The fourth chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke contains the following informative passage: “And 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 for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.’ And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them, ‘This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.’ 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?’” (Lk. 4:16-22).
Three inferences can be derived from the above narrative: First, that Christ was raised in Nazareth. Second, that the Spirit of God exists within Him. Third, that everyone in the synagogue who heard Him expounding the prophecy of Isaiah were amazed at His wisdom and knowledge—because they knew Him to be a simple carpenter, not a learned individual who had studied abroad. They knew Him as the son of a humble carpenter; this is why they asked, “Isn’t he the son of Joseph?” Even though He grew up in Nazareth, it was natural for Him as the God-man to be able to explain the prophecy and amaze the listeners, without having to receive training in foreign lands.
Yet another testimony comes from the Evangelist Mark. “And He went out from thence, and came into His own country; and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath day was come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing him were astonished, saying, ‘From whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judah, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they were scandalized with him. But Jesus said unto them, ‘A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.’ And He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them” (Mk. 6:1-5).
From the above passage, it can be concluded that Jesus never exited the narrow borders of His homeland. This is why His fellow countrymen could not accept this “new” Jesus. They were scandalized when they witnessed Jesus, who was up until then a simple carpenter, performing miracles and healings. If He had left the country, it would not have seemed so strange to them. They would reason that he had studied for so many years in another country, where he surely learned skills that now enabled him to accomplish all these works. However, since they knew that He had never left from Nazareth and also aware that he was unlearned, they couldn’t believe their eyes. This is why they asked, “Isn’t he the carpenter, the son of Mary?” As a matter of fact, they regarded the sudden and unexpected change in the Lord serious enough to characterize him as crazy. They could not explain and account for this transformation, and this is why, “when His friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself” (Mk. 3:21). Hence, the very people who lived in the same village as Christ testified and assured us with their reaction that He had never left Nazareth.