At Nazareth

Bible Background: Luke 4.16-30 (PDF)

This dialogue imagines a conversation between Jacob the carpenter and Ezra the farmer. We think ourselves back to an age when reporters and cameras weren't present. When people started talking about a new Rabbi, Jesus, did the people of Nazareth think of their carpenter? or did they assume it was some other Jesus? (Jesus, the Greek version of the Hebrew Joshua, was not an uncommon name.) The time between Luke chapters 2 and 3 has sometimes been called "the hidden years". Certainly, the folk of Nazareth picked up no clues during those years concerning his true identity.

At Nazareth, near the gate, Jacob and Ezra have met by chance on the Sabbath day on their way to the synagogue service. Jacob, a carpenter, and Ezra, a farmer, are discussing recent events.
JACOB:Good to see you again, Ezra. How is your wheat crop coming on?
EZRA:Very nicely, thank you, Jacob. I think this year's harvest will be a good one. I will be needing a new yoke after that, so I'll have to come in and see you.
JACOB:Thanks. Good seasons help us all!
EZRA:What happened to that other carpenter?
JACOB:You mean Joseph? He died, I'm afraid. A fine man. He made good yokes.
EZRA:Who's taken over the business?
JACOB:It's a bit complicated. I guess it's James and Joses at the moment. Simon and Judas are there too.
EZRA:I don't quite get your meaning. Is there some uncertainty?
JACOB:Well… the eldest, Jesus, was in charge…
EZRA:I bought one of his yokes once. My oxen were never happier!
JACOB:This Jesus was always a hard worker and also very considerate to all sorts of people about town.
EZRA:He's the one who left for some reason, didn't he?
JACOBThat's it! So consistent, so reliable, then all of a sudden he goes!
EZRA:But what happened to him?
JACOB:Rumour has it he went to the Jordan where a fellow named John was baptising people.
EZRA:He could be the one who was a sort of distant relative.
JACOB:I haven't heard of him back in these parts since. Don't know what's become of him.
EZRA:By the way, talking about Jesus the carpenter has reminded me - there's another Jesus about these parts at the moment.
JACOB:You mean the Rabbi, the Teacher?
EZRA:Yes. Some amazing stories are floating around about him.
JACOB:I'm not sure whether the officials accept him as a real Rabbi.
EZRA:It is said he has healed people who are sick!
JACOB:Something unusual about him. He's been over in Capernaum.
EZRA:I hear he may be in Nazareth today.
JACOB:I wonder where he was staying. Since my wife died, I find it harder to keep up with the local news.
EZRA:I don't know much. I guess we'll see him at the synagogue.
JACOB:I guess so.
So they went to the synagogue. Luke 4.16-30 records for us what happened.
Reader:Luke 4.16-30.

From Between the Lines. Dialogues for Worship by Peter J. Blackburn published by Testimonium Fellowship 1992, (c) Peter J. Blackburn.
Permission is given for copying of this document for local use with this copyright notice intact. For any other proposed use the specific permission of Peter J. Blackburn must be sought.

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