Matthew 13:54
And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, From where has this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(54) When he was come into his own country.—The visit to Nazareth, here recorded in almost-identical terms with Mark 6:1-6, has so many points of resemblance with the narrative of Luke 4:16-31 that many critics have supposed it to be a less complete account of the same fact. On this assumption, the narrative must be misplaced in its relation to other facts in one or other of the Gospels. A dislocation of some kind must indeed be admitted in any case, as St. Mark places it after the resurrection of Jairus’s daughter, and makes that event follow the cure of the Gadarene demoniac, and places that on the next day after the first use of parables. We are compelled to admit, as before in the Notes on Matthew 8:1, the almost entire absence of any trustworthy notes of chronological sequence, beyond the grouping, in some cases, of a few conspicuous facts. In comparing, however, St. Matthew and St. Mark with St. Luke, there seems no sufficient ground for hastily assuming identity. The third Gospel places the visit which it narrates, at the very beginning of our Lord’s work, and as giving the reason of His removal to Capernaum. Here, there is no outburst of violent enmity such as we find there, but simple amazement. It seems, therefore, more probable that we have here a short account (short and imperfect, it may be, because our Lord went without His disciples) of another effort to bring the men of Nazareth to acknowledge Him, if not as the Christ, at least as a Prophet. The circumstances of the case in St. Matthew’s record suggest another motive as, at least, possible. He had recently, as in Matthew 12:48, when His mother and His brethren had come in their eager anxiety to interrupt His work, spoken in words that seemed to repel them to a distance from Him. What if this visit were meant to show that, though as a Prophet He could not brook that interruption, home affections were not dead in Him, that His heart still yearned over His brethren and His townsmen, and that He sought to raise them to a higher life? On comparing the account here with that in St. Luke, it would seem almost certain that there was now a less direct assertion of His claims as the Christ than there had been before—a proclamation of the laws of the kingdom rather than of His own position in it. And so the impression is one of wonder at His wisdom, not of anger or scorn at what He claims to be.

13:53-58 Christ repeats his offer to those who have repulsed them. They upbraid him, Is not this the carpenter's son? Yes, it is true he was reputed to be so; and no disgrace to be the son of an honest tradesman; they should have respected him the more because he was one of themselves, but therefore they despised him. He did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Unbelief is the great hinderance to Christ's favours. Let us keep faithful to him as the Saviour who has made our peace with God.Into his own country - That is, into Nazareth. Mark, who has also recorded this Mark 6:1-6, says that it took place on the Sabbath. It was common for our Saviour to speak in the synagogues. Any Jew had a fight to address the people, if called on by the minister; and our Saviour often availed himself of the right to instruct the people and declare his doctrines. See Matthew 4:23. 54. And when he was come into his own country—that is, Nazareth; as is plain from Mr 6:1. See on [1295]Joh 4:43, where also the same phrase occurs. This, according to the majority of Harmonists, was the second of two visits which our Lord paid to Nazareth during His public ministry; but in our view it was His first and only visit to it. See on [1296]Mt 4:13; and for the reasons, see Lu 4:16-30.

Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?—"these miracles." These surely are not like the questions of people who had asked precisely the same questions before, who from astonishment had proceeded to rage, and in their rage had hurried Him out of the synagogue, and away to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, to thrust Him down headlong, and who had been foiled even in that object by His passing through the midst of them, and going His way. But see on [1297]Lu 4:16, &c.

Ver. 53,54. Mark relates this passage, Mark 6:1-4. Our Lord went up and down preaching the gospel: he having preached unto the people in the former parables, now he departeth from the seaside, where he preached as before,

into his own country, most interpreters judge Nazareth; he was born in Bethlehem, but we read little or nothing of any time he spent there afterward. Nazareth was the place where he was brought up, and therefore he was called Jesus of Nazareth. There he preached in the synagogue, or in the synagogues of Galilee. Mark addeth, on the sabbath day.

Insomuch that they were astonished: it is not said they repented, or believed, but they admired at him, and were astonished.

And said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? That is, a power to do these mighty works. Mark saith, Whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this that is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Astonishment and admiration flow from ignorance, and are no indications of any spiritual saving work upon men’s hearts: we shall see that these Jews, notwithstanding their astonishment, are by and by scandalized, and offended at Christ. And when he was come into his own country,.... Not where he was born, Bethlehem, for it is never observed, that he went thither; but where he was educated, and where his parents and near relations, according to the flesh, lived; who had been some little time ago seeking for him, and desirous of speaking with him, even Nazareth:

he taught them in their synagogue, it being the sabbath day; see Mark 6:1. The Vulgate Latin, and all the Eastern versions, the Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel read, "in their synagogues"; but as Nazareth was so mean and obscure a place, it is not likely that there should be in it more synagogues than one; and of no more do we read in Luke 4:16 where an account is given of Christ's preaching in this place before this time,

Insomuch that they were astonished; at the doctrines he taught, which were new and unheard of to them; and were delivered in such a graceful manner, and with so much power and authority; and also at the miracles he wrought, in confirmation of what he delivered; and said,

whence hath this man this wisdom and these mighty works? They knew his education, how that he had not been put to school, had never learned letters of men, or received any instructions from their learned doctors; and therefore could not imagine, how he came by such sublime and divine knowledge, and by what power he performed such wonderful things; looking upon him to be a mere man, and a very mean, and contemptible one: not knowing that he was the wisdom of God, and the power of God; which had they been acquainted with, there would have been no room, nor reason, for such questions.

{10} And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?

(10) Men not only sin because of ignorance, but also knowingly and willingly they lay stumbling blocks in their own ways, that when God calls them, they may not obey, and so most plainly destroy and cast away themselves.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 13:54. Πατρίδα αὐτοῦ] Nazareth, where His parents lived, and where He had been brought up, Matthew 2:23.

πόθεν τούτῳ] τούτῳ is contemptuous (Xen. Anab. iii. 1. 30; John 6:42, and frequently), and πόθεν is due to the circumstance that the people knew all about the origin and outward training of Jesus. John 7:15; John 6:41 f.

καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις] so that in Nazareth also He must not only have taught, but must have performed miracles, although not to the same extent, Matthew 13:58.Matthew 13:54. πατρίδα, in classics fatherland. Here and in parallels evidently = native town, home. Vide Matthew 13:56 and Luke 4:16.—συναγωγῇ, singular, not plural, as in Vulgate. One syn. index of size of town (Grotius).—ὤστε, with infinitive: tendency and actual result. They were astonished and said: πόθενδυνάμεις, wisdom and marvellous works; of the latter they had heard, of the former they had had a sample. Whence? that is the question; not from schools, parentage, family, social environment, or mere surroundings and circumstances of any kind.54. his own country] Nazareth and the neighbourhood.Matthew 13:54.[652] Σοφία, wisdomδυνάμεις, mighty works) supernatural powers: See 1 Corinthians 1:24. We ought to be carried forward, by admiration of the teaching and works of our Lord, to a believing (fidelem) recognition of His person; otherwise admiration ends in stupor.

[652] Εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ) In the same way as He had gone forth into public, in a manner which was clearly “His custom,” at Nazareth, Luke 4:16 : so, having left Capernaum, He returned afresh to Nazareth. It was then that the people of Nazareth said those things which He had foretold in Luke 4:23 they would say. [See Gnomon there: where Beng. explains, “Ye will say,” etc., thus: This feeling, owing to which ye say (Matthew 13:22), Is not this Joseph’s Son? will wax stronger, when ye shall hear of my future miracles, which, owing to your unbelief, shall be less numerous among you than others: You will then say, Physician, heal thyself.—ED.]—Harm., l. cit.Verses 54-58. - Unbelief manifested in Jesus' own country, i.e. Nazareth. Parallel passage: Mark 6:1-6. In Luke 4:16-30 we have also an account of a scene at Nazareth; but the occasion was almost certainly a different one from that described here. His account, however, seems to have been modified in form from the better known narrative found in the Framework, and used in Matthew and Mark. Verse 54. - And when he was come into his own country (εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ); i.e. Nazareth (Matthew 2:23). In Luke 4:23 the phrase is used with express contrast to Capernaum. In John 4:44 it is, as it seems, used in a special sense of Judaea, even though it comes in a saying that is almost identical with our ver. 57 (see Bishop Westcott). He taught them in their synagogue. His teaching appears to have spread over at least a few days (ἐδίδασκεν). Insomuch that they were astonished (Matthew 7:28, 29), and said, Whence (po/qen). And so again in ver. 56. The sentence might in itself express an earnest desire to know the origin of our Lord. But the fact that they were "offended in him" (ver. 57) shows that their language was due. not so much to inquiry as to astonishment, which may in some cases be the first stage of inquiry (Matthew 9:33; Matthew 12:23), or may, as here, be checked from further development. Knowing his family, and despising it, they treated him merely as a curiosity, and never thought of submitting themselves to him. Hath this Man this wisdom. Which they had just heard. And these mighty works? These is not expressed in the Greek, nor necessarily implied. Perhaps he had already performed some of the few miracles that he wrought there (ver. 58), or possibly his townsfolk referred to what they had heard of his miracles elsewhere.
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