QUESTION: Can you please explain the phrase: a prophet has no honor in his home place?

ANSWER: I believe the scripture you are referring to is Luke 4:24, “Then He (Jesus) said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country” (NKJV). We learn in verse 16 that Jesus was in His hometown of Nazareth when He spoke these words. It says, “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.” In verse 17 we see that “He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah” and He then turned to Isaiah 61:1-2a and read the following: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” The reaction by those who heard Him is seen in verse 20, “And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.” I believe they admired Jesus’ knowledge of the scriptures and they no doubt loved the passage He read, for it was a well-known portion speaking of the coming of their Messiah and the ministry He would have. But Jesus went on to say one more thing, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (verse 21). Jesus was clearly saying, “I am your Messiah!” This in turn led to another reaction from the people in verse 22, “So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?” Though they loved what He was saying, they questioned the authority behind His words. In essence they were saying, “How could Joseph’s son, the one we saw grow up among us in Nazareth, be the Messiah of Israel?” In this short question they were betraying their unbelief in Him and this led to Jesus declaring, “No prophet is accepted in his own country.” Later, in verses 28-29 (after Jesus gave them two other examples of prophets who were rejected by their own people), their opposition to His claim led them to seek to kill Him: “So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.”

If we were to examine the history of the Old Testament prophets we would see that the same thing held true in every case, for all of them suffered persecution from their own countrymen instead of respect. And is this not true today when Christians try to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to their neighbors, friends, and family members? Do we not often hear them respond with words such as, “Who are you to be preaching to me? I’ve known you for years and now you’re trying to tell me that you know the way to heaven?” There is an old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” which simply means “the more you know someone the less you respect them.” However, I would close by stating this may be somewhat valid in respect to men in general (who do have faults and short-comings that men become acquainted with, leading them to lose respect from others), this should never have been true with the Lord Jesus. He was perfectly holy and never did anything to offend God or man. Towards the end of His life He asked this question to His enemies, “Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?” (John 8:46). He never sinned and He always told the truth! So, there was no reason for men to dishonor Him, yet because of unbelief they refused to give Him the respect He deserved. (283.7) (DO)