What does Luke 4:21 mean?
ESV: And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
NIV: He began by saying to them, 'Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'
NASB: Now He began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'
CSB: He began by saying to them, "Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled."
NLT: Then he began to speak to them. 'The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!'
KJV: And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Verse Commentary:
The Scripture Jesus has just read is from the prophet Isaiah (Luke 4:17–19). This included predictions of Messiah's healing, rescue, and good news (Isaiah 61:1–2). The passage also describes God's impending judgment on sin. However, Jesus stopped before reading that part. Now, after declaring God's promise to send a saving, healing Anointed One, Jesus claims the prophecy is being fulfilled.

Jesus separates the work done by the Messiah in His first coming from the work done in His second coming. Jesus' first arrival on earth was in humble circumstances (Luke 2:6–7), focused on securing salvation for mankind (John 3:16–18). His second coming will be in awesome power, focused on delivering God's wrath on an evil world (Revelation 19:11–16).

The people will understand that Jesus means that He, Himself, is the fulfillment of this prophecy. Jesus is not simply declaring that the Savior is somewhere in the world. Rather, He implies that He is the One predicted by Isaiah. The people will react with a combination of amazement and skepticism (Luke 4:22). Much of this is due to knowing Jesus as a child—this is His hometown synagogue (Luke 4:16) and the people struggle to see Jesus as anything more than a poor Nazarene.
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.
Accessed 2/21/2024 5:46:57 AM
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Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.