Temptation of Christ.
(See on Mt 4:1-11.)
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
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.
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.)
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
19. acceptable year—an allusion to the
jubilee year (Le 25:10), a
year of universal release for person and property. (See also
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.
20. the minister—the chazan, or
all eyes … fastened on
Him—astounded at His putting in such claims.
21. began to say, &c.—His whole
address was just a detailed application to Himself of this and perhaps
other like prophecies.
22. gracious words—"the words of grace,"
referring both to the richness of His matter and the sweetness of His
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
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.
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
7:6, on which our Lord
Himself ever acted.)
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"
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.
26, 27. save … saving—"but only."
Sarepta—"Zarephath" (1Ki 17:9), a heathen village between Tyre and
Sidon. (See Mr 7:24.)
28, 29. when they heard these
things—these allusions to the heathen, just as
afterwards with Paul (Ac 22:21, 22).
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).
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.)
31. down to Capernaum—It lay on the Sea
of Galilee (Mt 4:13),
whereas Nazareth lay high.
Lu 4:33-37. Demoniac
33. unclean—The frequency with which
this character of impurity is applied to evil spirits is worthy
cried out, &c.—(See Mt 8:29; Mr
35. rebuked them, &c.—(See on Lu 4:41).
thrown him, &c.—See on Mr 9:20.
36. What a word—a word from the Lord
Lu 4:38-41. Peter's
Mother-in-law and Many Others, Healed.
(See on Mt 8:14-17.)
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.)
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
43. I must, &c.—but duty only could
move Him to deny entreaties so grateful to His spirit.