What does Luke 4:20 mean?
ESV: And 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.
NIV: Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.
NASB: And He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all the people in the synagogue were intently directed at Him.
CSB: He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him.
NLT: He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently.
KJV: And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
NKJV: Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
Verse Commentary:
In ancient Jewish synagogues, various men would stand to read a section of the Old Testament, then sit to give their interpretation. Jesus is visiting His childhood hometown of Nazareth and participating in this practice (Luke 4:16). His chosen passage was from Isaiah 61:1–2 (Luke 4:17–19). Jesus read the part of Isaiah's prophecy explaining the positive aspects of Messiah's work. However, He stopped reading before speaking about the judgment God would send. The reason for this choice becomes clear as Jesus gives His explanation (Luke 4:21).

When Christ began His public preaching ministry, it was met with an initially positive response (Luke 4:14–15). The people in this synagogue are likely anticipating Jesus' words, looking forward to what He might say. At the same time, many of those present would have known Jesus during His childhood. They will struggle to accept that someone they know—a boy living in an obscure place—could be anything of importance (Luke 4:22).
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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