Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when heaven was shut up three years and months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
Commentary from Bible Gateway
…Jesus quotes the proverb that a prophet is not honored in his home. This remark reveals Jesus’ understanding of Old Testament history. He knows how repeatedly God’s messengers were rejected. This theme will also surface continually in Luke (11:49-52; 13:32-35; 20:10-12: Acts 7:51-53). God’s message is often met with rejection. The proverb also serves as a prediction that for many in Israel Jesus’ ministry will fit into this tragic mold.
… Jesus recalls the history of Israel in the period of Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17–18; 2 Kings 5:1-14). The history lesson is a warning. That period was a low point in the nation’s life, when rejection of God was at an all-time high and idolatry and unfaithfulness ran rampant. So God moved his works of mercy outside the nation into Gentile regions, as only a widow in Sidon and Naaman the Syrian experienced God’s healing. The price of rejecting God’s message is severe: mercy moves on to other locales. It is quite risky to walk away from God’s offer of deliverance. This exchange reveals the basic challenge of Jesus’ ministry: the choice he presents carries high stakes.