What does Luke 4:23 mean?
ESV: And 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.’"
NIV: Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ "
NASB: And He said to them, 'No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! All the miracles that we heard were done in Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’?'
CSB: Then he said to them, "No doubt you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Doctor, heal yourself. What we’ve heard that took place in Capernaum, do here in your hometown also.’"
NLT: Then he said, 'You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’ — meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’
KJV: And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
NKJV: He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ”
Verse Commentary:
Despite Jesus publicly demonstrating supernatural power, critics often challenged Him to perform "one more," at their command, to prove His message (John 2:18; 6:30; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16). Even today, such requests are generally insincere. Those who say, "God must prove Himself with a miracle," will explain away whatever miracles they might see (Luke 11:15). Ignoring what's obvious and demanding something more is a sign of stubbornness (Romans 1:18–20; John 5:39–40). It's not surprising that both God the Father and God the Son typically decline such demands (Matthew 16:4).

Jesus is reacting to the skepticism of His hometown. He has claimed to be the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy (Luke 4:16–21). In response, the people reply that He—Jesus—is nothing more than another Nazarene boy, like any other they have known (Luke 4:22; Mark 6:1–4). Sensing this resistance, Jesus knows exactly what will come next: a demand to see a miracle. They have heard about His prior miracles, as described in other gospels. Mark's account of this incident implies Jesus had already performed a few healings in Nazareth (Mark 6:5). And yet, when He starts to challenge their beliefs, the people will want something even more spectacular.

His reply, beginning here, cuts off that objection before it can even be spoken. The expression "Physician, heal yourself," is not exclusively about illness or injury. The point is that one claiming to have solved a problem ought to apply that solution to themselves, and those closest to them, before taking it to others. In this case, Jesus' hometown neighbors are about to demand Jesus do the same dazzling works He's done elsewhere.
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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