen. 12:1-3, and through the lineage of Judah (Gen. 49:8-12). The identity and work of the Messiah took further shape and purpose in the words of the prophets, who shared an important connection with the Messiah in that both were anointed. Like priests, kings and prophets, the Messiah was anointed or set apart for a particular role, life's work and relationship to God. As God's Servant, He would justify and reconcile God's people, by giving His life in exchange for theirs (Is. 53). But Jesus told His audience in Nazareth that He would not be recognized as such in His hometown, not even among His own people. Others outside of “the fold” would recognize the Messiah before them just as others outside the fold were ministered to in the days of Elijah and Elisha. The indignation that this statement brings forth is hard for us to understand but perhaps that is because we really don’t understand the depth of what the role of the Messiah means.
There are 30 specific prophecies concerning the first advent of the Messiah. Some of these prophecies include: that He would be born of a virgin (Is. 7:14), that He would be a descendant of Jesse (Is. 11:1-2), that He would be born in Bethlehem (Mi. 5:2), and that He would be God's Son (Ps. 2:7). When Jesus stood before the congregation in the synagogue that day, He claimed that He fulfilled these prophecies (which He did!). The Gospel writers believed this to be true. The Messianic title "Son of God" is used of Jesus frequently throughout each one of them (Mt. 14:33, 16:16; Mk. 1:1, 11; 15: 39; Lk. 1:32, 35; 4:3, 9; Jn. 11:27: 20:30-31 to sample a few) propelling the significance and impact of Jesus’ claim in Nazareth that day to the front of the story and serving as the backdrop to the reaction of the crowd.
For the author of Hebrews, Ps. 2 figures prominently in proving that Jesus the Messiah, as God's Son, is a King who rules and therefore is to be obeyed (Heb. 1:1-5). During Christmas it is easy to get caught up in the wonder of the Nativity and to lose sight of this aspect of Christ's life. But it is a part of who Jesus is right from the beginning. The angel announced to the shepherds, "Today, in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, and this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger (Lk. 2:11-12; Is. 7:14)." If you truly believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the long-awaited Deliverer, what will that look like as you worship the Newborn King this Christmas?
Ann LeFevre, M. Div.
https://www.annhlefevre.com; Olivetreeann@mail.com; https://www.linkedin.com/in/annhlefevre; https://www.facebook.com/ann.h.lefevre