Luke 4


Luke 4:3

And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

(a) The devil a.k.a. the tempter (Matt. 4:3). God will never tempt you to evil (Jas. 1:13), so those who tempt you are doing the devil’s work of the tempter (1 Th. 3:5).

(b) The Son of God. The apostles recognized that Christ’s identity was defined by his relationship to God the Father (see entry for John 20:31). In contrast, the unbelieving Jews doubted Christ’s sonship (Matt. 27:40, John 19:7), and the devil questioned it. “If you are the Son of God” (Matt. 4:3, 6, Luke 4:3, 9).

(c) This stone. The stone represents the law that was engraved on tablets of stone. The tempter will tempt you to find your sustenance through the law. If he can get you to rely on your law-keeping performance, you will have fallen from grace and cut yourself off from Christ (see entry for Gal. 5:4).

(d) Become bread. Jesus was hungry and the devil tempted him with bread. This temptation represents the lust of the flesh. See entry for The Flesh.


Luke 4:8

Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”

The Lord your God. Although the Old Testament lists a variety of names for God, the New Testament has relatively few. Most of the time when Jesus spoke about God, he called him Father (see entry for Luke 2:49). But when speaking to the devil he called him Lord God. He was reminding the devil that God is supreme above all.


Luke 4:18

“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,

(a) Preach the gospel to the poor. We are all poor and needy when it comes to salvation. We all need to hear the gospel. Those who think themselves as rich and in need of nothing (Rev. 3:17), are the neediest of all.

(b) Gospel literally means good news. Since there is no bad news in the good news, any message that leaves you feeling fearful, anxious or condemned, is not the gospel. See entry for The Gospel.

(c) Release… set free. The original words are sometimes translated as remission and mean a letting go or dismissal. It’s the same word that is often translated as forgiveness (e.g., Matt. 26:28). By implication, we are saved and set free when we realize our sins have been forgiven (see entry for Luke 1:77).

At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus hinted that he had come to forgive or carry our sins away. On the night he rose from the dead, Jesus told the disciples to preach the remission of sins or the good news of unconditional forgiveness (see entry for Luke 24:47).

Because of his great love, God chooses to remember your sins no more (Heb. 8:12, 10:17). The good news declares that he is no longer holding your sins and trespasses against you (2 Cor. 5:19).


Luke 4:19

TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

Jesus began his ministry by announcing the favor of God and he concluded it by giving us the greatest demonstration of unconditional love the world has ever seen (Rom. 5:8). In between these two peaks of grace, he preached good news to the poor, he loved sinners, he forgave and healed those who had done nothing to deserve God’s favor (see entry for Luke 23:34), and he told stories of radical grace – of lost sheep and lost sons, and kings who invited beggars to banquets. Best of all, he revealed a God who loves us like a Father and who asks for nothing in return other than we trust him.


Luke 4:20

And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

He closed the book. Jesus did not quote the entire passage from Isaiah. He left off the bit about the day of God’s vengeance (Is. 61:2) because this was not that day. When the Lord returns he bring divine vengeance (which is properly described with words like rebuild, restore, and renew – see Is. 61:3–4).


Luke 4:22

And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

(a) All were speaking well of Him. For a brief moment, the people in the synagogue received the message and Messenger of grace.

(b) The gracious words. For hundreds of years, the Jews had heard nothing but law. They had been told they were imperfect and that God expected more. Then Jesus came full of grace and truth speaking words of grace. For those who had been crushed by the merciless law, Jesus was a breath of fresh air.

(c) Is this not Joseph’s son? With one question the flame of grace was extinguished in Nazareth. “Isn’t he the carpenter’s son?” The Son of God was labelled and dismissed.

The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all, including the people of Nazareth (Tit. 2:11). But they rejected him (see verse 29).


Luke 4:28

And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things;

Filled with rage. Those who have been told their dead works count for nothing in the kingdom of grace often get angry.

When the good news of God’s grace is preached, some respond with joy (Matt. 13:20). This was the response of those who spoke well of Jesus and his gracious words (Luke 4:22). “This is it! This is what we’ve been waiting for!” But before the seed of the word could take root and grow, the seed was trampled by the familiarity of those who dismissed Jesus as the son of the carpenter. “He’s no Savior; he’s Joseph’s son” (Luke 4:22).

The people of Nazareth heard the gospel from the mouth of Jesus, yet they did not turn to God in faith. Hardening their hearts, they put themselves beyond the place of repentance (see entry for Heb. 6:6).


Luke 4:41

Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.

The Son of God. Various demons recognized that Jesus was the Son of God (Matt. 8:29, Mark 3:11). Others who had this revelation include John the Baptist (John 1:34), Nathanael (John 1:49), Martha (John 11:27), the centurion at the cross (Matt. 27:54, Mark 15:39), and the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:35).


Luke 4:43

But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”

The kingdom of God refers to King Jesus’ dominion and reign on earth as it is in heaven. This kingdom is not far away but right here (Mark 1:14-15).


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