16. 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.
Now Christ returns to His hometown of Nazareth to teach. We will soon see that His reception here was, amazingly enough, far worse than in all the other cities He had visited.
He goes into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and we read that this was according to His custom. The synagogues were always open, and yet on the Sabbath day, when no work was allowed, it was customary for those who lived within a Sabbath day’s walk of the synagogue to gather there on the Sabbath day, and so this was perhaps when the crowd was largest.
Now the Lord stands up to read. We find that the Lord could read, which was most unusual for the son of a manual laborer. Generally only the rich class were educated. Yet our Lord needed no one to teach Him how to read, for He had invented language itself.
Standing up was indicative of the fact that He wanted to read. In our society, we might raise our hand if we wanted to read or say something, but in their culture, He indicated this by standing up. In the other synagogues He preached or proclaimed, whereas here He read. Bullinger suggests in the Companion Bible that this is because He was a member of this synagogue, having been raised in this city of Nazareth, and so had the privilege of being able to participate in this manner, rather than just being a guest, as He was in other synagogues.
17. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
Isaiah was the most popular book in Israel at that time. Remember that this was long before the printing press was invented, and every book had to be hand copied. Thus, books were very expensive. Many synagogues could not afford a copy of all the books of the Bible. The most common one, however, was Isaiah, and every synagogue was sure to have a copy of this book, if nothing else. Now, it is from this book that the Lord is going to read.
What the Lord was handed was not what we would call a “book,” since they did not have bound books in that part of the world at this time. What He was handed was a scroll, and He did not “open” it to the place He wanted, but rather unrolled it to the proper place.
18. “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;
Christ reads from Isaiah 61:1-2. This prophecy speaks of Christ’s ministry, which He was then carrying out. The Spirit of the LORD indeed was upon Him. Here in Greek there is no definite article before the word “Spirit,” so this speaks of the power of Yahweh that was upon the Lord Jesus Christ. He was anointed, which means set apart for special service, to preach the gospel to the poor. The word “gospel” means the right message, particularly one spoken in view of a need and offering an element of promise. The Lord was indeed proclaiming such a message to the poor. In Israel at this time, the poor were more of a caste, like is common today in India, than anything else. It did not matter so much how much money they had, as did the fact that they were born into a family that belonged to the poor caste. The poor were the oppressed, and had no power. The rich constantly put them down in order to solidify their own position over them. Yet it was to these poor, not to the rich and powerful, that Christ came to proclaim His good news. The rich would be much less likely to listen to Christ’s message, as they already had what they considered a privileged position in this life, and so were less likely to look to the promise of the life of God to come.
The Lord was also sent to heal the brokenhearted. The word for “sent” here is the Greek word apostello, which means a sending with authority or a commissioning. The noun form of this word gives us our word “apostle.” The Lord had authority to heal the brokenhearted. We often think of the Lord Jesus as a healer, but we need to remember that perhaps His primary work of healing was actually the healing He provided for men in their hearts, not so much that which He provided for their bodies. How many there are with perfectly sound bodies who could use the Lord’s healing in their inner selves!
The Lord proclaimed liberty to the captives, but we understand that this was not primarily liberty from the oppression of Rome, which was what they were most looking for at that time, but rather liberty from the bondage of sin. Yet the Lord also offered physical healing to the sight of the blind, although there could be blindness of mind and heart that He would offer to heal as well. And He also offered liberty to those who were oppressed. When we think of what He did for many who were prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners who had been cast out of society and offered no hope of redemption until He came along, we can truly see how He did this. Even one of the twelve, Matthew, was such a man before the Lord accepted him. He truly did free oppressed ones, though He has not yet brought freedom to all such.
19. “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
The Lord Jesus did proclaim this. The acceptable year of Yahweh was even then upon them, if they were willing to receive it.
20. Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
We need a little context to really understand what was going on at this point, for what the Lord did here was in fact very bizarre behavior. If we would compare this back to Isaiah 61:2, we would notice that He stopped reading and closed the book in the middle of a sentence. In Isaiah 61:2, it goes on to say, “And the day of the vengeance of our God.” To stop reading a passage in the very middle of it was just not done. The Lord had broken with custom and convention by doing this, and what settled over the people here was probably a stunned silence.
Not only this, but this passage in particular would have been one that the people would not have thought to skip. The people in this synagogue had been living all their lives under oppression. The Jews were strictly monotheists, and they hated being under the iron heel of the Roman Empire when that empire was full of polytheism and idolatry. This engendered a rebellious spirit within them that Rome did not appreciate or well tolerate. Thus, they were very used to oppression, and longed for the day when God would free them from it. This passage from Isaiah was very familiar to them, and they probably all identified with the mention of those that are oppressed in the first verse. Yet also precious to them would have been the words regarding the day of the vengeance of our God. They looked forward to this day, when they were sure God would take His vengeance upon their Godless oppressors. They might have been leaning forward in anticipation waiting for this part of the passage. When Christ stopped reading before it, it may have seemed to them like He stopped short of the very best part of the prophecy.
If you have ever been present when someone did or said something taboo or contrary to custom or culture, you have probably seen the nervous and stunned silence that falls over people. This synagogue may have been bustling with activity at this point. Bible readings were probably a common thing, and not everyone in the synagogue may have been paying all that much attention. When Christ stopped in the middle like this, however, and broke with custom and popular opinion, the attention of everyone would have instantly been drawn to Him, and all other activity in the synagogue would have ceased. This is why every eye was fixed on Him here. All were probably wondering why He had done such a shocking thing, and were waiting for His explanation.
21. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
So why didn’t Christ finish the sentence? The reason is revealed here in His statement, that “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” This was true, but this truth would not apply to the second part of verse 2. Thus we see that this verse is actually divided down the middle, the first part speaking of Christ’s ministry in the past, and the latter part of His ministry in the future. At the time of Christ’s ministry in Israel right then when Christ spoke these thing, it was the acceptable year of the LORD. Yet even now, almost two thousand years later, it still is not the day of the vengeance of our God. For this reason, Christ divided this verse down the middle, since He could only truthfully say “this Scripture is fulfilled” of the first part of the verse.
Now we can use this to establish a general principle. This shows us that in passages and even verses that appear to be talking about the same thing or two things intimately related, there can actually be a division between two very distinct things. Christ makes this division perfectly, only quoting the part of the verse that was then being fulfilled. If we apply this to the rest of Scripture, we will find that there are indeed times where in a single sentence the viewpoint will switch from one event to another event thousands of years later with no break.
This is an excellent example of right division. In dispensational circles, we are always trying to heed God’s command in II Timothy 2:15, and to be “rightly dividing the word of truth.” When we do this, sometimes we have to divide different parts of the Bible, or even different parts of the same passage, in order to keep them in their right place and right relationship to the truth. We should not be afraid to do this, for our Lord Himself did it for us as an example here. Sometimes, the only way to be honest with the truth is to divide it. This is what we ever strive to do in interpreting the Bible dispensationally.
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?”
They now understood His odd behavior in stopping this passage in the middle. He did it to proclaim that the first half of the verse was being fulfilled right in front of them. Yet they continued to marvel, and this was because of the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth. We might think that they would have approved of what they heard. Certainly, gracious words are a good thing, are they not? Yet remember that these were people who considered themselves oppressed, and indeed were oppressed in many ways. They were used to glorying in the words of this passage that spoke of the vengeance God was going to get against His enemies. They were probably used to speakers following a quotation of this passage with a fiery proclamation of the vengeance God was going to get upon those who had so long held sway over them. This was what they had always heard following a quotation of this passage. This is what they wanted to hear following a quotation of this passage. Thus, they were not ready for and did not appreciate gracious words spoken in connection with this passage. What they wanted were words of fire and judgment. Thus it was not with approval that they listened to gracious words proceeding out of the mouth of the Lord. Instead, they would have viewed this as even more shocking behavior, and an insult to what they had always believed and loved most about this portion of Scripture. The Lord was taking a favorite passage and casting it in an entirely new light for them. Unfortunately, most of them did not appreciate it.
Now they start speaking among themselves of the Lord. This was a man they thought they knew, the son of the craftsman Joseph. Of course they were wrong. They thought they knew something…they thought they knew that this was the son of Joseph Who was speaking to them. They had no idea that instead of the son of Joseph, this was the very Son of God Who sat in their midst. So, they find this incredulous.
It seems very likely that Joseph was dead at this point. Christ, as the oldest son, would have taken over the business. In Mark 6:3, they call Him “the carpenter,” not the carpenter’s son. So, He would have been the local builder. In England, where this was translated, most building was done with wood, and so the King James translators made it to be carpentry. In Israel, He was more likely building with other materials, such as stone. Yet He had been their town construction worker, if you will. Perhaps there were those there for whom He had built their house. Others, perhaps He had made a pen for their animals, or a shed for their tools, and so forth. Perhaps He seemed like a rather strange kind of construction worker to them, yet He probably seemed like nothing more than that. Now, this man, who had built their house or shed or pen, comes into the synagogue and starts preaching radical new interpretations of Scripture, and proclaiming Himself as the fulfillment of God’s Word! Imagine if this happened to you? What would you think if the man who built your house came into your church and started doing this?
So, we need to realize that ultimately, these words they spoke were ones of rejection, not just astonishment. If we don’t realize that, Christ’s harsh words in the following verses might seem a little unfair to us. But their actual attitude behind the words “Is this not Joseph’s son?” was “Who does He think He is? He is just a builder, nothing more.”
23. He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’”
Christ hears their unbelief in their words, and responds to it. He speaks what they were saying in their hearts as they rejected Him. If He really was the great miracle worker men were saying He was, He should do such miracles before them as well. They seemed to think that they knew more about Him than others knew. Perhaps He could fool those people in other towns like Capernaum, but He could not fool them, those who had grown up with Him in His Own hometown. They knew who He was, and would not be so easily taken in by His gracious words. This was not the attitude God was looking for in them. Their very familiarity with Whom they thought Jesus Christ was made them blind to the truth about Him.
How often does this very thing occur today! Those who grow up around “Christianity” think from this that they know all there is to know about Jesus Christ. Often, alas, such people are the most blind of all. Like the people of the Lord’s hometown, they think they know it all, and so refuse to actually believe. May God grant that we we not be like them, but rather have our hearts ever open to the truth, no matter how familiar it may seem to us to be. For which of us can ever say that he really has a perfect grasp of God’s truth?
24. Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.
Speaking somewhat sarcastically, the Lord points out to them a sad truth, that no prophet is accepted in his own country. It seems men are far more likely to believe in one who comes from far away. There are many in our day who seem to have far more respect for, say, a religious leader from India than they would one from our own country. People seem to carry the idea that someone from far away might have more knowledge of God than those who live around us. Perhaps this is why sometimes God would take prophets from the country of Judah and send them to preach to wayward Israel. At any rate, it is clear that these people did not believe in Christ since they thought of Him as “only the son of Joseph.” He was raised among them, had done craftsman work for them, and was familiar to them. Thus, they could not believe that He could really be from God. For them, God had to be far off and mysterious, not close and familiar. The Man they had hired to build for them could not be a Man from God.
25. “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;
Christ here refers to Elijah’s days with the widow as recorded in I Kings 17:8-24. This would have been a story most familiar to these people of Nazareth. Elijah ate with this widow woman and her son during the famine, during which time her bin of flour and jar of oil never ran dry. He also prayed to the LORD to revive her son after he stopped breathing. There were many widows in Israel in those days, He points out. Indeed, there must have been, as there will always be during times of famine. The tendency of men to marry younger women, especially at that time when women married very young, probably contributed to the number of widows as well.
26. “But to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
Now Christ points out the fact that Elijah was not sent to any widow woman in Israel at that time. (This sending was from God, but the Greek word for “sent” here is the word for a simple sending, pempo, and not the word for a sending with authority, apostello.) Rather, he was sent to Zarephath in the region of Sidon. Sidon was a sister city to Tyre, and was part of the neighbor nation to Israel on their western border to the north along the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, Elijah was actually sent to a foreign woman, what we would call a “Gentile” woman, rather than to a widow of the house of Israel. This is confirmed to us in I Kings 17:9, in which the LORD commands Elijah, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”
27. “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
Christ points out that the same thing happened in the time of Elisha the prophet. There were many lepers in Israel at that time, He reveals. However, it was not any of these that the LORD chose to heal, but rather Naaman the Syrian. Syria was Israel’s neighbor country along their northern border, and they were in the midst of a war with Syria at the time Elisha worked this miracle. Thus, the LORD not only chose to heal a Gentile leper instead of one among His people, but actually healed a leper who was a great leader among Israel’s enemies.
Christ by saying this is pointing out the problem they were having in believing in Him. They had heard of the miracles He had worked in Capernaum. In all the years He had grown up among them, however, He had not worked a miracle among them once. They seemed to take this as an insult, and were jealous that they had not had the privilege of such miracles. We might say that their hometown pride was leading them to reject the Lord.
Christ points out to them that the way He had worked was very consistent with the way God had worked in the past. He had not worked all of His most wondrous miracles among the children of Israel. Some of the most powerful miracles He worked had been among Israel’s neighbors, and even Israel’s enemies. Now, He had chosen to work His most powerful miracles elsewhere besides in His hometown of Nazareth. Instead of accepting this, they were responding in jealousy. They were showing the same stubborn and rebellious attitude towards God that had taken Elijah out of Israel, and that had caused Him to turn His hand against His people in the time of Elijah and Elisha. For this reason, He will not choose to work miracles among them because of their rejection of Him and their unbelief. In their incredulity they mocked His ability to do miracles, so He rejected them and refused to do any miracles in their city.
28. So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
The jealousy and unbelief of these people turns to rage at His words. The words of God had pricked them, and they responded with anger and rejection.
29. 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.
Their jealousy and rage leads these people to attempted murder. Like Cain of old, they cannot stand the thought that God has favored others and not them. The fact that His favor is refused to them because of their own stubbornness and disobedience and lack of faith does not seem to affect them. They wish in their jealousy only to kill the One upon Whom God’s favor rests. Thus they thrust Christ out of the city, lead Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, and seek to throw Him down over the cliff to His death! The brow of this hill hangs over the city about forty feet, so He would have fallen to his death in view of the whole city. Remember, these were the people of His Own home city in which He had grown up that were doing this!
30. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.
Christ easily escapes their hasty plot to kill Him, using His power to pass through the middle of them and be gone. It would be interesting to know how He accomplished this, but the Bible does not tell us. He seems to allow them to carry Him so far and no further, and stops them just short of their evil intent. Perhaps He was allowing them time to stop to think and regret their murderous intent, but they never did. Thus, He finally leaves them to go elsewhere. It is likely that He never returned to this, His former hometown. This explains why Capernaum became His hometown after this.
31. Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths.
Because of His rejection in His home city, Capernaum becomes His base of operations, and it is from here that He goes out and returns. He even seems to own a house in Capernaum at one point. Now He goes there to begin His ministry anew, and again He teaches them on the Sabbaths.
32. And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.
The people of Capernaum are likewise astonished at the Lord’s teaching, and the reason they are so surprised is because His word is with authority. Most teachers of the day would quote great rabbis of the past, many of whom contradicted each other. They never seemed to want to go out on a limb and state an opinion of their own. Always they were appealing to this rabbi or that rabbi. None dared speak with authority. Everyone, it seems, wanted wiggle room in what they said, and no one wanted to take a firm stand. No wonder the people were so amazed to hear Someone Who spoke with the authority of God. He spoke strongly and assuredly, and His words carried the authority of conviction and of power, for He was speaking the very words of God.
33. Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice,
Here the Lord encounters what is called “a spirit of an unclean demon.” There are different types of demons, apparently, and this one was what the Bible calls “unclean.” Notice where this demon was…in the very synagogue of God’s people Israel! It seems that Satan was attempting to counter the work he knew the Lord was about to do by sending his own agents among the people. This demon is ready to meet the Lord, and meet Him he does in the very synagogue of God’s people! How often, we wonder, do Satan’s agents work among our communities and religious gatherings today? Though we cannot see nor detect them, they certainly are still at work trying to stop the work that God wants to be done.
34. Saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!”
It seems almost that the demon attempts to speak on behalf of the people, using the word “us,” rejecting the Lord Jesus and trying to make Him leave. This could also be the demon speaking on behalf of himself and the possessed man, for both seem to be conscious of what is going on and even be able to speak in turn in one who is described as having a demon. Even today, it is the work of demons to try to get people to reject the truth regarding the Lord Jesus Christ, and to want to have nothing to do with Him in their lives.
The demon also starts revealing information that God was not revealing at this time. Christ was not preaching Himself, nor was He letting the people know Who He was. This demon reveals more information than Christ does, but this could hardly be a good thing. Who would be likely to believe something he had first heard from a demon? By speaking the truth here, the demon is actually making people less likely to believe it. Even today the agents of the devil can use the truth to suit their own ends and to lead people astray and away from further truth.
35. But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him.
The Lord Jesus responds to this accusation from the unclean demon by both commanding him to be quiet, and to come out of the man. The demon seems reluctant to do this, first throwing the man in the midst of the people. But he has no choice but to do what is commanded him by the Lord, for He has ultimate authority, even over demons. Thus, the spirit has to leave him without hurting him. What a sight this must have been! By this, the Lord proved that He does indeed have the power to defeat the forces of Satan, something God’s government must do if it is to ever succeed in taking control of this world and making it God’s Own.
36. Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”
Apparently this entire synagogue had been unable to get rid of this demon in their midst, if they did recognize him as being demon possessed. No wonder they were so amazed when the Lord Jesus did it with just a word! They recognized that both authority and power must reside in Him. Authority here is exousia, and power is dunamei. Both authority delegated to Him by God and inherent power in Himself could be found in Jesus Christ. This is the meaning of these two words.
37. And the report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
The Lord was not relatively unknown at this time. Everyone was talking about Him, and He was becoming quite famous, for the report about Him went into every place in the surrounding region. We can well imagine how the word would spread about such a man as the Lord Jesus.
38. Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her.
Now the Lord visits Simon Peter’s house in Capernaum. Here we see Simon’s mother-in-law dwelling. His father-in-law may have been dead, and so he was taking care of his wife’s mother. Yet notice that obviously if he had a mother-in-law, he most certainly must have been married. Many, particularly in the Catholic Church, have tried to make out that Peter was not married. They do this based on their traditions, and not on the Word of God. Like the Pharisees of old, they make the Word of God of no effect through their tradition. Yet for those of us who respect the Word above all traditions, there just can be no doubt but that Peter was married.
39. So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.
Christ stands over her and rebukes the fever and it leaves her. Through the interference of sin and death, her body was under attack, and this attack was not what God intended. Thus, the Lord rebukes this thing that is disrupting the proper operation of the body of this woman. This shows us that illness and disease are not things that always happen at the control and command of God. Many people seem to imagine when they get sick that it must be God’s will for this to happen. This is certainly not so. The Lord rebuked this fever, and it was nothing that He desired to happen to this woman. We live in a world in the midst of a battle between spiritual forces of wickedness and our Lord. Through Adam’s choice, we have allowed sin and death into the world, and this brought many unfortunate things into this world, illness among them. It is most wrong for us to turn around then and blame God every time someone gets sick. God is not controlling such things. He is not determining when and where illness will strike. He will do this when He takes control of this world, but He is not doing it now. We must not blame every illness that strikes us on the interference of God.
Notice that once Peter’s mother-in-law was healed, her response was to immediately get up and start serving them. This was no partial healing. She did not just take it by faith, and get up and try to stagger around. She was fully and completely healed, and was able thus to minister to them. In this, we also we see the kind of woman she was. As soon as she was healthy, she was ready to serve. No doubt Peter had a good wife, if she was anything like her mother!
40. When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.
The word of this healing got around quickly, and everyone who was sick was soon flocking to the Lord Jesus for healing. Those who claim to be healers today get nothing like this turn out because they cannot heal as Christ could. When they came, our Lord healed them all. Once He was done, there was not a sick person left in the city of Capernaum.
41. And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ.
The demons obviously did not appreciate being cast out, as they came out screaming. They also attempted to reveal the truth that they knew He was the Christ, the Son of God. John 1:41 and John 4:25 both define “Christ” for us as meaning the same thing as the Hebrew word “Messiah.” These demons were revealing that they knew that the Lord was the Messiah. He did not want to reveal that He was the Messiah at this time, so He rebuked these demons for saying so and did not allow them to speak. The time had not yet come for that revelation to be made, and Christ was ever following the timetable of God. Not only so, but the testimony of a demon is not beneficial, as we discussed above. The witness of these evil creatures may rather have hindered people from believing the truth of this rather than helping it.
42. Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them;
Now the Lord left Capernaum and went into a deserted place. He apparently wanted to be alone, but the crowd did not want to allow that. I think many famous persons in our society can relate to this. The crowd sensed that He was planning to leave Capernaum, and tried to keep Him from doing so. Having found a miracle worker and healer, they wanted to keep Him to themselves. They were probably thinking of all the useful things one who could work such miracles could do for them.
43. But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”
The Lord did not allow them to keep Him from leaving. Though their motives may have been somewhat selfish, we can well understand their not wanting Jesus Christ to leave them. Yet He knew that there were others who needed His ministry as well. How fortunate we are to have the Spirit of God with us, Who is not limited to one time and place!
It was necessary for the Lord now to preach the kingdom of God in other cities also. He could not just limit this proclaiming to the city of Capernaum, for this is why God had sent Him. The word “sent” here is a form of the Greek word apostello, and means that God had sent Him with authority to do this proclaiming.
The reason the Lord was sent was to proclaim the kingdom of God, yet it seems that many believers in our day do not even know what the kingdom of God is! This is a sad state of affairs, and this should not be. We all need to see to it that we have a Biblical knowledge of what the kingdom of God is all about, so we will know why Christ was sent, and what it was that He was to proclaim.
44. And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.
At this time we read that the Lord Jesus was going all around Galilee preaching. Galilee was the northern part of Israel, separated from the southern part (Judea) and Jerusalem by the country of Samaria, the land of the half-Jews. Our Lord spent the majority of His time ministering in this northern part of Israel. He was proclaiming in their synagogues, and it seems that His proclaiming was successful.