Luke 4

Chapter four picks up Luke’s narrative following Jesus’ human genealogy. As in Matthew 4, Luke 4 notes that, immediately after his baptism, Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of being tempted by Satan himself. Whereas Matthew seems as if Jesus suffered three temptations after 40 days of fasting, Luke clarified that Satan barraged Jesus throughout those 40 days, followed by the big three temptations that are detailed. Jesus responded to each by quoting the Hebrew Scriptures. Decades later Paul wrote that it is the spoken Word of God that serves as “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). 1 In our spiritual battles it is imperative to be able to quote Scripture. At the end of Jesus’ temptations, Luke noted that the devil was not done; he just waited for a better opportunity to strike again (4:13). He would certainly continue his attack throughout Jesus’ ministry, an encouraging thought to we who suffer temptation every day as well.

The Holy Spirit is more prominent in Luke than the other Gospels. Already he has been mentioned nine times by 4:13. This points to Luke’s emphasis on Jesus’ humanity. Jesus lived his life in total submission to the Holy Spirit’s leading and ministered in the Spirit’s power, just as the New Testament calls Christians to do. Following his temptation, Jesus moved back to his home region “in the power of the Spirit” (4:14) and began his itinerant preaching and teaching. One Sabbath morning he attended synagogue in Nazareth and read from Isaiah 61:1-2a, claiming to be the Spirit-anointed Messiah. In response to the disbelief and condescension from his fellow Nazarenes, Jesus cited two great stories from the Jewish Scriptures, both about the salvation of Gentiles. Those listening were greatly offended and tried to throw Jesus off of a cliff. His life was miraculously spared.

From that point, Jesus’ Galilean ministry was headquartered in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee. From this central location he announced coming of his Messianic Kingdom and proved his claim with miracles that the prophets said Messiah would do. (Luke was particularly interested in the healing miracles.) He would spend a year in the northern part of Israel and in the surround Gentile regions, offering himself as their promised Deliverer.

Notes:

  1. The Greek term for “word” here is ῥῆμα, rhema, which refers specifically to spoken words as opposed to written words.
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Daniel Goepfrich

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