Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
Lu 4:1-13. Temptation of Christ.
(See on Mt 4:1-11.)
Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:
And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
Lu 4:14-32. Jesus Entering on His Public Ministry, Makes a Circuit of Galilee—Rejection at Nazareth.
Note.—A large gap here occurs, embracing the important transactions in Galilee and Jerusalem which are recorded in Joh 1:29-4:54, and which occurred before John's imprisonment (Joh 3:24); whereas the transactions here recorded occurred (as appears from Mt 4:12, 13) after that event. The visit to Nazareth recorded in Mt 13:54-58 (and Mr 6:1-6) we take to be not a later visit, but the same with this first one; because we cannot think that the Nazarenes, after being so enraged at His first display of wisdom as to attempt His destruction, should, on a second display of the same, wonder at it and ask how He came by it, as if they had never witnessed it before.
And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
16. as his custom was—Compare Ac 17:2.
stood up for to read—Others besides rabbins were allowed to address the congregation. (See Ac 13:15.)
And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
18, 19. To have fixed on any passage announcing His sufferings (as Isa 53:1-12), would have been unsuitable at that early stage of His ministry. But He selects a passage announcing the sublime object of His whole mission, its divine character, and His special endowments for it; expressed in the first person, and so singularly adapted to the first opening of the mouth in His prophetic capacity, that it seems as if made expressly for this occasion. It is from the well-known section of Isaiah's prophecies whose burden is that mysterious "Servant of the Lord," despised of man, abhorred of the nation, but before whom kings on seeing Him are to arise, and princes to worship; in visage more marred than any man and His form than the sons of men, yet sprinkling many nations; laboring seemingly in vain, and spending His strength for naught and in vain, yet Jehovah's Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and be His Salvation to the ends of the earth (Isa 49:1-26, &c.). The quotation is chiefly from the Septuagint version, used in the synagogues.
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
19. acceptable year—an allusion to the jubilee year (Le 25:10), a year of universal release for person and property. (See also Isa 49:8; 2Co 6:2.) As the maladies under which humanity groans are here set forth under the names of poverty, broken-heartedness, bondage, blindness, bruisedness (or crushedness), so, as the glorious Healer of all these maladies, Christ announces Himself in the act of reading it, stopping the quotation just before it comes to "the day of vengeance," which was only to come on the rejecters of His message (Joh 3:17). The first words, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me," have been noted since the days of the Church Fathers, as an illustrious example of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost being exhibited as in distinct yet harmonious action in the scheme of salvation.
And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
20. the minister—the chazan, or synagogue-officer.
all eyes … fastened on Him—astounded at His putting in such claims.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
21. began to say, &c.—His whole address was just a detailed application to Himself of this and perhaps other like prophecies.
And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?
22. gracious words—"the words of grace," referring both to the richness of His matter and the sweetness of His manner (Ps 45:2).
Is not this, &c.—(See on Mt 13:54-56). They knew He had received no rabbinical education, and anything supernatural they seemed incapable of conceiving.
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.
23. this proverb—like our "Charity begins at home."
whatsoever, &c.—"Strange rumors have reached our ears of Thy doings at Capernaum; but if such power resides in Thee to cure the ills of humanity, why has none of it yet come nearer home, and why is all this alleged power reserved for strangers?" His choice of Capernaum as a place of residence since entering on public life was, it seems, already well known at Nazareth; and when He did come thither, to give no displays of His power when distant places were ringing with His fame, wounded their pride. He had indeed "laid his hands on a few sick folk and healed them" (Mr 6:5); but this seems to have been done quite privately the general unbelief precluding anything more open.
And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
24. And he said, &c.—He replies to the one proverb by another, equally familiar, which we express in a rougher form—"Too much familiarity breeds contempt." Our Lord's long residence in Nazareth merely as a townsman had made Him too common, incapacitating them for appreciating Him as others did who were less familiar with His everyday demeanor in private life. A most important principle, to which the wise will pay due regard. (See also Mt 7:6, on which our Lord Himself ever acted.)
But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
25-27. But I tell you, &c.—falling back for support on the well-known examples of Elijah and Elisha (Eliseus), whose miraculous power, passing by those who were near, expended itself on those at a distance, yea on heathens, "the two great prophets who stand at the commencement of prophetic antiquity, and whose miracles strikingly prefigured those of our Lord. As He intended like them to feed the poor and cleanse the lepers, He points to these miracles of mercy, and not to the fire from heaven and the bears that tore the mockers" [Stier].
three years and six months—So Jas 5:17, including perhaps the six months after the last fall of rain, when there would be little or none at any rate; whereas in 1Ki 18:1, which says the rain returned "in the third year," that period is probably not reckoned.
But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
26, 27. save … saving—"but only." (Compare Mr 13:32, Greek.)
Sarepta—"Zarephath" (1Ki 17:9), a heathen village between Tyre and Sidon. (See Mr 7:24.)
And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
28, 29. when they heard these things—these allusions to the heathen, just as afterwards with Paul (Ac 22:21, 22).
And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
29. rose up—broke up the service irreverently and rushed forth.
thrust him—with violence, as a prisoner in their hands.
brow, &c.—Nazareth, though not built on the ridge of a hill, is in part surrounded by one to the west, having several such precipices. (See 2Ch 25:12; 2Ki 9:33.) It was a mode of capital punishment not unusual among the Romans and others. This was the first insult which the Son of God received, and it came from "them of His own household!" (Mt 10:36).
But he passing through the midst of them went his way,
30. passing through the midst, &c.—evidently in a miraculous way, though perhaps quite noiselessly, leading them to wonder afterwards what spell could have come over them, that they allowed Him to escape. (Similar escapes, however, in times of persecution, are not unexampled.)
And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.
31. down to Capernaum—It lay on the Sea of Galilee (Mt 4:13), whereas Nazareth lay high.
And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.
And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,
Lu 4:33-37. Demoniac Healed.
33. unclean—The frequency with which this character of impurity is applied to evil spirits is worthy of notice.
cried out, &c.—(See Mt 8:29; Mr 3:11).
Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.
And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.
35. rebuked them, &c.—(See on Lu 4:41).
thrown him, &c.—See on Mr 9:20.
And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.
36. What a word—a word from the Lord of spirits.
And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.
And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.
Lu 4:38-41. Peter's Mother-in-law and Many Others, Healed.
(See on Mt 8:14-17.)
And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.
Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.
41. suffered them not to speak—The marginal reading ("to say that they knew him to be Christ") here is wrong. Our Lord ever refused testimony from devils, for the very reason why they were eager to give it, because He and they would thus seem to be one interest, as His enemies actually alleged. (See on Mt 12:24, &c.; see also Ac 16:16-18.)
And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.
Lu 4:42-44. Jesus Sought Out at Morning Prayer, and Entreated to Stay, Declines from the Urgency of His Work.
See on Mr 1:35-39, where we learn how early He retired, and how He was engaged in solitude when they came seeking Him.
42. stayed him—"were staying Him," or sought to do it. What a contrast to the Gadarenes! The nature of His mission required Him to keep moving, that all might hear the glad tidings (Mt 8:34).
And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.
43. I must, &c.—but duty only could move Him to deny entreaties so grateful to His spirit.
And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.