Luke chapter 4

English Standard Version

18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord 's favor." 20And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." 22And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, "Is not this Joseph 's son?" 23And he said to them, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘"Physician, heal yourself." What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’" 24And he said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." 28When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30But passing through their midst, he went away.
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

New King James Version

What does Luke chapter 4 mean?

Before starting His public preaching and healing ministry, Jesus goes alone into the wastelands near Judea. He spends forty days fasting—nearly the limit of what a human body can survive without food. This experience is driven by the Holy Spirit, but also includes temptation. Satan appears, enticing Jesus in several ways. All three temptations involve turning away from God's plan, seeking something easier or quicker. In one instance, the Devil even cites Scripture, twisting the meaning. Jesus resists these attempts. He maintains obedience to God and quotes the book of Deuteronomy. Parallel accounts of this experience are found in Matthew 4:1–11 and Mark 1:12–13. Having failed, Satan leaves Jesus and goes elsewhere. (Luke 4:1–13).

After enduring temptation and starvation, Jesus comes back to Galilee. This is the area north of Jerusalem, around the Sea of Galilee. There He teaches in synagogues, to great acclaim. At least one town does not approve His message: Nazareth, Jesus' childhood hometown. While visiting there, Jesus reads aloud from Isaiah. The prophecy indicates that Messiah will bring rescue, healing, and good news. When Jesus claims to be the fulfillment of this prophecy, His former neighbors react with skepticism. In their eyes, Jesus is nothing more than another Nazarene—He can't possibly be anything special (Luke 4:14–22).

Jesus knows where the Nazarenes' skepticism will lead. Critics who knew about Jesus' miracles often responded to His teaching by demanding a supernatural sign. Such ultimatums are insincere; those who won't accept the proof they've already been given aren't likely to respond to even more (John 2:18; 6:30; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16). Jesus predicts the people want Him to repeat the same miracles He's done elsewhere. Instead, Jesus criticizes their stubbornness. He notes that at times God would withhold miracles from Israel, and instead perform them for Gentiles: non-Jewish persons (Luke 4:23–27).

At the time Jesus speaks these words, Israel was bitterly angry over being occupied by the Roman Empire. The Jewish people were deeply resentful of their national captors. When Jesus implies that the Lord is willing to speak to Gentiles—those outside of God's chosen people—the Nazarenes react with violent anger. A mob physically ejects Jesus from the synagogue and takes Him to a nearby cliff. Their intent is lethal, but Jesus can "pass through" the crowd. This is likely a miraculous escape (John 8:59; 10:39); similar events happen at other times in Jesus' ministry (Luke 4:28–30).

Luke's account is not always in order of occurrence—ancient writers often grouped events by topic rather than by timeline. At some point in Jesus' early ministry, He encounters a demon-possessed man in a synagogue. The demon recognizes Jesus as the Son of God, reacting in fear. Jesus issues a direct command, and the demon immediately leaves. The people have already been impressed by the authority of Jesus' words. Now they see the strength of His divine power. This adds even more publicity to His ministry (Luke 4:31–37).

Leaving directly from the synagogue, Jesus visits the home of Simon Peter (Mark 3:16; John 1:42). Peter's mother-in-law is so sick that she's bedridden. Luke, who knows something about medicine (Colossians 4:14), describes her fever as intense. Just as Jesus exorcized a demon with authority, He commands the woman's illness. She is instantly made well. There is no recovery process: she immediately attends to hosting duties. Since this happens on a Sabbath, people wait until sundown—which marks the start of the next day—to bring sick and afflicted people to Jesus. As Jesus heals, He explicitly forbids the demons from proclaiming Him as Christ (Luke 4:38–41).

Being fully human, Jesus needed occasional rest and refreshment. When He attempts to take a break from His ministry, the people living near Simon Peter follow Him. Though healing and preaching are good things, God's plans for Jesus involve much more than one small area. He recognizes the need to choose what is "best" over what is merely "good." Jesus plans to travel around the region, so He politely refuses to stay in one place for long (Luke 4:42–44).
What is the Gospel?
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