Chapter

Luke 4:22

ESV And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
NIV All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. 'Isn't this Joseph's son?' they asked.
NASB And all the people were speaking well of Him, and admiring the gracious words which were coming from His lips; and yet they were saying, 'Is this not Joseph’s son?'
CSB They were all speaking well of him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from his mouth; yet they said, "Isn't this Joseph's son? "
NLT Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. 'How can this be?' they asked. 'Isn’t this Joseph’s son?'
KJV And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?

What does Luke 4:22 mean?

A common English proverb says, "familiarity breeds contempt." When we know a person—or think we know them—we tend to underestimate them. The longer we are around someone, the more willing we are to consider flaws and ignore strengths. In the case of Jesus' hometown, this is exactly what happened (Luke 4:24; Matthew 13:57). The people appreciate the wisdom He displays but won't fully embrace it.

Those who lived in Nazareth (Luke 4:16) during Jesus' childhood, struggle to believe He's anything special. His words are impressive (Luke 4:14–15). Still, their view of Him is that of a boy who grew up next to their own children. The remark about Jesus being Joseph's son is actually a statement: this is "only" the boy we saw being raised by Joseph and Mary. Mark's gospel expands on this statement (Mark 6:1–4). Some in Jesus' era explicitly believed the Christ would appear as a mysterious, unknown man (John 7:27).

Before judging the Nazarenes' skepticism too harshly, we should remember that Jesus' own family also expressed doubt. His brothers teased Him about His ministry (John 7:3–5). At one point the family even assumed Jesus had gone insane and went to fetch Him (Mark 3:21). The gospel of John notes how often people struggled to believe someone with Jesus' background could really be the Messiah (John 1:46; 6:42; 7:52). That doesn't excuse their stubbornness, however. As the rest of this encounter shows, the Nazarenes will react aggressively when Jesus challenges their prejudices (Luke 4:28–30).
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