BIBLE: Luke Chapter 4 – Headline: “The Acceptable Year of the Lord”

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

Luke 4

Satan Tempts Jesus

Luke 4:1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into (in) the wilderness,
Luke 4:being tempted (tested) for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
Luke 4:And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
Luke 4:But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”
Luke 4:5Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
Luke 4:And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
Luke 4:Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
Luke 4:And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
Luke 4:Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.
Luke 4:10 For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’
Luke 4:11 and,
‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
Luke 4:12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not [test] tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
Luke 4:13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation (testing), he departed from Him until an opportune time.

Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry

Luke 4:14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.
Luke 4:15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

Luke 4:16 So 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 to read.
Luke 4:17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
Luke 4:18
Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed (downtrodden);

Luke 4:19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Luke 4:20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
Luke 4:21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jeff A. Benner

When we read this, most of us envision Jesus getting up from his seat in the congregation and going to the podium from where he reads from the Book of Isaiah. When he finishes his reading, he retakes is seat in the congregation and everyone stares at him and from there he speaks to them. However, if we understand just one tradition that is different between Judaism and Christianity, we would have a little better understanding of this passage. Christian preachers teach from a standing position, but Jewish Rabbis teach from a sitting position. With this little tidbit of information, we now know that Jesus was the Rabbi, not a congregant. Read the passage above with this perspective and you will more clearly see what was going on here.

But there is more if we are open to understanding the Jewish culture of the New Testament period. Jesus did not just “choose” this passage in Isaiah; this passage was this Sabbath’s scheduled haftarah. Each Sabbath service includes two regularly scheduled readings. The first is from the Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy), which is read in its entirety throughout the year. The second is the haftarah, which are specific, regularly scheduled, passages from the Writings and the Prophets of the Tanakh (Old Testament).

There is one other thing I would like to point out from this passage. Jesus was a devout Jew who not only obeyed and followed the commands of God, but also the traditions of Judaism, as long as those traditions did not violate the commands of God. In this passage we see that it was Jesus’ “custom” to attend synagogue. The whole concept of the synagogue was created during Israel’s exile in Babylon and is therefore, a tradition of Judaism, not the Torah (God’s teachings).

Now for some speculation. The predominant theory concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls is that these scrolls were written and hidden away in caves by a small sect of Judaism called the Essenes. However, there is another theory, not as popular, but it is the one that I ascribe to, the Dead Sea Caves were the burial place for old scrolls that were no longer serviceable. In Judaism, any document containing the name of God, YHWH, must be buried and never destroyed. Evidence supporting this theory is that among the Dead Sea Scrolls the book of Esther has not been found. This is the only book of the Tanak (Old Testament) that does not include the name YHWH, which means that it does not require burial. In this theory, it possible that the Great Isaiah Scroll discovered in the Dead Sea Caves could be the very scroll Jesus read from. There is another possibility worth looking at. A scroll may last for up to 500 years meaning that the scroll that Jesus read from, may be an original copy from Isaiah’s original scroll.

Luke 4:22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
Luke 4:23 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.’ ”
Luke 4:24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.
Luke 4:25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;
  • Explain Chart: Elijah (heaven shut up) famine and tribulation. Add this chart to Elijah.
  • Elijah is the one who is prophesied to prepare the way of the Lord (Jesus)
  • A famine is symbolic of the coming seven year tribulation. It is called “The Time of Jacob’s Troubles” because of the seven year famine.
Luke 4:2626 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath [Gr. Sarepta], in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
Luke 4:27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
Luke 4:28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with [rage] wrath,
Luke 4:29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.
Luke 4:30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.

Jesus Casts Out an Unclean Spirit

Luke 4:31 Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths.
Luke 4:32 And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.
Luke 4:33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice,
Luke 4:34 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”
Luke 4:35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, [Lit. Be muzzled] “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him.
Luke 4:36 Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”
Luke 4:37 And the report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

Peter’s Mother-in-Law Healed

Luke 4:38 Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was [afflicted with] sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her.
Luke 4:39 So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.

Many Healed After Sabbath Sunset

Luke 4:40 When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.
Luke 4:41 And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are [Or: say that they knew ] the Christ, the Son of God!”
And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to [q]speak, for they knew that He was the Christ.

Jesus Preaches in Galilee

Luke 4:42 Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them;
Luke 4:43 but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”
Luke 4:44 And He was preaching in the synagogues of [Judea] Galilee.
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