What does Luke 4:17 mean?
ESV: And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
NIV: and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
NASB: And the scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to Him. And He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
CSB: The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written:
NLT: The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
KJV: And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
Verse Commentary:
In Jewish synagogues, men would stand to read a portion of the Old Testament, then sit to give their interpretation. Jesus is visiting the synagogue in His childhood hometown of Nazareth (Luke 2:39). Other towns in the area received His preaching with enthusiasm (Luke 4:14–15). The experience in Nazareth will not end well (Luke 4:28–30).

Jesus reads a portion of Isaiah which predicts the arrival of the Messiah: the Promised One (Isaiah 61:1–2). Very deliberately, Jesus recites the predictions about proclaiming good news and liberation, but stops before reading the portion about God's vengeful judgment. This is consistent with the purpose of Jesus' earthly ministry: to secure salvation, not judgment (John 3:16–18).

After reading, Jesus will declare that the prophecy is being fulfilled—in Him. As the hometown crowd reacts with skepticism, Jesus refers to God taking His message to the Gentiles. This triggers an immediate, angry reaction, and Jesus leaves to preach elsewhere (Luke 4:31).
Verse Context:
Luke 4:14–30 records the earliest days of Jesus' public ministry. He begins teaching in synagogues before returning to His hometown of Nazareth. There, He reads a prophecy from Isaiah and claims that He has fulfilled it. When those familiar with Him imply that Jesus has no place making such claims, Jesus implies that God will send signs to Gentiles if Israel refuses to believe. This results in an uproar, though Jesus makes what seems to be a miraculous escape.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus is taken into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. While fasting there, He is tempted by Satan. These temptations share an element of ignoring God in favor of what seems easier or quicker. Jesus resists all of these, citing Scripture as He does. When Jesus returns, He preaches and heals to great publicity in Judea and Galilee. While His hometown responds with stubborn skepticism, others are eager to hear His teaching and experience His miraculous power.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 3 explained how John the Baptist preached to prepare others to receive Jesus Christ. Luke then provided Jesus' earthly ancestry. Chapter 4 begins with Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. He returns to preach and perform healing miracles in Judea and Galilee. Chapter 5 shows Him calling disciples and demonstrating further proofs of His authority.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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