St Cyril of Alexandria reminds us that in saying what he did, Jesus was explicitly saying he was the Messiah, but the people to whom he was preaching not only failed to understand him, but were actively hostile to him because their minds were closed. That he was Joseph’s son was no bar to him being the Messiah, for Joseph was of David’s stock: though they had eyes, they could not see, and though they had ears they heard not.
St Ambrose explains that it was envy which made his fellows blind to who he was. They could not believe because they would not believe. They thought they knew who he was and they would not let the words of God penetrate their darkness. As St Cyril says, Jesus reminds them that the prophets of old had sometimes been sent to heal those who were not part of the Jewish Coveneant – because the majority failed to heed the words of the prophets, and in his time now, they would continue to be blind and deaf. Their own hatred and actions condemned them, and though they sought to harm him, his time for that had not come, so he escaped unharmed.
St Ambrose comments on the way in which the Lord had, long ago, through the prophets foretold the sacrilege of the Jews in Psalm 35:12 “They repay me evil for good / and leave me like one bereaved.” It was for this cause that the Jews would lose their chance of salvation. But he also reminds us that Jesus was not forced to suffer the Passion. It was voluntary, he chose to allow himself to be taken when the time had come, and as he told Pilate, had he chosen, then the Father would have sent a squadron of angels to save him. But Jesus preferred to continue to try to save his fellow Jews and as we see, a remnant of them followed him and were, as all who do that are, saved by the sacrifice he made willingly.