What does Luke 4:27 mean?
ESV: And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
NIV: And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed--only Naaman the Syrian.'
NASB: And there were many with leprosy in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.'
CSB: And in the prophet Elisha's time, there were many in Israel who had leprosy, and yet not one of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian."
NLT: And many in Israel had leprosy in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.'
KJV: And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
Verse Commentary:
Nazareth was Jesus' childhood hometown (Luke 4:16–22). He has just told the people there that He is the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy (Isaiah 61:1–2). The people are stubbornly skeptical since they perceive Jesus as just another ordinary Nazarene (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:1–4). Jesus senses that the people are about to make the same request other critics do: to demand yet another miracle to prove His words (John 2:18; 6:30; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16). Instead, Jesus points out their resistance and implies God will work elsewhere when Israel refuses to see the truth.

The first example given was that of Elijah (1 Kings 17:14–16; 22–24). He was sent outside Israel to perform two miracles during a severe drought and famine (Luke 4:25–26).

The second example, given here, is that of Elisha and Naaman. Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army, who had cruelly attacked Israel. Not only was he a Gentile—a non-Jewish person—he was a hated enemy of the people. Despite this, Naaman becomes the first person healed of leprosy. Rather than bringing a miraculous healing to an Israelite, God bestowed it on a hostile pagan (2 Kings 5:1–14).

Jesus' reason for making these comments is to counter the people's implied demand: that He perform the miracles He did elsewhere for them here, in Nazareth (Luke 4:23). At this time in Israel's history, they were brutally oppressed by the Gentile Roman Empire. Any hint that God would look favorably on Gentiles was met with resistance or even violence (Acts 22:21–22). This is exactly what happens here in Nazareth (Luke 4:28–30).
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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