Luke 4


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 4:22

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 4:43

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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