And when they heard these things, everybody in the synagogue was filled with rage, and they rose up and drove him out of the city, and they led him to the brow of the hill on which the city was built, to throw him off the cliff.
And when it was day, he departed and went to a deserted place, but the crowds looked for him, and they came to him, and they tried to keep him from leaving them.
"The sweet psalmist of Israel" once said, "Verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity" (Ps. 39:5). This means that no man has anything to offer to God except his sin – and faith that God is indeed faithful to forgive our sins if we confess and forsake them (1Jn. 1:9).
When Jesus walked among us, he "knew what was in man" (Jn. 2:25); therefore, he was not moved by either their hatred of him or their love for him. The people of one city might want him to stay with them forever, while those of another city might want to kill him. If Jesus had given in to either of these two groups, he could not have accomplished his mission. If he had not made the effort to escape the hatred of mobs who wanted to kill him before the Father’s appointed time, he would have come short of fulfilling his mission. And if he had not made the effort to escape the love of disciples who wanted to save him from suffering, he would have also failed in his mission.
Both the love and the hatred of fallen man are worthless to God, and if Jesus had been moved by either of them, he would have failed to accomplish the will of God. The gospel calls for us to acknowledge that everything that fallen man feels and thinks is worthless to God. Paul said it this way, "In me, that is in my flesh [i.e., nature], there is no good thing." If we have been delivered from sin and darkness, it is only because God has done it, and if God has done it, then He did it by Himself because we can do nothing to help God save us. We don’t know what to do to get ourselves out of sin, and we wouldn’t have the power to do it, even if we did know what to do.
Jesus had a disciple who betrayed him, which was evil, with evil intent, and he had a disciple who wanted to keep him from going to the cross, which also was evil, but with good intent. He had disciples who forsook him, feeling malice, because of his doctrine, and he had disciples who clung to him, feeling love for him, even when Jesus wanted to be alone with the Father’s love. But whether they were disciples who forsook Jesus and hated him or disciples who smothered Jesus and loved him, all men were lost, and if Jesus had been moved by either group, we all would have been lost. Thank God that Jesus saw how utterly blind and desperately needy we all are!
If the people of Nazareth had gotten their way, Jesus would have died after his first sermon – and nobody else would have ever heard the good news Jesus preached. But had the people in Capernaum had their way, Jesus would have stayed with them and built up a successful ministry for himself in that city – and nobody else would have ever heard the good news Jesus preached. The result of human hatred and human love is always then same; it is all contrary to the Spirit of God.
God help us, and save us from ourselves! Regardless of intentions, the only result of anything man does on his own is always the same – confusion and death.