Luke 4 Commentary

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From Jensen's Survey of the NT by permission
John MacArthur's Introduction to the Gospel of Luke
Charles Swindoll's Introduction to Luke
Luke Overview Chart by Charles Swindoll

Click chart to enlarge LIFE OF CHRIST IN GOSPEL OF LUKE (See Shaded Areas)
Chart from recommended resource  Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Ryrie Study Bible -Borrow

Source: ESV Global Study Bible

Luke 4:1  Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness

Amplified (classic) Then Jesus, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led in [by] the [Holy] Spirit

Amplified (2015)  Now Jesus, full of [and in perfect communication with] the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 

KJV  And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

ESV And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness

NET Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,

NIV  Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert,

NJB Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert,

NLT  Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,

Wuest  And Jesus, in the control of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was continually being led by the Spirit in the uninhabited region,

YLT And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, turned back from the Jordan, and was brought in the Spirit to the wilderness,

Related Passages:

 Acts 6:3  “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full (pleres) of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.

Acts 6:5  The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full (pleres) of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.

Acts 6:8  And Stephen, full (pleres) of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 7:55 (THE FIRST CHURCH MARTYR STEPHEN WAS A SPIRIT FILLED MAN!)  But being full (pleres) of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;

John the Baptist's Ministry - click to enlarge
From Holman Bible Atlas (available for purchase in digital or Hardcover
© 1998 B&H Publishing Group used by permission.
Please do not reproduce.

Judean Wilderness (the area in red)
See Wikipedia Article


Matthew and Luke record the same temptations but in different order - both of them put the first temptation (turning stones into bread) first, but Matthew has the devil leading Jesus’ to the pinnacle of the Temple second and to a high mountain third, while Luke reverses the order.. Reasons are proposed as to why the difference but they are somewhat conjecture. Both records are the inspired word of God and that is what matters. All three versions of the temptation of Jesus (including Mk 1:12-13+) are strategically placed after His baptism by John and before He began His 3 year of mission culminating in to the Cross. Luke of course does insert His genealogy on Mary's side (Lk. 3:23–38+) before the temptation narrative. But even this genealogy appears strategically placed because it follows His lineage back to the first Adam ("the son of Adam, the son of God" Lk 3:38+), who failed when tempted by the serpent! And so it is fitting that then God gives us the perfect pattern of Jesus showing us how we can respond victoriously to temptation. 

Matthew - see commentary

  1. Stones to Bread - Mt 4:1, 2, 3, 4
  2. Test God's Protection - Mt 4:5, 6, 7
  3. Kingdoms of the World - Mt 4:8, 9, 10, 11


  1. Stone to Bread - Lk 4:1, 2, 3, 4
  2. Kingdoms of the World - Lk 4:5, 6, 7, 8
  3. Test God's Protection - Lk 4:9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Steven Cole introduces Luke 4:1-13 noting that "To live in this world means that you will encounter temptation. Some, like playwright Oscar Wilde, don’t even try to fight it. He said, “I can resist anything except temptation.” Others want to be delivered from temptation, but they would like it to keep in touch from time to time. But if we want to be godly people, we must learn to resist the temptations that come at us from the world, the flesh, and the devil.JESUS CHRIST IS OUR GREAT EXAMPLE AND TEACHER WHEN IT COMES TO RESISTING TEMPTATION. He was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). If we want to be like Jesus, we will be eager to learn from Him how He resisted the devil. This account of Jesus’ temptation must have come down to the disciples and to us from Jesus Himself, since it was a private encounter. Luke uses the incident both to confirm Jesus as the righteous Son of God at the outset of His public ministry and to teach us how to FOLLOW HIM in obedience to the Father." (Luke 4:1-13 The Temptation of Jesus)

John MacArthur introduces the Temptation of Jesus writing "Since the Fall in the Garden of Eden, temptation has been a constant, unrelenting part of human life. Men have tried to avoid and resist it with self-inflicted pain to make themselves uncomfortable and presumably humble, or by isolating themselves from other people and from physical comforts. But no person has ever found a place or a circumstance that can make him safe from temptation. Throughout the history of the church much has been written and spoken about overcoming temptation. A fifth-century Christian wrote, Fly from all occasions of temptation, and if still tempted, fly further still. If there is no escape possible, then have done with running away and show a bold face and take the two-edged sword of the Spirit. Some temptations must be taken by the throat as David killed the lion; others must be stifled as David hugged the bear to death. Some you had better keep to yourselves and not give air. Shut them up as a scorpion in a bottle. Scorpions in such confinement die soon, but if allowed out for a crawl and then put back into the bottle and corked down, they will live a long while and give you trouble. Keep the cork on your temptations, and they will die of themselves." Benedict of Nursia (c. 480–543) sought an increase of grace and exemption from temptation by wearing a rough hair shirt and living for three years in a desolate cave, where his scant food was lowered to him on a cord. Once he threw himself into a clump of thorns and briars until his body was covered with bleeding wounds. But he found no escape from temptation. It followed him wherever he went and in whatever he did. Others have tried to overcome temptation by, in effect, denying it. Jovinian, a heretical fifth-century monk, taught that after a person was baptized he was forever free of the devil’s power and from temptation. Jerome, his most outstanding opponent, wisely commented that baptism does not drown the devil." (See Matthew Commentary)

In Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11 and the summary in Mark 1:12-13+, the Holy Spirit gives us the pattern for victory over temptation. So as we ponder these passages, may God's Spirit enable us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith. Amen (Heb 12:2+). Given the fact that Jesus was alone in the wilderness with His adversary the Devil, it is clear that this revelation to the Gospel writers is in as sense Jesus' personal testimony in which He reveals the "secret" of how saints can experience victory over temptation whether it comes at us from the world, the flesh (the usual source according to James 1:14+) or the devil.

One could outline Jesus' wilderness experience into the preparation (Lk 4:1-2), the temptation (Lk 4:3-12) and the triumph (Lk 4:13).

THOUGHT - This outline naturally leads to three points of application: Am I prepared? I will be tempted! Will I emerge triumphant? The truths in Jesus' temptation clearly provide the template for victory in our times of temptation/testing! Therefore it behooves all God's children to meditate often (even memorizing) Jesus' response to temptation in Luke and Matthew, so that we might be equipped and enabled (by the Spirit Who will use the sword we have memorized and meditated upon Eph 6:17+) to experience victory when (not if) we are tempted in the "wilderness" of this world!

Notice that several translations begin this verse with either and or then which is absent in the NAS, which has chosen not to render the Greek conjunction "de" which is present in the Greek text. The translations which begin with and or then are more accurate as they indicate continuity with the previous event in Jesus' life, His baptism, which MacArthur says was "His commissioning." Mark's version emphasizes this continuity even more poignantly, stating " Immediately (euthus) the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness."  (Mk 1:12+).

THOUGHT - Notice the word “immediately” in Mark's version. There is no lag time between the triumph and the temptation.  You are never more vulnerable than when you are coming out of a great victory. Sometimes (often) after we experience some of our greatest spiritual victories, we face our greatest challenges. Adrian Rogers said “Be prepared. As soon as God opens the windows of Heaven to bless us, the devil will open the doors of Hell to blast us.” That's a principle we find throughout the Word of God. First, the blessing, then the battle – that's always the way it is. Right after the moment of blessing is the moment of testing. Heaven had opened; now Hell opened. Satan loves to attack us when we think we are the strongest. "After a high time often comes a hard time; on the heels of a triumph, trouble often follows." God’s Word gives clear warning declaring “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12+).

Elijah experienced this. He saw the fire of God consume the sacrifice on the top of Mount Carmel. 450 prophets of Baal are put to death. He prayed and it rained for the first time in three and a half years. He outran the chariot of King Ahab. Everything’s going great. Less than 24 hours later, he runs away from Jezebel, he becomes depressed and asks God to let him die. He went from the mountain of victory to the valley of mourning. (Read 1 Ki 18:1-46, 1 Ki 19:1-4)

So Jesus had just been baptized by John (Luke 3:21-22+) and received the Father's approval (“You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”) and the Spirit's anointing ("the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove") for ministry. Peter refers to this in his "summary" of Jesus' 3 year ministry in Acts 10

You yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and (THUS ANOINTED WITH POWER) how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:37-38+)

John MacArthur adds that "One of the great truths of life, from which even the Son of God was not exempt on earth, is that after every victory comes temptation. God’s Word warns, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). When we have just succeeded in something important, we are invariably tempted to think that we made the accomplishment in our own power and that it is rightfully and permanently ours. When we are most exhilarated with success we are also most vulnerable to pride-and to failure....At other times success causes us to feel invincible and to let down our guard, and when testings come we are not prepared for them....No sooner had Israel been delivered from Egypt than Pharaoh came pursuing her with his army. No sooner had Hezekiah left the solemn Passover than Sennacherib came against him. No sooner had Paul received an abundance of revelations than he was assaulted with vile temptations." (See Matthew Commentary)

Jesus (Iesous) full (pleres) of the Holy (hagios) Spirit - Wuest paraphrases it "Jesus, in the control of the Holy Spirit." Wuest does not mean Jesus controlled the Spirit but that the Spirit controlled Jesus! The classic Jesus Amplified version has "full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit" and the revised Amplified has an interesting translation "Jesus, full of [and in perfect communication with] the Holy Spirit." As discussed below, these translations emphasize a vitally important truth for every follower (imitators) of Christ to fully comprehend -- the idea that one who is filled with the Spirit is controlled by (and empowered by) the Spirit (cp the phrase in the power of the Spirit in Lk 4:14+). The corollary is when we as believers are not filled with/controlled by the Spirit and His supernatural power, the only source of power is our natural strength. Little wonder that many Christians are failing to experience the abundant life in Christ! Ignorance (of the Spirit's role) is definitely not bliss! 

Kevin Zuber summarizes Jesus' temptations as "(1) Serve Yourself (Lk 4:3-4); (2) Honor Yourself (Lk 4:5-8); (3) Be spectacular (be presumptuous and prove Your self-importance; Lk 4:9-12). Jesus countered each temptation with an appeal to Scripture (cf. Dt 8:3; 6:13; 6:16). These events proved Jesus was the right man, with the appropriate background, with the proper credentials, and with the desirable experience for the ministry He was about to begin." (The Moody Bible Commentary)

The chapter break from Luke 3 to Luke 4 tends to make us forget the immediate context. Luke had just recorded that Jesus is the Son of Adam, the Son of God. (Lk 3:38+). Stated another way these two descriptions emphasize that Jesus is fully Man (Son of Adam) and fully God (Son of God). For 3 chapters Luke has recorded the testimony of numerous witnesses testifying that Jesus Christ is the long expected Messiah, the Savior of the world. The "witnesses" have included the angel Gabriel, Zacharias and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, another angel and angelic hosts, the shepherds, Simeon, Anna, John the Baptist, the Spirit of God (descending), God the Father (declaring) and finally the genealogy authenticating Jesus as in the lineage of the Messiah. Luke leaves no stone unturned to substantiate that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. 

Jesus (Iesous) full (pleres) of the Holy (hagios) Spirit - Beloved, this is a very important verse because it marks the beginning of Jesus' 3+ year ministry culminating in the Cross. The first Adam sinned and failed to fulfill his purpose. The Last Adam, Jesus, did not sin and fulfilled His purpose as a Man. Clearly Jesus was always fully God, but for a time, He chose to "empty" Himself of His divine prerogatives (something we cannot fully grasp or explain), and thus lived His life as an example of the perfect life Adam should have (and could have) lived and the "ideal life" which all believers should seek to imitate (1Cor 11:1+; Walking Like Jesus Walked!). But you say "He was Jesus. He was God. It was no problem for Him to live a holy life." Yes, He was God, but what Luke alludes to is that Jesus relied on the same Source of power, the Holy Spirit, that you and I have access to today, for the Spirit of Christ indwells every believer (Read Ro 8:9+). Every believer has all of the Spirit that he or she will ever have (and I personally believe He will inhabit us forever in eternity - cf Jn 14:16) for we are complete (pleroo in the perfect tense - speaks of the permanence of this state) in Christ (Col 2:10+). The issue is not how much of the Spirit we have, but how much of "us" He has (our heart, our will, our submission, our obedience etc)! Luke says Jesus was "full of the Holy Spirit" indicating Jesus, the God-Man was fully surrendered to the Spirit's control.

THOUGHT - While the truth that Jesus was fully Man and fully empowered by the Spirit is mysterious, it is Biblical. His perfect life provides the perfect pattern for all of His followers so that we too might live the abundant life (Jn 10:10b), the Spirit-filled life, the victorious Christian life, fully "saturated" with and controlled by the Holy Spirit. Compare Luke 4:14+ where "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power (dunamis) of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district." In short, the Spirit provided the supernatural power for Jesus from beginning to end and this same Spirit provides the supernatural power for every Jesus follower forever and ever. Hallelujah! Amen!

One of my favorite (older) choruses is Jesus, Name Above All Names - YouTube

Jesus, Name above all names,
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.
Emanuel, God is with us,
Blessed Redeemer, Living Word.

It is instructive to compare the temptation of Adam with the temptation of Jesus...



First Adam

Last Adam

In the Garden

In the Wilderness

in the Garden

in the Wilderness

Tempted by the Serpent 

Tempted by the Devil

Tempted 1 day, ONE TIME

Tempted 40 days CONTINUALLY

Tempted in a perfect environment 
The best of circumstances

Tempted in a horrid environment
The worst of circumstances

Yielded to the first temptation
and sinned

Resisted repeated temptations
without sin

Brought death through sin
Ro 5:12

Brought life through sinless death
Ro 5:17

First Adam brought eternal death
Ro 5:17

Last Adam brought eternal life
Ro 5:15, 21

Paul contrasts this theme of Adam's disobedience and Jesus' obedience in Romans 5:12-19, concluding with the statement "So then as through one transgression (ADAM) there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness (JESUS) there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience (ADAM) the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One (JESUS) the many will be made righteous." (Ro 5:18-19+)

A T Robertson on full (pleres) of the Holy (hagios) Spirit - (This is evidently an) allusion to the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at His baptism (Luke 3:21,22+). The distinctness of the Persons in the Trinity is shown there, but with evident unity. One recalls also Luke’s account of the overshadowing of Mary by the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:35+). 

Pleres is used to describe Barnabas as a Spirit filled man...

"Then when he had come and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; for (explaining His previous actions) he was a good man, and full (same word used in Lk 4:1 = pleresof the Holy Spirit and of faith. (THOUGHT - What is the result of Barnabas' being filled with the Spirit?) And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord." (Acts 11:23-24+)

In Acts 13 Luke records "negative filling" writing...

"But Elymas the magician (for thus his name is translated) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled (pleroo) with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon him,  and said, "You who are full (pleres) of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?" (Acts 13:8-10+)

And so we see that pleres is repeatedly associated with the Holy Spirit - Lk 4:1, Acts 6:3+, Acts 6:5+, Acts 7:55+, Acts 11:24+). Clearly the state of being filled with the Spirit was of great import in the life of Jesus and the lives of the disciples in the Book of Acts. When pleres is used in this figurative sense, it conveys something more than simply "filling up to the brim" so to speak.The idea is to be saturated with or to to be permeated thoroughly with. The point is that what fills a person, controls the person. For example, as we noted above Elymas the magician (Acts 13:8+) in Acts 13:10 was filled with "all deceit and fraud." And what was the "effect?" He made "crooked the straight ways of the Lord." (Acts 13:10+). As an aside notice how Paul was "enabled" to confront this man who seems in essence to be enabled or to be even demonically controlled and empowered ("you son of the devil" Acts 13:10+) --  "Paul, filled with (controlled by, enabled by, supernaturally empowered by) the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon him." (Acts 13:9+). 

The upshot is that to be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit and thus be supernaturally empowered to accomplish what cannot be accomplished naturally (by relying on my human "power"). This is a vital truth for modern believers to grasp because this was the example (pattern) Jesus left us to follow (Read 1Co 11:1+, 1 Jn 2:6+, 1Pe 2:21+) This is why Eph 5:18+  is so critical to the Christian life (Memorize and Meditate on this verse! -  memorization, meditation), for there is simply no other way to live the "Christ life," a supernatural life, then the way Jesus lived it--filled with the Holy Spirit, controlled by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, "leaving us an example for to follow in His steps" (1 Pe 2:21+)

As further support of the truth that what fills you, controls you, note that the pagans in Ephesus were "filled (pleres) with rage, they began crying out, saying, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" (Acts 19:28+Rage filled them and rage controlled them. Mark it down - Every believer is either being controlled by the Spirit or the fallen flesh. There is NO MIDDLE GROUND! These two forces are continually in opposition, and like oil and water they DO NOT MIX! (study Gal 5:17+). And because of this principle, believers are commanded to continually walk (present imperative) by the Spirit, for then (and only then) we will absolutely not (as emphasized by a strong double negative in Gal 5:16+!) fulfill the desires of our flesh (Notice that Paul does not say we won't have these sinful desires! He says they won't control us!) (Memorize and Meditate on this important passage! Gal 5:16+).

Recommended Study - The following studies on "Make Disciples" go into detail on the importance of Eph 5:18+ and Gal 5:16+ in the walk of a disciple, emphasizing that we cannot follow Jesus in our "natural power" because Jesus walked in dependence on (reliance upon) the supernatural power of the Spirit, leaving us the perfect example to follow! These studies also discuss the FIVE MOST CRITICAL PASSAGES in the life of every follower of Jesus Christ. So take some time to go through the following notes slowly, memorizing and chewing the five great passages and walking in the Spirit energized transforming power of the Word of Truth! Make Disciples 1Make Disciples 2Make Disciples 3Make Disciples 4Make Disciples 5Make Disciples 6Make Disciples 7Make Disciples 8

Darrell Bock notes that full of the Holy Spirit is a key phrase for Dr Luke as it "is used in the NT 16 times, yet 10 of those uses are in Luke-Acts. Often it is in association with the Spirit, indicating a person who operates in and is directed by God's Spirit (Acts 6:3, 5; 7:55; 11:24). A contrastive use is the description that someone is "full of rage" (Acts 19:28). Thus, the temptations occur after Jesus has been guided by the Spirit, a point emphasized in repeating the idea later in the verse. It was no accident he was in the wilderness fasting." (The Bible Knowledge Key Word Study: The Gospels

In his interesting book God's Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul (borrow this book), Gordon Fee emphasizes the believer's need to be continually filled with the Spirit in his summary of the "Pauline Perspective" (page 896) writing that...

Despite His key role in the realization of salvation in Christ, the Spirit’s major role in Paul’s view of things lies with His being the absolutely essential constituent of the whole of Christian life, from beginning to end (Ed: You may want to read that sentence again as this vital truth has been "jettisoned" by much of the mainstream evangelical church in America!) The Spirit thus empowers ethical life in ALL OF ITS DIMENSIONS—personal, corporate, and in the world. Believers in Christ, who for Paul are “Spirit people” first and foremost, are variously described as living by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and sowing to the Spirit. Ethics for Paul is likewise Trinitarian at its roots: the Spirit of God conforms the believer into the likeness of Christ to the glory of God (cp 2 Cor 3:18+). The Spirit is therefore the empowering presence of God for living the life of God in the present. For Paul, therefore, there is no Christian life that is not at the same time a holy life, made so by the Holy Spirit whom God gives to his people (1 Th 4:8+). At the same time, life in the Spirit also includes every other imaginable dimension of the believer’s present eschatological existence, including being empowered by the Spirit to abound in hope, to live in joy, to pray without ceasing, to exercise self-control, to experience a robust conscience, to have insight into God’s will and purposes, and for endurance in every kind of present hardship and suffering. To be a believer means nothing less than being “filled with” and thus to “live in/by the Spirit.” Finally, the Spirit is the key to all truly Christian Spirituality. At the individual level the life of the Spirit includes “praying in the Spirit” as well as with the mind." (Bolding added) (In a much smaller word by Fee he gives a summary of the role of the Spirit today on page 179 of Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God - borrow this book - or see here

Jesus...returned (hupostrepho) from the Jordan - This statement would seem to link the temptation of Jesus as directly following the baptism of Jesus (Lk 3:21-22+). Mark's account would support this premise for after describing Jesus' baptism in Mk 1:9-11+ Mark writes "immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness." (Mk 1:12+)

And was led (agoaround by the Spirit in the wilderness (eremos) - Led is in the imperfect tense ("continuously led" says Robertson) and the passive voice which could be paraphrased "was continually being led." Jesus went, guided by the Holy Spirit, from place to place in the wilderness. And so to be led implies that there is Someone in front leading, clearly referring to the Spirit. Indeed, this truth is mysterious, for Jesus never ceased to be fully God, but He did voluntarily set aside His divine prerogatives. (Php 2:6,7+; see doctrine of kenosis; Scroll down to page 475 for Wayne Grudem's discussion "Did Jesus Give Up Some of His Divine Attributes While on Earth?") And so in the case of our perfect Pattern, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit was "in front" (so to speak) leading the way. The passive voice (divine passive) indicates that the leading was performed by an external Entity, the Holy Spirit. 

THOUGHT - Believers should follow Jesus' perfect example of wholly submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit (1 Pe 2:21+, 1Jn 2:6+, cf 1Co 11:1+). Is the Holy Spirit "in front" of us each morning as we go out into the moral/ethical wilderness of this godless, Christ-hating world?

Jon Courson on was led around by the Spirit  - Notice that Jesus was led—or literally driven—by the Spirit into the wilderness, where Satan would tempt Him. Why? Was the Spirit trying to do Him in? Not at all. The Spirit led Him into the place of temptation not to do Him in, but to show Him off. Think of it this way: If you were to show some interest in a Jeep, the salesman would tell you to take it for a drive in the mountains or the dunes in order to show you its power and durability. So, too, the Spirit was able to show off the power and the ability, the holiness and tenacity of Jesus. The same is true for you. Why does the Lord allow hardship in your life? He's out to show His strength in your life that the devil might be defeated once again. (See Jon Courson's Application Commentary)

Blight writes "Jesus was led in the desert, not into the desert, so that in his wanderings in the desert he was under the Spirit’s influence and guidance [ICC]. Jesus was continuously under the guidance of the Spirit [TH]. This gives the picture of Jesus being on the offensive as he was led by the Spirit to confront the devil [Alford, NAC]." (An Exegetical Summary of Luke )

Life Application NoteSometimes we feel that if the Holy Spirit leads us, it will always be "beside peaceful streams" (Psalm 23:2). But that is not necessarily true. He led Jesus into the wilderness for a long and difficult time of testing, and he may also lead us into difficult situations. When facing trials, first make sure you haven't brought them on yourself through sin or unwise choices. If you find no sin to confess or unwise behavior to change, then ask God to strengthen you for your test (cf 1Cor 16:13-14+). Finally, be careful to follow faithfully wherever the Holy Spirit leads. 

The Holy Spirit...Spirit - Notice the double mention of the Spirit which serves to emphasize that the temptation was not accidental but intentional! The sovereign God was clearly in charge! Although the temptations were given by the Devil, they were a part of God’s perfect plan for the redemptive work of His Son. As alluded to above, it is clear that Jesus surrendered His will to the will of the Spirit, giving His followers the perfect example, for as John writes "the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." (1 John 2:6+

By the Spirit (en to pneumati) is literally "in the Spirit."  Note that an identical phrase "in the Spirit" describes Simeon coming into the Temple where he would see the infant Jesus (Lk 2:27+). The Holy Spirit led both Simeon. Practically He will lead every believer, if we yield to His leading. This phrase by the Spirit emphasizes that Jesus was “guided by the Spirit” (NEB), not His own initiative. This is the perfect pattern in which God desires all His children to walk in the "wilderness" of this world led by His Spirit (cp the command to walk by the Spirit [present imperative] in Gal 5:16+). Matthew's version (Mt 4:1+) has "hupo tou pneumatos" which could be translated "under the Spirit," where the preposition hupo describes the Spirit as the cause or instrument. It is interesting to also consider that hupo in some contexts can mean "below, underneath" and thus can denote submission or subjection to authority, rule or power (in this case of the Spirit). 

Vincent says the literal rendering of in the Spirit indicates "the sphere rather than the impulse of his action." (see locative of sphereA T Robertson adds that "Luke affirms that Jesus was now continuously under the guidance of the Holy Spirit."

Mark's two verse summary of Jesus' Wilderness Temptation is dramatic... 

Mark 1:12-13+Immediately  (euthus - after His baptism) the Spirit impelled (ekbállō) Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.

Comment: In place of being led Mark uses the action word impelled which is the Greek verb "ekbállō" (ek = out + ballo = to cast, drive, throw) which means thrust out, forced out, as from urgent necessity. In short, the uses of this verb indicates the necessity of Jesus’ temptation.  Ekballo is the same verb used to describe our Lord's expulsion of demons in Mk 1:34, 39+! As Vincent writes Jesus "was not only impelled into the wilderness, but guided in the wilderness by the Spirit."

Matthew 4:1+ uses the verb anago which means Jesus had been led up (or brought up) from a lower to a higher point. The BDAG note says Jesus "was led up into the desert, from the Jordan (below sea level) into the highland." Recall that in the immediate context, Jesus had just been baptized by John in the Jordan River (Mt 3:13-17) Luke will use anago in Luke 4:5 where the devil "led Him up."

Jesus (2424)(Iesous) is transliteration of the Greek Iesous, which in turn is the transliteration of the Hebrew name Jehoshua (Yehoshua) or Jeshua (Yeshua) which mean Jehovah is help orJehovah is salvation. Stated another way the Greek Iesous corresponds to the OT Jehoshua(Yehoshua) which is contracted as Jeshua (Yeshua).NET Note adds that "The Greek form of the name Iēsous, which was translated into Latin as Jesus, is the same as the Hebrew Yeshua (Joshua), which means “Yahweh saves” (Yahweh is typically rendered as “LORD” in the OT)."

Most of the NT uses of Iesous refer to our Lord Jesus. In the Gospels the single Name Jesus (Iesous) is used as His personal Name and is found 538 times. In the Epistles Jesus is usually (but not always - e.g., Ro 3:26; 4:24; 1Cor 12:3; 2Cor 11:4; Phil 2:10;1Th 4:14; Heb 7:22; 10:19, etc) used in combination with Christ or Lord (see next paragraph). Jesus is known by Christ alone some 44 times in the Gospels.

Looking at the entire NT we find Jesus in several combinations…

  • Jesus Christ (137x in 134v)
  • Christ Jesus (91x in 86v) All except one use (Acts 24:24) are by Paul.
  • Lord Jesus Christ (63x in 63v).
  • Lord Jesus (without Christ) (38x in 38v)
  • Jesus the Christ occurs in Acts 3:20.
  • Jesus is the Christ (Acts 9:22, cp Acts 17:3).
  • Jesus was the Christ (Acts 18:5, 28).
  • Jesus Christ the Nazarene (Acts 4:10).
  • Jesus Christ our Lord (Ro 1:4)

Full (abounding) (4134)(pleres from pleos = full, pletho = to fill) means to be filled up as opposed to empty (as of a hollow vessel - Mt 14:20, 15:37, Mk 6:43+). Of a surface, covering every part (leprosy in Lk 5:12+). Figuratively, of one full of, filled with, abounding in, thoroughly endowed with (Lk 4:1 full of the Holy Spirit, Acts 9:36+ abounding in deeds, Stephen full of grace and power Acts 6:8+) Pleres is used to describe Jesus as "full of grace and truth." (Jn 1:14+) The first church chose deacons who were "men of good reputation, full (pleres) of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task" (Acts 6:3+) and they choose "Stephen, a man full (pleres) of faith and of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 6:5+), who was also "full (pleres) of grace and power" and "was performing great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6:8+), and "full (pleres) of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 7:55+). 

Pleres - 14v in NT - Matt. 14:20; Matt. 15:37; Mk. 4:28; Mk. 8:19; Lk. 4:1; Lk. 5:12; Jn. 1:14; Acts 6:3; Acts 6:5; Acts 6:8; Acts 7:55; Acts 9:36; Acts 11:24; Acts 13:10; Acts 19:28; 2 Jn. 1:8

Holy (40)(hagios) means set apart, sanctified, or consecrated. The Spirit is Holy and He Alone can make believers "holy" unless we quench or grieve His sanctifying influence in our lives. In Jesus' case, He was sinless and so in that sense He was holy in a way believers can never be until we are glorified and like Him (1 John 3:2+).

Hagios in Luke and Acts - Lk. 1:15; Lk. 1:35; Lk. 1:41; Lk. 1:49; Lk. 1:67; Lk. 1:70; Lk. 1:72; Lk. 2:23; Lk. 2:25; Lk. 2:26; Lk. 3:16; Lk. 3:22; Lk. 4:1; Lk. 4:34; Lk. 9:26; Lk. 10:21; Lk. 11:13; Lk. 12:10; Lk. 12:12;  Acts 1:2; Acts 1:5; Acts 1:8; Acts 1:16; Acts 2:4; Acts 2:33; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:14; Acts 3:21; Acts 4:8; Acts 4:25; Acts 4:27; Acts 4:30; Acts 4:31; Acts 5:3; Acts 5:32; Acts 6:5; Acts 6:13; Acts 7:33; Acts 7:51; Acts 7:55; Acts 8:15; Acts 8:17; Acts 8:19; Acts 9:13; Acts 9:17; Acts 9:31; Acts 9:32; Acts 9:41; Acts 10:22; Acts 10:38; Acts 10:44; Acts 10:45; Acts 10:47; Acts 11:15; Acts 11:16; Acts 11:24; Acts 13:2; Acts 13:4; Acts 13:9; Acts 13:52; Acts 15:8; Acts 15:28; Acts 16:6; Acts 19:2; Acts 19:6; Acts 20:23; Acts 20:28; Acts 21:11; Acts 21:28; Acts 26:10; Acts 28:25;

Returned (5290)(hupostrepho from hupo = under + strepho = to turn, to change) means to turn back from or to return (go back to a location - this could suggest He was previously in the wilderness.)

Led (71) (ago) means to lead, bring; (1) as conducting or accompanying someone or something bring or take along (1Th 4.14); figuratively, of the influence of God's Spirit lead, guide (Ro 8.14 = "For all who are being led [present tense] by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."); (2) as a legal technical term implying use of force lead away, arrest, take into custody (Mk 13.11); (3) of time spend, celebrate, observe certain days (Acts 19.38);  probably this third day he spends; perhaps impersonally this is now the third day (Lk 24.21); (4) intransitively, as moving away from a point of reference go, depart;  let us go ( Mt 26.46); (5) present imperative as an interjection intended to call attention to the following statement - come now! look here! now listen! (Jas 4.13) (Borrow the Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament)

Gilbrant -  Classical Greek - Agō basically refers to the action of “to lead” or “to bring” in classical Greek. This, however, is an oversimplification; the term is actually quite diverse in range of definition. Often it acts as a kind of supplemental verb. Thus one could “lead” a discussion or a war; one could “conduct” an investigation or philosophical inquiry. “To lead” children is to “instruct” and guide them. Other definitions less easily deduced include: “to draw out,” “to hold, celebrate,” “to weigh,” and many more. It is commonly found in every strain of writing of the ancient world.

Septuagint Usage The breadth of agō is also evident in the Septuagint. Here agō translates 26 Hebrew words (and various tenses within these). Basically agō continues to mean “to bring, to lead.” God “brought” out the animals for Adam to name (Genesis 2:19; Hebrew, bô’ [hiphil]). It is used of Moses’ leading Israel (Exodus 15:22) or of God’s leading them during their wilderness journeys (Deuteronomy 8:2,15; 29:5; 32:12; cf. Isaiah 48:21; 63:13,14). Isaiah uses agō language extensively. In envisioning the messianic age to come Isaiah says a “little child will lead them” (11:6). The Servant of the Lord sings that He will “lead” the blind by ways they have not known (42:16; cf. 43:5ff.; 49:10). Isaiah also depicts God’s actions in the past as acts of leading (e.g., Isaiah 48:21; 63:13,14). Agō language also concerns Israel’s being “led” or “carried off” into exile (Amos 7:11,17; Epistle of Jeremiah 1; Ezekiel 12:13; cf. 2 Kings 24:16).

New Testament Usage The definitions of agō in the New Testament are rather diverse. Like the English word bring, the term can also imply a different direction of movement, “to take.” The expression is used literally, such as “they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him” (Luke 4:40), or it can function figuratively, such as “lead to repentance” (Romans 2:4). The early Christian writer Clement of Rome, in writing of jealousy said “it leads to death” (1 Clement 9:1).

Occurring mainly in the Gospels and Acts, agō is equally versatile in the New Testament. Here the hortatory “let us go” (agōmen, Mark 1:38; 14:42; John 11:7,15,16) is present. As well, note agō’s use as a term for “to arrest” (Mark 13:11; Luke 22:54; John 7:45; Acts 5:26; 18:12). Typical too is the use of agō to mean “to guide, to lead.” Luke apparently substituted the less harsh agō for Mark’s ekballō (1531), which means “to drive out,” in his account of the Spirit’s leading of Jesus into the desert to be tempted by Satan (if Mark is indeed Luke’s source here; Mark 1:12; cf. Luke 4:1).

Positively, Paul wrote that God’s kindness “leads” the individual to repentance (Romans 2:4). Conversely many believers were formerly pagans who were lead astray by foolish idols (1 Corinthians 12:2). Lust (epithumia [1924]) too, can lead the believer astray (2 Timothy 3:6).

The life of the believer in Christ is “to be led by the Spirit”; that is, the Spirit is to be the guiding force in life. To be led by the Spirit is tantamount to being a son or daughter of God (Romans 8:14; cf. Hebrews 2:10). Practically speaking, the one led by the Spirit bears the fruit of the Spirit, for he or she is not under law (cf. Galatians 5:16,22). (Complete Biblical Library)

Ago - 65v - arrest(1), bring(11), bringing(3), brought(26), go(5), going(2), lead(1), leads(1), led(12), led away(1), session(1), taking(1), took away(1). Matt. 10:18; Matt. 21:2; Matt. 21:7; Matt. 26:46; Mk. 1:38; Mk. 13:11; Mk. 14:42; Lk. 4:1; Lk. 4:9; Lk. 4:29; Lk. 4:40; Lk. 10:34; Lk. 18:40; Lk. 19:27; Lk. 19:30; Lk. 19:35; Lk. 22:54; Lk. 23:1; Lk. 23:32; Jn. 1:42; Jn. 7:45; Jn. 8:3; Jn. 9:13; Jn. 10:16; Jn. 11:7; Jn. 11:15; Jn. 11:16; Jn. 14:31; Jn. 18:13; Jn. 18:28; Jn. 19:4; Jn. 19:13; Acts 5:21; Acts 5:26; Acts 5:27; Acts 6:12; Acts 8:32; Acts 9:2; Acts 9:21; Acts 9:27; Acts 11:26; Acts 13:23; Acts 17:15; Acts 17:19; Acts 18:12; Acts 19:37; Acts 19:38; Acts 20:12; Acts 21:16; Acts 21:34; Acts 22:5; Acts 23:10; Acts 23:18; Acts 23:31; Acts 25:6; Acts 25:17; Acts 25:23; Rom. 2:4; Rom. 8:14; 1 Co. 12:2; Gal. 5:18; 1 Thess. 4:14; 2 Tim. 3:6; 2 Tim. 4:11; Heb. 2:10

Septuagint - Gen. 2:19; Gen. 2:22; Gen. 38:25; Gen. 42:20; Gen. 42:34; Gen. 42:37; Gen. 43:7; Gen. 43:9; Gen. 43:29; Gen. 44:32; Gen. 46:7; Gen. 46:32; Gen. 47:17; Exod. 3:1; Exod. 14:25; Exod. 15:22; Exod. 22:13; Lev. 13:2; Lev. 24:11; Lev. 26:13; Num. 5:15; Num. 11:16; Num. 31:12; Num. 32:17; Deut. 8:2; Deut. 8:15; Deut. 29:5; Deut. 32:12; Jos. 24:8; Jdg. 1:7; Jdg. 19:6; 1 Sam. 15:20; 1 Sam. 19:15; 1 Sam. 30:11; 2 Sam. 3:13; 2 Sam. 3:23; 2 Sam. 6:3; 2 Sam. 14:10; 2 Sam. 14:23; 1 Ki. 2:40; 2 Ki. 4:24; 2 Ki. 9:20; 2 Ki. 9:28; 2 Ki. 17:24; 2 Ki. 17:28; 2 Ki. 19:25; 2 Ki. 23:30; 2 Ki. 24:16; 2 Ki. 25:6; 2 Ki. 25:7; 1 Chr. 5:26; 1 Chr. 13:7; 1 Chr. 20:1; 1 Chr. 29:19; 2 Chr. 2:16; 2 Chr. 22:9; 2 Chr. 28:5; 2 Chr. 33:11; 2 Chr. 35:24; 2 Chr. 36:17; Est. 2:8; Est. 3:13; Est. 8:12; Est. 9:17; Est. 9:18; Est. 9:19; Est. 9:21; Est. 9:22; Est. 9:28; Job 38:20; Job 38:32; Job 41:1; Ps. 43:3; Ps. 45:15; Prov. 1:20; Prov. 7:22; Prov. 11:12; Prov. 13:12; Prov. 18:2; Prov. 18:6; Prov. 24:11; Eccl. 3:22; Eccl. 11:9; Eccl. 12:14; Isa. 9:6; Isa. 11:6; Isa. 13:3; Isa. 20:4; Isa. 23:1; Isa. 31:2; Isa. 42:16; Isa. 43:5; Isa. 43:6; Isa. 43:9; Isa. 46:2; Isa. 46:11; Isa. 48:15; Isa. 48:21; Isa. 49:10; Isa. 49:22; Isa. 52:4; Isa. 53:7; Isa. 53:8; Isa. 60:9; Isa. 60:11; Isa. 63:12; Isa. 63:13; Isa. 63:14; Isa. 66:20; Jer. 11:19; Jer. 19:1; Jer. 20:5; Jer. 24:1; Jer. 25:9; Jer. 31:8; Jer. 35:2; Jer. 40:1; Jer. 41:12; Jer. 43:10; Jer. 49:8; Jer. 52:9; Jer. 52:11; Jer. 52:26; Lam. 1:4; Ezek. 8:3; Ezek. 11:1; Ezek. 11:24; Ezek. 12:13; Ezek. 16:40; Ezek. 17:12; Ezek. 19:4; Ezek. 20:10; Ezek. 20:35; Ezek. 22:4; Ezek. 27:26; Ezek. 28:16; Ezek. 30:18; Ezek. 31:4; Ezek. 32:9; Ezek. 38:17; Ezek. 40:1; Ezek. 40:24; Ezek. 43:1; Ezek. 47:6; Dan. 1:3; Dan. 3:13; Dan. 11:6; Amos 7:11; Amos 7:17; Mic. 1:15; Nah. 2:7; Zech. 3:8;

Wilderness (2048) (eremos) means lonesome, solitary, wilderness = uninhabited, lonely, uncultivated region translated “wilderness” 32x in the KJV. MacArthur adds that "the wilderness of Judea, where Jesus was most likely tempted, was the most barren, desolate region in all of Israel. Scarred by precipitous cliffs, deep ravines, and tumbled boulders, it was a region so barren that animals could not be pastured in it. In this remote, largely uninhabited area, Jesus might be more alone than anywhere else in Israel." (Ibid)

Eremos - 48v in NT - desert(2), deserts(1), desolate(6), open pasture(1), secluded(5), unpopulated(1), wilderness(32). Matt. 3:1; Matt. 3:3; Matt. 4:1; Matt. 11:7; Matt. 14:13; Matt. 14:15; Matt. 23:38; Matt. 24:26; Mk. 1:3; Mk. 1:4; Mk. 1:12; Mk. 1:13; Mk. 1:35; Mk. 1:45; Mk. 6:31; Mk. 6:32; Mk. 6:35; Lk. 1:80; Lk. 3:2; Lk. 3:4; Lk. 4:1; Lk. 4:42; Lk. 5:16; Lk. 7:24; Lk. 8:29; Lk. 9:12; Lk. 15:4; Jn. 1:23; Jn. 3:14; Jn. 6:31; Jn. 6:49; Jn. 11:54; Acts 1:20; Acts 7:30; Acts 7:36; Acts 7:38; Acts 7:42; Acts 7:44; Acts 8:26; Acts 13:18; Acts 21:38; 1 Co. 10:5; Gal. 4:27; Heb. 3:8; Heb. 3:17; Rev. 12:6; Rev. 12:14; Rev. 17:3

Vincent on The Wilderness. - The place is unknown. Tradition fixes it near Jericho, in the neighborhood of the Quarantania, the precipitous face of which is pierced with ancient cells and chapels, and a ruined church is on its topmost peak. Dr. Tristram says that every spring a few devout Abyssinian Christians are in the habit of coming and remaining here for forty days, to keep their Lent on the spot where they suppose that our Lord fasted and was tempted." Vincent adds that Mark's version has the phrase "With the wild beasts. Peculiar to Mark. The region just alluded to abounds in boars, jackals, wolves, foxes, leopards, hyenas, etc."

Related Resources:


 Discussions below relate to the vital need for Holy Spirit in the Life of every believer:

John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost tells the story of the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve. When he wrote the companion volume, Paradise Regained, the story of course featured Christ, the second Adam. But the poem does not tell the story of Christ’s redemptive death and resurrection, as one might expect. Instead, it dramatizes His temptation by Satan in the wilderness. In Milton’s view, Christ’s victory in this event perfectly paralleled the Fall. Though our first parents succumbed to Satan’s temptation, Jesus did not. Because of His perfect obedience, the doors of heaven are open for all who believe.

Luke 4:1-13 
Your Word is truth. —John 17:17 
When a friend started making random despairing statements, people were concerned for him and started giving advice and offering encouragement. As it turned out, he was simply having fun by quoting song lyrics out of context to start a conversation. Friends who tried to help wasted their time by offering help he didn’t need and advice he didn’t want. The consequences of my friend’s misleading statements were not serious, but they could have been. In taking time to respond to his false need, someone could have neglected someone else’s truly serious need. Some people who take words out of context just want to gain attention or win an argument. But others are more sinister. They twist truth to gain power over others. They endanger not only lives but also souls. When people use words to manipulate others to behave in certain ways—or worse, when they quote the Bible out of context to convince others to do wrong—there’s only one defense: We need to know what God truly says in His Word. Jesus was able to resist temptation with the truth (Luke 4). We have the same resource. God has given us His Word and Spirit to guide us and keep us from being deceived or misled.March 28, 2013 — by David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Your words of pure, eternal truth
Shall yet unshaken stay,
When all that man has thought or planned
Like chaff shall pass away.

If we hold on to God’s truth, we won’t be trapped by Satan’s lies.
“And It Was Night”

Genesis 39:1-12 The Tempted Brothers
June 19, 2009 — by Dave Branon
How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? —Genesis 39:9

Two brothers—both far from home —faced similar temptations. One, working away from the family, fell to the schemes of a younger woman. His sin led to embarrassment and family turmoil. The other, separated from loved ones because of family turmoil, resisted the advances of an older woman. His faithfulness led to rescue and renewal for the family.

Who are these brothers? Judah, who fell to the desperate scheme of his neglected daughter-in-law Tamar (Gen. 38). And Joseph, who ran from the arms of Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39). One chapter, an ugly story of irresponsibility and deception; the other, a beautiful chapter of faithfulness.

The stories of Judah and Joseph, presented back-to-back in the midst of “the history of Jacob” (37:2), show us that temptation itself is not the problem. Everybody faces temptation, even Jesus did (Matt. 4:1-11). But how do we face temptation? Do we demonstrate that faith in God can shield us from giving in to sin?

Joseph gave us one way of escape: Recognize sin as an affront to God and run from it. Jesus gave another: Answer temptation with truth from God’s Word.

Facing temptation? See it as an opportunity to make God and His Word real in your life. Then run!

We fall into temptation when we don’t stand against it (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

'Irresistible' Temptations

Read: Luke 4:1-13 | 

Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (diabolos) . —Matthew 4:1

Before I was old enough to get a driver’s license, I often thought about what it would be like to drive on the open road. I was afraid I would be tempted to go as fast as the car would go. I didn’t know if I would have the self-control to drive according to the speed limit and driving conditions. When I turned 16, though, I realized it was possible to control an accelerator instead of being controlled by it.

Have you ever heard about someone who justified his sin, claiming that the temptation was so irresistible that he had no other choice? Or have you ever wondered whether a certain questionable activity might actually be all right for you? After all, you reasoned, didn’t this unique opportunity come along at just the right time and provide just what you thought you needed?

We learn from the temptation of Jesus Christ that when we have an occasion to sin, God will always provide a way for us to escape or He will give us the strength to resist it (Lk. 4:1-13; 1 Cor. 10:13). By relying on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God as Jesus did, we can resist temptation rather than be ruined by it.

For the Christian, there is no such thing as an irresistible temptation. By Mart DeHaan  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you some other to win,
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue;
Look ever to Jesus—He'll carry you through.

Every temptation is an opportunity to trust God.

Matthew 4:1-11 

Before I was old enough to get a driver's license, I had a haunting fear of getting behind the wheel of a car. When I thought about driving with an open stretch of road before me, I was afraid I'd be over­whelmed by an obsession to go as fast as the car would go. I couldn't imagine having the self-control to drive no faster than road conditions and the speed limit would allow. When I turned sixteen, though, I learned that I could control the accelerator instead of being controlled by it. Just because I was able to press the pedal to the floor didn't mean I had to do so.

Many times I've heard people try to justify sin by claiming that a sudden, unusual, and irresistible temptation had confronted them. And sometimes we reason that a certain questionable action might actually be all right because the opportunity came along at just the right time and provided just what we thought we needed.

One of the lessons we learn from the temptation of Jesus is that God will always provide a way of escape from temptation or He will give us the strength to resist it. He expects us to be discerning and to be conscious of the meaning of temptation. Beyond that, He wants us to know that we can rely on His Spirit and His Word, the way Jesus did, and to resist temptation rather than be ruined by it. —M. R. De Haan II (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Every temptation is an opportunity to get nearer to God.

Matthew 4:1-11 

On the day before my mother died in 1976, my brother and I were called to her bedside. Though too weak for extended conversation, she quoted two verses—Isaiah 41:10 and John 10:29—not simply to con-sole us, but to reinforce her own faith. She held fast to what God had said; and what God said held her fast.

The Word of God has tremendous holding power. When tempted in the wilderness, our Lord overcame the enemy's suggestions by quot­ing Scripture. He did this to strengthen Himself, not to intimidate Satan. Though sinless, Jesus was truly human, and the temptation was real. Sometimes we allow His deity to overshadow this event and assume that the Savior casually brushed Satan aside with a few Scrip­ture verses. But the Bible leaves no doubt that He was "tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). Therefore, the Word held Him steady. Jesus did not quote verses to Satan because they contained some magical power. Rather, He called them to mind to guide and reinforce Himself so that He would remain true to God's will. Because He kept His life under the control of the Word, Satan could not deter Him from doing His Father's will.

Whenever we are tested—whether it's a severe temptation, an over­whelming fear, or the specter of death itself—we can rest with confi­dence on God's sure and abiding Word. Down through the centuries countless saints have been held by its power, and it is as strong as ever. —D. J. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The strongest weapon in Satan's arsenal is no match for the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God
-- Ephesians 6:17

LIKE CHRIST: Led by the Spirit. by Andrew Murray
  “And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.”—Luke 4:1.

 “Be filled with the Spirit.”—Eph. 5:18.

 “For as many an are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”—Rom. 8:14.

From His very birth the Lord Jesus had the Spirit dwelling in Him But there were times whom he needed special communications of the Spirit from the Father. Thus it was with His baptism The descent of the Holy Spirit on Him, the baptism of the Spirit, given in the baptism with water, was a real transaction: He was filled with the Spirit He returned from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit, and experienced more manifestly than ever the leading of the Spirit. In the wilderness He wrestled and conquered, not in His own Divine power, but as a man who was strengthened and led by the Holy Spirit. In this also “He was in all things made like unto His brethren.”

The other side of the truth also holds good: the brethren are in all things made like unto Him. They are called to live like Him. This is not demanded from them without their having the same power. This power is the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, whom we have of God. Even as Jesus was filled with the Spirit, and then led by the Spirit, so must we be also filled with the Spirit and be led by the Spirit.

More than once, in our meditations on the different traits of Christ’s character, it has seemed to us almost impossible to be like Him. We have lived so little for it: we feel so little able to live thus. Let us take courage in the thought: Jesus Himself could only live thus through the Spirit. It was after He was filled with the Spirit that He was led forth by that Spirit to the place of conflict and of victory. And this blessing is ours as surely as it was His: we may be filled with the Spirit; we may be led by the Spirit. Jesus, who was Himself baptized with the Spirit, to set us an example how to live, has ascended into heaven to baptize us into the likeness with Himself. He who would live like Jesus must begin here: He must be baptized with the Spirit. What God demands from His children He first gives. He demands entire likeness to Christ because He will give us, as He did Jesus, the fulness of the Spirit. We must be filled with the Spirit.

We have here the reason why the teaching of the imitation and likeness to Christ has so little prominence in the Church of Christ. Men sought it in their own strength, with the help of some workings of the Holy Spirit: they did not understand that nothing less was needed than being filled with the Spirit. No wonder that they thought that real conformity to Christ could not be expected of us, because they had mistaken thoughts about being filled with the Spirit. It was thought to be the privilege of a few, and not the calling and duty of every child of God. It was not sufficiently realized that “Be ye filled with the Spirit,” is a command to every Christian. Only when the Church first gives the baptism of the Spirit, and Jesus, as the Saviour who baptizes with the Spirit each one who believes in Him, their right place, only then will likeness to Christ be sought after and attained. People will then understand and acknowledge: to be like Christ we must be led by the same Spirit, and to be led by the Spirit as He was, we must be filled with the Spirit. Nothing less than the fulness of the Spirit is absolutely necessary to live a truly Christian, Christ-like life.

The way to arrive at it is simple. It is Jesus who baptizes with the Spirit: he who comes to Him desiring it will get it. All that He requires of us is, the surrender of faith to receive what He gives

The surrender of faith. What He asks is, whether we are indeed in earnest to follow in His footsteps, and for this to be baptized of the Spirit. Do not let there be any hesitation as to our answer. First, look back on all the glorious promises of His love and of His Spirit, in which the blessed privilege is set forth: EVEN AS I, YE ALSO. Remember that it was of this likeness to Himself in everything He said to the Father: “The glory which Thou gavest me have I given them.” Think how the love of Christ and the true desire to please Him, how the glory of God and the needs of the world, plead with us not through our sloth to despise this heavenly birthright of being Christ-like. Acknowledge the sacred right of ownership Christ has in you, His blood-bought ones: and let nothing prevent your answering: “Yes, dear Lord, as fax as is allowed to a child of dust, I will be like Thee. I am entirely Thine; I must, I will, in all things bear Thy image. It is for this I ask to be filled with the Spirit.”

The surrender of faith: only this; but nothing less than this He demands. Let us give what He asks. If we yield ourselves to be like Him, in all things, let it be in the quiet trust that He accepts, and at once begins in secret to make the Spirit work more mightily in us. Let us believe it although we do not at once experience it. To be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must wait on our Lord in faith. We can depend upon it that His love desires to give us more than we know. Let our surrender be made in this assurance.

And let this surrender of faith be entire. The fundamental law of following Christ is this: “He who loses his life shall find it.” The Holy Spirit comes to take away the old life, and to give in its place the life of Christ in you. Renounce the old life of self-working and self-watching, and believe that, as the air you breathe renews your life every moment, so naturally and continually the Holy Spirit will renew your life. In the work of the Holy Spirit in you there are no breaks or interruptions: you are in the Spirit as your vital air: the Spirit is in you as your life-breath: through the Spirit God works in you both to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Oh, Christian, have a deep reverence for the work of the Spirit who dwells within you. Believe in God’s power, which works in you through the Spirit, to conform you to Christ’s life and image moment by moment. Be occupied with Jesus and His life, that life which is at the same time your example and your strength, in the full assurance that the Holy Spirit knows in deep quiet to fulfil His office of communicating Jesus to you. Remember that the fulness of the Spirit is yours in Jesus, a real gift which you accept and hold in faith, even when there is not such feeling as you could wish, and on which you count to work in you all you need. The feeling may be weakness and fear and much trembling, and yet the speaking, and working, and living in demonstration of the Spirit and of power (1 Cor. 2:3, 4). Live in the faith that the fulness of the Spirit is yours, and that you will not be disappointed if, looking unto Jesus, you rejoice every day in the blessed trust that the care of your spiritual life is in the hands of the Holy Spirit the Comforter. Thus, with the loving presence of Jesus in you, the living likeness to Jesus will be seen on you; the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus dwelling within, the likeness of the life of Christ Jesus will shine around.

And if it do not appear that in thus believing and obeying your desires are fulfilled, remember that it is in the fellowship with the members of Christ’s body, and in the full surrender to Christ’s server in the world, that the full power of the Spirit is made manifest. It was when Jesus gave Himself to enter into full fellowship with men around Him, and like them to be baptized with water, that He was baptized with the Holy Ghost. And it was when He had given Himself in His second baptism of suffering, a sacrifice for us, that He received the Holy Spirit to give to us. Seek fellowship with God’s children, who will with thee plead and believe for the baptism of the Spirit: the disciples received the Spirit not singly, but when they were with one accord in one place. Band thyself with God’s children around thee to work for souls; the Spirit is the power from on high to fit for that work: the promise will be fulfilled to the believing  g servants, who want Him not for their enjoyment, but for that work. Christ was filled with the Spirit that He might be fitted to work and live and die for us. Give thyself to such a Christ-like living and dying for men, and thou mayest depend upon it, a Christ-like baptism of the Spirit, a Christ-like fulness of the Spirit, will be thy portion.

Blessed Lord how wondrously Thou hast provided for our growing likeness to Thyself, in giving us Thine own Holy Spirit. Thou hast told us that it is His work to reveal Thee, to give us Thy Real Presence within us. It is by Him that all Thou hast won for us, all the life and holiness and strength we see in Thee, is brought over and imparted and made our very own. He takes of Thine, and shows it to us, and makes it ours. Blessed Jesus! we do thank Thee for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And now, we beseech Thee, fill us, oh fill us full, with Thy Holy Ghost! Lord! nothing less is sufficient. We cannot be led like Thee, we cannot fight and conquer like Thee, we cannot love and serve like Thee, we cannot live and die like Thee, unless like Thee we are full of the Holy Ghost. Blessed, blessed be Thy name I Thou hast commanded, Thou hast promised it; it may, it can, it shall be. (Like Christ)

J Vernon McGee - Led of the Spirit

The Son of God needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to meet this temptation. If He needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to be able to meet the temptation, I might as well face up to the fact—and you might as well join with me—that you and I cannot face the temptations of this world today in our own strength. You and I are joined in a battle in which we are hopelessly outnumbered, and we will be miserably defeated if we go forth in our own strength and with our own ability. Paul could say, even as a believer after his conversion:  I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.  (Romans 7:21) In other words, Paul was saying, “After I became a child of God through faith in Christ, with a new nature that wanted to serve God, even at the very moment when I wanted to do good, evil was present with me. When I want to do good, evil is right there.” I wonder if that has been your experience. Again Paul could say:  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3, 4)

Paul found out that in and of himself he could not live the Christian life at all. He could not meet and grapple with the issues of life, for in his flesh there was nothing good. And even though Paul approved of the Law, he was unable to keep it because of the weakness of the flesh. But he found out that by walking in the Spirit of God he was enabled to live for God. That’s the reason he could write to the Galatians: I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust [the desire] of the flesh.  (Galatians 5:16) Walk by means of the Holy Spirit! You and I, as we walk out of our homes (Ed: Even more important is to WALK IN OUR HOMES by the Spirit, for that is often where we experience the most fierce attacks!) and even a house of worship into the world, we will not live for God unless we walk in the Spirit, my beloved. If it’s going to depend upon your feeble ability and my feeble ability, we’ll fail before the sun goes down today. We cannot make it—we are unable to do it. Our Lord was filled with the Holy Spirit before He entered the wilderness. Then we’re told something else, that He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. It’s interesting to note that Mark, in his very brief and blunt record, says that “immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). The word in the Greek is ekballo, which means “to throw out.” The Holy Spirit threw Jesus out into the wilderness. It all implies simply this: He did not seek the temptation. His attitude at the time of the temptation was the same as it was yonder in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed, “Let this cup pass from Me.”

Any person in the flesh today, in the battles of life, is foolish to say that he can meet temptation and come off the victor. Even our Lord prayed, “Let this cup pass from Me.” But He also hastened to add, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). May I say to you, that’s His attitude here when He’s driven, thrown out, into the wilderness by the Spirit of God. That’s the first thing for us to note. (Borrow Jesus :Centerpiece of Scripture by McGee, J. Vernon)

ILLUSTRATION - A German picture called “Cloud-land” hangs at the end of a long gallery; and at first sight looks like a huge, repulsive daub of confused colour. As you walk towards it, it begins to take shape, and proves to be a mass of little cherub faces, like those in Raphael’s “Madonna san Sisto.” Close to the picture, you see only an innumerable company of little angels and cherubim. How often, frightened by temptation, we see nothing but a confused and repulsive mass of broken expectations and crushed hopes. But if, instead of fleeing away into unbelief and despair, we would only draw near to God in His Word, we should soon discover that the cloud was full of angels of mercy.’

This illustration recalls the story from 2 Kings 6:15-18 when the encircling chariots brought great fear to the heart of Elisha's servant...

Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (ED: BELOVED THIS SHOULD BE OUR "WATCHWORD!") 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, “Strike this people with blindness, I pray.” So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

Illustration of the Plimsoll Mark (God will not allow you to be tested beyond what you are able to endure - 1 Cor 10:13+) - It was due to the efforts of Samuel Plimsoll (1824-98), British reformer, that the Merchant Shipping Act of 1876 was passed, requiring all ships to bear a mark known as the Plimsoll mark and indicating the maximum load line. By this act the Board of Trade of England was empowered to detain any vessel deemed unsafe, and the amount of cargo was restricted, thus making the long and perilous ocean voyage of those days much safer. Because of his work, Plimsoll became known as the sailor's friend. The Plimsoll mark, with its gradations and figures, may be seen on the bow of ships near the water line as they lie at anchor in a harbor. In God's sight, each of us has a similar mark, though we may not be able to see it The burdens and responsibilities He gives us may seem unbearable, but He knows our limit, His everlasting arms are underneath, and by His grace we can bear them without sinking. "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (1Cor 10:13b+).—Sunday School Times

Illustration of Temptation - A man was on a diet and struggling. He had to go downtown and as he started out, he remembered that his route would take him by the doughnut shop. As he got closer, he thought that a cup of coffee would hit the spot. Then he remembered his diet. That’s when he prayed, “Lord, if You want me to stop for a doughnut and coffee, let there be a parking place in front of the shop.” He said, “Sure enough, I found a parking place right in front—on my seventh time around the block!” 

ILLUSTRATION OF TEMPTATION - Do you know how an Eskimo kills a wolf? He repeatedly coats the blade of knife with blood, allowing it to freeze, until the blade is completely covered. Then he places the knife in the snow and as the wolf licks the blood, his tongue is numbed, and his hunger is fueled. The wolf will lick the knife, cut his own tongue and eventually bleed to death attempting to fulfill of his own desires. Satan uses the same tactic to defeat God’s children. He knows that he can never have your soul, but he also knows if he can cause us to succumb to temptation, then we will become powerless and useless as Christians.

Steven Cole - This is not an outside enemy, but one that lives within us. Indwelling sin lurks there until the day we die and go to be with Jesus. I read of a pastor who was chatting with a godly, 78-year-old friend. The older gentleman recounted a recent trip to the city, where he realized that he was going to have to park and walk through a red-light district. So he pulled the car to a stop and prayed that God would protect him from temptation as he walked past all of the pornography stores and massage parlors.

The pastor interrupted, “Wait a minute! I don’t mean to offend you, but you’re 78 years old. Are you telling me that you’re worried about sexual temptation at your age and after all these years of walking with the Lord?”

The older man replied, “Son, just because I’m old doesn’t mean the blood doesn’t flow through my veins. The difference between we old men and you young men is this: we know we’re sinners. We’ve had plenty of experience. You kids haven’t figured that out yet”  He knew that this powerful enemy still lived within, even after years of fighting against it. (Sermon)

Ice-Cream Man - Little Jeff was trying his best to save money to buy his mother a present. It was a terrible struggle because he gave in so easily to the temptation to buy goodies from the ice-cream man whenever the brightly colored van came through the neighborhood.

One night after his mother had tucked him in bed, she overheard him pray, "Please, God, help me run away when the ice-cream man comes tomorrow." Even at his young age he had learned that one of the best ways to overcome temptation is to avoid what appeals to our weaknesses.

All believers are tempted to sin. Yet they need not give in. The Lord provides the way to be victorious over evil enticements (1Corinthians 10:13+). But we must do our part. Sometimes that involves avoiding situations that would contribute to our spiritual defeat.

The apostle Paul admonished Timothy to run away from the evil desires of youth (2Ti 2:22+). He was to keep his distance from the temptations that might cause him to yield because of their strong appeal. That's good advice.

If possible, we should never let ourselves be in the wrong places or with people who will tempt us to do the things we should be avoiding.

Be sure to run from the "ice-cream man"!— Richard De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

It's wise to flee when tempted—
A fool is one who'd stay;
For those who toy with evil
Soon learn it doesn't pay.
—D. De Haan

We fall into temptation when we don't flee from it.

Yield Not- Imagine a song with a message so powerful it could stop a prison riot. According to one account, the song "Yield Not To Temptation" served that purpose. As the story goes, a group of women prisoners had been allowed out of their cells to listen to a visiting speaker. During the meeting, the supervisor gave an order that some of the prisoners didn't like, so they began to scream and hurl threats at her. The confrontation was escalating.

The supervisor sent for help, and it came in an unusual way. A voice was heard singing over the tumult of the upset prisoners: "Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin; each victory will help you some other to win." Amazingly, the rebellion quieted, and the women joined in singing as they filed back to their cells.

We save ourselves a lot of trouble by not yielding to the temptation to let anger control us. Likewise, we protect ourselves when we "yield not." Yielding not to the temptation to lie protects us from a loss of respect and further misrepresentations. Yielding not to the temptation of greed helps us avoid a gnawing dissatisfaction. But most important, when we "yield not" to temptation, we please God.

With each temptation God provides an "escape" (1Corinthians 10:13+). You'll find it as you yield to Him. — Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen, and keep you;
He is willing to aid you—
He will carry you through.

To escape temptation, flee to God.

Tested And True - A young nurse was assisting a surgeon for the first time. As he was completing the operation, she told him he had used 12 sponges, but she could account for only 11. The doctor curtly replied that he had removed them all from inside the patient. The nurse insisted that one was missing, but the doctor declared he would proceed with sewing up the incision.

The nurse, her eyes blazing, said, "You can't do that! Think of the patient!" The doctor smiled and, lifting his foot, showed the nurse the twelfth sponge, which he had deliberately dropped on the floor. "You'll do fine!" he said. He had been testing her.

Daniel's three friends faced a different kind of test (Daniel 3:15-30+), but they too would not budge. They knew their refusal to worship the image might result in their death, yet they never wavered. They proved they were true to God by standing firm.

The Lord still permits trials and temptations to enter the lives of His children. The challenge may come as an opportunity to gratify the lusts of the flesh, or as a series of disheartening circumstances. Whatever form it takes, we must not yield. Rather, we must stand for what is right and trust God to supply the grace we need (1Corinthians 10:13+).

Are you "tested and true"? — Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A gem cannot be polished without friction,
nor can we be perfected without trial.

God is faithful, who … with the temptation will also make the way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13+).

In 1346, during the Hundred Years' War, the English army of King Edward III met a French battalion at Crecy, France. The King's son, Prince Edward, led one vital division of the British force while Edward III stood nearby with a strong band of soldiers, ready to send relief if needed. Soon after the battle started, the prince thought he was in danger, so he sent for help. But the king didn't come. Young Edward sent another message, pleading for immediate assistance. His father responded by telling the courier, "Go tell my son that I am not so inexperienced a commander as not to know when help is needed, nor so careless a father as not to send it."

This story illustrates the heavenly Father's relationship with believ­ers as we battle temptation and sin. Often we cry out for help, but it seems that God sends no relief. Yet at no time does He withdraw His eye from our precarious position. He never allows us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear, and when He sees that we are about to be overcome He rushes to our aid or provides a way to escape. So we need not get frantic—our Father is aware of our situation. In 1 Corin­thians 1:9 the apostle Paul said, "God is faithful." Commenting on this, Ambrose Serle noted, "He is wise to foresee and provide for all my dangers. He is faithful to perfect and perform all His promises."

No matter how hot the conflict, the Lord is ready to intervene at the right moment. He is always standing by. —P. R. Van Gorder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When God sends us,
He also goes with us.

Concerned about his personal life, Ed went to his pastor for help. After listening to the young man's mild list of supposed sins, the wise preacher felt that he had not been completely honest. "Are you sure that's all?" the preacher asked. "Yes, pastor," Ed said. "Are you positive you haven't been entertaining any impure thoughts lately?" the pastor continued. "Oh, no," Ed replied, "but they've sure been entertaining me."

Temptation may be defined as a desire for sinful pleasure. If it didn't offer pleasure, it would be easy to resist. Perhaps that's why we under-stand the truth behind the cartoon in which a man says, "I don't mind fleeing temptation—as long as I can leave a forwarding address." And, if we're honest, we admit that sin often takes place first in our mind. For many people, illicit sexual thoughts provide pleasure.

Temptation is not sin. For it to develop into sin, we have to wel­come it, dwell on it, and enjoy it. For example, the temptation to get back at someone who has hurt us is wrong only when we begin to think about ways to harm that person and get revenge. Paul said that every thought must be brought "into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2Co 10:5).

When we allow wrong thoughts into our minds, we must confess them as sin, ask God to help us, and then fill our minds with good and pure thoughts. When we submit to God and resist the devil, we can say no to tempting thoughts. —D. C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Character is shaped by what the mind takes in.

Be Careful! - Several years ago my wife Carolyn and I were hiking on Mount Rainier in Washington when we came to a swollen, glacial stream. Someone had flattened one side of a log and dropped it across the river to form a crude bridge, but there was no handrail and the log was slippery.

The prospect of walking on the wet log was frightening, and Carolyn didn't want to cross. But she found the courage, and slowly, carefully she inched her way to the other side.

On the way back we had to walk on the same log, and she did so with the same care. "Are you afraid?" I asked. "Of course," she replied, "that's what keeps me safe." Again, fully aware of the danger, she made her way to safety.

Much of life poses moral danger for us. We should never assume in any situation that we're incapable of falling. "Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1Corinthians 10:12). Given the opportunity and circumstances, any of us are capable of falling into any sin. To believe otherwise is sheer folly.

We must watch and pray and arm ourselves for every occasion by putting our total trust in God (Ephesians 6:13+). "God is faithful" (1 Corinthians 10:13+), and He will give us the strength to keep from falling. — David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The hand of God protects our way
When we would do His will;
And if through danger we must go,
We know He's with us still. —D. De Haan

God provides the armor, but we must put it on

Load Limit - We've all seen load-limit signs on highways, bridges, and elevators. Knowing that too much strain can cause severe damage or complete collapse, engineers determine the exact amount of stress that various materials can safely endure. Posted warnings tell us not to exceed the maximum load.

Human beings also have their load limits, which vary from person to person. Some people, for example, can bear the pressure of trial and temptation better than others; yet everyone has a breaking point and can take only so much.

At times, circumstances and people seem to be pushing us beyond what we can bear. But the Lord knows our limitations and never allows any difficulties to enter our lives that exceed our strength and ability to endure. This is especially true when we're enticed by sin. According to 1Corinthians 10:13+, "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able."

So when trials and temptations press down on you, take courage. Remember, your heavenly Father knows the limits of your ability to stand up under life's pressures. Draw on His strength; no temptation will ever be greater than that! — Richard De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When sorrows assail us or terrors draw nigh,
His love will not fail us, He'll guide with His eye;
And when we are fainting and ready to fail,
He'll give what is lacking and make us prevail.

If you yield to God,
you won't give in to sin 

EDITORIAL NOTE: The preceding summary statement is the same principle taught in one of the most important passages in Scripture regarding how to fight temptation, Galatians 5:16+

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and
you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Notice the order which is absolutely critical - (1) yield, surrender, submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit and (2) He will enable you to resist the and thus to effectively "neutralize" the temptation's power over your fallen flesh. Paul does not say the desire will be gone, but that the Spirit will enable a God directed desire in your heart and will give you the divine power to not act on the temptation and commit sin. Romans 8:13+ amplifies this truth for there Paul says "if by the Spirit (HIS SUPERNATURAL POWER) you are putting to death (THIS IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY) the deeds of the body, you will live (THIS IS THE WONDERFUL "FRUIT")." 

See related discussion 


Every temptation is an opportunity of our getting nearer to God. - John Quincy Adams

Temptations discover what we are. - Thomas à Kempis

Temptations are a file which rub off much of the rust of our self-confidence. - François Fenelon

My temptations have been my masters in divinity. - Martin Luther

Playwright Oscar Wilde once jokingly remarked, “I can resist everything except temptation.” We smile when we read those words because they speak an important truth about the human condition. Temptation pays a visit to each of us every day and most of us struggle to say no. - Ray Pritchard

The main reason God allows trials in the lives of Christians is to test the strength of their faith. - John MacArthur

Perhaps you’ve heard about the little boy who was lying under an apple tree. The farmer asked, ‘What are you trying to do? Steal an apple? “No, sir, I’m trying not to,” he replied. Many of are trying not to, but we fail because we lie down under the apple tree. - Ray Pritchard

We are reminded that to be tempted is not sin; but to entertain temptation, or surrender to temptation is sin. - Guzik

Learn to say no; it will be of more use to you than being able to read Latin! - C H Spurgeon

Most people want to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch. - Robert Orben

Does God lead into temptation? God tempts no man to sin. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does he tempt he any man." James 1:13. He permits sin—but does not promote it. He who is an encourager of holiness cannot be a pattern of sin. God does not tempt to that to which he has an antipathy. What king will tempt his subjects to break laws which he himself has established? - Thomas Watson (The Lord's Prayer)

Here are a few "proverbial like" thoughts on temptation all from anonymous sources…

  • The worst thing about resisting temptation is that we may not get another chance to do it!
  • Following the lines of least resistance makes men and rivers crooked.
  • He who avoids the temptation avoids the sin.
  • It takes two to make a successful temptation, and you are one of the two.
  • Most people who fly from temptation usually leave a forwarding address.
  • Never invite temptation—it always accepts.
  • No one can be caught in a place he does not visit.
  • There is no merit in abstaining from what one is not tempted to do.
  • We are never strong enough to risk walking into temptation.
  • Temptations, like foul weather, come before we send for them.
  • Temptations are everywhere, but so is the grace of God.
  • If you would master temptation, you must first let Christ master you.
  • Every temptation is an opportunity to get nearer to God.

Luke 4:2  for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.

Wuest  for forty days being constantly put to the test by the devil as he solicited Him to sin. And He ate not even one thing during those days, and they having been brought to an end, He became hungry. 

Amplified (classic) For (during) forty days in the wilderness (desert), where He was tempted (tried, tested exceedingly) by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they were completed, He was hungry.

Related Passages:

Matthew 4:1-2 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.


For forty days, being tempted (peirazo) by the devil (diabolos) - As discussed below, Jesus' temptation was ongoing for 40 days. In a similar way our temptations are ongoing daily because James says "each one is tempted (present tense) when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. (James 1:14+).

THOUGHT - The point is that the verb tempted (peirazo) in the present tense indicates that our rotten, godless, wicked fallen flesh is continually seeking a weak spot in our armor to take us down! Beloved, be careful and don't be deceived by the fact that temptations seem quiet for the moment and letting your spiritual guard down! 

John MacArthur observes that "In this struggle of the Son of God with the son of perdition we are given clear and applicable insights into Satan’s strategy against God and His people and also into Christ’s way of victory over the tempter. Side by side we are shown the way of danger and the way of escape, the way that leads to defeat and death and the way that leads to victory and life-in short, the way of Satan and the way of God....When we face testing and temptation in the same way our Lord did, we too can be victorious over the adversary’s attempts to corrupt us and to usurp the Lord’s rightful place in our lives." (See Matthew 1-7 MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

For forty days - This same time period is mentioned in several different contexts 22x in the NAS

Ge 7:4, 12, 17; 8:6; 50:3; Ex. 24:18; 34:28; Nu 13:25; 14:34; Deut. 9:9, 11, 18, 25; 10:10; 1 Sa 17:16; 1 Ki. 19:8; Ezek. 4:6; Jon. 3:4; Matt. 4:2; Mk. 1:13; Lk. 4:2; Acts 1:3.

One thinks particularly of Moses who "was on the mountain forty days and forty nights" (Ex 24:18, Ex 34:28). The one symbolizing the Law was on the mountain and the One bringing grace was in the Wilderness. 

A T Robertson is right that for forty days, being tempted "is another instance of poor verse division which should have come at the end of the sentence....The devil challenged the Son of man though also the Son of God. It was a contest between Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, and the slanderer of men. The devil had won with Adam and Eve. He has hopes of triumph over Jesus....Mark does not give the fast.  Matt. 4:2 has the aorist active participle nēsteusas (nesteuo "had fasted") which usually means a religious fast for purposes of devotion. That idea is not excluded by Luke’s words. The entrance of Jesus upon his Messianic ministry was a fit time for this solemn and intense consecration. This mental and spiritual strain would naturally take away the appetite (THIS STATEMENT IS TO SOME DEGREE CONJECTURE) and there was probably nothing at hand to eat. The weakness from the absence of food gave the devil his special opportunity to tempt Jesus which he promptly seized."

Faith Life Study Bible - God led His people through the desert for 40 years due to their unfaithfulness. The Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days so that His fidelity might be set in contrast to the nation’s infidelity.

J Vernon McGee adds that "All of His life, from the moment He was born and Herod sought to destroy Him, Satan was making attacks on Him. And when He concluded this temptation in the wilderness, that did not conclude His temptation as far as Satan was concerned." (See JESUS - Centerpiece of Scripture)

ESV Study Bible Forty days is reminiscent of Israel’s 40 years of wilderness wandering (Nu. 14:34) and the 40-day fasts by Moses (Ex. 34:28; Deut. 9:9) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:8). Jesus’ experience of 40 days of fasting in the wilderness corresponds to Israel’s experience of 40 years of testing in the wilderness (Deut. 8:2–3). Jesus endured his testing victoriously and obediently. Moses also fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights on two occasions (Ex. 24:18; 34:28; Deut. 9:9, 11, 18, 25; 10:10; cf. Elijah in 1 Kings 19:8). Fasting was a means of focusing intently on prayer. Forty days is about the longest a human can fast without permanent bodily harm. (See ESV Study Bible or borrow ESV study Bible)

THOUGHT - Notice how Jesus gives us a clear template of how to experience victory in times of temptation. As discussed, Jesus' pattern for us to follow is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and filled with the Holy Word! Are you filled? Are you memorizing God's Word? How is your Quiet Time? As Vance Havner said "An empty heart is an invitation to the devil." Or as C H Spurgeon phrased it "Idle Christians are not tempted of the devil so much as they tempt the devil to tempt them."

Brian Bell makes the interesting observation on the devil's triple temptation, reminding us that "Most assaults come from more than 1 direction...(Lk 4:1-13 is) A triple attack on the Son of God!"

The Expository Dictionary of Bible Words points out that temptation or testing “is a difficult situation, a pressure that brings a reaction through which the character or commitment of a believer is demonstrated.” (Quoted by Brian Bell)

As Brian Bell says "God permits such situations to prove and improve our faith. The evil is not in the situations God permits, but in responding sinfully to them. God even provides a back door to every temptation so we might overcome it! 1 Cor 10:13+ "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."  Why did temptations/testing's come Jesus' way? Not to determine His character or ability. Not to give Satan a chance to defeat Him. But so He could personally experience what we go through and so be prepared to assist us (cf Heb 2:18+, Heb 4:15+). So we could know how to overcome the evil one by means of the Spirit of God and the Word of God (Ed: And ultimately at the Cross - Heb 2:14-15, cp Gal 6:14, Jn 16:33, 1 Jn 5:4-5). The first Adam was tested in a beautiful garden and failed, but the last Adam was victorious in a terrible wilderness/desert (cp 1 Cor 15:22, 45+). Before offering a new life to others, He proved in a personal demonstration that a new life was possible! He showed His own freedom from the inadequacies and the sin which trap you and me. Jesus shows freedom is possible and gives each of us hope!" (Luke:4:1 -13 Triple Assault)

Wiersbe writes that "Satan tempts us to bring out the worst in us, but God can use these difficult experiences to put the best into us. Temptation is Satan's weapon to defeat us, but it can become God's tool to build us (see James 1:1-8, 13-17)." 

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Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name,
from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.  

THOUGHT - Now we fight now not so much for "victory" as from victory," the victory Jesus won for us on Calvary, defeating Sin, Satan and death. Now filled by the Spirit of Jesus we are enabled to walk forth from His victory on the Cross to our moment by moment victory over the temptations of our defeated (but still alive) flesh.

The writer of Hebrews uses peirazo twice in referring to Jesus' temptation - Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:15. Surely the powerful truths in these great verses help us understand part of God's high and holy purpose of subjecting His Son to such intense temptations. Because He was tempted we need never doubt that He truly understands how we feel and what we are experiencing when we are tempted!

Jesus was fully God and fully Man, but as discussed in Lk 4:1 when He was tempted He did not rely on His divine prerogatives to fight off temptation. As noted above He relied on the power of the Spirit and the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. The writer of Hebrews says 

For since He Himself was tempted (peirazo) in that which He has suffered, He is (present tense - continuously) able to come to the aid (strictly "run to the aid of one who cries for help!") of those who are (present tense passive = continually being) tempted.

Comment: Regarding the word "tempted" (peirazo) it is important to remember that the test can either be a proof of righteousness or an inducement to evil, depending on our response, in the Spirit or in the flesh. In other words if we are filled with the Spirit and the Word and resist in His power, the test/temptation proves our faithfulness. Or as James says "the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:3-4-note). If we try to resist in our natural power or even worse do not choose to resist, the test/temptation becomes a solicitation to sin. The Bible uses the term in both ways. Notice also that "He has suffered" is in the perfect tense which emphasizes that though the temptation Christ suffered in the flesh was completed in the past, its effect is PERMANENT, including the effect of His compassion and understanding as He aids us in the hour of our temptation. Note also the verb "He is able" (dunamai) is in the present tense indicating that Jesus is always ready and willing and able to run to our aid in the time of need. In fact we have His "Chief Operating Officer" (so to speak) indwelling us and the Spirit of Christ carries out this function. The phrase "come to the aid" is one word, the uncommon verb boetheo which is derived from boe (a cry) and theo (to run) and therefore conveys the vivid picture of Jesus' ability to "run to our aid" when we cry out. This begs the question -- What do I do when temptation comes? And make no mistake about it, temptation will come because the verb "are tempted" is in the present tense which could more accurately be translated "are continually being tempted!" You may not be experiencing temptation as you read these notes, but Be of sober spirit, be on the alert (1 Peter 5:8) because it is coming!!

We have the Spirit within us (empowering), the Saviour above us (interceding), and the Word before (in) us!
What tremendous resources we have that we might experience victory over every temptation! 

In Hebrews 4:15+ we read of Jesus' earthly temptation...

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize (have a shared feeling) with our weaknesses (and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation), but One Who has been tempted (peirazo again in the  perfect tense emphasizing the abiding effects of His temptation - in context He is ever able to sympathize with us in our temptations!) in all things as we are (tempted), yet without sin.

James commands us to

"Consider (command - aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) it all joy, my brethren, when (not "if") you encounter various trials (peirasmos), knowing that the testing (dokimon) of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4+)

And He ate (esthionothing during those days, and when they had ended (sunteleo, He became hungry - The Greek has a double negation (ouk…ouden) for He ate nothing which emphasizes the fact that Jesus ate absolutely nothing! Mt 4:2+ is very specific adding that "He had fasted (active voice = signifies this was a choice of His will!) forty days and forty nights." Compare Moses in Exodus 34:28+ "So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments." So here was Jesus in a time of hunger, so the Devil sets the bait with bread. The verb became hungry is aorist ingressive (inchoative = beginning to develop) signifying that only after the 40 days of fasting did Jesus really feel that he was hungry! Fascinating! Jesus presumably (BUT THIS IS CONJECTURE) Jesus drank water during the 40 days, for there is no mention of thirst. Note the striking contrast of Jesus being physically "empty" (hungry), but spiritually "full" (of the Spirit). 

As Thomas Adams said "Satan, like a fisher, baits his hook according to the appetite of the fish!"

Be aware as John Bunyan says "As Satan can tell how to suit temptations for you in the day of your want, so he has those (temptations) that can entangle you in the day of your fullness."

A T Robertson - The hunger of Jesus opened the way for the diabolic suggestion designed to inspire doubt in Jesus toward his Father. 

"Temptation is not sin! It is the call to battle!"
- Frederick P Wood

THOUGHT - One other point needs to be emphasized because many of God's children confuse temptation with sin. As J Wilbur Chapman explained "Temptation is the tempter (Ed: cf temptation from the world, the flesh or the devil) looking through the keyhole into the room where you are living; sin is your drawing back the bolt and making it possible for him to enter." We all do well to pray as Thomas De Witt Talmage prayed "O Lord, help us to hear the serpent’s rattle before we feel its fangs." I am struck with how often saints were veru aware of the power of temptation and sin:

Ps 19:13 "Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression."

Ps 119:10 - "With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments." 

Ps 25:15 "My eyes are continually toward the LORD, For He will pluck my feet out of the net." (Implication? Our feet will get entrapped!)

Ps 119:36-38, 133 - Incline my heart to Your testimonies And not to dishonest gain. Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways. Establish Your word to Your servant, As that which produces reverence for You....Establish my footsteps in Your word, And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me." 

Pr 30:8 Keep deception and lies far from me....

Matthew 6:13+  ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

Mt 26:41+  “Keep watching and praying (Ed: both verbs are present imperative = calls us to do this continually, ONLY possible as we continually rely on the filling/controlling of the Holy Spirit!) that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 

John MacArthur adds that "Hunger (Ed: And, from personal experience, I would also add lack of adequate sleep) not only makes us physically weak but also tends to weaken our moral and spiritual resistance as well. When we are tired, hungry, or sick we are usually less concerned about other needs and dangers and tend to be vulnerable to anything that might provide relief from our present distress. Satan therefore usually attacks most fiercely in such times of weakness and unpreparedness. Temptations that have been anticipated, guarded against, and prayed about have little power to harm us . Victory over temptation comes from being constantly prepared for it, which, in turn, comes from constantly relying on the Lord (Ed: I.e, the enabling power of the Spirit = "God is working in" us - see Php 2:13NLT+). It is said that a person traveling in tiger country will not be attacked if he sees the tiger before the tiger sees him. Tigers attack from behind in order to surprise their victims, and therefore one of the best defenses against that vicious animal is to face it. (Ed: Reminds me of Jas 4:6,7and 1 Pe 5:8-9+) Jesus, though having fasted for over a month, was no less alert to spiritual danger. Because He had spent the time in communion with His Father, even in His weakest physical moments He did not allow Satan to gain any foothold. " (See MacArthur Matthew Commentary)

Being tempted (3985)(peirazo from the noun peira = test from peíro = perforate, pierce through to test durability of things) is a morally neutral word simply meaning “to test”. Whether the test is for good (Heb 11:17+) or evil (Mt 4:1) depends on the intent of the one giving the test (God or Satan) and also on the response of the one tested.  When the context clearly indicates the testing is an enticement to evil, peirazo is translated as tempt, which conveys a negative sense. In Luke 4:2 since the devil was giving the test, it is translated as tempt, for it is an enticement to do evil. W H Griffith explains the difference this way stating that "Satan tempts to bring out the bad; God tests to bring out the good."

Peirazo is in the present tense participle ("continually tested") which indicates the test was ongoing. In other words Satan's temptations continually came at Jesus for the entire 40 day period. The NET Bible translates it as "endured temptations by the devil." The NET Note adds that "Here the present participle suggests a period of forty days of testing. Three samples of the end of the testing are given in the following verses." As Bock says "What Luke summarizes for us is the end of this trial." (Ibid)

Seven of the 38 NT uses of this term for trial or temptation are in Luke-Acts. Depending on the context peirazo in some contexts refers to a test as in Luke 11:16 and in other contexts refers to a temptation, as here in Luke 4 and Acts 5:9. 

One aspect of periazo that should be kept in mind is that any test in a believer's life can turn into a temptation. In other words, if God allows a test to make us stronger but we resent the test and react to it in our flesh (cp "each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust [that derives from our fallen flesh - cp "lusts of the flesh" -1 Jn 2:16+ or "fleshly lusts"  1 Pe 2:11+]" - James 1:14+), it will likely become a temptation for us to sin. God of course never tempts us to sin, whereas when the devil is involved he virtually always is tempting us to sin. As Hiebert said "Temptation has its source not in the outer lure but in the inner lust."

Peirazo - 38x in 34v --Mt. 4:1, 3; 16:1; 19:3; 22:18, 35; Mk. 1:13; 8:11; 10:2; 12:15; Lk. 4:2; 11:16; Jn. 6:6; 8:6; Acts 5:9; 9:26; 15:10; 16:7; 24:6; 1 Co. 7:5; 10:9, 13; 2 Co. 13:5; Gal. 6:1; 1 Th. 3:5; Heb. 2:18; 3:9; 4:15; 11:17; Jas. 1:13f; Rev. 2:2, 10; 3:10

Devil (1228)(diabolos  from diá = through, between + ballo = to cast, throw) means a false accuserslanderer (one who utters false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation), backbiting(malicious comment about one not present), one given to malicious gossip or a calumniator (one who utters maliciously false statements, charges, or imputations about, this term imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions). 

Diabolos - 37x and 4x by Luke in this pericope - Luke's other use of Diabolos is in Lk 8:12+ where Jesus gives us a sense of the devil's power declaring "Those (souls) beside the road are those who have heard (the Word of God, eg, the Gospel); then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that (purpose) they will not believe and be saved."

Matt. 4:1; Matt. 4:5; Matt. 4:8; Matt. 4:11; Matt. 13:39; Matt. 25:41; Lk. 4:2; Lk. 4:3; Lk. 4:6; Lk. 4:13; Lk. 8:12; Jn. 6:70; Jn. 8:44; Jn. 13:2; Acts 10:38; Acts 13:10; Eph. 4:27; Eph. 6:11; 1 Tim. 3:6; 1 Tim. 3:7; 1 Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 2:26; 2 Tim. 3:3; Tit. 2:3; Heb. 2:14; Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8; 1 Jn. 3:8; 1 Jn. 3:10; Jude 1:9; Rev. 2:10; Rev. 12:9; Rev. 12:12; Rev. 20:2; Rev. 20:10 

Diabolos is the noun form of the verb diaballō which describes not only those who bring a false charge against one, but also those who disseminate the truth concerning a man, and do so maliciously, insidiously and with hostility.

Notice how the root words (diá = through + bállō = throw) depict the devil's evil method! He constantly throws between seeking to divide whether it be between a husband and wife, a child and parent, a church, etc. Wuest comments that the literal meaning of diabolos is "to throw through" meaning “to riddle one with accusations.” Beloved, following Jesus' example, we too are to resist the devils divisive, derogatory accusations, standing firm in our faith, enabled (like Jesus) by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Word. 

A T Robertson says diabolos "means calumniator, slanderer. It is sometimes applied to men, as to Judas (John 6:70); in 1 Tim. 3:11 (slanderers); and in 2 Tim. 3:3, and Titus 2:3 (false accusers). In such cases never with the article. The Devil, Satan, the god of this world (ho diabolos), is always with the article and never plural. This should be distinguished from another word, also wrongly rendered devil in the A. V.—, daimon and its more common neuter form daimonion, both of which should be translated demon, meaning the unclean spirits which possessed men, and were cast out by Christ and his apostles."

John MacArthur - Among the many other names given him are: the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), the serpent of old and the deceiver of the whole world (Rev. 12:9), Abaddon and Apollyon, both of which mean “destroyer” (Rev. 9:11), and the tempter, as seen in the next verse of our text (Matt. 4:3; cf. 1 Thess. 3:5).

Ate  (2068)(esthio) literally means to eat, take something in through the mouth(Mt 15:32;Mk 2:26; Mk 7:28 Lk 22:30). Given the fact that esthio is often used in parallelism with pino (drink) (Mt 6:25,31; Mt 11:18,19, Mt 24:49 Mt 26:26; Mk 2:16; Lk 5:30,33 Lk 7:33,34 Lk 10:7 Lk 12:19, 29, 45; Lk 13:26 Lk 17:8, 27,28 Lk 22:30), Luke's making no mention of Jesus not drinking would strongly support that Jesus did drink water during the 40 days. Human beings are not camels and can go without water for only about 3 days, and certainly not 40 days. 

Had ended (fulfilled) (4931)(sunteleo from sun = together or an intensifier + teleo = to finish, cp sunteleia) means to bring together or to completion. The idea of sunteleo is to bring to a successful finish, thus consummating or fully accomplishing Jesus' wilderness testings. Here sunteleo is in the passive voice meaning to be brought to an end. Later in this passage in Lk 4:13-note Luke describes an "opportune time," which in this first temptation was the time of Jesus' hunger. NET Note on sunteleo - "This verb and its cognate noun, sunteleia, usually implies not just the end of an event, but its completion or fulfillment. The noun is always used in the NT in eschatological contexts; the verb is often so used (cf. Matt 13:39, 40; 24:3; 28:20; Mark 13:4; Rom 9:28; Heb 8:8; 9:26). The idea here may be that the forty-day period of temptation was designed for a particular purpose in the life of Christ (the same verb is used in Lk 4:13). The cognate verb teleioō is a key NT term for the completion of God’s plan: See Luke 12:50; 22:37; John 19:30; and (where it has the additional component of meaning “to perfect”) Heb 2:10; 5:8–9; 7:28."

He became hungry (3983)(peinao from peín = hunger) means literally to be hungry, to hunger, to feel the pangs of lack of food. Jesus later uses this same verb figuratively (meaning to desire something strongly) in Mt 5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

Peinao - 23v in NT - Matt. 4:2; Matt. 5:6; Matt. 12:1; Matt. 12:3; Matt. 21:18; Matt. 25:35; Matt. 25:37; Matt. 25:42; Matt. 25:44; Mk. 2:25; Mk. 11:12; Lk. 1:53; Lk. 4:2; Lk. 6:3; Lk. 6:21; Lk. 6:25; Jn. 6:35; Rom. 12:20; 1 Co. 4:11; 1 Co. 11:21; 1 Co. 11:34; Phil. 4:12; Rev. 7:16

Related Resources

ILLUSTRATION REGARDING TEMPTATION - The story is told of a man who was trying to teach his dog obedience. He would take a large piece of meat and put it in the middle of the floor. Each time the dog attempted to take the meat the man would swat the dog and say, “No.” Soon the dog began to associate the swatting with the word no and learned to stop simply when the word was said. When meat was placed on the floor the dog would not look at it but rather at his master, waiting for his word of approval or denial.

That is essentially the message God teaches in this passage:
“When temptation comes, don’t look at the temptation but look at Jesus Christ

Keep your eyes on His example and do what He did (1 Jn 2:6-note, cp 1 Cor 11:1-note, 1 Pe 2:21-note). Look at the ways He was tempted and at the way He resisted, and learn from Him.” Jesus has been there before us (Heb 2:18-note); He has met the worst Satan can give and has been victorious (Heb 4:15-note). More than that, He is eager to share that victory with His own people when they are tempted. We can have victory over temptation only by resisting in the way that Jesus resisted-by holding with complete obedience to God and His Word. Jesus endured temptation to the very limit of Satan’s power, and He resisted to that very limit. He did not in the least degree allow temptation to develop into desire, much less into sin (cf. Jas 1:13-15-note). He did not think the matter over or give it any consideration. He simply stood firmly in His Father’s will, filled with the Holy Spirit and was enabled to said no! Say "Yes" to the Spirit before you try to say "No" to the lusts of the flesh! (Gal 5:16-note, Gal 5:17,18-note) Look to Jesus, not the temptation. We find help against temptation, just as we find help for everything else in the Christian life, by “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith” (Heb 12:2-note). A hurdler soon learns that if he looks at the hurdles as he runs, he will trip and fall. From start to finish he looks only at the goal, and when he does that the hurdles are cleared in stride as each one is encountered. Being continually filled with the Word and the Spirit and keeping our eyes fixed on our Lord Jesus Christ is our only Hope of conquering temptation and faithfully running “with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb 12:1-note). See also related discussion regarding the concept of Vertical Vision.

J Vernon McGee - Now our Lord was tested. That raises the question. Could Christ have fallen? There’s a great deal of difference of opinion here today. Could Christ have yielded to Satan’s suggestions when He was tempted? May I say to you, the answer is a categorical no. He could not fall! Well, somebody says, then was it a legitimate temptation? Yes, it was a test, a test to demonstrate that He could not fall, that He was the immaculate Son of God, that He was an impeccable Savior, that He was able to save to the uttermost those who come unto God through Him. It was a demonstration.

Now that’s not contrary to our way of living, even today. New articles are tested. Automobiles are tested, and tires are tested. If you should go to a site where one of the tire companies has a testing ground for their tires, and if you should stop and say, “What are you trying to do, ruin them?” they would say, “Oh, no. We’re just proving that they cannot be ruined.”

Let me give this very homely illustration. When I was a boy I lived in a west Texas town that is no longer on the map. Nothing is there now but mesquite bushes. But there was a time when those who founded the town had high hopes it would become a booming town. It never did. The little town was named Burnham. It was on the Santa Fe Railroad, right by the west fork of the Brazos River. The Brazos River is unusual in that during summertime you can’t find enough water to wade in it. In fact, in late summer a mosquito couldn’t even get a drink in it. But in the wintertime you could float a battleship up the river.

One year we had a flood. It washed out the bridge for the Santa Fe tracks, so the company came in and built a new strong bridge. When they had finished it, they ran in two locomotive engines on top of that bridge and tied the whistles down. All of us who lived in the little town—all twenty-three of us—ran down there because we’d never heard two whistles at the same time. Several officials of the Santa Fe were present for the occasion, and the engineer who had built the bridge was there. So one of the citizens of our community stepped up to him and asked, “What are you doing?”
“We’re testing the bridge.”

Of course, this citizen of our community went on to ask, “Are you trying to break it down with those two engines?”

This engineer with great disdain looked at him, actually with contempt, “Of course not. Two engines could never break down that bridge!”
“Then why in the world are you putting them on there?”

“We’re putting them on to demonstrate that two engines cannot break the bridge down.”

Our Lord was tempted for that same reason. And, my friend, because of that fact, He was tested in a way that you and I have never been tested. The pressure on Him was greater than it’s ever been on any of us. For you and me, when the pressure builds up from temptation, we give way, and the minute we give way the pressure is relieved. But our Lord never gave way, and the pressure continued to build up. You and I really don’t know what extreme temptation is as He knew it.

He knew what even Adam didn’t learn. Adam, created innocent, never knew what it was to resist to the very end. Adam gave way to sin. You and I give way to sin, and the pressure is removed. Jesus never gave way, and the pressure built up. Only He knows what it was to really be tempted. (see JESUS - Centerpiece of Scripture or borrow the bookJesus : centerpiece of scripture)


Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil (Luke 4:1-2).  "I see the devil's hook and yet cannot help nibbling at his bait," bemoaned Moses Adams, the eighteenth-century American humorist.  The biggest fish Satan could hook would be God Himself. In the wilderness temptation, the Spirit led Jesus to Satan; God did not fear the wiles of the master trickster.  To the Jews of the first century, the three temptations had a powerful message. Although God had promised to meet their needs, protect their lives, and give them hope for tomorrow, Israel of old continually worried about groceries, safety, and the future. In resisting Satan's offers of food, protection, and power, Jesus proved that God could provide these three things and more. We do not easily grasp how God Incarnate could be tempted in all the same ways as we are, but real men have real temptations. We can believe in Christ's sinless perfection, but our minds invariably sanitize His temptations. Though Christ totally resisted sin, He was not tempted with just lily-white dalliances. Whatever our attempts to whitewash Christ's humanity, the perfect God-man, nevertheless, truly knows temptation. Only such a Person could provide a salvation that meets people's deepest needs. Satan may have a digitized fish-finder and chartreuse lures, but Christ has seen all his devices. He understands and sympathizes with us, and He provides us with food that satisfies and gives us strength to resist Satan's shiny bait.

LUKE 4:1-13 
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1).

Before I was old enough to get a driver's license, I had a haunting fear of getting behind the wheel of a car. When I thought about driving with an open stretch of road before me, I was afraid I'd be overwhelmed by an obsession to go as fast as the car would go. I couldn't imagine having the self-control to drive no faster than road conditions and the speed limit would allow. When I turned sixteen, though, I learned that I could control the accelerator instead of being controlled by it. Just because I was able to press the pedal to the floor didn't mean I had to do so. Many times I've heard people try to justify sin by claiming that a sudden, unusual, and irresistible temptation had confronted them. And sometimes we reason that a certain questionable action might actually be all right because the opportunity came along at just the right time and provided just what we thought we needed. One of the lessons we learn from the temptation of Jesus is that God will always provide a way of escape from temptation or He will give us the strength to resist it. He expects us to be discerning and to be conscious of the meaning of temptation. Beyond that, He wants us to know that we can rely on His Spirit and His Word, the way Jesus did, and to resist temptation rather than be ruined by it. —M.R.De Haan II(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Every temptation is an opportunity to get nearer to God.

MATTHEW 4:1-11  

"I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you, I will uphold you" (Isaiah 41:10). 

On the day before my mother died in 1976, my brother and I were called to her bedside. Though too weak for extended conversation, she quoted two verses—Isaiah 41:10 and John 10:29—not simply to con-sole us, but to reinforce her own faith. She held fast to what God had said; and what God said held her fast.

The Word of God has tremendous holding power. When tempted in the wilderness, our Lord overcame the enemy's suggestions by quoting Scripture. He did this to strengthen Himself, not to intimidate Satan. Though sinless, Jesus was truly human, and the temptation was real. Sometimes we allow His deity to overshadow this event and assume that the Savior casually brushed Satan aside with a few Scripture verses. But the Bible leaves no doubt that He was "tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). Therefore, the Word held Him steady. Jesus did not quote verses to Satan because they contained some magical power. Rather, He called them to mind to guide and reinforce Himself so that He would remain true to God's will. Because He kept His life under the control of the Word, Satan could not deter Him from doing His Father's will.

Whenever we are tested—whether it's a severe temptation, an overwhelming fear, or the specter of death itself—we can rest with confidence on God's sure and abiding Word. Down through the centuries countless saints have been held by its power, and it is as strong as ever. —D.J.De Haan. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The strongest weapon in Satan's arsenal is no match for the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

Mark 1:12-13+, Luke 4:1-12

The Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. - 

The legendary Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy.” This also describes the tactic that our greatest enemy, Satan, uses in his spiritual warfare against humanity. Satan's strategy against Jesus in the desert—half-truths and cunning deception—is the same that he uses to this very day.

The first test concerns provision. Although Satan in some sense acknowledged Jesus' divine sonship, he tempted Jesus to take matters into His own hands, rather than trust the Father to provide. Jesus refused to enter into any discussion and instead quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3. The rest of this verse says that, rather than bread, we're to live on God's Word, which is exactly what Jesus was doing during the temptation.

The second test concerns power. Somehow Satan was able to show Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and offered them to Him. After his boasting, Satan slipped in the fact that to receive these kingdoms, Jesus would have to worship him in the process. Breaking the first commandment was clearly not something that Jesus would do, as His quote from Deuteronomy 6:13 showed. Besides, the Father would give all the kingdoms of the world to His Son, so Satan was actually tempting Jesus to avoid the cross and His redemptive work.

The third test concerns protection. Satan took Jesus to the highest part of temple, probably the Royal Porch, which overlooked the Kidron Valley, some 450 feet below. To jump from there meant certain death. Here Satan upped the ante by quoting Scripture himself (Ps. 91:11-12), but twisting it horribly. Jesus replied with Deuteronomy 6:16, clearly understanding that testing God is not the way to prove His protection. Jesus' complete faithfulness to the Father in this trial anticipated His faithfulness on the cross, the event that meant Satan's decisive defeat.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY Satan tests us in the same area in which Jesus was tested—our faithfulness to God. Today's passage shows that responding in faithfulness depends upon knowing God's Word. As we learn His Word, the Spirit brings it to our attention at just the right moment. Are you growing in knowledge of the Word? If you aren't already in a Bible study or Sunday school class, consider joining one this month. In addition to your daily Bible study, you'll grow from studying the Word with other believers.


Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

Everyone faces temptation. Even the Son of God was tempted by Satan to turn away from God. But Jesus saw through the enemy’s schemes and remained firm in His love and devotion to the Father (Luke 4:1–13).

One of the reasons Jesus came was to personally identify with our needs and struggles. He understands how you feel under the weight of temptation. He has faced the tempter and overcome the darkness and adversity associated with Satan’s fiery trials.

When you face temptation, know that you do not face it alone. Jesus is with you, and He provides the strength you need to say no to every dark thought or evil imagination. In times of temptation, when the enemy whispers lies to defeat and discourage, take your stand against him by clothing yourself in the mighty armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-18). Also know that you can never disappoint God. He knows exactly what you are doing even before you do it, and He loves you still.

Temptation is not a sin. Sin is the result of our acting on the temptation. God provides the strength we need to steer clear of temptation. You can say no to all evil because Jesus lives in you, and He has given you the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth and knowledge. Therefore, take your stand as a child of God and claim His strength and victory!  Father, I know temptation is common to all. Give me the strength to steer clear of temptation and reject evil. (In Touch - Dec. 31, 2006)

Luke 4:3  And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." 

Wuest  Then the devil said to Him, In view of the fact that you are Son of God by virtue of your possession of the divine essence, speak to this stone to the effect that it will become a loaf of bread. 


Since Jesus was hungry (Lk 4:2b), the devil honed in on this potential weak spot. Remember that it was not the devil who initiated this conflict but it was the Spirit Who had led Jesus to this point. He could not have tempted Jesus, if the Father had not allowed it and the Spirit brought Jesus into the wilderness. Beloved, the application to our spiritual life is clear that Satan cannot tempt us unless God allows it. A corollary application is that your inner "tempter" the fallen flesh will select the strategic time to hone in on your area of weakness! That's why Jesus commanded the disciples (including us) "“Keep watching (present imperative - calling for this to be our lifestyle only possible as we learn to rely wholly on the Holy Spirit to obey) and praying (present imperative) (WHY?) that you may not enter into temptation (peirasmos); (WHAT'S OUR PROBLEM?) the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  (Mt 26:41+).



Appeal to physical appetite

You may eat of any tree (Ge 3:1+)

You may eat by changing
stones to bread (Lk 4:3-4+)

Appeal to personal gain

You surely will not die (Ge 3:4+)

You will not strike
Your foot (Lk 4:9-12+)

Appeal to power or glory

You will be like God (Ge 3:5+)

You will have all the world's kingdoms (Lk 4:5-8+)

And the devil (diabolossaid to Him - The devil is a real entity and one who is capable of speaking. Don't miss the contrast of this cosmic confrontation - Holy versus unholy. Truth versus liar. Creator versus creation! Matthew 4:3+ designates him as the Tempter (peirazo) but does not tell us anything about his physical form. What is clear is that the attack was personal and involved the exchange of words, the two even moving together to the place of temptation on the pinnacle of the Temple and then to a a very high mountain (Mt 4:8 - Luke just says "led Him up"). 

As Robert Stein says "The picture is that of the Anointed of the Lord on the offensive and led by the Spirit to confront the devil." (New American Commentary)

THOUGHT - As an aside note that Jesus is alone and in a deserted place. Our enemy will often attack us with temptations when we are alone. Do you have an accountability partner? 

Steven Cole comments that "We do not know nor can we speculate on whether the devil took on human form, whether he spoke audibly or whether he suggested the thought to Jesus without an audible voice. The point is, Satan hit Jesus with this temptation at the precise moment that Jesus was hungry. He always works like that—he hits you when you’re down (Ed: I would suggest he also hits us when we are "up" when we on a spiritual mountaintop so to speak). He bides his time until you are vulnerable, and then he moves in with his subtle suggestion of evil. I once heard a godly man tell of how he had been ministering in India for a month. On his return flight over the Atlantic, an attractive stewardess was especially kind to him, giving him a lot of attention. Being weary from traveling, he appreciated it. He had to spend the night in Washington, D.C. before catching his final flight home the next morning. As he went to get off the plane, he thanked the stewardess for her service. She responded by inviting him to come to her apartment for the night rather than going to his hotel. He was tired, he had been away from his wife for a month, and here was a very attractive young woman offering herself to him in a situation where no one would know. This was the opportune moment for Satan to hit! (Ed: Frankly in this situation most men would not even need the devil's enticement! Too often we say the devil made me do it, when the truth is, it is our rotten flesh that controlled our passion! The best defense? Be controlled by the Spirit!) By God’s grace, the man declined the offer, but he said that there was a brief moment in which it sounded very inviting. So be alert as to when you are vulnerable. That’s when the enemy will hit! (Sermon)

Devil (1228diabolos - described above. In Job 2:1 ("Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.") the Hebrew word for Satan is "satan"! It is translated in the Greek (Lxx) as "ho diabolos" ("the devil"). Remember that the nature of the devil is that he is a liar. Speaking to the Jews (who had made a superficial profession of faith in Him - Jn 8:30) Jesus said "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning (Ge 3:1-15), and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. (Ed: This is why believers should daily be renewing their mind with TRUTH found in the Word of God!) Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." And so we see him twist the truth (Jesus is the Son of God and has the power of God -- this is truth) attempting to ensnare Jesus, just like he (or his minions) attempt to do with believers today. We need to remember that he is " more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made" (Ge 3:1) and in our natural strength are no match for him. But filled with the Spirit like Jesus we can detect and deflect the fiery missiles of the evil one. As you read these comments are you filled with the Spirit like Jesus was? Jesus filled with the Spirit of truth was able to discern the one who was the spirit of a lie. 

If (SINCE) You are the Son of God - The Greek construction (first class conditional) indicates that the devil did not doubt that Jesus was the Son of God. This verse could be paraphrased “Since you are the Son of God.” Wuest has "In view of the fact that you are Son of God." So the devil begins by acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God. (cp Luke 4:3, 9, Mt 4:3, 6). As Warren Wiersbe says "Even the enemy must admit that Jesus is the Son of God. “If Thou be the Son of God” (Luke 4:3, 9) is not a supposition but an affirmation." How sad that so many unsaved  souls refuse to believe what even the devil (and every demon - Mt 8:29+, Mk 3:11+, Lk 8:28+) believes!

Jesus was just called the Son of God by His Father in Luke 3:22 "the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” The devil surely witnessed His baptism and so alludes to the very words His Father used. This is part of the subtlety of his ruse, for in referring to Jesus as Son of God rather than Son of Man, he deftly calls on Jesus to exercise His divine power. It would be so simple, obvious and easy for Jesus!

ESV Study Bible adds that "If you are the Son of God implies a challenge for Jesus to demonstrate his divine power. Satan is asking, in essence, “Why should the very Son of God have to suffer in the wilderness in this way?” (Ed: If you are God's Son, you should not have to starve. After all God even provided manna for rebellious Israel in the wilderness and He has given You nothing.)...Jesus, of course, was (and is) the Son of God, but he refused to be tricked by the devil into using his divine prerogatives to make the trial any easier for himself. Jesus obeyed as a man, as the representative for all who believe, so as to “fulfill all righteousness” (Mt 3:15) on behalf of his people. (See ESV Study Bible or borrow ESV study Bible)

Wiersbe - “Since You are God’s beloved Son, why doesn’t Your Father feed You? Why does He put You into this terrible wilderness?” This temptation sounded like Satan’s words to Eve in Genesis 3! It is a subtle suggestion that our Father does not love us. that our Father does not love us.But there was another suggestion: “Use Your divine powers to meet Your own needs.” When we put our physical needs ahead of our spiritual needs, we sin. When we allow circumstances to dictate our actions, instead of following God’s will, we sin. Jesus could have turned the stones into bread, but He would have been exercising His powers independently of the Father; and He came to obey the Father (John 5:30; 6:38). 

MacArthur "The purpose of the temptation was not simply for Jesus to satisfy His physical hunger, but to suggest that His being hungry was incompatible with His being the Son of God. He was being tempted to doubt the Father’s Word, the Father’s love, and the Father’s provision. He had every right, Satan suggested, to use His own divine powers to supply what the Father had not." (See Matthew Commentary)

John Phillips - Satan's seduction was for Jesus to "act in independence of the Holy Spirit Who had led Him into the wilderness, and in independence of the Father Who had permitted Him to be deprived of bodily sustenance. Satan was suggesting that Jesus use the resources of His sonship to violate the responsibility of His Sonship. The responsibility was never to act in independence of His Father. (Incidentally, a prolonged fast has to be broken gradually, and initially with liquids; solid food can kill.)(ED: WE DISCOVERED THAT IN FEEDING THE STARVING JEWS IN HEINOUS GERMAN CONCENTRATION CAMPS!) (See Exploring the Gospel of Matthew)

THOUGHT - There is a tragic irony in those words "If You are the Son of God," for here this address marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry while the same words mark the end in Mt 27:40 as He hangs on the Cross and the mockers hurl insults like "You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 

Tell this stone to become bread (Mt 4:3+) - Tell is is a command in the aorist imperative. It is literally "Say to" (lego - same verb used in Mt 4:3 and there translated "command.") This is amazing arrogance! The devil (a being created being) is issuing a command to Christ, the Creator of the Universe! The devil was not tempting Jesus to self-indulgence, for it is not a sin to eat when hungry.  He was tempting Jesus to distrust the providential care of His Father and to use His own divine powers to serve Himself. He wanted Jesus to do His will, not the will of the Father. But Jesus consistently lived in perfect harmony with His Father's will. In John's Gospel when the disciples told Him to eat He explained “My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish His work." (Jn 4:34). This is in fact what He did for in Jn 17:4 Jesus declared "I glorified You (FATHER) on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do." Satan's desire was to break that perfect harmony between God the Father and Jesus incarnate as a Man and derail the plan of redemption which demanded a sinless Lamb.

THOUGHT - This discussion begs the question. Am I seeking to do the will of my Father on earth as it is done in Heaven. Perhaps I pray it in Mt 6:10+, but do I truly seek to do it in the power of His Spirit and for His glory? Do I even know the work my Father has foreordained that I should accomplish this work (see Eph 2:10+)? Will I be able to say like Paul "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith?" (2Ti 4:7+) Will I hear "Well done good servant?" (Lk 19:17+) James says "you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (Jas 4:14+). Therefore TODAY is the DAY to address these questions. Not TOMORROW, for the vapor may have vanished! 

Wiersbe - Satan wanted Jesus to disobey the Father’s will by using His divine power for His own purposes.

John MacArthur explains that "The devil’s suggestion that Jesus command a stone to become bread was not a temptation to self-indulgence, for it is not a sin to eat food when one is hungry. Still less was it aimed at getting Jesus to pride-fully show off His powers, since He and Satan were alone and there was no audience to perform for. Satan’s point was far more insidious and subtle. He was aware that in the incarnation, Jesus had voluntarily set aside the independent use of His divine power. The devil was attempting (as he had with Eve) to get Him to distrust God’s love and provision for Him. He insinuated that God was indifferent and disinterested in Jesus’ plight. After all, had God not provided food for the stubbornly rebellious Israelites during their forty years of wandering in the wilderness? Had not David testified, “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread” (Ps. 37:25)? If the Father truly loved His Son, why had He failed to provide food for Him these past forty days? Satan hoped to entice Jesus to question the love of the Father and the care of the Holy Spirit. (See Luke Commentary)

In his comments on the same temptation in Matthew MacArthur wrote "Satan was hoping to persuade Jesus to demonstrate His power to verify that it was real. That would mean violating God’s plan that He set that power aside in humiliation and use it only when the Father willed. Satan wanted Jesus to disobey God. Affirming His deity and rights as the Son of God would have been to act independently of God." (See Matthew Commentary)

Life Application - Sometimes what we are tempted to do isn't wrong in itself. Turning a stone into bread wasn't necessarily bad. The sin was not in the act but in the reason behind it. The devil was trying to get Jesus to take a shortcut, to solve Jesus' immediate problem at the expense of his long-range goals, to seek comfort at the sacrifice of his discipline. Satan often works that way—persuading us to take action, even right action, for the wrong reason or at the wrong time. The fact that something is not wrong in itself does not mean that it is good for you at a given time. Many people sin by attempting to fulfill legitimate desires outside of God's will or ahead of his timetable. First ask: Is the Holy Spirit leading me to do this or is Satan trying to get me off the track? (Go to page 40 in Life Application Study Bible)

R C Sproul - The Three Temptations - We have seen that when Satan first approached Eve he did not initially contradict what God had said. Rather he simply questioned God’s Word. He does the same here. God the Father had told Jesus, “You are My Son, whom I love” (Lk 3:22). Now Satan calls this into question: “If you really are God’s Son, then turn stones into bread.” The issue is the trustworthiness of the Word of God, and Jesus refuses to play this game. He simply replies, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone’” (Lk 4:4).

Satan comes back with a second temptation. He shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and says, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours” (Lk 4:6–7). After all, who will know? And if Jesus acquires the world this way, he won’t have to die. But Jesus replies, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only’” (Lk 4:8).

Satan tries a third time, and this time he quotes the Bible back at Jesus. He takes him to the highest point of the temple and says. “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’” (Lk 4:9–11). But Jesus recognizes right away that, though Satan is quoting Scripture, he is distorting its meaning. He is pitting Scripture against Scripture. So Jesus answers, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Lk 4:12).
The most important difference between Adam and Jesus is that when he was tempted, Jesus believed God. He did not just believe in God. Rather, his faith became manifested in his actions. Because he trusted God’s Word, he triumphed over Satan.

Coram Deo -One of the greatest crises in the church today is the crisis of unbelief. There are many people who believe in God, but not very many who take him at his Word. There are even fewer who are taking the Word and confronting Satan’s lies and evil programs. How about you? Do you know how to apply the Bible’s answers to today’s problems? (Before the Face of God).

Related Resources:

Luke 4:4  And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.'"

Wuest  And Jesus answered him, It has been written and is now on record, The individual person shall not live on bread alone.


And Jesus answered him, "It is written - Do not miss that these are the first words recorded after Jesus was anointed for His public ministry! His first words were THE WORD, a good pattern for us to imitate each morning with our first words! 

THOUGHT - Since followers of Christ are called to imitate their Lord in His earthly ministry (1 Cor 11:1-note, 1 Jn 2:6-note, etc) we can glean much of practical value from Jesus' face to face confrontation with the Tempter. While we are unlikely to tempted by the Devil himself, we certainly will be tempted by the fiery missiles flung by his evil minions (Eph 6:16-note). We must remember that Jesus experienced victory over these intense temptations, not because He was the Son of God, but because He surrendered to the Spirit of God and spoke the Word of God. In a "spiritual nutshell" this is His perfect pattern for our victory in the time of temptation -- filled with the Spirit and filled with the Word.

Oswald Chambers said "We cannot stand against the wiles of the devil by our wits." We can only stand against him in reliance on God's Word and Spirit!

Daniel Block makes the point that "The one who twists truth will fail to ensnare the one filled with the Spirit." This begs the question "Are you filled?" If not, beware!

The best way to show a stick is crooked is
not to argue about it or spend time denouncing it,
but to lay a straight stick alongside it. 

It is written in Deut 8:3 is quoted by Luke from the Septuagint (Lxx) rather than the Hebrew text. It may be Old Testament (which some evangelicals eschew!) and it is still in force! The fact that the NT more frequently quotes from the Greek Septuagint than the Hebrew supports the value of this translation. When we were children and our parents told us to do something and we questioned "Why?", the answer was usually "Because I said so!". Why are we commanded to be holy? Because God said so! A popular saying is "God said it, I believe it, that settles it." This sounds good but isn't accurate because God's Word is true, irregardless of whether we believe it or not. A more accurate "saying" would be God said it, that settles it! It follows that the phrase It is written should put a stop to every complaint or excuse. In essence, Jesus sets Satan's suggestion next to Scripture's statement. There is an important principle here - we should always lay God's Word besides Satan's subtle seductions - The best way to show a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it. 

THOUGHT- Personally, I do not read an OT passage without also reading the corresponding Septuagint and the spiritual insights gleaned are frequent. 

F. Whitfield - “It is written” should be in the heart and on the lips of every Christian. “It is written” should decide every controversy, settle every doubt, and overcome every difficulty. (Amen!)

Marvin Vincent has an interesting observation that "The first recorded words of Jesus after His entrance upon His ministry are an assertion of the authority of Scripture....When addressing man, our Lord seldom quoted Scripture, but said, I say unto you. In answer to Satan He says, It is written."

It is written (1125)(grapho) means to engrave or inscribe characters with a stylus on a surface. It is written is used 3 times in the temptation story (Lk 4:4, 8, 10) and all are in the perfect tense indicating that the Word had been written in the past under divine inspiration and it remains written. Jesus affirmed the permanence of the Scripture declaring "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away." (Mt 24:35). However as discussed below when the devil used this phrase, he took it out of context and misapplied the truth, because he is liar and the father of lies.

THOUGHT - Dear believer God's Word stands written once and for all thus providing a firm foundation on which we can stand forever! 

MacArthur - What sustains a person’s life is not food, but obedience to “everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3). 

Life Application notes that if we are to use the sword of the Spirit "effectively (Eph 6:17), we must have faith in God's promises because Satan also knows Scripture and is adept at twisting it to suit his purposes. Obeying the Scriptures is more important than simply having a verse to quote, so read them daily and apply them to your life. Then your "sword" will always be sharp. (Go to page 40 in Life Application Study Bible)

MAN SHALL NOT LIVE (zaoON BREAD ALONE - Luke omits "BUT ON EVERY WORD (rhema) THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” (Mt 4:4+) Note the contrast word "but" - bread contrasted with every Word from God. As Henry Morris says "it is not just the "thoughts" of Scripture that are vital, but every word!" Notice also the word man. We must never forget that Jesus faced the Tempter as a human being, as fully Man, not in reliance on His power as the Son of God. While He had laid aside His divine prerogatives, He was not defenseless. To the contrary, He showed us how we too can deflect and defeat temptation whether from an internal source (our fallen flesh) or external sources (the world, the devil). And what is the "Jesus Way" we should imitate (1 Jn 2:6+, 1Co 11:1+)? We must (EMPHASIZE MUST) be continually (EMPHASIZE CONTINUALLY) filled with/controlled by the Spirit (Eph 5:18+) and filled with the Word (Col 3:16+)! Then we are armed and ready to battle the incessant (AND THEY ARE CEASELESS!) temptations that come against us each day (cf 1 Pe 2:11+ where "wage war" is in the present tense = lusts of the flesh are continually assaulting our heart and mind)! See chart comparing the value/impact on a life Filled with God's Spirit and Richly Indwelt with God's Word

Jesus quotes from the book of Deuteronomy. Could you quote anything from the book of Deuteronomy?

Dt 8:2-3 You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.


Related Resource:

Live (2198)(zao) refers literally to natural physical life, but Matthew's version shifts the meaning from literal physical life to figurative spiritual life. 

Word (4487)(rhema from verb rheo = speak or utter words) refers to the spoken word, especially a word as uttered by a living voice. Rhema focuses upon the content of the communication. Why such preeminence for and focus on the Word? Luke explains "For no word (rhema) from God shall be void of power." (Luke 1:37+ ASV) Rhema is used in the Septuagint translation of Joshua 21:45 (some of Joshua's last words - last words are lasing words) - "Not one of the good promises (Septuagint = rhema) which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass." And this declaration is still true beloved! 

The responsibilities for believers: 

(1) We must eat God’s Word as if our life depended on it. 

(2) We must memorize God’s Word (Ps 119:9, 11). 

Note that Jesus in His humanity alone (our example) had memorized the Scriptures so that He could apply them to specific situations and needs  Our Lord did not have or need a Bible concordance or hand held computer Bible with Him in the wilderness! He reached into the Books of Moses, selected Deuteronomy, and quoted three verses using them as the sword of the Spirit to refute Satan. Most adults think that Bible memorization is for children in Sunday school, when actually it is for every believer. Adult Christians need the Word far more than the children, although it is good for children to memorize God’s Word. 

(3) We must meditate on God’s Word because meditation is to the inner man what digestion is to the outer man. If we did not digest our food, we would become weak, listless, tired, ineffective (think of these now in terms of one's spiritual effectiveness). 

(4) We must adroitly & accurately apply God’s Word to every situation we encounter. The believer’s mind should become like a “spiritual computer” so saturated with Scripture that when one faces a "fork in the road" or a temptation, he recalls to mind the Scriptures that relate to that situation. 

The Holy Spirit brings God’s Word to our remembrance when we need it but He will not bring to remembrance what is not there. 

ILLUSTRATION - EVERY WORD - Hold everything! Wait a minute! Have you read the Scripture for today? It's only eight short verses, and it will take you only 45 seconds. No, don't lay this booklet down and mumble to me, "I'm in a hurry and you're delaying me." I see you're eating breakfast this morning even though you're late. You take time to feed your body, but you were going to starve your soul. Take 45 seconds and read Ps 119:33-40 (ED: AND DO NOT MISS THE 9 PRAYERS IN THIS PASSAGE - THEN GO BACK AND PRAY THEM TO GO FROM YOUR HEART! SEE WORDS IN BOLD IN THIS PASSAGE BELOW. NOTE TWO CRIES FOR PERSONAL REVIVAL!). If you don't read the rest of this devotional, that's okay--as long as you read the Bible. These articles in Our Daily Bread are not designed to be a substitute for the Bible; they are meant to stimulate your desire to read more of the Bible. If reading this booklet has caused you to neglect the Word of God, please throw this booklet in the wastebasket! Job said, "I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12-SEE JOB'S SECRET FOR SURVIVING INDESCRIBABLE AFFLICTIONS). Jesus taught, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Mt. 4:4). Yes, you may have had a rough day yesterday and you're way behind. But why should you be surprised that it was such a bad day if you started it without God's Word? Don't make the same mistake today. Take time to read. If you're too busy to read the Bible, you're too busy! --M. R. De Haan, M.D. (founder of RBC Ministries)  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Psalm 119:33-40  
33 He. Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall observe it to the end.  

34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law And keep it with all my heart.  

35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it.  

36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies And not to dishonest gain.  

37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways.  

38 Establish Your word to Your servant, As that which produces reverence for You.  

39 Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your ordinances are good.  

40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness. 

Many of us live in countries where food is abundant and people are well-fed. That's why we may not be familiar with the symptoms of starvation. At the outset, victims have an insatiable craving for nourishment. As time passes, however, the body weakens, the mind is dulled, and the desire for something to eat wanes. In fact, starving people actually reach a point when they don't even want food that is placed before them. Spiritual starvation follows much the same course. If we have been feeding daily on God's Word, it's natural to feel "hungry" when we skip our quiet time. But if we continue to neglect it, we may lose all desire to study the Scriptures. In fact, we may be starving ourselves. How much time do you spend reading the Bible and meditating on its truths? Do you miss the Word when you neglect it? Thomas Guthrie wrote, "If you find yourself loving any pleasure better than your prayers, any book better than the Bible, any persons better than Christ, or any indulgence better than the hope of heaven--take alarm." If you've lost your taste for the "bread of life," confess your negligence (ED: OR YOUR SINS AS IN 1 Peter 2:1 WHICH "BLUNTS" A NEWBORN'S DESIRE FOR MILK BECAUSE THEY ARE "SIN-SICK!" SEE SIMILAR PATTERN IN Psalm 1:1 CAN BLUNT DESIRE FOR THE WORD Psalm 1:2! CONFESS AND REPENT AND GOD'S SPIRIT WILL ENABLE YOUR "APPETITE" TO RETURN TO NORMAL!) and ask God to revive your appetite for His Word. Avoid spiritual starvation! --RWD  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me, 
As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea. 
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord; 
My spirit pants for Thee, O Living Word.

A well-read Bible is a sign of a well-fed soul.

ILLUSTRATION - Most of us are familiar with the Pony Express and its oft-romanticized contribution to the history of the Old West. But for all its glamour, the Pony Express was a business enterprise-and was run like one. To ferry mail across the open expanse of the western territories, the express route ran 1,900 miles from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. The trip was made in about 10 days, using 40 men who each raced about 50 miles, riding a total of 500 fine horses in the process. To conserve weight, riders wore light clothing, rode on extremely small saddles, and carried no weapons. Their mail pouches were also compact and lightweight. Letters cost $5 per ounce for postage. Yet for all these efficiencies in terms of weight, one thing was not sacrificed: every rider carried a full-size Bible, presented to him when he joined the Pony Express. By contrast, how often are we found without the Word of God at our side, in our day of comfort and convenience?

Jim Reapsome - Jesus, Student of Scripture Luke 4:1–13; 24:25–27

A well-known painting of President Abraham Lincoln shows him perched on a stool near the fireplace in a darkened cabin, reading by candlelight. It teaches the importance and value of earnest study, regardless of the circumstances. No such picture of Jesus exists, but it’s not hard to imagine him doing the same throughout his childhood and youth and into his early adult years.

We may mistakenly assume that the Holy Spirit implanted all of Jesus’s Bible knowledge in his mind at birth. After all, Jesus was the Son of God, so he knew everything and therefore he did not have to study the Scriptures. I believe such an assumption is false, because the Bible tells us that Jesus took on our flesh and blood, experienced everything we do, and was willing to call us his brothers.

I’m much happier with a Jesus who studied than with one who did not have to, one who could march around the house, flaunting his superior knowledge among his sisters and brothers. He sat with them day by day, patiently learning the Old Testament’s teachings and prophecies.
He studied earnestly so that by age twelve he confounded his superiors. His knowledge of the Scripture was so thorough that he was called at various times teacher, rabbi, and master. Perhaps his most dramatic display of scriptural knowledge came when he repulsed the temptations of the devil by quoting Bible verses (Matt. 4:1–11).

On other occasions he replied to questions and criticisms with appropriate Scriptures. He challenged and rebuked the Sadducees for their lack of scriptural knowledge and understanding. After his resurrection, he chided the walkers on the Emmaus road for not knowing the prophets.

Jesus packed his teaching with words from the Old Testament, surely the fruit of years of study. When Luke noted that Jesus grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52), we can be sure that foremost in his mind was the wisdom that comes from diligent study.

To follow Jesus, it is essential that we be filled with profitable, soul-satisfying adventures as we soak our minds, hearts, and wills with Scripture. There are no shortcuts here. We have to go deeper than, for example, lifting a quick fix off the Internet. The daily discipline of Bible reading, study, and meditation is the only way to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Since he needed to do that, we certainly need it much more.

To think about -   Why did Jesus need to study the Scriptures? What changes do you have to make in your life to become a more faithful student of the Bible?   God, you know I need discipline to study your Word. I confess giving other things priority. Give me a strong desire to meet you every day. Amen (See 10 Minutes a Day with Jesus: Growing in Your Love for the Savior

No Deal! Read: Luke 4:1-13 |

It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” —Luke 4:4

We’ve all seen and heard advertisements that entice us to take shortcuts to happiness. Buy our product and make no payments for one year! Instant gratification!

When the devil tempted Jesus (Luke 4:1-13), he offered a shortcut to “satisfaction.” He tried to tempt Jesus to take matters into His own hands rather than trust His Father.

When Jesus was hungry from 40 days of fasting (v.2), Satan suggested that He use His power to turn stones into bread. Had the Lord done so, He would have been using His powers for His own benefit, but He refused.

Why didn’t Jesus accept the devil’s offer of ruling all the kingdoms of the world right away? (vv.5-7). He could have avoided the cross. But that would have gone against God’s plan for Him—to give His life on the cross, to be resurrected, and to sit at the Father’s right hand in His kingdom. Satan’s offer of a shortcut was no deal at all.

Beware of enticements that seem to cost little for the present. Satan hopes to get you to do things his way. And he doesn’t give up easily. Even after Jesus overcame a third temptation, Satan left only “until an opportune time” (v.13).

Whenever you are offered a shortcut to happiness, watch out to see who’s behind the cashier’s counter!

Lord, help me see the devil’s offers for what they are—enticements to sin. Help me to keep my eyes focused on You and Your Word, and my ears attentive to You in prayer. Amen.

The best way to escape temptation is to run to God.

By C. P. Hia (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Luke 4:5  And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 

Amplified (classic) Then the devil took Him up to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the habitable world in a moment of time [in the twinkling of an eye].

NET  Then the devil led him up to a high place and showed him in a flash all the kingdoms of the world.

KJV  And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain (most versions reject this as an addition), shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

ESV  And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,

NLT   Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

NAB  Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.

NIV  The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.

Wuest  And taking Him up, he exposed to His eyes all the kingdoms of the Roman empire in a moment of time. 

Related Passage:

Matthew 4:8-9  Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”

NET Note on order of temptations in Luke and Matthew -  The order of Luke’s temptations differs from Matthew’s at this point as numbers two and three are reversed (cp Mt 4:5-10+). It is slightly more likely that Luke has made the change to put the Jerusalem temptation last, as Jerusalem is so important to Luke’s later account. The temporal markers in Matthew’s account are also slightly more specific.


And he led Him up (anago) (Mt 4:8 = a mountain; cf Dt 32:49, 34:1-3) - Note the word "and" (Kai) indicating continuity or sequential occurrence of these three temptations. One after another. Isn't that the way we feel sometimes after we have just experienced one temptation/test and another one sweeps in! While it does say the devil led Jesus up, remember Who is really in charge! It was the Spirit Who led Him in initially (Lk 4:1+) and the Spirit is still in full control of Jesus, NOT the Devil. Notice that the NET Bible adds the phrase "to a high place" but that is not present in the Greek. The addition is reasonable considering the fact that Matthew's version specifies "to a very high mountain" (Mt 4:8+)

And showed (deiknuo) Him all the kingdoms (basileia) of the world (oikoumene) in a moment (stigme) of time - Is all the kingdoms hyperbole? Not necessarily. It could have been in the form of a supernatural vision, and this is certainly supported by the phrase in a moment of time. That is not really critical to the understanding of the temptation. Mathew 4:8+ adds that these kingdoms have glory (doxa). 

Wuest  (Eerdmans Publishing) interprets the kingdoms of the world in his translation as "the Roman empire," (probably based upon the word oikoumene) but that is not exactly what the text states. Admittedly the NT does occasionally refer to the world in a way that suggest the Roman empire (e.g, the Gospel going into "all the world" in Col 1:6+, however Jesus charges His disciples to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." This clearly refers to ALL the earth). Also the word oikoumene is used in contexts which would suggest the Roman Empire in Acts 17:6+, Acts 24:5. The point is that there were non-Roman kingdoms on the other continents that could also have been included in this devilish enticement regardless of how it was transmitted. Notice that the Greek says all (pas) which means all without exception. Could the devil have actually accomplished this task? It is not unreasonable given the fact that he carried out this exhibition in just a moment, an infinitesimally small moment in time, which itself indicates it was supernatural in some way we can not fully comprehend. Matthew 4:8+ has kosmos which means  something well-arranged, with order or harmony and in this context refers to the earth. 

Led...up (321)(anago from ana = up, again, away + ago = to bring, lead) literally speaks of movement from a lower to a higher point (Mt 17:1 "led them up on a high mountain", Lk 2:22 = "they brought Him up to Jerusalem") Anago is used here of the unholy spirit leading Jesus and in the parallel description of the temptation of the Holy Spirit leading Jesus ("Jesus was led up by the Spirit" Mt 4:1+). As alluded to above, Satan is always on a leash (so to speak) and here is allowed to lead Christ to the high mountain, all under the sovereign control and direction of the Spirit of God!

Anago in 23v - bring(2), brought(5), launched(1), led(2), put out to sea(4), putting out to sea(1), set sail(7), setting sail(1). Matt. 4:1; Lk. 2:22; Lk. 4:5; Lk. 8:22; Acts 7:41; Acts 9:39; Acts 12:4; Acts 13:13; Acts 16:11; Acts 16:34; Acts 18:21; Acts 20:3; Acts 20:13; Acts 21:1; Acts 21:2; Acts 27:2; Acts 27:4; Acts 27:12; Acts 27:21; Acts 28:10; Acts 28:11; Rom. 10:7; Heb. 13:20

Showed (1166)(deiknuo) means to "exhibit something that can be apprehended by one or more of the senses," (BDAG) Louw-Nida adds that the idea of deiknuo is "to make known the character or significance of something by visual, auditory, gestural, or linguistic means." The devil exhibited (so to speak) by putting forward prominently or openly all the kingdoms of the world for Jesus to see. The point of this verb is that the devil wanted Jesus to see his offer clearly, hoping this would entice Him to forgo the Cross

Deiknuo in 31v - Matt. 4:8; Matt. 8:4; Matt. 16:21; Mk. 1:44; Mk. 14:15; Lk. 4:5; Lk. 5:14; Lk. 20:24; Lk. 22:12; Lk. 24:40; Jn. 2:18; Jn. 5:20; Jn. 10:32; Jn. 14:8; Jn. 14:9; Jn. 20:20; Acts 7:3; Acts 10:28; 1 Co. 12:31; 1 Tim. 6:15; Heb. 8:5; Jas. 2:18; Jas. 3:13; Rev. 1:1; Rev. 4:1; Rev. 17:1; Rev. 21:9; Rev. 21:10; Rev. 22:1; Rev. 22:6; Rev. 22:8

Kingdoms (932)(basileia from basileus = a sovereign, king, monarch) denotes sovereignty, royal power, dominion. Basileia can also refer to the territory or people over whom a king rules  The Bible teaches that there are two kingdoms at war, the kingdom of this world (cf "present evil world" Gal 1:4KJV+, James 4:4+, 1 Jn 2:15-17+) headed by Satan (see Lk 4:5-6+, see especially verse 6, cf 1 Jn 5:19+) and the Kingdom of God headed by Jesus (cf Jn 18:37+, Rev 19:16+).

Basileia is a KEY WORD in Luke - Lk. 1:33; Lk. 4:5; Lk. 4:43; Lk. 6:20; Lk. 7:28; Lk. 8:1; Lk. 8:10; Lk. 9:2; Lk. 9:11; Lk. 9:27; Lk. 9:60; Lk. 9:62; Lk. 10:9; Lk. 10:11; Lk. 11:2; Lk. 11:17; Lk. 11:18; Lk. 11:20; Lk. 12:31; Lk. 12:32; Lk. 13:18; Lk. 13:20; Lk. 13:28; Lk. 13:29; Lk. 14:15; Lk. 16:16; Lk. 17:20; Lk. 17:21; Lk. 18:16; Lk. 18:17; Lk. 18:24; Lk. 18:25; Lk. 18:29; Lk. 19:11; Lk. 19:12; Lk. 19:15; Lk. 21:10; Lk. 21:31; Lk. 22:16; Lk. 22:18; Lk. 22:29; Lk. 22:30; Lk. 23:42; Lk. 23:51

World (3635)(oikoumene the feminine participle present passive of oikeo = to dwell or abide) describes the inhabited portion of the earth, exclusive of the heavens above and hell below. The Romans used oikoumene in their secular writings to refer to the Roman Empire, for to them their empire equated with the whole world. Finally, in some NT contexts oikoumene was used to refer to the inhabitants of the world (see  Acts 17:31, Acts 19:27, Re 12:9+) Zodhiates writes that oikoumene "Generally, and in later usage, (referred to) the habitable globe, the earth, the world as known to the people of ancient times (Mt. 24:14; Lk 21:26; Ro 10:18; Heb. 1:6; Rev. 16:14)."

Oikoumene - 15v in NT - Matt. 24:14; Lk. 2:1; Lk. 4:5; Lk. 21:26; Acts 11:28; Acts 17:6; Acts 17:31; Acts 19:27; Acts 24:5; Rom. 10:18; Heb. 1:6; Heb. 2:5; Rev. 3:10; Rev. 12:9; Rev. 16:14

Moment (flash - NET) (4743)(stigme from stígma = to make a puncture or a mark as with a hot iron) is used only here in the NT and something insignificant and is used figuratively here to describe a unit of time (chronos) as extremely brief and so means a moment, a flash, an instant, an infinitesimally small moment in time, a moment whose passage is virtually instantaneous. Think about what this for a moment. The devil is showing Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (regardless of how you define "world'), which indicates that this was certainly a supernatural exhibition! Some writers say it was "vision like" but it is difficult to be certain exactly how it was shown. The point is that it was exhibited in a moment and Jesus saw it, but Jesus was not "taken aback" by the glory of all the world's splendor! There is a great lesson here for all His followers, for the world is continually tempting us with its glitter and gadgets and passing glory, but enabled by the same Spirit Who enabled Jesus, we can resist the world's temptations! What are the world's temptations for you beloved? Be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might! (Eph 6:10+)

Stigme is used once in the Septuagint in Isaiah 29:5 = But the multitude of your (= "Ariel" or Jerusalem - Isa 29:1) enemies will become like fine dust, And the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away; And it will happen instantly (Heb = petha - describes a sudden event; Lxx = stigme), suddenly (Lxx - parachrema - at once).

Luke 4:6  And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 

Amplified (classic) And he said to Him, To You I will give all this power and authority and their glory (all their magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, and grace), for it has been turned over to me, and I give it to whomever I will.

NET And he said to him, "To you I will grant this whole realm– and the glory that goes along with it, for it has been relinquished to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish.

Wuest  And the devil said to Him, To you I will give this authority, all of it, and its glory, because to me it has been given and is now in my possession, and to whomever I desire, I give it. 


The word bribe (etymology = "thing stolen") means a payment made to a person in a position of trust to corrupt his judgment (and his character!) given in exchange for favor or influence.

And the devil (diabolossaid to Him, "I will give - The phrase I will give You is emphatic. "In effect, the devil is tempting Jesus by saying, "Look what you can have!" (NET Note)

Steven Cole comments that "Satan’s offer, like all his offers, was a mixed bag of truth and error. Jesus later calls Satan “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Paul calls him “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4). But the Bible is also clear, and Satan cleverly alludes to it even here, that God alone sets up kings and grants authority to whomever He wills (Da 4:17, 25). Satan’s authority is at best delegated and temporary. The Bible is clear, as Jesus answers, that God alone is to be worshiped and served. But Satan mixes up the truth of his powerful authority with the error of worshiping him. This is why you always have to be on guard against false teachers. Invariably they present something that is true, but they mix it up with that which is false and unbiblical. One current popular example is a man who does a great job of setting forth who we are in Christ, how we are saints. But then he states that we are not to see ourselves as sinners, but only as saints who occasionally sin. That’s dangerous error, mixed up with truth! Satan baits his hook with truth so that we swallow the whole thing. (Sermon)

All this domain (exousia) - Over what did Satan have authority (the right to rule and the might to rule)? From the passages below we learn that this present world and world system had been (temporarily) given into his hands and is now under his authority. 

“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler (Satan) of this world will be cast out. (Jn 12:31)

Comment: Why will Satan be cast out? In context Jesus will be "lifted up from earth" (Jn 12:32) describing His crucifixion, the death knell to the rule of Satan. While the final casting out is presently "on hold" you can be fully assured it is certain because of finality and immutability of God's Word of promise ("will be cast out"). As Martin Luther said " Lo! his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him."

I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler (Satan) of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me (Jn 14:30)

And concerning judgment, because the ruler (Satan) of the world has been judged. (Jn 16:11)

We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 1 Jn 5:19-note

Comment: The "world" represents human society under the power of evil and at war with God and His people. As John Stott says the world "is not pictured as struggling vigorously to be free but as quietly lying, perhaps even unconsciously asleep, in the embrace of Satan." 

Hiebert comments that the Devil "holds control over those in the world as a usurper, one “who controls it with tyrannical authority, organizing and orchestrating its life and activities to express his own rebellion and hatred against God.” Thus Jesus portrays the Devil as “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). 

They ("the whole world" Rev 13:3, especially the earth dwellers [see this unique category] in Revelation) worshiped the dragon (Satan) because he gave his authority to the beast (the Antichrist received what the True Christ refused!); and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” (Revelation 13:4+)

Comment: Fascinating! Christ refused the Devil's offer, while the Antichrist received the offer. Christ received the Crown (Rev 19:16+), while the Antichrist received condemnation and eternal torment (Rev 19:20+). Not to mention that the devil's authority to the Antichrist was "valid" for only 1260 days, 3.5 years, 42 months, time, times and half a time (See note)! 

Wiersbe - As the prince (ruler) of this world, Satan has a certain amount of delegated authority from God (John 12:31; 14:30). One day he will share this authority with the Antichrist, the man of sin, who will rule the world for a brief time (Rev. 13). Satan's offer to Christ was valid, but his terms were unacceptable; and the Saviour refused. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Thomas Watson - The golden bait

Gain is the golden bait, with which Satan fishes for souls! This was the last temptation he used with Christ: "All these things will I give You!" But Christ saw the hook under the bait! Many who have escaped gross sins, are still caught in a golden net! 

A godly man dare not travel for riches, along the devil's highway. Those are sad gains, which make a man lose heaven at last!

"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" Mat. 16:26, Mark 8:34-38+

And its glory (doxa) - Do the kingdoms of the world have glory? Of course they do (cf ancient Egypt), but it is a seductive, transient glory because this world is passing away (1 Jn 2:17+). Moses had been tempted by this glory but he refused it (read why)

By faith (note from the following description that faith is not passive, but is active, dynamic - it results in/produces godly actions) Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. (Heb 11:25-27+)

And it was Jesus who later ask rhetorically "what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36). Answer? NOTHING! That is nothing except eternal torment because the wages of sin is (temporal and eternal) death. (Ro 6:23+)

THOUGHT - What glory of this world is seducing you to pursue worldliness over godliness, the former yielding only passing pleasure, while the latter holds promise not only for this present life but also for the life to come (1 Ti 4:8+)

For it has been handed over to me - When was this authority handed over to the Devil? While one cannot be dogmatic, there would appear to have been a transfer of power when Adam sinned, because at that time sin entered the world Paul describing this tragedy this was "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Ro 5:12+) Ultimately then all men are born into the kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan, for John writes "the whole world (unbelievers) lies in [the power of] the evil one" (1 John 5:19+). Over that kingdom composed of unsaved souls, Satan reigns, and it would seem most logical that this "reign" began when Adam sinned and sin entered the world. Belief in Jesus results in deliverance "from the domain of darkness, and" transfer "the kingdom of God's beloved Son." (Col 1:13+).

Perhaps John MacArthur's comments on Hebrews 2:8 will give you some insight into why I believe the transfer of power occurred in Genesis 3 - Because all mankind fell in Adam, because he lost his kingdom and his crown, we do not now see the earth subject to man (Heb 2:8b+). The earth originally was subject to man, and it supplied all his needs without his having to do anything. He had only to accept and enjoy the earth as it provided for him. Then, tempted by Satan, man sinned, and his tempter usurped the crown. There you see the change in the chain of command. Man fell to the bottom, and the earth, under the evil one, now rules man. If you pay much attention to ecology, you know that we do not rule this world; it rules us. With all our modern technology, we must constantly fight against the earth for our survival. (See Sermon Rediscovery of Man's Lost Destiny)

THOUGHT - Satan was given the power over earth in Genesis 3, but Jesus Christ as our Kinsman-Redeemer and Blood Avenger will obtain the title deed to the earth as described in Revelation 5+Renald E Showers gives an explanation of why the scroll in Revelation 5+ is in fact the "title deed to the earth".  

And I give it to whomever I wish - This is true but is still subject to the sovereign control of the Lord God. As someone has said, Satan is on a leash and can go only as far as God allows. The Creator ultimately rules over His creation and that includes Satan, to his chagrin!

NET Note on give it to whomever I wish - The devil is erroneously implying that God has given him such authority with the additional capability of sharing the honor. (Ed: Although as noted above, God does allow the devil to give his authority to the Antichrist - Rev 13:4).

John MacArthur has a helpful comment on 1 John 5:19+ "We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in [the power of] the evil one" 

Despite the existence of countless political, cultural, and social entities in the world, there are in reality only two realms. It is the comforting privilege of believers, in addition to having eternal life, answered prayer, and victory over sin, to know they belong to God.Though they exist in this world, they are not part of it (John 15:19; 17:14); they are children of God (John 1:12–13+), “aliens and strangers” (1 Peter 2:11; cf.1 Pe 1:1, 17; 1 Chr 29:15; Ps. 119:19; Heb. 11:13), whose true citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).

On the other hand, the whole world—its politics, economics, education, entertainment, and, above all, its religion—lies in the power of the evil one. The evil world system is hostile to God and believers (John 15:18–19), as John noted earlier in this epistle. It takes its cue from its ruler, Satan (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; cf. Eph. 2:2; 6:12), the archenemy of God and His people. Because the world is completely under Satan’s influence, believers must avoid being contaminated by it (1 Jn 2:15–17; cf. James 1:27).

There is no middle ground, no third option. Everyone is part of God’s kingdom, or of Satan’s. In the words of Jesus, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters” (Luke 11:23). Or as James scathingly declares, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). (See The MacArthur Commentary on First John)

Domain (authority) (1849)(exousia) describes the territory over which rule or control is exercised. The devil has been granted the right and might over the kingdoms of the world. However the devil's claim to have authority over everything is a claim that is really a "half-truth" (a whole lie!). God is sovereign over all Heaven and Earth. He reigns over all creation. Whatever Satan has dominion over, he has almost like a "squatter" on a piece of land (cp usurper - see "title deed" transferred to Jesus). One day even that domain will be decimated when he is devoured by fire from heaven and cast into the lake of fire where he "and the false prophet....will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Rev 20:9, 10+). 

Exousia in Luke and Acts - Lk. 4:6; Lk. 4:32; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 5:24; Lk. 7:8; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 10:19; Lk. 12:5; Lk. 12:11; Lk. 19:17; Lk. 20:2; Lk. 20:8; Lk. 20:20; Lk. 22:53; Lk. 23:7;  Acts 1:7; Acts 5:4; Acts 8:19; Acts 9:14; Acts 26:10; Acts 26:12; Acts 26:18;

In English domain means the territory over which rule or control is exercised. NET Note adds that domain "the sphere in which the power is exercised." Other passages describe the domain of Satan, where he is permitted by God to exercise his right and his might...

Acts 26:18+ (The Gospel to the Gentiles) to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion (exousia) of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ 

Ephesians 2:2+  in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power (exousia) of the air (to the ruler of the kingdom of the air), of the spirit that is now working (more literally "energizing") in the sons of disobedience.

C I Scofield has a note on Satan that helps understand the domain of the devil  - The present world system (Rev 13:8-note), organized upon the principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and sinful pleasure, is his work and was the bribe which he offered to Christ (Mt 4:8, 9, Lk 4:5,6). Of that world system he is prince (John 14:30; 16:11), and god ("the god of this world" - 2 Cor 4:4). As "ruler (prince) of the kingdom of the air" (Eph 2:2) he is at the head of a vast host of demons (Mt 7:22). To him, under God, was committed upon earth the power of death (Heb 2:14). Cast out of heaven as his proper sphere and "position of authority," he still has access to God as the "accuser of our brothers" (Rev 12:10-note) and is permitted a certain power of sifting or testing the self-confident and carnal among believers (Job 1:6-11; Luke 22:31, 32; 1 Cor 5:5; 1 Ti 1:20); but this is a strictly permissive and limited power (Ed: e.g., Job 1:12), and believers so sifted are kept in faith through the advocacy of Christ (Luke 22:31, 32; 1 John 2:1). At the beginning of the Great Tribulation Satan's privilege of access to God as accuser will be withdrawn (Rev 12:7-12-note). At the return of Christ in glory Satan will be bound for 1000 years (Rev 20:2-note), after which he will be "set free for a short time" (Rev 20:3,7,8-note) and will become the head of a final effort to overthrow the kingdom. Defeated in this, he will be cast into the lake of fire, his final doom. The notion that he reigns in hell is not Biblical. He is prince of this present world system but will be tormented in the lake of fire.

It is interesting to observe Luke’s use of exousia (authority, power, or legal right).
    1.      In Lk 4:6 Satan claims to be able to give Jesus authority.
    2.      In Lk 4:32, 36 the Jewish people were amazed at how Jesus taught using His personal authority.
    3.      In Lk 9:1 He gave His power and authority to His Apostles.
    4.      In Lk 10:19 He gave His authority to the seventy missionaries.
    5.      In Lk 20:2, 8 the central question of Jesus’ authority is asked.
    6.      In Lk 22:53 evil has been allowed authority to condemn and kill Jesus.
Although not in Luke, Matthew’s introduction to the Great Commission, “all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth,” is a marvelous statement (Matt. 28:18).
Jesus’ answer to their question would have been
    1.      God’s spoken words at His
      a.      baptism (Luke 3:21–22)
      b.      transfiguration (Luke 9:35)
    2.      OT fulfilled prophecy
      a.      tribe of Judah (cf. Gen. 49:10)
      b.      family of Jesse (cf. 2 Sam. 7)
      c.      born in Bethlehem (cf. Micah 5:2)
      d.      Born during the fourth empire (Rome) of Dan. 2
      e.      helped the poor, blind, needy (Isaiah)
    3.      His exorcisms revealed His power and authority over Satan and his kingdom.
    4.      His resuscitations of the dead showed His power over physical life and death.
    5.      His miracles all reveal His power and authority over the temporal, spacial, and physical.
      a.      nature
      b.      feedings
      c.      healings
      d.      mind readings
      e.      catching fish

Glory (1391)(doxa  from dokeo = to think) in simple terms means to give a proper opinion or estimate of something. Glory is something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration. It describes renown, a thing that is beautiful, impressive, or worthy of praise. 

Fix Your Eyes Luke 4:1-13 

  • Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. —Hebrews 12:1-2

Over and over again, my driver’s education instructor said these two words: “Drive ahead.” This was his way of telling me to focus on the horizon, not just on my immediate surroundings. Drivers who continually look to the right or to the left may well go into the ditch.

Satan is good at causing “roadside distractions” that tempt us to look at him rather than at Jesus. If he can get our attention, he may be able to get us off track and delay our spiritual progress. He even tried this with Jesus Himself!

After Jesus was baptized, Satan tried to deter Him by suggesting “better” ways to accomplish His work. Satan told Jesus that He could prove He was the Son of God by throwing Himself from the temple (Luke 4:9-11). But Jesus knew that proving He was God’s Son would come by submitting Himself to the cross, not by flinging Himself from a high building. He responded, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (v.12). Jesus had His eyes on our redemption, and He knew He couldn’t accomplish it by taking a detour around the cross.

The way to stay out of spiritual ditches is to fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:2) and refuse to even glance at Satan’s distractions. By Julie Ackerman Link(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The only way to overcome
Temptations that we face,
Is to be focused on the Lord,
Who strengthens by His grace.

Satan ought not be in our line of vision,
but behind us. —Leonard Sweet

Luke 4:7  "Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours." 

Amplified (classic) Therefore if You will do homage to and worship me [just once], it shall all be Yours.

Wuest  As for you therefore, if you will fall upon your knees before me and touch the ground with your forehead as an expression of profound and reverential worship, all shall be yours.


Therefore - term of conclusion. Based on the fact that I can give it to you Jesus, the logical conclusion would be if you worship me, then it's all yours. 

If You worship before me - If is a third class condition which means "If you worship me (and I am not saying whether you will or will not)." The condition the devil demanded was worship. As explained below the verb the devil uses conveys not only the thought of the act of worship like we do on Sunday, but also alludes to the position of worship, for the root word means to bow down or prostrate oneself before another! The word prostrate means stretched out and lying at full length along the ground as an act of submission! What utter arrogance that the devil would even have to gall to make such a request, knowing full well that Jesus was the Creator of everything, including the devil himself! Perhaps the deceiver is himself just that sick and deceived (cp 2 Ti 3:13+). This is the price the devil will charge to give "world authority" to Jesus, Who will one day return as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16+)! In this temptation the devil is calling on Jesus to break the first commandment in Ex 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me."  As an aside, remember that Satan is a liar and "does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him" (Jn 8:44), therefore one wonders if any of his so-called promises were trustworthy? I personally doubt it! 

Worship (bow down) (4352)(proskuneo from pros = before + kuneo = kiss or adore) means to prostrate oneself in homage before another in the full sense of worship, not mere reverence or courtesy. Proskuneo represents the most common Near Eastern act of adoration and reverence and also carries the idea of profound awe and respect. The word proskuneo literally means to kiss toward someone, to throw a kiss in token of respect or homage, to prostrate oneself in homage, to do reverence to, to adore and so to worship and show respect. In the ancient Oriental (especially Persia) the mode of salutation between persons of equal rank was to kiss each other on the lips. When the difference of rank was slight, they kissed each other on the cheek. When one was much inferior, he fell upon his knees touched his forehead to the ground or prostrated himself, and as he was bowing down he would be throwing kisses toward the superior. It is this latter mode of salutation that is intended by the Greek writers in the use of the verb proskuneo. Luke used proskuneo in Acts 7:45 in Stephen's description of Israel's idol worship even after deliverance from Egypt (Acts 7:43). In Acts 10:25 Cornelius attempted to worship Peter but Peter refused the worship declaring " I too am just a man." (Acts 10:26) Luke used proskuneo twice to describe worship in Jerusalem (presumably at the Temple) (Acts 8:27, 24:11).

Satan is tempting Jesus to take the crown without the cross. Jesus refuses and accepts the cross and receives the worship as described by Luke "And they (His disciples), after worshiping (proskuneo) Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, (Luke 24:52-note)

Before me (in sight of) (1799)(enopion) means literally in sight, in front of, in the presence of. Before the face and thus the idea of face to face! The unholy one is calling for the Holy One to prostrate His Holy face before the devil's unholy feet! Woe! 

It shall all be Yours - Jesus obviously knew Scripture and so He undoubtedly knew truths revealed in the Messianic Psalm 2 in which the Father promised Him the very thing with which the Devil attempted to entice Him! So in a sense, Satan is attempting to put himself in the place of the Father, the ultimate blasphemy against the Most High God, the only Living God! The Psalmist records...

“But as for Me (God the Father is speaking), I have installed My King (Christ) Upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.  Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. (Psalm 2:6-8)

Life Application note - Jesus didn't argue with Satan about who owned the world, but Jesus refused to validate Satan's claim by worshiping him. Jesus knew that he would redeem the world through giving up his life on the cross, not through making an alliance with a corrupt angel. (Life Application Commentary)

Steven Cole comments that "Like a clever salesman, Satan sets out his wares without mentioning the price tag. He always shows the pleasures of sin (which are real), but he doesn’t mention the stiff consequences that inevitably follow. “Worship me and I’ll give you dominion over all the kingdoms of the earth.” Sounds good! But he fails to mention that Jesus will then be the servant of Satan, not of the Father, that the holy union between Father and Son will be forever broken and that Jesus’ mission as Savior will be ruined. Satan still works that way: “Give in and enjoy the pleasures of sex like all your friends are doing! Why deprive yourself? Life is short, this may be your only opportunity.” He doesn’t mention the risk of venereal disease (including AIDS), or pregnancy, or the spiritual and emotional consequences of giving yourself to someone outside of God’s design of lifelong marriage. He dangles before you the good feelings of taking drugs or getting drunk, but he hides the ruined lives of the drug addict or drunkard on the streets. And, of course, he never sets before you the eternal wrath of God! (Sermon)

Matthew 4:1-11
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal told of a man living in Taiwan who claims the title of governor of Fukien Province. The problem is that Fukien, which is on the Chinese mainland, already has a governor who rules the affairs of its 27 million citizens. The other man's claim goes back to 1949, when the Nationalists fled China for Taiwan (then known as Formosa) after their defeat by the Chinese Communists.

The bottom line is that this Taiwanese man's claim to rule Fukien Province is essentially worthless. He has an office and a staff and carries on as if he were governor. But he has no real authority to rule at all.

Satan has also been carrying on as if he were a legitimate ruler. But at the temptation of Christ Satan's claims were proven to be false, and he was exposed as a temporary usurper.

The analogy doesn't hold at every point, of course. Unlike the ""governor"" in today's illustration, Satan does have real power. And at least for now, the kingdoms of the unbelieving world do lie in the devil's lap. But one day Jesus Christ will return as Ruler of all.

The temptation of Christ is an example of spiritual warfare without parallel. We can only read the text and watch awestruck as Jesus engages Satan in face-to-face battle. We do not believe that it was even possible for the sinless Son of God to yield to Satan's offers.

For that we can be eternally grateful! Whereas Adam and Eve had fallen to the serpent's temptation, there in the desert Jesus refused the temptation to bypass the cross. He also refused to go outside of the Father's will for His physical needs of food and protection.

We will never be tested to the same degree or with the same effects as Jesus was tested. But because He experienced temptation, He is sympathetic to us in our need (Heb. 4:14-16). And we can imitate Jesus' example by drawing on God's Word to refute and defeat Satan.
If you want to turn today into an extraordinary Monday, consider the benefits available to you because Jesus endured and triumphed over temptation.

A Tempting Opportunity Read: Luke 4:1-13

If You will worship before me, all will be Yours. —Luke 4:7

The biggest theft in Philadelphia’s history was carried out by a couple of men who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. According to witnesses, a yellow container fell out of an armored truck. Two motorists following the truck jumped out, grabbed the object, and sped off laughing.

The driver discovered later that the rear door had not been secured properly, allowing it to swing open and the money to fall out. The container had in it 12,000 one-hundred-dollar bills, which is 1.2 million dollars!

A criminal mind would interpret such a stroke of fortune as a gift from God. But in more subtle ways, all of us are tempted to assume that an unusual opportunity carries with it divine approval. Yet we see how wrong such thinking is when we consider the experience of Jesus in the wilderness.

After 40 days without food, Jesus was hungry and weak. Ahead of Him loomed the cross. But all He had to do was listen to the devil to change all that. Before Him was a golden opportunity to satisfy His body and avoid the torment of crucifixion. But He didn’t give in. He showed how important it is to see some situations as temptations to be resisted rather than opportunities to be seized. How about us? By Mart DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We need a strength to keep us true
And straight in everything we do;
We need God's power to keep us strong
When we are tempted to do wrong.

Satan tempts us to get the worst out of us;
God tests us to get the best out of us.

Luke 4:8  Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"

Wuest  And Jesus answering said to him, It has been written and is at present on record, You shall worship the Lord your God, and to Him only you shall render sacred service.


Jesus answered him, "It is written, '- It has been written and is at present on record and remains on record eternally (Mt 24:35).

YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"Worship is intimately linked to service. If we worship God on Sunday, but are not willing to serve Him enabled by His Spirit  Monday through Saturday, then our worship is at best "defective" and at worst hypocritical!

Jesus is quoting Deut 6:13 "You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name."  But Jesus adds a phrase from the Septuagint (Lxx) translation of Deut 6:13 which says the "Him (the LORD) you shall serve" (kai auto latreuseis). Why did Jesus add this phrase from the Septuagint (Lxx)

Warren Wiersbe answers the question just posed noting that "Satan had said nothing about service, but Jesus knew that whatever we worship, we will serve. Service to the Lord is true freedom, but service to Satan is terrible bondage. God's pattern is to start with suffering and end with glory (1 Peter 5:10-note), while Satan's pattern is to start with glory and end with suffering. Satan wants us to sacrifice the eternal for the temporary and take the "easy way." (Ed: Beloved don't be enticed by the passing pleasures of sin - Heb 11:25-note) (The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 1) 

Shall...serve 3000) (latreuo from latris = one hired or latron = reward, wages) means to work for reward, for hire or for pay, to be in servitude, render cultic service. Latreuo was used literally for bodily service (e.g., workers on the land, or slaves), and figuratively for “to cherish.” In the NT the idea is to render service to God, to worship, to perform sacred services or to minister to God in a spirit of worship (in fact in the NT uses below, note several passages clearly associate worship with serving.). 

Jesus would not short circuit the Cross for the seductive, passing glory of the kingdoms of this world. Jesus clearly understood His mission as shown by His declaration that His glory would follow His Cross

Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things (THE CROSS) and to enter into His glory (THE CROWN)? (Lk 24:26+)

Technical note - 'Most MSS, especially the later ones (A Θ Ψ 0102 f13 ? it), have “Get behind me, Satan!” at the beginning of the quotation. This roughly parallels Matt 4:10 (though the Lukan MSS add ὀπίσω μου to read ὕπαγε ὀπίσω μου, σατανᾶ [hupage opisō mou, satana]); for this reason the words are suspect as a later addition to make the two accounts agree more precisely. A similar situation occurred in Lk 4:5." (NET Note)

J Vernon McGee - What is Satan really saying to our Lord? His implication is this: “You are on the way to the throne, and I know You are going by way of the Cross. I have a detour for You. You can miss the horror of the Cross and come to the throne without the Cross.” May I say to you, that is without doubt the most satanic insinuation in the world. This same appeal to the mind has gotten into the pulpits of America today, that we should be intellectual, that we should not preach the death of Christ, that the cross of Christ should not be held up. Yet the most brilliant of them all came yonder to Corinth, the city that boasted of its Greek philosophy. This man Paul, who knew their philosophy better than they knew it, came and said to them:   For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)
And he said:   For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.  (1 Corinthians 1:18)
But he said, “That’s what I preach.” And, my friend, if Christ went by way of the Cross because it was necessary, then I’ll preach the Cross because it is necessary for your salvation and mine. There’s no other way. No other way.
Dr. Edward Judson, the son of Adoniram Judson, who headed up the mission after his father’s death, made this observation: “My father suffered greatly in Burma, and as a result there has come into existence all these great missionary agencies of this day.” And then he made this remarkable statement: “If you get anything without suffering, it’s because somebody else suffered for you. And if you suffer and do not succeed, somebody else will get something because you suffered.” Oh, what a glorious, wonderful truth that is. It contradicts the philosophy of Satan: “Miss the Cross; You don’t need the Cross—it’s not essential. You can come to the throne without the Cross.” Our Lord said, and will you notice this:   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 4:8)
Oh, Satan left out something. Satan said, “If You will worship me only for a moment, I’ll give You the kingdom.” Our Lord said in effect, “You left out something. You cannot worship without serving. If I worship you, I’ll serve you. And we are to worship God only, and Him only are we to serve.”
May I say to you, this is a mistake that even some Christians are making today. They think they can serve God on Sunday, and maybe through certain Christian agencies, but that they can live their own lives to suit themselves. My friend, you cannot do that. It’s impossible. Listen to Paul in Romans 6:16: Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
Don’t you know, my friend, that whomever you obey, whatever livery or uniform you wear, you are the servant of that one? If you are serving sin, then sin is your master. Don’t fool yourself. I stood in front of my office window one day and looked across the street at the California Club. There were about fifteen chauffeurs standing and chatting. Walking very briskly, a man came out of the club. I couldn’t hear what he said, but he lifted a finger and spoke something. Immediately one chauffeur withdrew from the crowd, went over and opened the door of the car, and the man got in. Then the chauffeur went around the car, got in the driver’s seat, and drove off. So I came to the profound conclusion that he and no one else in the crowd was that man’s chauffeur because the one you obey is your master. The others didn’t obey him. My friend, today when you serve sin, sin is your master. Our Lord says you are to worship only God, and Him only are you to serve. You can’t worship Him without serving Him. And if you’re serving sin you cannot worship God. (Jesus: Centerpiece of Scripture)

Deuteronomy 6:1-15 - Who Is On The Throne?
According to English poet Oliver Reynolds, an old man had a family altar where he burned incense to an engraving of Napoleon. When asked why he worshiped the picture as a god, the man replied that he would worship anything.

Imagine venerating a picture of that French general! Imagine burning incense to the portrait of a human being who has no meaningful relationship to his worshipers! That’s idolatry at its worst! We don’t think of ourselves as idolaters, of course, but are we in subtle ways disobeying God’s commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me”? (Exodus 20:3). We would never dream of bowing down to the picture of any mortal, however famous or powerful. But who is on the throne of our hearts? Are we giving a loved one first place in our lives? Is that person number one in our affections? Maybe we’re worshiping money. Or perhaps our job is our top priority. Jesus said, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Luke 4:8). Are we worshiping and serving only Him?

Spend some time alone with God to examine your heart. Make sure that you haven’t become an idolater. —V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Unless we worship only God
Our lives cannot be truly free;
For we were made for Him alone—
All else is but idolatry.
—D. De Haan

An idol is anything that takes the place of God.

Luke 4:9  And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;   

Amplified (2015)  Then he led Jesus to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle (highest point) of the temple, and said [mockingly] to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; 10 for it is written and forever remains written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard and protect You,’

NET Then the devil brought him to Jerusalem, had him stand on the highest point of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 

Wuest  And he brought Him into Jerusalem, and stood Him upon the wing of the temple, and said to Him, In view of the fact that you are Son of God by virtue of your participation in the divine essence, hurl yourself down from this place, 

And (kai) - The NET Bible translates the Greek conjunction kai  as then (see note on "then" as an expression of time) to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

And he led (agoHim to Jerusalem - The verb for led is ago which means to take along, to lead as when conducing someone somewhere (first use = Mt 10:18 of fate of disciples). This is Luke's second use of ago in this chapter, the first time in his description that Jesus was "led around (ago) by the Spirit" (Lk 4:1+). Mark it down -- a man led by the Spirit is not likely to be led (better "misled") by the devil! In Luke 4:29+ the Jews drove Jesus out of the city and "led (ago) Him to the brow of the hill," in order to throw Him down the cliff and kill Him! Satan tried unsuccessfully to lead Jesus to reject the Father's will and to thereby to sin and besmirch His value as the sinless Lamb of God. Then a group of Jews who were under the dominion of Satan (cp Acts 26:18+ and in who's minds he undoubtedly had sent fiery missiles) also tried unsuccessfully to kill the Lamb of God! Notice how Luke 4:13+ refers to a "an opportune time," and Luke 4:29 is one of those times the devil saw as an opportunity to do away with his "nemesis." Jesus would not be deterred from accomplishing the work the Father had given Him (Jn 4:34+, Jn 17:4) and until He fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah when finally "HE WAS LED (ago) AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH." (Acts 8:32+ fulfilling Isa 53:7+)

Matthew's version has "Then the devil took Him into the holy city (cf. Ne 11:1; Isa 48:2; Da 9:24; Mt 27:53) and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple." (Matthew 4:5+)

The verb for took is paralambano which means to take with one in order to carry away (Also used in Mt 4:8 and Mt 27:27). Jesus uses paralambano in His description of the glorious Rapture in John 14:3 - "I will come again and receive you to Myself"! Vincent adds this note on paralambano - "The preposition para (with, by the side of), implies take along with himself, or conduct. It is the same word which all three evangelists use of our Lord’s taking his chosen apostles to the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt. 17:1; Mk 9:2; Lk 9:28).

And had Him stand on the pinnacle (pterugion) of the temple (hieros - the entire temple complex) - The highest point which dropped off some 450 feet and to fall would be sure death. Wuest has "and stood Him upon the wing of the temple."

If (since) You are the Son of God throw Yourself down- First class conditional assumes this is true of Jesus, so could be phrased "Since You are the Son of God." Note again while skeptics and liberal theologians question the deity of Jesus, the head demon does not! Wuest paraphrases it "In view of the fact that you are the Son of God by virtue of your participation in the divine essence."  This is ultimate hubris, commanding Jesus to jump! Throw is ballo a command in the aorist imperative, that conveys a sense of urgency so the idea "Just do it!" "Just jump!" "Don't delay!" "Obey now!" What devilish arrogance to command God the Son to obey and in so doing to disavow His obedience to the will of His Father!

John Phillips - Satan was using his powers of persuasion on Christ, just as he does when he tries to trap us. We need to remember that he can persuade, but he cannot push. He creates the temptation; we create the transgression. (Exploring Matthew)

Kent Hughes comments that "By urging (Ed: commanding) Jesus to jump, Satan was trying to take advantage of Jesus’ twice-voiced determination to trust and obey God’s Word—“You are committed to obeying God’s Word, so obey this!”"....There may even have been a messianic overtone in Satan’s challenge because a later Rabbinic saying read: “Our teachers have taught, when the King, the Messiah, reveals himself, he will come and stand on the roof of the Temple” (Pesiqta rabbati, 36). Add to this the tendency of the godly to be attracted by the challenge to “step out in faith” and you can feel the tug of the temptation. In fact, refusal or even hesitancy in such situations could appear to be a lack of faith. It was a powerful, beguiling temptation. Satan was saying, in effect, “In the first temptations you have shown your trust in God’s Word. You are a faithful man—Psalm 91 is you! This is what the people are looking for in a Messiah. You are a man of faith, aren’t you? Just jump, and the whole world will see who you really are!” Really? Jesus thought otherwise. He knew that he had no word from the Father directing him to leap off the temple. He again recognized that as God’s Son he must never do anything in his own power, for that would be putting God to the test. (See Luke: That You May Know the Truth)

Pinnacle (4419)(pterugion = diminutive of ptérux) means literally a little wing and figuratively as in the only NT uses (Lk 4:9, Mt 4:5) refers to anything like a wing, and hence signifies the pointed extremity of anything (tip, edge, apex, summit). It is the outermost or farthest point either vertically or horizontally. Pterugion is anything shaped like a wing and thus which come to a point as does a fin on a fish (Lxx for fin = pterugion in Lev. 11:9, 10, 12); the corner or skirt of a garment (Nu 15:38; 1 Sa 24:5). 

Thayer on pterugion - some understand this of the top or apex of the sanctuary (tou naou), others of the top of Solomon's porch, and others of the top of the Royal Portico; this last Josephus (Antiquities 15, 11, 5) says was of such great height 

Pterugion - 13 verses in the Septuagint - Ex. 39:19; Lev. 11:9; Lev. 11:10; Lev. 11:12; Nu 15:38; Dt. 14:9; Dt. 14:10; Ru 3:9; 1 Sam. 15:27; 1 Sa 24:4-5, 11 (edge of Saul's robe); 1 Ki. 6:24 Ruth 3:9+ He (Boaz) said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering (Hebrew = kanaph = wing, figuratively = garment, covering; Lxx = pterugion) over your maid, for you are a close relative.”

See excellent schematic diagram of Temple Mount at the Time of Jesus -  "the pinnacle of the temple is probably the southeast corner of the temple area [Ed: It would be the corner pointing toward you as you view the diagram], the top of which was some 300 feet (91 m) above the floor of the Kidron Valley." (ESV Note)  See also Justin Taylor's article with pictures of the Temple in Jesus' day

Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 15 writes "but the fourth front of the temple, which was southward, had indeed itself gates in its middle, as also it had the royal cloisters, with three walks, which reached in length from the east valley unto that on the west, for it was impossible it should reach any farther:  412 and this cloister deserves to be mentioned better than any other under the sun; for while the valley was very deep, and its bottom could not be seen, if you looked from above into the depth, this further vastly high elevation of the cloister stood upon that height, insomuch that if any one looked down from the top of the battlements, or down both those altitudes, he would be giddy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth. (Bolding added)

Vincent's comment on pinnacle of the TemplePinnacle, from the Latin Pinnaculum, a diminutive of pinna or penna (a wing), is a literal translation of pterugion, which is also a diminutive (a little wing or winglet). Nothing in the word compels us to infer that Christ was placed on the top of a tower or spire, which is the popular meaning of pinnacle. The word may be used in the familiar English sense of the wing of a building. Herod’s temple had two wings, the northern and southern, of which the southern was the higher and grander; that being the direction in which the chief enlargement of the temple area made by Herod was practicable. That enlargement, according to Josephus, was effected by building up walls of solid masonry from the valley below. At the extremity of the southern side of the area, was erected the “royal portico,” a magnificent colonnade, consisting of a nave and two aisles, running across the entire space from the eastern to the western wall. Josephus further says, that “while the valley of itself was very deep, and its bottom could scarcely be seen when one looked down from above, the additional vastly high elevation of the portico was placed on that height, insomuch that, if any one looked down from the summit of the roof, combining the two altitudes in one stretch of vision, he would be giddy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth.” This, in comparison with the northern wing, was so emphatically the wing of the temple as to explain the use of the article here, as a well-known locality. The scene of the temptation may have been (for the whole matter is mainly one of conjecture) the roof of this portico, at the southeastern angle, where it joined Solomon’s Porch, and from which the view into the Kidron valley beneath was to the depth of four hundred and fifty feet. The word temple (hieron, lit., sacred place) signifies the whole compass of the sacred enclosure, with its porticos, courts, and other subordinate buildings; and should be carefully distinguished from the other word, naos, also rendered temple, which means the temple itself—the “Holy Place” and the “Holy of Holies.” When we read, for instance, of Christ teaching in the temple (hieron) we must refer it to one of the temple-porches. So it is from the ἱερόν, the court of the Gentiles, that Christ expels the money-changers and cattle-merchants. In Matt. 27:51, it is the veil of the naos which is rent; the veil separating the holy place from the holy of holies. In the account of Zacharias entering into the temple of the Lord to burn incense (Luke 1:9), the word is naos, the holy place in which the altar of incense stood. The people were “without,” in the fore-courts. In John 2:21, the temple of his body, ἱερόν would be obviously inappropriate.


Amplified (classic)  For it is written, He will give His angels charge over you to guard and watch over you closely and carefully;

Amplified (2015)  for it is written and forever remains written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard and protect You,’

Wuest  for it has been written and at present is on record, To His angels He shall give a charge concerning you, to carefully guard you, 


For - Always ponder this term of explanation asking what it explains. In this context it introduces the devil's lying logic that Jesus could confidently jump from the pinnacle of the Temple and not be harmed, but as Jesus said "Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (Jn 8:44)

Wiersbe observes that this "temptation was even more subtle. This time Satan also used the Word of God. “So You intend to live by the Scriptures,” he implied. “Then let me quote You a verse of Scripture and see if You will obey it!” (BEC)

Donald MacLeod writes that "If Satan dared to use Scripture for the temptation of our Lord, he will not scruple to use it for the delusion of men."

It is written  - Here even Satan appeals to the immutability of God's Word, in effect telling Jesus that these promises still hold true.  Remember that every use of the phrase it is written (Lk 4:4, 8, 10, 17) is in the perfect tense which indicates it has been written down at a point in time in the past and it remains on record. So even the verb tense emphasizes the permanence (eternality) of the the Word of God (Mt 24:35). Even the devil knows the Word of God has been written down and it stands forever! 

It is written” should be in the heart and on the lips of every Christian." (F. Whitfield ) “It is written” should decide every controversy, settle every doubt, and overcome every difficulty. (Amen!)

NET Note says "This was not so much an incorrect citation as a use in a wrong context (a misapplication of the passage)." Actually it was a misquotation, in the sense that the devil deleted or left out the phrase "in all your ways." See comments below on the significance of Satan's omission, some writers concluding it does not make a difference, while others say it does.

This misquotation and misapplication does make the point that all of us have to be very careful in our study of Scripture, lest we fail to observe the text accurately, which will lead potentially to misinterpretation which in turn will lead to an incorrect or inappropriate application as in this present passage. All this to say, if you desire to rightly (and truthfully) divide the Word of Truth (2 Ti 2:15+), the best Bible study method I have discovered in the last 30 years is inductive Bible study which places heavy emphasis on careful, prayerful, Spirit filled observation which facilitates accurate Interpretation, which in turn leads to correct personal Application as commanded by James 1:22-note

First, note that the devil knows Scripture. That means you and I had better know Scripture (cf inductive Bible study, Meditate, Primer on Biblical MeditationMemorizing His WordMemory Verses by Topic). Paul said God's Word was vital in our struggle against rulers and powers in heavenly places, for it is the "sword of the Spirit," (Eph 6:17+), our major offensive weapon along with "all prayer at all times" (Eph 6:18+). 

THOUGHT - The devil knows Scripture but he does not obey Scripture. Beloved, be careful if you think that just knowing Scripture is sufficient. We need to obey the Scriptures we know or we will surely stumble and fall into sin. We need to know Scripture and obey Scripture so that we are just smarter sinners but by the Spirit are transformed from glory to glory more like our Savior (2 Cor 3:18+). James warned his readers of this danger, issuing  a command to "prove (present imperative - calls for continual Need for the Holy Spirit to obey) yourselves doers (poietes) of the word, and not merely hearers (WHY? HERE'S THE DANGER!) who delude (paralogizomai in present tense = continually deceive) themselves." (James 1:22+)

Second, note that the devil perverts Scripture. The passage the devil quotes in Lk 4:10, 11 is from Ps 91:11,12 which reads "For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone." As discussed in notes on Luke 4:11, the devil "subtracts" from the original verse and many commentaries feel this distorts the true meaning of the passage! Other writers see this not so much as a distortion of the true meaning, but of an inappropriate application of the truth of Ps 91:11,12. (See comments below)

HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD (diaphulasso) YOU - Matthew 4:6+ has "HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU" but does not have the phrase "TO GUARD YOU." The devil wants Jesus to rely on special divine protection and in so doing to "test" the Lord's promise to protect. Satan twists Scripture from trusting God to testing God! So although the devil twists the wonderful divine promise in Psalm 91:11-12, it is still a truth that we as believers can and should rest in and on as if laying our head on a soft Scriptural pillow! Indeed, they are well kept whom God keeps. The believer's security is not the absence of danger, but the presence of God, no matter what the danger. And so we can confidently sing the words of Augustus M Toplady's hymn

A sovereign Protector I have,
Unseen, yet for ever at hand,
Unchangeably faithful to save,
Almighty to rule and command.

He smiles, and my comforts abound;
His grace as the dew shall descend;
And walls of salvation surround
The soul He delights to defend.

C H Spurgeon comments on Psalm 91:11 - You remember how the devil misapplied this text to Christ. He was quite right in the application; but he was quite wrong in the quotation, for he left out the words “in all thy ways.” God will help us in our ways if we keep in His ways. When we meet with trouble and accident, we ought to inquire whether we are in God’s way. That famous old Puritan, holy Mr. Dodd, having to cross a river, had to change from one boat into another, and being little used to the water, he fell in, and, when he was pulled out, in his simplicity and wisdom he said, “I hope that I am in my way.” That was the only question that seemed to trouble him. If I am in my way, then God will keep me. We ought to ask ourselves, “Now, am I in God’s way? Am I really moving today and acting today as divine providence leads me, and as duty calls me?He who travels on the king’s business, by daylight, along the king’s highway, may be sure of the king’s protection. “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”  (Heb 1:14+) Come here, Gabriel, Michael, and all the rest of you,” says the great King of kings to the angels around His throne; and when they come at His call, he says, “Take care of my child. Watch over him today. He will be in peril; suffer no evil to come near him.” (And on Ps 92:12 Spurgeon rightly says) What royal protection we have, a guard of angels, who count it their delight and their honour to wait upon the seed-royal of the universe, for such are all the saints of God!

Guard (1314)(diaphulasso from dia = intensifies meaning + phulasso = to guard, like a sentry at his post) means to preserve carefully, carefully guard, to watch over to protect in order to keep safe and/or protect from harm. Diaphulasso was often used in magical literature to appeal to a supernatural kind of protection associated with amulets, a satanic counterfeit to the truth of divine angelic protection for God's obedient children! Luke 4:10 is the only use in the NT (Mt 4:6 lacks this clause) but there are 14 uses in the Septuagint and some are very instructive as discussed below.

Jehovah promises Jacob “Behold, I am with you and will keep (Heb =  shamar; Lxx = diaphulasso) you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Ge 28:15) Jacob responded to this truth Moses recording "Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep ((Heb =  shamar; Lxx = diaphulasso) me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the LORD will be my God." (Ge 28:20-21)

In Deuteronomy God associates His hand of protection with Israel's obedience,  Moses writing "Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep (Heb =  shamar; Lxx = diaphulasso) with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers." (Dt. 7:12)

Again in Deuteronomy Moses describes Jehovah's protection of Jacob (the Nation of Israel) - "For the LORD’S portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.  He found him in a desert land, And in the howling (howling is from verbal root referring to wailing of mourners) waste of a wilderness; He encircled him (what a great word picture of Jehovah all around!), He cared for him, He guarded (Lxx = diaphulasso) him as the pupil of His eye." (Dt 32:9-10)

In some of the last words of Joshua to Israel (last words are always important words when spoken by godly men!) he charged them to choose who they would serve, the gods or THE GOD (Joshua 24:15), to which they responded - The people answered and said, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did these great signs in our sight and preserved (Lxx = diaphulasso) us through all the way in which we went and among all the peoples through whose midst we passed. (Jos 24:16, 17)

Comment: This generation of Israel remained faithful in part because they heeded Joshua's charge and in part because they remembered Jehovah's deliverance and careful protection. But in the Book of Judges we read a sad commentary that  "All that generation (those who responded in Josh 24:16, 17) also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals." (Jdg 2:10,11-note) They did not know the Person or the Works of God! 

Here are other uses of diaphulasso in the Lxx that speak of the Lord's careful protection of those who belong to Him. 

The LORD will protect (Heb =  shamar; Lxx = diaphulasso) him and keep him alive, And he shall be called blessed upon the earth; And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies. (Ps 41:2)

Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves (Heb =  shamar; Lxx = diaphulasso) the way of His godly ones.  (Pr 2:8)

Diaphulasso - 14v - Gen. 28:15; Gen. 28:20; Lev. 19:20; Deut. 7:12; Deut. 32:10; Jos. 24:17; Job 2:6; Ps. 31:6; Ps. 41:2; Ps. 91:11; Prov. 2:8; Prov. 6:24; Jer. 3:5; Hos. 12:13; Zech. 3:7; Lk. 4:10

Here are some other quotes that relate to God's hand of protection promised to obedient believers in Psalm 91:11-12...

  • If the Father has the kingdom ready for us, he will take care of us on the way. -- Andrew Bonar
  • Should storms of sevenfold thunder roll, And shake the globe from pole to pole; No flaming bolt could daunt my face, For Jesus is my hiding-place. -- Jehoiada Brewer
  • If God has said, ‘I will never leave,’ we may well say, ‘What shall man do? ‘ -- John Brown
  • Anyone who has the firm conviction that he will never be forsaken by the Lord will not be unduly anxious, because he will depend on his providence. -- John Calvin
  • Nothing is more foolish than a security built upon the world and its promises, for they are all vanity and a lie. -- Matthew Henry
  • Everyone who is a man of God has omnipotence as his guardian, and God will sooner empty heaven of angels than leave a saint without defence. -- C. H. Spurgeon

This only can my fears control,
And bid my sorrows fly;
What harm can ever reach my soul
Beneath my Father’s eye?
Anne Steele



Here is how the devil quoted Ps 92:11,12


And here is the original verse in Psalm 91:11-12 with the devil's deceptive deletion highlighted in yellow

"For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone." 

Several writers such as D A Carson, NET Note, et al say the devil did not actually misquote Ps 91:11-12, but others like Wiersbe, Henry Morris and C H Spurgeon do not agree. A T Robertson does add that the devil "misapplies it and makes it mean presumptuous reliance on God." (Note that some of the following comments are from resources addressing the parallel passage in Matthew)

D A Carson comments "Satan quoted Psalm 91:11–12 (v. 6) from the LXX, omitting the words “to guard you in all your ways.” The omission itself does not prove he handled the Scriptures deceitfully (contra Walvoord), since the quotation is well within the range of common NT citation patterns. Satan’s deceit lay in misapplying his quotation into a temptation that easily traps the devout mind by apparently warranting what might otherwise be thought sinful. Psalm 91:11–12 refers to anyone who trusts God and thus preeminently to Jesus. The angels will lift such a person up in their hands like a nurse a baby (cf. Nu 11:12; Dt 1:31; Isa 49:22; Heb 1:14) (Matthew - Expositor's Bible Commentary)

Joseph A Alexander - That the mere omission of the words, in all thy ways, was a part of that temptation, or designed to wrest the passage from its true sense, though a very ancient and still prevalent opinion, seems to be a gratuitous refinement, as our Lord himself makes no such charge; as the first words of the sentence would of course suggest the rest; and as ways, in the original, does not mean ways of duty, but of Providence. Neither the tempter’s argument nor Christs’ reply to it would be at all affected by the introduction of the words suppressed. (Matthew 4)

R C H Lenski - The cunning of the temptation is doubled by the devil's use of Scripture. By himself quoting Scripture the devil would block any further resort of Jesus to Scripture; he would wrest the sword of the Spirit from Jesus' hand. The devil here shows himself an expert in handling Scripture. Luther well calls him a doctor non promotus sed expertus. The passage he quotes seems to fit the proposal he makes in the most perfect way. Read the entire Psalm and see how all of it fits quite exactly. All that Satan has done is to invent an act to match the two verses quoted, one in which God's angels can bear a man up and prevent him from crashing his feet on the stones beneath. They will catch him under the arms and let him light on the rocks below as gently as feather down. The devil's art of quoting Scripture has been spread far and wide in the devil's school, and some of his pupils and graduates are doctors that are quite as expert as he is. In this case the deception does not lie in misapplying to Jesus what really does not apply to him. Psalm 91 applies to any son of God and certainly also to this Son. Satan abbreviates by omitting the line, "to keep thee in all thy ways." Some find the deception in this omission as though the promise of God were conditional: to protect us only when we walk in the path of divine duty. But then the words should read, "to keep thee in all his ways." If the deception lay in omitting this line, it would have been rather easy to overthrow Satan. A misquotation is removed by the corrected quotation. Jesus, however, makes no correction, does not point to the omitted line but accepts the quotation as being substantially correct. The deception in the use of this quotation by Satan lies in setting one Scripture against another. One statement is stressed, and others that should go with it are quietly disregarded. The trick is constantly practiced, often on a large scale, when a mass of passages are combined in such a way that it makes the Bible say what it most certainly does not say, in fact, openly contradicts elsewhere in the plainest language. This type of deception easily catches the unwary, especially the devout who regard the Scriptures highly; it is also the delight of those who love to harass devout believers while they think they are fortifying themselves behind impregnable walls. (See The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel)

Thomas Constable observes that Satan "omitted the words "to guard you in all your ways." Many expositors have assumed that Satan wanted to trick Jesus with this omission, but his free method of quoting was very common. Many New Testament writers quoted the Old Testament in the same loose way. Probably Satan wanted Jesus to demonstrate His trust in God in a spectacular way to challenge God's faithfulness. He misapplied the Scripture he quoted. The Psalms passage refers to anyone who trusts in God. That certainly applied to Jesus. The verses promise that the angels will uphold such a person as a nurse does a baby (cf. Num. 11:12; Deut. 1:31; Isa. 49:22; Heb. 1:14). God had revealed Himself most particularly at the temple throughout Israel's history. Therefore what better place could there have been to demonstrate the Son of God's confidence in His Father's promise? (Constable's Notes on the Bible)

Reformation Study Bible - Satan quotes Scripture, but he uses Ps. 91:11, 12 in a way exactly opposite to the original meaning. Ps. 91 is an exhortation to trust in God; Satan attempts to replace trust with a test, casting doubt on God's faithfulness. Presumption is not too great a faith but no faith at all.

Gilbrant - After the devil was confronted in the first temptation with the Word of God and with Jesus' trust in the Father, he resorted to the same means—he the great pretender—to attack Jesus' trust in the Father. He cited Psalm 91:11, 12 which contains a promise for believers. The devil can indeed use the Bible, but he takes verses out of context and distorts them, applying them incorrectly. (The Complete Biblical Library – Matthew)

The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Here the devil cites Psalm 91:11-12 out of context; Psalm 91:10 makes clear that God’s angelic protection (cf. Mark 1:13) is for events that befall his servants, not an excuse to seek out such dangers. (See The IVP Bible Background Commentary)

John MacArthur does not comment on the misquotation but focuses on the misapplication writing "that Satan also quoted Scripture (Ps 91:11, 12)—but utterly twisted its meaning, employing a passage about trusting God to justify testing Him. (SeeMacArthur Study Bible)

A T Robertson  - The devil urged presumptuous reliance on God and quotes Scripture to support his view (Psalm 91:11-12). So the devil quotes the Word of God, misinterprets it, omits a clause, and tries to trip the Son of God by the Word of God. It was a skilful thrust and would also be accepted by the populace as proof that Jesus was the Messiah if they should see him sailing down as if from heaven. This would be a sign from heaven in accord with popular Messianic expectation. The promise of the angels the devil thought would reassure Jesus. They would be a spiritual parachute for Christ. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)

HCSB Study Bible - Jesus did not deny the truth of the Scripture the Devil quoted, just the application he gave it. (See Study Notes

Warren Wiersbe writes "Of course, he (devil) misquoted the promise (Ps 91:11,12) and besides he omitted “in all thy ways.” (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Louis Barbieri - Satan may have thought if Jesus could quote Scripture to him, he could quote it too. However, he purposely did not quote Psalm 91:11-12 accurately. He left out an important phrase, "in all Your ways." According to the psalmist, a person is protected only when he is following the Lord's will. For Jesus to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple in some dramatic display to accommodate Himself to the people's thinking would not have been God's will. (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Nelson's NKJV Study Bible - In quoting the protective promise of Ps. 91:11, 12 to Jesus, Satan omitted the words “to keep you in all your ways.” Satan tempted Jesus to gain public attention through spectacle rather than through His righteous life and message. (See NKJV Study Bible)

John Phillips writes that Satan "was careful to leave something out: "to keep thee in all thy ways." And he omitted Psalm 91:13, which speaks of the Lord treading on the lion and adder and trampling the young lion and the dragon under His feet. Naturally Satan did not even want to think about that verse! Thus in handling Scripture, Satan used a convenient translation, paraphrased it to serve his own purpose, eagerly accepted an addition, deliberately left something out, and ignored the context. The Lord knew His Bible better than to be taken in by Satan's garbled version of a great and much-loved Messianic Psalm." (See Exploring the Gospel of Matthew)

Phillips makes an interesting statement that Satan omits Ps 91:13 "You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down."  This passage actually goes on to promise God’s ultimate victory over Satan! Here is Spurgeon's interpretation

"The strongest foe in power, and the most mysterious in cunning, shall be conquered by the man of God. Not only from stones in the way, but from serpents also, shall we be safe. To men who dwell in God the most evil forces become harmless, they wear a charmed life, and defy the deadliest ills. Their feet come into contact with the worst of foes, even Satan himself nibbles at their heel, but in Christ Jesus they have the assured hope of bruising Satan under their feet shortly. The people of God are the real "George and the dragon, "the true lion kings and serpent tamers. Their dominion over the powers of darkness makes them cry, "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy word."

Henry Morris adds "Satan also knows the Scriptures, but he will attempt to distort them to his own ends. Here he quotes from Psalm 91:11-12, but takes it out of context, and omits the key phrase, "to keep thee in all thy ways." (Defender's Study Bible)

Hendriksen - The passage quoted is from Ps. 91:11, 12. As rendered here in Matt. 4:6, it follows the Septuagint (Ps. 90:11, 12). As quoted by the devil, there is, however, an omission, which some regard as being important, others not. According to the Hebrew, Ps. 91:11 ends with the words "to guard you in all your ways." Matt. 4:6 contains nothing that corresponds to this. Luke 4:10 merely has "to guard you." Hence, in both of these Gospels the words "in all your ways" are left out. When these words are included, God promises to protect the righteous man in all his righteous ways; for these are the ways of the man who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, abides under the shadow of the Almighty and has found his refuge in Jehovah, upon whom he has set his love. They are, accordingly, the ways of the saint (Prov. 2:8), the good man (Prov. 2:20). It is to such a one that the words apply, "He will give his angels instructions concerning you, to guard you in all your ways." When these words "in all your ways" are omitted, does it not become easier to interpret the passage as if it were a promise of Jehovah to protect the righteous no matter what he does? So read, the passage would seem to correspond more closely with what the devil wants Jesus to do. (Exposition of the Gospel according to Matthew)

C H Spurgeon comments on Psalm 91:11 - You remember how the devil misapplied this text to Christ. He was quite right in the application; but he was quite wrong in the quotation, for he left out the words “in all thy ways.” God will help us in our ways if we keep in His ways. (Treasury of David - comments on Ps 92)

Shearman on all thy ways - Now this is the phrase that the devil omitted. He would have found it difficult to use, because it implied obedience to the will of God. Thus the secret of Christ’s victory over Satan’s temptation lay in His obedience to the will of His Father. (Day by Day in the Psalms)

If Satan purposefully omitted in all thy ways, he is disregarding a cardinal rule in interpretation of God's Word in Dt 4:2+ which instructs us to neither add to or subtract from the Word of God. The Devil certainly seems to have "subtracted" from the Word which in effect turns the text into a pretext. The Oxford Dictionary says a pretext is "a reason given in justification of a course of action that is not the real reason." Recall that Ge 3:1 says "the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made." So he is very deft at juggling and misusing the Word of God!

The goal of this temptation was to entice Jesus to renounce the way of His Father and to substitute the way of Satan. In the Garden of Eden, the devil added an overt lie in keeping with his nature (Jn 8:44) declaring "You surely will not die!" (Ge 3:4+) Then Eve compounded the problem by adding to the Word stating that "God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” (Ge 3:3) God had said nothing about touching the tree (cp Ge 2:16, 17). And so she was ensnared, and she and Adam ate and sin entered the perfect world. In the wilderness temptation the Devil misquotes Ps 91:11 attempting to entice Jesus to disobey the will of His Father and commit a sin (sin is basically acting contrary to the will of God). In other words the devil was attempting to deceive Jesus to go His own way, not His Father's way, and to go His own way would have been sin and would have nullified Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross, for a sinless sacrifice was demanded. 

THOUGHT - When all our ways are in God's will, we can claim the promise of His angels guarding over us, but if we are walking in willful sin and spiritual darkness, the domain of Satan, we cannot expect God to guard us in our wayward way! 

Warren Wiersbe comments on Satan's subtle snare in using the Word of God just as Jesus had done in Luke 4:4 and Luke 4:8 writing "So You intend to live by the Scriptures, he implied. Then let me quote You a verse of Scripture and see if You will obey it! Satan took the Lord Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple, probably 500 feet above the Kidron Valley. Satan then quoted from Ps 91:11-12 where God promised to care for His own. If You really believe the Scriptures, then jump! Lets see if the Father cares for You!....Satan had cleverly omitted the phrase in all Thy ways when he quoted from Psalm 91:11. When the child of God is in the will of God, the Father will protect him. He watches over those who are in His ways. (Bible Exposition Commentary - comments on page 17)

Eve when tempted by the devil in a perfect environment, did not know the word perfectly. Jesus when tempted in a wildness, did know the word of God perfectly and so was able to detect Satan's subtle trap.

THOUGHT - We must diligently seek to memorize the Scriptures word perfect, so that we can (aided by the Spirit) subtle subtraction or addition to the Word of God. 

William MacDonald adds that the promise of protection in Ps 91:11-13 "presupposed living in Gods will. To claim the promise in an act of disobedience would be tempting God. The time would come when Jesus would be revealed as Messiah, but the cross must come first. The altar of sacrifice must precede the throne. The crown of thorns must precede the crown of glory. Jesus would await God's time and would accomplish Gods will." (See Believer's Bible Commentary)

The writer of Hebrews asks this fitting rhetorical question "Are they (the angels) not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (ANSWER? YES!) (Hebrews 1:14+)

Related Resources (In Light of the fact that our Adversary knows Scripture and will use it to trip us up!):

Luke 4:12  And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'"

Amplified (2015)  Jesus replied to him, “It is said [in Scripture], ‘you shall not tempt the Lord your God [to prove Himself to you].’”

Wuest  And Jesus answering said to him, It has been said and is at present on record, You shall not put the Lord your God to an all-out test. 

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 6:16+ “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.

Psalm 95:9  “When your fathers tested Me, They tried Me, though they had seen My work.

Psalm 106:14  But craved intensely (ESV - wanton craving) in the wilderness, And tempted God (ESV - put God to the test) in the desert.  

Matthew 4:7+ (Parallel Passage) Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’” 


And Jesus answered and said to him, "It is said - Instead of it is written which is in Mt 4:7+. The Amplified Version has “It is said [in Scripture]". Jesus is applying what He had earlier said in Mt 4:4 "‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” So here once again Jesus resorts to the Living and Powerful Word, and in so doing is showing us one way to live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. "No matter what the words that Satan quoted may have sounded like (that is, they seemed to say that no matter what Jesus did, God would protect him), the facts were that while God promises to protect his people, He also requires that they not put Him to the test." (Life Application Commentary Luke )

A T Robertson on it is saidPerfect passive indicative, (which conveys the sense of) stands said, a favorite way of quoting Scripture in the NT. In Mt 4:7 we have the usual “it is written” (ED: Also in Luke 4:4, Luke 4:8, Luke 4:10, Luke 4:17 - all in Perfect passive)

"God’s faithfulness should not be put to the test, but is rather a given."
-- Net Note

YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST - Jesus here (and in Mt 4:7+) quotes from Deuteronomy 6:16+ - “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah (means "to test or try")."

Massah refers to the event that is described in Exodus 17:1-7 (see in depth commentary) - Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the LORD, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, “Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me.” 5 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink. (Ed: A foreshadowing of Christ - 1 Cor 10:4)” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 He named the place Massah and Meribah (contention, strife) because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested (Heb = nacah; Lxx = peirazo) the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us, or not?

If Jesus had jumped off the Temple, He would have "put God on the spot" so to speak, forcing Him to act. This would have been presumptuously "testing" His Father which is something He refused to do. To accomplish his mission of bringing salvation to the world, Jesus would take the path of submission to God. He would worship and serve the Lord alone.

R Kent Hughes rightly says that "Even the very highest and best ends do not justify operating contrary to God’s will....This message is essential for us today. Willful swan dives test the LORD—diving into a marital relationship that does not have the approval of God’s Word (Ed: Most of us know individuals where this brought about disastrous results and usually ended in divorce!); misapplying Scripture with disastrous consequences, then crying out for God to catch us before we hit bottom; rationalizing a headstrong plunge by saying, “If this works, God will receive great glory. Just think of the souls that will be saved. God, you have to be in this—you just have to!” True, he specializes in picking up the pieces, but we must not test him through rationalized disobedience." (See Luke: That You May Know the Truth)

Robertson quoting Plummer - "Jesus points out to the devil that testing God is not trusting God." Do we ever test God? I am afraid we do, when we do something presumptuously, assuming it is His will, when we have not even taken time to prayerfully commune with Him to be sure it is His will. Father forgive us!

Wiersbe in his comments in Matthew 4:1-11 writes "We tempt God when we put ourselves into circumstances that force Him to work miracles on our behalf. The diabetic who refuses to take insulin and argues, “Jesus will take care of me,” may be tempting the Lord. We tempt God when we try to force Him to contradict His own Word. It is important for us as believers to read all Scripture, and study all God has to say, for all of it is profitable for daily life (2 Ti 3:16,17+)." (Bible Exposition Commentary - Matthew - on page 18)

Put to the test (1598)(ekpeirazo from ek = intensifies + peirazo = to test, tempt) means to test thoroughly, subject to test or proof. To test in order to understand the quality of something, including imperfections, faults or other qualities. Zodhiates adds that "Sinners are said to tempt God (Mt. 4:7; Lk 4:12; 10:25; Acts 5:9, peirázō; 1 Cor. 10:9), putting Him to the test, refusing to believe Him or His Word until He has manifested His power (Sept.: Deut. 6:16; 8:16; Ps. 78:18) Ekpeirazo is used in Mt 4:7 for putting God to the test, where Jesus quotes Dt 6:16. 

Ekpeirazo is used one other time in the Septuagint of Israel putting God to the test - Psalm 78:18 And in their heart they put God to the test (Lxx = ekpeirazo) By asking food according to their desire. (cp Ps 106:14, 15 where Lxx uses peirazo

Here are two other uses of ekperizo in which men were putting God to the test...

Luke 10:25+  And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

1 Corinthians 10:9+  Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents (Nu 21:4-9, 5 "The people spoke against God and Moses")

ILLUSTRATION - A little girl was asked if Satan ever tempted her to do wrong. “Oh, yes,” she replied, “but when he knocks at the door of my heart, I just pray, ‘Lord Jesus, please go to the door for me!’” “What happens then?” she was asked. “Oh, everything turns out all right. When Satan sees Jesus, he runs away every time!” In her simple faith, that little girl realized that even the strongest Christian is no match for the devil. Only Jesus has defeated him, so we must be strong in the strength of our Lord.

F. B. Meyer wrote, “There is only one way by which the tempter can be met. He laughs at our good resolutions and ridicules the pledges with which we fortify ourselves. Satan fears only One, He who in the hour of greatest weakness defeated him and who now has been raised far above all principalities and powers to deliver frail and tempted souls. Christ conquered the prince of this world in the days of His flesh (Heb 2:14-15+) and is prepared to do as much again for each of us as we seek His aid” (see Heb 2:18+) (in “Our Daily Bread,” 1980).

What would it take for you to "sell out"? What is there in life that would cause you to compromise your faith? Whatever it is-sexual temptation, financial inducement, fear of alienating or offending someone-it will be placed in your path at some point. The enemy wants to destroy believers or at least neutralize them through sin, shame, and guilt. When that temptation rears its seductive head, do what Jesus did: rely on the Word of God (Ed: And the enabling power of the Spirit of God), and stand fast in your commitment to worship God, and God alone, above all else. No matter the cost or the sacrifice, no matter how appealing the come-on, believers dare not put anything or anyone in his place. (Life Application Commentary)

What a sobering thought that Satan knows Scripture and knows how to use it for his own purposes! Sometimes friends or associates will present attractive and convincing reasons why you should try something that you believe is wrong. They may even find Bible verses that seem to support their viewpoint. Study the Bible carefully, especially the broader contexts of specific verses, so that you understand God's principles for living and what he wants for your life. Only if you really understand what the whole Bible says will you be able to recognize errors of interpretation when people take verses out of context to make them say what they want them to say. Choose your Bible teachers carefully. Believers have much to learn from others. Capable and wise teachers often present the broader context to help stimulate growth in Bible knowledge. (Life Application Commentary)

From the time John the Baptist declared Christ to be "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), Satan tried to keep our Lord from going to the cross. In the wilderness temptation he suggested that Jesus take the kingdoms of the world without the ordeal of Calvary. He incited the Jewish leaders to hate Christ, hoping they might kill Him by stoning. When these attempts failed, he switched tactics. He induced Peter to speak against God's plan, and he "entered" Judas (John 13:27). He prompted Peter's denials of Jesus, the cowardice of the apostles, the brutality of the soldiers, and the heartlessness of the mob. Through all of this he hoped to convince Jesus that mankind wasn't worth dying for. Satan lost that battle, but he continues to fight. He does all he can to hinder the spread of the gospel. He even uses religions that pro-mote salvation by works and ritual. Despite his efforts, thousands are being saved through faith in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. They can joyfully sing, "Hallelujah for the Cross," because the cross and the empty tomb spelled Satan's ultimate defeat. —H. V. Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Calvary stands for Satan's fall.

Luke 4:13  When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

Amplified (classic)  And when the devil had ended every [the complete cycle of] temptation, he [temporarily] left Him [that is, stood off from Him] until another more opportune and favorable time.

NET  So when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until a more opportune time.

KJV  And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

CSB  After the Devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him for a time.

ESV  And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

NLT  When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.

GWN  After the devil had finished tempting Jesus in every possible way, the devil left him until another time.

NAB  When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

Wuest  And having completed every test and solicitation to sin, the devil stood off from Him until a more propitious time.


When the devil (diaboloshad finished (sunteleo) every temptation, He left Him - Amplified = "he (temporarily) left Him (that is, stood off from Him)." Jesus’ victory over Satan was not final. Likewise the enemy (his demons) will forever be lurking to pounce on us Peter warning that "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1Pe 5:8+)

Until an opportune time - Until (note this time phrase!) or up to the time of his next opportunity. The idea is "until a convenient time." This fact found only in the Gospel of Luke. I think even in this very chapter (Luke 4) we have a clear example of an opportune time - In Luke 4:29-note the Jews drove Jesus out of the city and "led (ago) Him to the brow of the hill," (even as the devil had led Him to the pinnacle of the Temple in Lk 4:9) in order to throw Him down the cliff and kill Him! Later in this chapter a group of Jews surely under the influence of Satan (cp Acts 26:18-note and into who's minds he had undoubtedly sent fiery missiles to destroy Jesus) were also unsuccessful in their attempt to kill the Lamb of God! Luke 4:29 is one of those times the devil saw as an opportune time to do away with his "nemesis". 

NET Note adds that "Though some have argued that the devil disappears until Luke 22:3, this is unlikely since the cosmic battle with Satan and all the evil angels is consistently mentioned throughout Luke (Lk 8:26–39; Lk 11:14–23)."

James 4:7+ is correct but  Luke 4:13 is the caveat we need to remember. Jame writes "Submit (aorist imperative - Don't delay! Of course obedience calls for dependence on the Spirit Who even gives us the desire to submit!) therefore to God. Resist (aorist imperative) the devil and he will flee from you. (Note See discussion of the Need for the Holy Spirit to obey NT commands or "How to Keep All 1642 Commandments in the New Testament!")

THOUGHT - We, like Jesus, can (empowered by the Spirit and the Word) win a victory over our adversaries, but they (whether the world, the flesh or the devil) will continully lurk in the background, every ready to pounce (cf Ge 4:6-7+), especially when we are most vulnerable (And often we are most vulnerable when we think we are least vulnerable!) As long as we are alive and breathing on this earth, we will never experience complete and final victory over the world, the flesh or the devil. “Temptations, unlike opportunities, will always give you many second chances.” (Anonymous) And so it follows that we need to heed Jesus' exhortation to His first disciples to "Keep watching (gregoreuo in the present imperative) and praying (present imperative) that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt 26:41+, gregoreuo also used in Col 4:2+ and 1 Pe 5:8+). Constant vigilance is required. The point is that as followers of Christ,

We can never relax our guard
Until face to face with our Lord

...Because our adversaries will always be on the alert looking for an opportune timeAndrew Bonar has a good word for all of the disciples of Jesus - "Let us be as watchful after the victory as before the battle!" Victory is not a single event but a process and that "process" does not end until we are glorified!

Opportune time (2540)(kairos) means a point of time or a period of time, frequently with the implication of a time that is especially fit for something. So in Luke 4:13 kairos means a moment or period which Satan deems to be especially appropriate or favorable for his attack on Jesus. 

Guzik comments that "Satan is not stupid; he will not continually put his limited resources into an ineffective battle. If you want Satan to leave you alone for a while, you must continually resist him. Many are so attacked because they resist so little. Jesus resisted these temptations because He was walking in the Word and in the Holy Spirit. These two give the believer full resource for victory. Too much Word and not enough Spirit and you puff up (in the sense of pride). Too much Spirit and not enough Word and you blow up. With the Word and the Spirit together, you grow up."

A T Robertson - We are thus to infer that the devil returned to his attack from time to time. In the Garden of Gethsemane he tempted Jesus more severely than here. He was here trying to thwart the purpose of Jesus to go on with his Messianic plans, to trip him at the start. In Gethsemane the devil tried to make Jesus draw back from the culmination of the Cross with all its agony and horror. The devil attacked Jesus by the aid of Peter (Mark 8:33), through the Pharisees (John 8:40ff.), besides Gethsemane (Luke 22:42, 53). (Ed: And I would add through the Jews who opposed Him, Pilate, Caiaphas, et al. Satan was surely involved in some way in the evil actions of all of these people. See above for my comment just before "opportune time")

Leon Morris comments that "Throughout these temptations no special resource is open to Jesus. He met temptation in the same way as we must, by using Scripture, and he won the victory. But His temptations were His own, those of the Son of God, not those typical of pious people. Luke rounds off the narrative with Satan decisively beaten. He had ‘finished tempting Jesus in every way’ (NEB), but Jesus had not yielded....The devil left him only ‘till a fresh occasion should present itself’, as Rieu translates. There is no freedom from temptation in this life. There was not for Jesus and there is not for us." (Luke: An Introduction and Commentary or borrow The Gospel according to St. Luke : an introduction and commentary)

THOUGHT COMMENT ON MORRIS' COMMENT ABOVE: Unfortunately Morris omits the a most important truth -- that Jesus was not just filled with the Word but filled with the Spirit!  Both were indeed "special resources!" The Holy Spirit in Jesus enabled Him to stand firm against the unholy spirit, the devil! Notice in Eph 6:10, 11+ where "be strong" [endunamoo from dunamis in present imperative = only way to obey is by continual dependence on the Spirit] is an allusion by Paul to the enabling power or dunamis of the Holy Spirit [cp Acts 1:8+] with which he had just commanded believers to be continually filled - Eph 5:18+!.

William MacDonald - Several additional points should be mentioned in connection with the temptation:

1. The order in Luke differs from that in Matthew. The second and third temptations are reversed; the reason for this is not clear.
2. In all three cases, the end held out was right enough, but the means of obtaining it was wrong. It is always wrong to obey Satan, to worship him or any other created being. It is wrong to tempt God.
3. The first temptation concerned the body, the second the soul, the third the spirit. They appealed respectively to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
4. The three temptations revolve around three of the strongest drives of human existence—physical appetite, desire for power and possessions, and desire for public recognition. How often disciples are tempted to choose a pathway of comfort and ease, to seek a prominent place in the world, and to gain a high position in the church.
5. In all three temptations, Satan used religious language and thus clothed the temptations with a garb of outward respectability. He even quoted Scripture (vv. 10, 11).

As James Stewart so aptly points out:   The study of the temptation narrative illuminates two important points. On the one hand, it proves that temptation is not necessarily sin. On the other hand, the narrative illuminates the great saying of a later disciple: “In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). (See Believer's Bible Commentary)

Kent Hughes closes this section -   As the Son of God, Jesus chose to live in absolute submission to the will of God in every temptation. Jesus’ sole desire was to do what the Father commanded him. Nothing less and nothing more. If this is true for the Son of God, how much more is it true for us adopted children. Jesus would later say, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34+). We are to live on “every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” We are to “Worship the LORD [our] God and serve him only.” We must never put our “Lord … to the test.” There is much wisdom here for us. First, Jesus resisted these great temptations as a real man. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18+). We can call upon Christ in times of temptation, for He is at our side. When Martin Luther was asked how he overcame the devil, he replied, “Well, when he comes knocking upon the door of my heart, and asks ‘Who lives here?’ the dear Lord Jesus goes to the door and says, ‘Martin Luther used to live here, but he has moved out. Now I live here.’” When Christ fills our lives, Satan has no entrance. Second, Jesus conquered temptation because he was “full of the Holy Spirit” and “led by the Spirit” (Luke 4:1+). The fullness of the Spirit produces the nine fruits of the Spirit, the seventh of which is “faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22, 23+). The third factor in fighting temptation involves being filled with God’s Word. In response to each of the three temptations, Christ answered with Scripture (Dt 8:3; 6:13, 16). He knew the truth of, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11). This is so because God’s Word reveals God’s mind, and God’s mind cannot be subject to sin. So if we fill our hearts with His Word, sin and temptation cannot dominate us. We cannot live “on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” if we do not know the Word of God. We must follow Jesus’ example and regularly meditate on God’s Word. (See Luke: That You May Know the Truth)

THOUGHT Ed comment: First memorize the Word, then trust the Spirit to enable you to meditate on the Word you memorized. Jesus had no I-Phone, no laptop, not even a written Bible, and yet He used the Sword of the Spirit the Word of God (Eph 6:17+) three times because He had hidden the Word in His heart (cf Ps 119:9,11,  cf Job 23:12+) -- and don't use the cop out that "Well, He was God, even the Word of God!" Yes, true, but He had laid aside His divine prerogatives (Php 2:7+) so that in His temptation, He could give every believer a pattern that they too could follow (cf 1 Cor 11:1+, 1 Pe 2:21+, 1 Jn 2:6+). So you have no excuses not to be actively memorizing the Word of God!

      How firm a foundation,
      Ye saints of the Lord
      Is laid for your faith
      In His excellent Word!
Play Fernando Ortega's great vocal version!

Luke 4:14  And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 

NET  Then Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and news about him spread throughout the surrounding countryside.

Wuest  And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. And a report went out through the whole of the surrounding countryside concerning Him. 

John Hannah summarizes the 18 month ministry of Jesus in Galilee  (Luke 4:14-9:50)

  1. The commencement of the ministry of the Son of Man  (Luke 4:14-44)
    1. The claims of the Son of Man  (Luke 4:14-30)
      1. The beginning of Jesus' ministry  (Luke 4:14-15)
      2. The reading in the synagogue  (Luke 4:16-20)
      3. The interpretation in the synagogue  (Luke 4:21-22)
      4. The illustration  (Luke 4:23-27)
      5. The rejection of the Son  (Luke 4:28-30)
    2. The proof of the Son's claims  (Luke 4:31-41)
      1. His authoritative teaching  (Luke 4:31-32)
      2. His authority over demons  (Luke 4:33-37)
      3. His authority over disease  (Luke 4:38-41)
    3. The mission of the Son of Man  (Luke 4:42-44)
      Hannah's Bible Outlines


Dear follower of Christ, this verse is a very important passage for us to ponder in order to fully understand how Jesus walked as a Man, because a proper interpretation and application can have a significant impact on how we follow Him! 

Background - There is a time gap of about 12 months between the temptation of Christ ending in Luke 4:13 and the beginning of Jesus Galilean ministry in Luke 4:14. The chronology is somewhat complicated but if you would like to dig deeper into what has been called Jesus "Year of Obscurity" described only in John's Gospel click here for notes below that attempt to unpack the chronological sequence (See study by S Lewis Johnson - The  Messiah's Year of Obscurity). If you choose to bypass this background explanation, it will not significantly alter your understanding of the events beginning in Luke 4:14. 

Thomas Constable introduces Jesus' Galilean ministry with an excellent comment

Luke again drew his readers’ attention to the fact that Jesus was under the control of the Holy Spirit as He began His public ministry (cf. Lk 1:35; Lk 3:22; Lk 4:1). The Spirit empowered and enabled Jesus in His words and deeds. Luke would stress His teaching ministry. Luke attributed Jesus’ success to His orientation to the Spirit, not His essential deity. Consequently He was a model that all believers can and should copy. Luke continued to stress the Holy Spirit’s ministry in Acts. (Expository Notes) (Bolding added)

John MacArthur gives us background on the relation of Jesus and the Holy Spirit during His 3 year earthly ministry - Beginning with His miraculous conception (Luke 1:35; cf. Matt. 1:18, 20), the Spirit was involved in every aspect of Christ’s life (cf. Lk 4:1, 14; 10:21; Matt. 4:1; 12:28; Acts 10:38; Heb. 9:14)....Throughout Christ’s entire life, including His development (Luke 2:52), sinless obedience, triumph over temptation, preaching, healing, casting out demons, death (cf. Heb. 9:14), and resurrection (cf. Rom. 1:4), His deity was mediated to His humanity by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s power was essential, since in His deity Christ would not have done the miraculous deeds He did, or say the divine words He spoke. (ED: YOU MAY WANT TO READ THAT STATEMENT AGAIN!) The reason for that is found in Philippians 2:6–7, which says that “although [Christ] existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” Jesus voluntarily surrendered the independent use of His divine power, and submitted Himself completely to the will of the Father. And though His human nature was sinlessly perfect, it nevertheless did not have supernatural power. Thus Christ performed His miraculous deeds through the Spirit’s power, so much so that to attribute His works to Satan is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:31–32). It must be stressed that that in no way limits Christ’s full deity and equality with the Father (cf. Col. 2:9). But in the wonder and mystery of the incarnation, He set aside the independent use of His divine attributes. (See Luke Commentary) (Bolding Adde) 

THOUGHT - The point of emphasizing Jesus' continued dependence on the Holy Spirit for supernatural power for His ministry is to underscore every believer's desperate need to rely on the same Source of power for our ministry. In short to have fruitful ministries believers ABSOLUTELY MUST  "walk in the same manner as He walked" (1 Jn 2:6+), following "in His steps" (1Pe 2:21+), and "join in following (Paul's) example" (Php 3:17+). And what was Paul's example, or more precisely what was his command? "Be (present imperative) imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor 11:1+) And how can we obey Paul's command? Only one way - We must rely on the Holy Spirit to obey Paul's command! (See note on "How to Keep All 1642 Commandments in the New Testament!") (See related discussion of The Holy Spirit-Walking Like Jesus Walked!)

And Jesus returned (hupostrephoto Galilee in the power (dunamis) of the Spirit - The verb returned (hupostrepho) means He had been there before and of course this is where He had spent His childhood. Click for Barclay's discussion of Galilee. It is very surprising that most commentaries I surveyed on the Gospel of Luke did little more that mention the fact that Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit, without placing any significant emphasis on how believers and churches (A Spirit Filled Church) could and should seek to emulate and imitate Jesus' pattern for ministry. One wonders if this paucity of discussion on our need for the Holy Spirit could account for paucity of significant spiritual power and influence in America in 2022 for the days are becoming increasingly evil? Just a thought to ponder! 

Guzik comments that "Jesus came from His time of testing stronger than ever. Though He was already filled with the Spirit (Luke 4:1), He continued to walk in the power of the Spirit after experiencing victory over temptation. “He who, through the grace of God, resists and overcomes temptation, is always bettered by it. This is one of the wonders of God’s grace, that those very things which are designed for our utter ruin he makes the instruments of our greatest good. Thus Satan is ever duped by his own proceeding, and caught in his own craft.” (Clarke)" (Enduring Word)

ESV note says one of the "Key Themes of Luke is The coming and presence of the Holy Spirit for Jesus and his followers - see Luke 1:15–17, 35; 2:25–27; 3:16, 22; 4:1, 14, 18; 24:49." (Borrow ESV Study Bible)

Ivor Powell on the power of the Spirit - There can never be any effective substitute for preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit. (ED: See A Spirit Filled Church) When the Church loses this dynamic; when the services become glorified entertainments; when the message is secondary in importance to other superficial things, the Church is on the road to suicide. (Mark Commentary)

Ivor Power on the power of the Spirit - The Lord Jesus was (i) baptized with the Spirit; (ii) filled with the Spirit; (iii) led by the Spirit; (iv) energized by the Spirit. It is written, "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee." This appears to be the royal highway to a successful ministry. A well-stocked mind can never be a worthy substitute for a flaming soul. There is a great difference between wood, dead and cold in the woodshed and fiercely burning logs on the hearth. (Luke's Thrilling Gospel)

Fitzmyer - A leitmotiv is sounded in the phrase “armed with the power of the Spirit.” The Period of Jesus is thus inaugurated. Because the Spirit will later be depicted as a formative factor in the early community, Luke is now at pains to present Jesus’ ministry as guided by the same Spirit’s “power.” There is continuity between the Period of Jesus and the Period of the Church. (Borrow The Gospel according to Luke (I-IX) The Gospel according to Luke : introduction, translation, and notes)

James Smith - Jesus had gone out of Galilee, as others had gone, to the baptism of John, but the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Him and the assault of the devil in the wilderness had wrought a marvelous change upon His public character. "There went out a fame of Him through all the region." He was an obscure man until He was baptized with the Holy Spirit. So was Peter and the rest of the apostles. The man or woman who returns to his or her work in the power of the Spirit will not be without manifest tokens of the blessing of God. (Handfuls of Purpose)

R C H Lenski - “In the power of the Spirit” does not mean that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into Galilee as he led him into the wilderness to be tempted but that, being endowed with the Spirit’s power in his human nature, he proceeded to Galilee and wrought there in this power by word and by deed. “In the Spirit” thus goes back not only to v. 2 but even to Lk 3:22. God’s great purpose in bestowing his Spirit upon Jesus was being completely fulfilled. (See The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel

S Franklin Logsdon - Here is a glimpse of His return from the wilderness temptation. What was true of Jesus in this instance, may it be the triumphant experience of the Christian! To encounter the foe under the leadership of the Spirit guarantees a victorious return in the power of the same conquering One. It is a rather forbidding venture to attempt an analysis of the extent to which Jesus surrendered His power while in the body of humiliation. Apart from His work on the cross, it is not evident that Jesus operated apart from the Spirit's power. His many miraculous ministrations were, as we noted-earlier, in the anointing of the Spirit. (The Spirit at Work)

Blight - This means that everything Jesus did was as one who was filled with the Holy Spirit. (An Exegetical Summary of Luke 1-11)

Hendriksen on the power of the Spirit -  - Spirit endowed: Jesus performed his task as One who was filled with the Holy Spirit, who had descended upon him in connection with his baptism and had been his Guide in the wilderness (Lk 3:22; 4:1). (Borrow Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke)

NET Note on in the Spirit - Once again Jesus is directed by the Spirit. Luke makes a point about Jesus' association with the Spirit early in his ministry (Lk 3:22, 4:1 [2x]; Lk 4:18).

Arno Gaebelein - As God manifested in the flesh our Lord had power over all things. He had omnipotence and omniscience. But the Spirit of God also acted in Him and through Him. His words were the words of the Spirit, of life and of power. His works were also done in the power of the Spirit. Luke quotes Isaiah 11:1-2.

Adrian Rogers - Jesus went to face the devil under the leadership of the Spirit. Jesus defeated the devil and came out of that temptation experience in the power of the Holy Spirit.....If Jesus overcame the devil as God, then He's no example to me. But if Jesus overcame the devil as a man filled with the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit that was available to Jesus is available to me. Amen? YOU can say "Amen." It won't hurt. I've got to tell you. I preach till I think you understand. If you start saying "Amen," I'll quit soon. Now, listen, folks. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit.....Now my dear friend, I don't want to be braggadocios tonight, but I am telling you that all of the power that was available to Jesus Christ there that day is available to Adrian Rogers, and is available to you. And there is a principle—that you must, you must, you absolutely must be spirit filled. To be spirit filled is not a suggestion, not a request, it is a command, Ephesians 5:18. "Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Holy Ghost." Jesus full of the Holy Ghost overcame Satan. You're no match for Satan, but dear friend, the Holy Spirit of God who is resident in you is. And unless there is that principle of sonship, there can never be that principle of submission. And unless there's that principle of submission, there can never be that principle of spirit filledness. Because God does not give His Holy Spirit in full power to rebels. There must be that principle of spiritual power.....It's very obvious that Jesus is Spirit filled. Jesus is anointed, friend, it is foolish and wicked for you to try to overcome Satan's ploys without the dynamism and the dynamic of the Holy Spirit in you. Jesus said, concerning the Holy Spirit, "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world."

J D Jones -  Up to now Jesus had lived a quiet, normal life at Nazareth; but after the baptism a change is to be noticed. He is equipped with the power of the Spirit. It was in the power of the Spirit He went into the wilderness to battle with Satan; it was in the power of the Spirit He came teaching and preaching in Galilee; it was in the power of the Spirit He healed the sick and cast out devils and did His many mighty works. God summoned Him to a stupendous task. But He also equipped Him for it; "God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him" (John 3:34). (Mark Commentary)

French Arrington - Just as the third Gospel relates the life and ministry of Jesus, who executes His mission in the power of the Holy Spirit, the sequel to Luke's Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles, records the life and ministry of the early church as it is empowered by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to the saving works of Jesus from Jerusalem to Rome. That is, Jesus and His Spirit-filled ministry is the model for the Church; the Spirit-anointed ministry of Christ foreshadows and prepares for the worldwide mission of the Church (Davies, 1966, 244). The same anointing of the Spirit that rested on Jesus is poured out on the community of believers at Pentecost (Acts 2). The anointed Jesus becomes the giver of the Spirit ( Acts 2:33). That outpouring of the Spirit is pivotal to the future mission of the disciples, for they become heirs and successors to the Spirit-anointed ministry of Jesus, in that they become empowered to continue to do and teach what "Jesus began to do and to teach" (Acts 1:1)....Through the empowerment of the Spirit at Pentecost, God's people are able to execute the mission of the Church....The empowerment of Jesus by the Spirit provides a pattern for believers' experience of the Spirit.(The Spirit Anointed Jesus)

Life Application Commentary - Throughout this Gospel and the sequel, the book of Acts, Luke pointed out that Jesus and his followers were submitting to the leading of God's Spirit. That submission to God's will and the Spirit's guidance should characterize believers' lives today. (Luke

Warren Wiersbe - Because we have trusted Jesus Christ and received salvation, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us (Rom. 8:9), but does the Holy Spirit have us? When evangelist D. L. Moody was ministering in Great Britain, a critical minister asked, “Does Mr. Moody have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” A friend replied, “No, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on D. L. Moody.” To be filled with the Spirit means to be controlled by the Spirit and willingly used by him to honor the Lord. I once heard A. W. Tozer say, “If God were to take the Holy Spirit out of this world, most of what the churches are doing would go right on and nobody would know the difference.” Do we know the difference?

P G Matthew - In Luke 4, we read that Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. We, like him, are called to proclaim the gospel to a lost world. I am not speaking about the ordained ministry, but rather about the ministry that is the responsibility of every Christian. We are all called to minister in the power of the Spirit. Do you want to enter into ministry? Then you have to have power for ministry, the power of the Holy Spirit. How can you and I receive the power we need? The power of the Holy Spirit is released to each one of us on the basis of our obedience to the Spirit of the living God. As we obey God, God’s power flows into our life, so that we may do the work of ministry, which is the work of the kingdom of God. Jesus himself promised, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). This mighty Holy Spirit is only given to those who obey him (Acts 5:32). What was the thrust of Jesus’ ministry? Luke tells us that he read from Isaiah 61 in the Isaianic scroll: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me . . . to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Here God was promising a Messiah, the Anointed One, who would come to liberate his people from the power of Satan and sin. This is the program of Jesus. Since the time of his coming in the midpoint of time, he has initiated this program, which is the proclamation of the year of the Lord’s favor and grace.  Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. And if the Son sets us free, we are free indeed. So when we pray for someone and that person is healed, the kingdom of God has come. When a person is ministered to by the love of Jesus through us, the kingdom of God is extended. When a person is converted to Christ, the rule of Jesus is enlarged. We all have a divine mandate to speak about Jesus to our families, our neighbors, and even our enemies. What an honor and privilege it is to minister in the power of the Spirit!

Beloved, from the above comments, it follows that the truth of  Luke 4:14 should be treasured in our hearts, for it is like a "key" which opens the door to wide and effective ministry for the Lord! In fact, failure to use this "key" will result in ministry which may end up as nothing more than "wood, hay, straw!" (1 Cor 3:9-15, 12 - in context addressing primarily leaders - pastors, elders, teachers, etc) Does this sound a bit harsh? Not if one compares it to the Words of our Lord Jesus Who plainly declared to His disciples in the Upper Room the secret for of fruitful, God glorying ministry...

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides (present tense - continually making the volitional choice [active voice] of abiding) in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for (EXPLAINS WHY WE MUST ABIDE IN HIM) apart from Me you can do (ABSOLUTELY) nothing. (John 15:5)

But you might be saying, Jesus did not even mention the Holy Spirit in that verse. While that is true, He did mention the word "abide" and the only way a believer on earth can abide in Jesus is by His Own Spirit, Whom He sent to live within us and to empower us for ministry and fruit bearing (cp Acts 1:8+). 

Paul understood that the Spirit was the key to bearing fruit (especially the eternal fruit of saved souls) that remains (like "gold, silver, precious stones" 1 Co 3:12, when inspected at the Bema - 2 Cor 5:10+) throughout eternity (cf Jesus promises this remains or endures throughout eternity - Jn 15:16)

Not that we are adequate (qualified, sufficient - hikanos) in ourselves to consider ANYTHING as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy (hikanotes) is from God, Who also made us adequate (hikanoo) as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor 3:5-6+, cp John 6:63+

THOUGHT - The passages above beg the question, am I ministering in my natural or supernatural power, in my old fleshly power or the Holy Spirit's power? Your answer makes all the difference in time and eternity (regarding your spiritual "fruit." cf Jn 15:16, 1 Cor 3:9-15, 12)

In Acts Peter summarizes Jesus' entire ministry again emphasizing the critical importance of the Holy Spirit...

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38+)

In Luke 8:1+ we read that Jesus was "going around from one city and village to another (in GALILEE), proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him." And what is so significant about this statement is that Josephus records there were some 240 cities and villages in Galilee. How else could Jesus minister to these cities and villages unless He were enabled by the Spirit. Did Jesus become tired? Of course He did, but He never tired of proclaiming the good news of the Gospel enabled by the Spirit. 

THOUGHT - Luke is giving every disciple of Jesus the perfect pattern for productive ministry - the Jesus Way! He was anointed by the Spirit (Lk 3:22+, cp believer's anointing = 1 Jn 2:20+, 1 Jn 2:27+), filled with the Spirit (Lk 4:1+, cf command for believers = Eph 5:18+) and  empowered by the Spirit (Lk 4:14+, cp need of believers in Acts 1:8+, Eph 3:16+). How can we expect to do greater works as Jesus described in Jn 14:12 unless we are not continually filled with, controlled by and supernaturally energized by the same Spirit? What would take place in our churches if the Holy Spirit were completely removed? How much of our ministry would still remain? Hopefully not much! The church needs to have a renewed desire to be desperately dependent on the Spirit for everything. The church needs to re-live the book of Acts, the acts of the Spirit of Jesus. If you are a pastor/teacher, I implore you to feed your sheep with the truth about their continual need for power of the Holy Spirit, the truth that launched Jesus into the most powerful 3 year ministry in history! Foundational teaching on the Holy Spirit is better than a marriage seminar. Better than a child rearing conference. Better than a missional community seminar. Etc, etc. While those things are not bad per se, they are bad if they leave out clear instruction on the need for continual dependence on the Holy Spirit to accomplish anything spiritual, anything supernatural! 


A T Robertson - Luke in these two verses (Lk 4:14, 15) gives a description of the Galilean Ministry with three marked characteristics (Plummer): the power of the spirit, rapid spread of Christ’s fame, use of the Jewish synagogues. Luke often notes the power of the Holy Spirit in the work of Christ. Our word dynamite is this same word dunamis (power). 

And news about Him spread through all the surrounding district (perichoros) (cf similar statements in Mk 1:28, 45+) - Now think for a moment. Why would news spread? Luke had just described the temptation of Jesus, unseen by any but spiritual beings. So what is it that would be spreadable news? Clearly, something happened between the temptation in Luke 4:1-13 and Luke 4:14-15. What transpired was Jesus' ministry for about one year primarily in Judea, a ministry described in the Gospel of John in the first 4 chapters (John 1:19-John 4:54). (see map of Jesus' Ministry in John). So in the margin of your Bible between Luke 4:13 and Luke 4:14-15 write "John 1:19-4:42" for John's description of Jesus' first year of ministry which resulted in news about Him spread(ing) through all the surrounding district. (see Dr MacArthur's helpful summary of John's description of this year below)

And so in John 4 we come to the end of the first year of Jesus' ministry in Judea and His return to Galilee...

After the two days (of staying with the new believers in Samaria - Jn 4:41,42- see MacArthur's sermon John 4:27-42 The Savior of the WorldHe went forth from there into Galilee.  For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast. Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine.  (Jn 2:1, 11) And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe." 49 The royal official said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies." 50 Jesus said to him, "Go; your son lives." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. 51  As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." 53 So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son lives"; and he himself believed and his whole household. 54 This is again a second sign (cp Jn 2:1-10, 11) that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee. (John 4:43-54 - MacArthur's sermon - John 4:43-54 Christ's Response to Unbelief)

So now Jesus begins His 18 month ministry in Galilee which Luke describes in Luke 4:14-9:50, although Luke omits the story of the healing of the Centurion's son and his subsequent belief. 

Power (supernatural power) (1411)(dunamis from dunamai = to be able, to have power) refers to achieving power, power able to produce a strong effect.. It refers to intrinsic power or inherent ability, the power or ability to carry out some function, the potential for functioning in some way (power, might, strength, ability, capability), the power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature. For example in 2 Ti 1:7+ dunamis"denotes the ability requisite for meeting difficulties and for the fulfillment of the service committed to us." (Vine) Paul was telling Timothy that God had given him the power to accomplish His will in ministry. And that same power, given to us by the indwelling Spirit, is available to all disciples to enable them to fulfill the ministry to which they have been called. Are you fulfilling the ministry to which God has called you? Are you daily relying on the filling of the Spirit as your "Source" of supernatural power which alone is able to produce supernatural effects?

In Acts 1:8+ Jesus made it clear that His disciples must continually rely on His power graciously given by His Spirit (the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Christ) "But (see Acts 1:7+) you will receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Dunamis in Luke and Acts - Lk. 1:17; Lk. 1:35; Lk. 4:14; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 5:17; Lk. 6:19; Lk. 8:46; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 10:13; Lk. 10:19; Lk. 19:37; Lk. 21:26; Lk. 21:27; Lk. 22:69; Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:22; Acts 3:12; Acts 4:7; Acts 4:33; Acts 6:8; Acts 8:10; Acts 8:13; Acts 10:38; Acts 19:11

News (fame) (5345)(pheme from phemi = to declare, say) means news, report, information concerning a person or event. A report is a collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn, especially by word of mouth. Pheme is the root of the verb blasphemeo which means to malign by giving a bad report.The only other NT use of pheme is "This news spread throughout all that land."  (Mt 9:26). There is one use in the Septuagint in Proverbs 15:30-note "Bright eyes gladden the heart; Good news puts fat on the bones."

Liddell-Scott - a voice from heaven, a prophetic voice, Od.; so, when Ulysses prays to Zeus, he is answered by thunder, Ib.; hence an oracle, divination, omen, Hdt., Soph., etc. 2. saying or report spread among men, rumor, Hes., Aeschin.; inferior to the report of them, i.e. exaggerated, Thuc. 3. the talk or report of a man's character, Hes., etc.:-esp. good report, fame, Hdt., Pind.; also, evil, Aesch., etc. 4. songs of praise, Pind. II. any voice or words, a speech, saying, Aesch.:-esp. a common saying, a tradition, legend, Eur., Plat. 2. a message, Trag. 

A T Robertson adds fame (phēmē) is "An old Greek word found in the NT only here and Mt. 9:26. It is from phēmi, to say. Talk ran rapidly in every direction. It assumes the previous ministry as told by John.

Surrounding district (4066) see following discussion of perichoros (Lk 4:37).

Related Resources:


BACKGROUND TO HELP UNDERSTAND THE TIME GAP BETWEEN LUKE 4:13 AND LUKE 4:14. (See also second explanation with Table to help visualize the Time Gap described only in the Gospel of John) -  To help understand where we are in Luke 4:14 regarding the ministry of Jesus see Irving Jensen's summary chart above (click to enlarge). First, observe that Luke 4:14 through Luke 9:50 is entitled Jesus' "Identification" and occurs in Galilee where Jesus' "Miracles Abound,".Then beginning in Luke 9:51 through Lk 24:19 Jesus ministry is described as "Mighty in DEED and in WORD." Jesus' performance of miracles during this 18 month Galilean ministry firmly established the truth that He was mighty in deed and clearly showed His Identification as the long expected Messiah. As an aside, Luke records 20 miracles by Jesus, six of which are not found in the other Gospels.

Note the shaded areas in the chart above which are those times of Jesus' life which are recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Notice that from Luke 1:1 to Luke 4:13 Luke records events that were part of Jesus' PREPARATION for His 3+ year ministry. Notice also that the period (not shaded) between Luke 4:13 and Luke 4:14 is the early phase of Jesus' ministry which is not recorded by Luke (nor by Matthew or Mark) and has been referred to by some writers as THE YEAR OF OBSCURITY (estimates vary from 12-14 months). Jesus may have been "obscure" in Matthew, Mark and Luke during these 12-14 months but He was not inactive! We see Jesus' activity described by John beginning in John 1:19 up to about John 4:44. (See study by S Lewis Johnson - The  Messiah's Year of Obscurity) Stated another way the events recorded in John 1:19-4:44 are found only in John's Gospel. Jesus "Year of Obscurity" is also known as His Early Judean ministry (see above in the unshaded area) because most of the events occurred in Judea the province in which Jerusalem is located (See map). Note however that some of the events in John 1:19-4:44 took place in Galilee (e.g., Jn 4:1-3 = "left Judea and went away again into Galilee") and in Samaria (Jn 4:4-42) and then back to Galilee (Jn 4:43, 44). Although it is somewhat confusing, hopefully you can understand now why Luke 4:14 begins with the phrase "And Jesus returned to Galilee."


Matthew 4:12-17 Mark 1:14-15 Luke 4:14-15

12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; 13 and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.

14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: 15 “THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES–16 “THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED.”  17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” 

14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all. 

The Gospel of John now appears to parallel the passages in the Synoptic Gospels recorded above, John 4:45 beginning "So when He came to Galilee." Once Jesus has returned to Galilee John 4:45-54+ then records the healing of the royal official's son in Cana of Galilee, a healing which John says "is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee." (Jn 4:54+) This miracle by Jesus at the beginning of His Galilean ministry is found only in the Gospel of John. 

THERE IS ONE ADDITIONAL NOTE REGARDING TIMING WHICH IS RELATED TO JOHN THE BAPTIST - Ryrie writes that "Between the temptation of Jesus and the imprisonment of John the Baptist occurred the events recorded in John 1:19-4:44. (See MAP C for events in this section of John) The problem is that Luke describes John's imprisonment in Lk 3:20+ writing "Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up in prison." Most commentators interpret this as out of chronological order. For example, John MacArthur writes "This event (JOHN'S IMPRISONMENT) actually occurred much later during Jesus' ministry. But Luke organized his material on John the Baptist topically rather than chronologically" The Gospels of Mark and Matthew identify the imprisonment of John the Baptist with the beginning of Jesus' Galilean Ministry as described by Dr Ryrie. And so Matthew and Mark read as follows...

Matthew 4:12+ Now when He heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee

Believer's Study Bible says "This passage introduces the beginning of Jesus' public ministry in Galilee. The Galilean ministry is seen as a fulfillment of Isa 9:1, 2. It is a ministry characterized by preaching, teaching, and healing."

Fitmyer adds this comment - Whereas the other two Synoptic evangelists associate the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry with the imprisonment of John the Baptist (Mark 1:14; Matt 4:12), Luke begins his account of it with a summary statement (Lk 4:14–15). Luke’s omission of the mention of John’s imprisonment is occasioned by his own transposition of it to Lk 3:19–20. (AYBC)

Mark 1:14+  And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,

In summary, as shown in the table above, Matthew 4:12 and Mark 1:14 are passages that parallel Luke's description here in Luke 4:14 that "Jesus returned to Galilee". This period of Jesus' Great Galilean Ministry extends through Luke 9:50 and lasts for approximately 18 months. Luke marks the termination of the Galilean ministry is marked by his description in Luke 9:51+ "When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem."

John MacArthur prefaces Luke 4:14ff with the comment that "All that happened in His life up to this point in Luke’s gospel—the testimony of Gabriel, the angels who appeared to the shepherds, Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, John the Baptist, Jesus’ affirmation at age twelve that He was the Son of God, and His public attestation by the Father and the Holy Spirit at His baptism (see map)—had established His Messianic credentials. The time had now come for Jesus to step onto the stage of His full public ministry. Like a small door that leads into a vast art gallery, Luke 4:14, 15 are the entrance to a new section of portraits of Jesus in Luke’s gospel. They introduce Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, the northern part of Israel, which the Lord would be engaged in for about a year and a half." (Luke Commentary)


If you are still  somewhat confused below is a chart to help understand JESUS' EARLY JUDEAN MINISTRY not found in the three Synoptic Gospels. There are a couple of points you need to notice. First, note that Mt 4:12+, Mk 1:14+ and Lk 4:14+ each mark the beginning of Jesus' Galilean Ministry, but only Matthew (Mt 4:12+) and Mark (Mk 1:14+) specifically associate this beginning with John the Baptist's imprisonment. Luke 4:14+ does not say anything about the imprisonment. Luke (and here is where one could easily get confused) actually describes the imprisonment of John the Baptist in Luke 3:19-20+, which is BEFORE Luke's description of Jesus' Baptism and Temptation which are both depicted in the chart below. Here is what you need to understand -- Luke is not giving a chronological description. William Hendriksen agrees that "As is so often the case, Luke’s account here is not chronological....But though not always chronological, Luke’s account is logical. He wishes to bring the story of John’s ministry to a close, in order to write the story of Christ’s ministry. There surely can be no objection to that." (BNTC-Luke) 


Mt 3:13-17+

Mk 1:9-11+

Lk 3:21-22+


Mt 4:1-11+

Mk 1:12-13+

Lk 4:1-13+

Jesus' Early Judean Ministry 
Year of Obscurity
Only described in John 1:19-4:54
No Record in Synoptic Gospels
Jesus Begins  Ministry
in Galilee
Mt 4:12+ Mk 1:14+ Lk 4:14+

From the chart note that the TIME GAP occurs only in the Gospel of John between Mk 1:13 and Mk 1:14, Mt 4:11 and Mt 4:12 and Luke 4:13 and Luke 4:14. This TIME GAP is estimated to be about 12-14 months and constitutes Jesus' EARLY JUDEAN MINISTRY completely omitted by Matthew, Mark and Luke. Some refer to this TIME GAP as the "YEAR OF OBSCURITY." Jesus may have been "obscure" but He was not inactive - John records Jesus' early interaction with John the Baptist (John 1), the miracle of Water to Wine at a wedding (John 2), the Temple cleansing (John 2) and giving Nicodemus knowledge by night (John 3)! This period unique to the Gospel of John extends from about John 1:19+ through John 4:44, 45+. It is also known as the EARLY JUDEAN MINISTRY because most of the events occurred in Judea. Note however that some of the events in John 1:19-4:54 took place in Samaria and even Galilee, but Jesus official ministry in Galilee did not begin until after John was taken into prison. Below is another diagram from Dr Irving Jensen to help you visualize this somewhat confusing chronology. Click the chart and you will be able to readily distinguish the SHADED areas referring to Jesus' Ministry in the Gospel of Mark (charts of Matthew and Luke while not identical are similar). Note the left side of the diagram is UNSHADED and is a depiction of the TIME GAP or YEAR OF OBSCURITY of Jesus' ministry lasting about 12-14 months and described only in the Gospel of John. 

Click to Enlarge


John records "After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing. John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized– for John had not yet been thrown into prison (John 3:22-24+).  The point John is making is that the events that occurred in John's account (beginning in about John 1:19) occurred before John was thrown into prison. 

Here is what we learn from the Gospel of John about what happened in that first year of our Lord's public ministry – that “Year of Obscurity.” Jesus met Andrew, John, James, and Peter who would later leave all to follow Jesus. Jesus went up to Jerusalem for His first Passover with His disciples. Jesus cleansed the Temple the first time. Our Lord's first miracle would take place in Cana of Galilee when He turned water into wine at a wedding feast. Jesus had a conversation with Nicodemus about the New Birth.

John Phillips adds that "During this period, the Lord performed His first signs and miracles and gave some of His earliest teaching. He traveled, too, between Galilee and Judea. The miracles were performed mostly in Galilee, and the teaching was given primarily in Judea. This period has been called "the year of obscurity," and we would know little or nothing about it if not for the gospel of John. (Exploring the Gospel of Mark: An Expository Commentary)

William Barclay on Galilee

(Galilee - See Fausset's Bible Dictionary. See map of Jesus' Ministry in Galilee. (Hebrew: הגליל‎‎, transliteration HaGalil) is a region in northern Israel. The term Galilee traditionally refers to the mountainous part and divided into Upper Galilee (Hebrew: גליל עליון‎‎ Galil Elyon) and Lower Galilee (Hebrew: גליל תחתון‎‎ Galil Tahton). (Wikipedia))

Let us note where Jesus went. He went into Galilee. When Jesus went into Galilee to begin his mission and his ministry, he knew what he was doing. Galilee was the most northerly district of Palestine. It stretched from the Litany River in the north to the Plain of Esdraelon in the south. On the west it did not reach the sea coast of the Mediterranean, because the coastal strip was in the possession of the Phoenicians. On the north-east it was bounded by Syria, and its eastern limit was the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Galilee was not large; it was only fifty miles from north to south, and twenty-five miles from east to west.

But, small as it was, Galilee was densely populated. It was by far the most fertile region of Palestine; its fertility was indeed phenomenal and proverbial. There was a saying that it was easier to raise a legion of olives in Galilee than it was to bring up one child in Judea. Josephus, who was at one time governor of the province, says, “It is throughout rich in soil and pasturage, producing every variety of tree, and inviting by its productiveness even those who have the least inclination for agriculture; it is everywhere tilled; no part is allowed to lie idle, and everywhere it is productive.” The result of this was that for its size Galilee had an enormous population. Josephus tells us that in it there were two hundred and four villages, none with a population of fewer than fifteen thousand people. So, then, Jesus began his mission in that part of Palestine where there were most people to hear him; he began his work in an area teeming with men to whom the gospel proclamation might be made.

But not only was Galilee a populous district; its people were people of a certain kind. Of all parts of Palestine Galilee was most open to new ideas. Josephus says of the Galileans, “They were ever fond of innovations, and by nature disposed to changes, and delighted in seditions.” They were ever ready to follow a leader and to begin an insurrection They were notoriously quick in temper and given to quarreling. Yet withal they were the most chivalrous of men. “the Galileans,” said Josephus, “have never been destitute of courage.” “Cowardice was never a characteristic of the Galileans.” “They were ever more anxious for honor than for gain.” The inborn characteristics of the Galileans were such as to make them most fertile ground for a new gospel to be preached to them.

This openness to new ideas was due to certain facts.

(i) The name Galilee comes from the Hebrew word galil which means a circle. The full name of the area was Galilee of the Gentiles. Plummer wishes to take that to mean “heathenish Galilee.” But the phrase came from the fact that Galilee was literally surrounded by Gentiles. On the west, the Phoenicians were its neighbors. To the north and the east, there were the Syrians. And even to the south, there lay the territory of the Samaritans. Galilee was in fact the one part of Palestine that was inevitably in touch with non-Jewish influences and ideas. Galilee was bound to be open to new ideas in a way that no other part of Palestine was.

(ii) The great roads of the world passed through Galilee, as we saw when we were thinking of the town of Nazareth. The Way of the Sea led from Damascus through Galilee right down to Egypt and to Africa. The Road to the East led through Galilee away out to the frontiers. The traffic of the world passed through Galilee. Away in the south Judea is tucked into a corner, isolated and secluded. As it has been well said, “Judea is on the way to nowhere: Galilee is on the way to everywhere.” Judea could erect a fence and keep all foreign influence and all new ideas out; Galilee could never do that. Into Galilee the new ideas were bound to come.

(iii) Galilee’s geographical position had affected its history. Again and again it had been invaded and conquered, and the tides of the foreigners had often flowed over it and had sometimes engulfed it. Originally it had been assigned to the tribes of Asher, Naphtali and Zebulun when the Israelites first came into the land (Joshua 9) but these tribes had never been completely successful in expelling the native Canaanite inhabitants, and from the beginning the population of Galilee was mixed. More than once foreign invasions from the north and east had swept down on it from Syria, and in the eighth century B.C. the Assyrians had engulfed it completely, the greater part of its population had been taken away into exile, and strangers had been settled in the land. Inevitably this brought a very large injection of foreign blood into Galilee. From the eighth until the second century B.C. it had been largely in Gentile hands. When the Jews returned from exile under Nehemiah and Ezra, many of the Galileans came south to live in Jerusalem. In 164 B.C. Simon Maccabaeus chased the Syrians north from Galilee back to their own territory; and on his way back he took with him to Jerusalem the remnants of the Galileans who were left. The most amazing thing of all is that in 104 B.C. Aristobulus reconquered Galilee for the Jewish nation, and proceeded forcibly to circumcise the inhabitants of Galilee, and thus to make them Jews whether they liked it or not. History had compelled Galilee to open its doors to new strains of blood and to new ideas and to new influences. The natural characteristics of the Galileans, and the preparation of history had made Galilee the one place in all Palestine where a new teacher with a new message had any real chance of being heard, and it was there that Jesus began his mission and first announced his message. (Daily Study Bible - Matthew 4)

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. ACTS 1:8

The early church owned no buildings, had no big budgets (Acts 3:6), and was made up primarily of common people who had no influential friends “at the top.” And yet, those early believers fulfilled Christ’s commission and successfully carried the gospel to their world. Believers today have means of transportation and communication that would astound Peter and Paul, yet we are falling behind. In fact, church growth in the United States is mainly from people transferring their membership from one church to another and not because brand-new believers are looking for church homes.

We are commanded to be witnesses through both the way we live and the words we speak. Witnesses are people who tell others what they know about Jesus and what he has done for them (4:20). They lovingly share the good news of salvation. Actually, all believers are witnesses, either good ones or bad ones. Unfortunately, some are more like prosecuting attorneys or judges and do very little witnessing. The Greek word for “witness” gives us the English word martyr, and many of the Lord’s faithful witnesses have sealed their witness with their blood.

We cannot witness effectively without divine power. Jesus commanded his disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they were empowered by the Spirit (Luke 24:46–49), for only then would they be equipped to communicate the gospel. You would think that the believers who met in the upper room (Acts 1:12–14) had everything they needed to evangelize Jerusalem. After all, they had known Jesus personally. The apostles had lived with Jesus and been taught by him. They had seen his miracles and even done miracles themselves. But they were still not ready to witness until they had the power of the Spirit, for it is the Spirit’s ministry to equip us for service. Our assets are liabilities apart from the ministry of the Spirit.

In his upper room discourse (John 13–16), Jesus taught the disciples about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit would help them know and do God’s will (14:15–17) and would teach them the Scriptures and help them recall what they had learned (Jn 14:25–26; 16:13–15). He would give them power to witness (15:2–27) and would bring conviction to those who heard (16:7–11). This would result in Jesus being glorified (v. 14). The book of Acts records all of these ministries of the Spirit as demonstrated in the life of the early church. Do we see them in the churches today?

Because we have trusted Jesus Christ and received salvation, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us (Rom. 8:9), but does the Holy Spirit have us? When evangelist D. L. Moody was ministering in Great Britain, a critical minister asked, “Does Mr. Moody have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” A friend replied, “No, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on D. L. Moody.” To be filled with the Spirit means to be controlled by the Spirit and willingly used by him to honor the Lord. I once heard A. W. Tozer say, “If God were to take the Holy Spirit out of this world, most of what the churches are doing would go right on and nobody would know the difference.” Do we know the difference?

When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness. John 15:26–27

The higher spiritual life

Jesus returns to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. This is full of interest in every way. 

1. As bringing up the question of Christ’s Divinity. Can One who is Divine receive augmented powers? Especially can He from another co-equal Spirit? To this inquiry it may be replied that Christ’s life on earth was the Divine circumscribed. The power of the Spirit that rested upon Christ brought forth no new elements, but it brought out the Divine element previously existing. 

2. Interesting as a study of the life of Christ, it becomes even more so in its connection with ourselves--with the whole sphere and operation and possibilities of the human mind. A like experience will be traced in the apostles’ lives. At the time of His death they were very little advanced, except in personal affection for Him, beyond Nicodemus, or other devout and spiritually-minded Jews. He had told them to stay in Jerusalem until some great change should come upon them. And He declared what that change should be--power from on high; the power of the Holy Ghost. And then came the Pentecostal experience. 

3. We find traces in the early Church to show that there were those who received this special power over and above mere ordinary endowments. 

4. In every age there have been those to whom these disclosures have been made, pre-eminently the case with John Wesley, who laboured years, as he regarded it, in bondage, and at last came out in the power of the Spirit. 

5. Lastly, many now living are distinctly conscious that this same impulse, this same clothing of extraordinary power remains on earth. Men’s faculties are telescopic. Used in their lower state they are, as it were, undrawn cut. They are capable of being brought to a condition in which they will be a hundred times more than in their ordinary condition. The consciousness of this transcends all other evidences of the Divine life. APPLICATION: Many of you are longing for the renewal of life. Here is the instrument of your power. This is what you need; this is what we all need--that higher life which comes by the Spirit of God. (H. W. Beecher)

Luke 4:15  And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.    

CSB  He was teaching in their synagogues, being acclaimed by everyone.

ESV   And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

GWN  He taught in the synagogues, and everyone praised him.

KJV   And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.

NET  He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by all.

NLT  He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

Wuest  And He himself was teaching in their synagogues, being extolled by all.

Related Passages:

Matthew summarizes Jesus' ministry in Galilee.

Matthew 4:23-25+ And Jesus was going about in all Galilee, (1) teaching (didaskoin their synagogues, and (2) proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, and (3) healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.  And the news (akoe - the hearing thus the report) about Him went out into all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, taken with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. And great multitudes followed Him from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. (Note miracles were last as they were attract attention to hear the proclamation of the Gospel, which had to be believed to be saved.)

Mark 1:39+ And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.

Jewish Synagogue - Click to enlarge.
See for explanatory note
Another Jewish Synagogue

John MacArthur gives an excellent alliterative summary of Luke 4:14-15

  • We find the place of His ministry: Galilee. 
  • We find the power of His ministry: the Holy Spirit. 
  • We find the popularity of His ministry: spreading throughout all the surrounding district. 
  • We find the priority of His ministry; teaching in the synagogues. 
  • And we find the praise of His ministry, as people responded to Him. 

And He began teaching (didasko) in their synagogues (sunagoge) and was praised (doxazo) by all - Notice the "and" (kai in Greek) which links v15 with v14 which describes Jesus as ministering in the power of the Spirit? So the answer to how Jesus able to teach continually in so many synagogues in the cities and towns in Galilee is clear. He accomplished it in the power of the Spirit! And His immediate focus was teaching, also a good pattern for any church! Teaching (didasko) is in "the imperfect tense, describing the habit of Jesus, signifying that again and again he was teaching. In their (many) synagogues in Galilee, "many" because Josephus says there some 240 towns in Galilee and many would have had a synagogue for it took only 10 Jewish men to organize a synagogue.

THOUGHT - Once again Jesus the Perfect Man gives us the simple, yet profoundly Perfect Pattern for ministry! How should His disciples preach and teach? In the power of the Spirit! HERE IS THE VITAL QUESTION - Does this describe your (my) ministry? It does if you are (I am) continually obeying Paul's commands (both present imperative) to be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18+), "filled with" the Word (Col 3:16+), seeking continually to walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:16+). 

MacArthur says "Jesus was commonly known as "teacher."  He was called teacher, He was called “rabbi.”  In Matthew 5-7 you have the great Sermon on the Mount, or better, the Sermon on Salvation.  And when it was done, "the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes." (Mt 7:28,29)  He was a teacher but His teaching was unique because He didn't have to quote anybody.  He didn't have any footnotes in His sermons, He just took the Word of God which, of course, was His own Word, and taught it with power and explained it with clarity. As you read Mark and John, you always see the priority of His ministry is teaching.  And that is the important matter, to be teaching the truth. The miracles were simply to draw attention to the fact that He was from God, that He was the Messiah, that He was God in human flesh, but it was His message that was always the priority." (Luke 4:16-21 Jesus Returns to Nazareth)

And was praised (doxazo) by all - Praised (doxazo) is in the present tense signifying Jesus was continually being praised by the populace. In a word, He was popular and apparently opposition to His ministry was not a major issue, but that would soon change once the hostility of the Pharisees had been aroused. In the meantime the Jews in Galilee were praising Him, but sadly not as Messiah, but as a Man Who taught with authority. Undoubtedly His miraculous deeds contributed to His popularity. After all, who doesn't want to see a miracle! It is interesting that this is the only time that doxazo is used of men praising Jesus.

Pulpit Commentary - Rapidly the report of what He had done at Cana (ED: THIS IS THE PART , the fame of His marvelous words at Jerusalem, Samaria, and other places, spread through all the central districts of the Holy Land. How quickly with this wonderful adoration would become rabid antipathy as He preached in the synagogue in Nazareth (Lk 4:28, 29+) - "His miracles, his words touching and eloquent, perhaps too a dim memory of marvels which had happened years before at his birth, shed round the new Teacher a halo of glory. It was only when, instead of the Messianic hopes of conquest and power which they (the Jews) cherished, a life of brave self-denial and quiet generosity was preached, that the reaction against him set in. The men of Nazareth, with their violent antagonism, which we are about to consider, were only, after all, a few months in advance of the rest of the nation in their rejection of the Messiah."

THE REACTION TO JESUS IN LUKE 4 - It is interesting to note that Luke mentions the public response to Jesus several times in Luke 4 (Lk 4:15 = praised by all, Lk 4:22 = all were speaking well of Him (but sadly not all were believing in HIm), Lk 4:28 = filled with rage, Lk 4:32 = they were amazed at His teaching, Lk 4:36 = amazement came upon them all, Lk 4:37 =  the report about Him was spreading). Praised by all emphasizes popularity, but watch how quickly the fickle crowd changes into a furious crowd. One thinks of the rousing reception as Jesus entered Jerusalem to cries of Hosanna (Mk 11:9,10+) only to have the cries change to "Crucify Him!" (Mk 15:13,14+) only a few days later! Click and note the third chart from top which gives a depiction of Jesus rising popularity followed by increasing hostility beginning in about John 5. 


ESV Global Study Bible Note (relates to the depiction of the synagogue above) In cities other than Jerusalem, the synagogue was the center of Jewish worship during the time of Christ. Synagogues were located in most of the leading towns of Israel. Although very little remains of the original first-century synagogue at Nazareth, extensive archaeological evidence exists for a typical Jewish synagogue in the town of Gamla, which would have had much in common with the ­synagogues Jesus visited in Nazareth and other cities. This illustration is based on the excavation of the Gamla synagogue, one of the oldest in Israel. The city of Gamla was 6 miles (9.7 km) northeast of the Sea of Galilee. It was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 67, early in the Jewish Revolt.

Joseph L. Trafton - Synagogue services included prayers, the reading of Scripture, and, usually, a sermon explaining the Scripture. The chief administrative officer was the synagogue ruler (Mark 5:22 ; Luke 13:14 ; Acts 13:15+; Acts 18:8,17+), who was assisted by an executive officer who handled the details of the synagogue service (Luke 4:20). Laypeople were allowed to participate in the services, especially in the reading of the prayers and the Scripture (Luke 4:16-20). Visiting sages could be invited to provide the sermon (Luke 4:21 ; Acts 13:15+). Synagogues were attended by both men and women, as well as by God-fearing Gentiles who were committed to learning more about the God of the Jews (Acts 17:4+). (Ref)

Life Application Commentary - Jesus spoke often in Jewish synagogues. These gathering places for worship grew up during the Exile when the Jews no longer had their temple. Synagogues were established as places of worship on the Sabbath and as schools for young boys during the week. They continued to exist even after the temple was rebuilt. Any town with at least ten Jewish families could have a synagogue. The synagogue was administered by one leader and an assistant. Often the leader would invite a visiting rabbi to read from the Scriptures and to teach. Thus Jesus, traveling from town to town, teaching, preaching, and doing miracles, would be a popular person to invite into a town's synagogue. Everyone praised this new rabbi. His teaching was fresh-as Matthew recorded, "He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law" (Matthew 7:29 NIV). (Luke)

Began teaching (1321)(didasko from dáo= know or teach; English = didactic; see study of related noun didaskalia and the adjective didaktikos) means to provide instruction or information in a formal or informal setting.

John MacArthur explains that didasko "refers to the passing on of information-often, but not necessarily, in a formal setting. It focused on content, with the purpose of discovering the truth-contrary to the forums so popular among Greeks, where discussion and the bantering about of various ideas and opinions was the primary concern (see Acts 17:21). Synagogue teaching, as illustrated by that of Jesus, was basically expository. Scripture was read and explained section by section, often verse by verse." (See Matthew Commentary)

MacArthur adds that didasko "In all the various forms, the root meaning carries with it the idea of systematic teaching or systematic training. It is the word that is used to refer to a choir director who trains a choir over a long period of rehearsals until they are able to perform. The gift of prophecy could be a one-time proclamation of Christ, but the gift of teaching is a systematic training problem to take a person from one point to another. What is the curriculum for the teacher? The Bible, the Word of God. The gift is to teach systematically the truth of God.It can be used with men—one on one, one on two, one on three, one on five thousand. It can be used with women—one on one, one on two, one on three, one on five thousand. It can be used by a lady in a little group of children. It can be used by a mother to a son. It can be used by a husband to his wife. It can be used in any conceivable way that the Spirit of God desires. It is the ability to pass on truth in a systematic progression so that someone receives it, implements it, and a change of behavior takes place. In fact, it is a gift that belongs to a lot more of us than we realize. (See Spiritual Gifts)

Synagogues (4864)(sunagoge from sunago = lead together, assemble or bring together) refers to a group of people “going with one another” (sunago) literally describes a bringing together or congregating in one place. Eventually, sunagoge came to mean the place where they congregated together. The word was used to designate the buildings other than the central Jewish temple where the Jews congregated for worship. Historically, the Synagogues originated in the Babylonian captivity after the 586 BC destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar and served as places of worship and instruction. Sunagoge was the name of a group "Synagogue of the Freedmen" (Acts 6:9). Synagogues frequently were a place of teaching and proclamation of the Gospel (Mt 4:23, 9:35, 12:9, 13:54, Mk 6:2, Lk 4:15, 16, Lk 4:44, 6:6, 13:10, Jn 6:59, 18:20, Acts 9:20 = Paul immediately "began to proclaim Jesus," Acts 13:5 = Paul proclaimed "the word of God," Acts 14:1 = place Paul, et al, spoke and where "a large number of people believed," Acts 17:17, 18:4, 18:19, 19:8 = Paul, et al reasoned with various audiences in synagogues). In James 2:3 the synagogue seems to describe an assembly-place for Judeo-Christians. Sadly many synagogues became hotbeds of hypocrisy (Mt 6:2), assemblies for arrogant display (a form of hypocrisy) (Mt 6:5, Mk 12:39, Lk 11:43, 20:46).

Sunagoge uses by Luke - Lk. 4:15; Lk. 4:16; Lk. 4:20; Lk. 4:28; Lk. 4:33; Lk. 4:38; Lk. 4:44; Lk. 6:6; Lk. 7:5; Lk. 8:41; Lk. 11:43; Lk. 12:11; Lk. 13:10; Lk. 20:46; Lk. 21:12;  Acts 6:9; Acts 9:2; Acts 9:20; Acts 13:5; Acts 13:14; Acts 13:43; Acts 14:1; Acts 15:21; Acts 17:1; Acts 17:10; Acts 17:17; Acts 18:4; Acts 18:7; Acts 18:19; Acts 18:26; Acts 19:8; Acts 22:19; Acts 24:12; Acts 26:11

Related Resources:

Was praised (1392)(doxazo from doxa = glory) has a secular meaning of to think, suppose, be of opinion, but strictly speaking is not used in this sense in Scripture which has two basic meanings (1) To influence one’s opinion about another so as to enhance the latter’s reputation - most often Scripture speaks of glorifying God usually for miracles (Luke 2:20, 5:25, 26, 7:16, 13:13, 17:15, 18:43.) Even the Romans Centurion praised God when he witnessed the events of the crucifixion (Lk 23:47). However, sometimes people are meant (Mt. 6:2 = "honored by men"; 1 Cor. 12:26 = " if one member is honored"). Since it is the Jewish people at large who giving Jesus the honor, it is this later sense that is intended in Luke 4:15. (2) The second meaning of doxazo is to cause to have splendid greatness - clothe in splendor, glorify, of the glory that comes in the next life. (Jn 7:39, 12:16 = of Jesus glorified state). 

Doxazo in Luke and Acts -  Lk. 4:15; Lk. 5:25; Lk. 5:26; Lk. 7:16; Lk. 13:13; Lk. 17:15; Lk. 18:43; Lk. 23:47;  Acts 3:13; Acts 4:21; Acts 11:18; Acts 13:48; Acts 21:20


Below is Dr John MacArthur's summary of Jesus' early Judean ministry as recorded only in the Gospel of John. Yes, it is lengthy "excerpt," but I think if you take time to go through it and follow along in your Bible, you will come away with a very clear picture of the first year of Jesus' ministry which all three Synoptic Gospels pass over. I can assure you, it will be worth your investment of time! 

Dr MacArthur says "I want you to understand what happened in that year (Ed: The year between Luke 4:13 and Luke 4:14-15) because it really is important to understanding the foundations of Jesus' ministry and the response of the people to His ministry.  What He did in that year...maybe not a full year, establishes His patterns. It is critical to our knowledge of Jesus Christ and His ministry.

When we come to John 1:29+, "The next day, he,” being John, “saw Jesus coming to him, and said, 'Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.'" Now in chronology, this happens after the temptation. Some time has passed. Jesus has been baptized, and perhaps a few days after that He entered into the wilderness for forty days.  And then the angels came and ministered to Him.  So it could be a couple of months have gone by.  And now He is back at the Jordan river. John is still carrying on his ministry. Remember the ministry of John and Jesus overlapped until John was imprisoned (cf Jn 3:24+, Mt 4:12+).  As John continued to call the people to repentance and point them to the Messiah Who was actually beginning His ministry, John is still there pointing to the Messiah Who is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.  And John goes into a further description of Jesus as the One Whom he saw the Spirit descend upon in Jn 1:32+ and so forth, the One Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit in Jn 1:33+. "I have seen and bore witness that this is the Son of God" (Jn 1:34+).  So John continues to give testimony to Jesus as the Son of God while Jesus is beginning His ministry. Jn 1:35, 36+ "The next day John was standing with two of his disciples, looked upon Jesus as He walked and said, 'Behold the Lamb of God."  John used that description often as his title for Jesus. Apparently almost every time he saw Him he called Him that.  "And two disciples of John heard Him speak and they follow Jesus and Jesus turned and beheld them following and said to them, 'What do you seek?'  And they said to Him, 'Rabbi,' which translated means teacher, 'where are You staying?'  And He said to them, 'Come and you will see.'  They came therefore and saw where He was staying. They stayed with Him that day.  It was about the tenth hour."  Tenth hour by Jewish calendar would be four o'clock in the afternoon, late in the day.  "One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ)." He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter)." (Jn 1:40-42+) So He is beginning to collect His unofficial group of followers...The actual affirmation of their apostleship comes at a later time. So simply on the testimony of John the Baptist, these men began to follow Jesus....John is telling others that they need to follow Jesus....So here comes Andrew and here comes Peter and here comes, later on in this text as we shall see, Philip and then Nathanael and Jesus begins to collect the men around Him who will be what we know as the apostles. Now they all knew that John the Baptist was a prophet....and they knew therefore that when he pointed to Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah, that he was in fact telling the truth. Now at this point in the Gospel, John focuses on Jesus Christ in very clear ways.  This is what I want you to see because it's very foundational.  John, first of all, introduces us to His person.  We learn from the text of John about the Man Jesus, the person of Jesus. It’s quite interesting. Jn 1:42+ indicates that Jesus looked at Simon....and said, "You are Simon."  How did He know that?  Not only are you Simon, but you're the son of John, or Jonas, as it's sometimes translated.  How did He know that?  He knew that because He knew everything. Later on in the same section it said in Jn 1:47+, Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, being brought by Philip, “and He said of him, 'Behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile.'"  How did Jesus know that this was a pure man?  How did Jesus know that this man had no deceit?  How did Jesus know this man had integrity? "Nathanael said to Him," in Jn 1:48+, "'How do You know me?'  Jesus answered and said to him, 'Before Philip called you when you were under the fig tree I saw you.'"  Wait a minute, this is supernatural.  How does He know who this man He called Simon?  How does He know his father's name is John?  And why does He change his name to Cephas which means "rock"?  Because He knows who he is because He knows everything.  How does He know Nathanael is a man with no guile?  How did He see Nathanael sitting under a fig tree before Philip ever brought him?  And that's because of His omniscience. The first element of the person of Jesus Christ that John introduces to us is His omniscience.  He is God.  He is deity.  He possesses divine attributes, one of which is omniscience.  And, of course, Nathanael understood.  Jn 1:49+, "Nathanael answered Him, 'Rabbi, You are the Son of God, You are the king of Israel.'  Jesus answered and said to him, 'Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?  You shall see greater things than these.'" (Jn 1:50+) It's as if He said if you were wowed by omniscience, wait till you see omnipotence.  That's nothing compared to what you're going to see.  And he saw the dead raised, the blind given sight, the deaf made able to hear, and the lame made able to walk.  Jesus created food out of His hands or by His command, walked on water...But John wants us to see the Son of God and so He introduces us to Him as God, possessing omniscience. Secondly, He possessed transcendence.  Jesus was human but He was not just human.  And His transcendence is indicated in Jn 1:51+..."And He said to him," still talking to Nathanael who was indicating his belief, of course, Jesus says you're going to see greater things than these.  "Truly, truly I say to you, you shall see the heavens open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." Wow, what He is saying is you're about to experience what it's like to be with someone who is transcendent.  The point is this, that I am going to give you access to heaven, that through Me heaven is going to come down and earth is going to go up.  I am going...I am the Mediator between God and man, that's essentially what He's saying...You're going to see heaven open wide, just like sort of parallel to Jacob's ladder, you remember, by which he could go up and come down.  Jesus says, "I am the ladder (Ed: See excerpt below for more explanation), I am transcendent, I transcend this world, I open heaven and on Me angels come and go."  This is not just another man. "I am the one who has opened heaven to man.  I am the one who as the Son of Man brought down the righteousness, brought down glory, brought down salvation and will lift up sinners to the very throne of God.  I am the one who literally has broken open the veil, as it were, and given sinners access to the Holy of Holies.  I am the one who brings God and man together."  He's transcendent.  Free access to the Father, open angelic ministry, is now available and the angels, according to Hebrews 1:14 are sent for the ministry that they have toward the saints.

(Excerpt from John 1:38-51 The Balance of Salvation for more explanation on "I am the ladder" --- Dr MacArthur says on Jn 1:51 "now hang on to this one. "He saith unto him, Verily, verily I say unto you, hereafter you shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." Now commentators have had a field day with that verse. Let me see if I can reduce it to a simple concept in just a matter of seconds. Listen. That comes out of Genesis 28, now hang on to this, this is very important. In Genesis 28 Jacob saw a ladder, remember it? And Jacob saw a ladder going from earth to heaven and angels going up and down the ladder and Jacob was dreaming of a watch this...dreaming of a day when man would have access to God. You see, that's what that ladder represented, from earth to heaven and angels were ministering to that ladder to keep it open, to keep it available, to keep it working so that man could go to God. And Jacob was dreaming of that day. Do you know who that ladder is? The Son of Man, look at it, what does it say? You shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending not upon a ladder but upon what? On a man. You know what He was saying to Nathanael? He was saying, "Nathanael, it's wonderful that you know I'm omniscient, but let Me tell you something better, you now have permanent open access to God through Me." Isn't that a beautiful thought? "I am that golden ladder." And you say, "What are the angels doing there?" Who ministered to Christ? Who ministered to Him after His temptation, through His life? The angels did. Who ministers to God? The angels. Who ministers to us? The angels. That's a busy place, you see them up and down, up and down. He says, "Nathanael, it's good that you appreciate My omniscience, but wait a minute, I want to show you that you have open access to heaven."

Heaven is opened.  Heaven is near to us.  Heaven is as accessible to us as a prayer, isn't it?  In fact, it's even more accessible than that when you realize heaven has opened and God has come down and dwells in us.  God is ours and we are His. That's why I love that hymn, "I am His and He is mine."  The holy angels are His, the holy angels are ours. The ladder from earth to heaven is the Son of Man and He gives us access and communion and fellowship.  This is transcendence. John is telling us that this Son of God is both omniscient and transcendent; thirdly, omnipotent.  John wants us to know about the power that He bears which is the power of God. 

And so in John 2 he tells the story...of a wedding.  And I want you to notice this.  "The third day there was a wedding in Cana," (Jn 2:1), third day after Jesus' meeting with Nathanael, Philip, Simon and Andrew.  Third day, Jesus was back in Galilee.  Now listen carefully to what I say. After His temptation, apparently Jesus did go back to Galilee briefly. He met His disciples and attended a wedding.  That is not what Luke is talking about in Luke 4:14-15  "And Jesus returned to Galilee... teaching in their synagogues".... He didn't do that on this first brief visit.  He left...the area of the temptation, went north into Galilee, just briefly to have this encounter with the disciples, long enough to attend a wedding, which generally lasted about a week and then He went back down (south) to Jerusalem where He remained...until John the Baptist was imprisoned (Mt 4:12, Mk 1:14) and He then went to Galilee to begin His official ministry in Galilee.  This was a very brief...visit to attend a wedding. It was important though because it was at the wedding that Jesus did His first miracle, the first miracle of His entire life (see sermon Christ's First Miracle)...Jn 2:11, "This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee."  So if anybody tells you that He was doing miracles as a little boy or in the thirty years of His obscure ministry in Galilee, it is not so. Here's the miracle.  "The third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee,” third day after meeting with the disciples. “The mother of Jesus was there."  Weddings were seven-day events and they didn't consummate until the seventh day when the friend of the bridegroom handed the bride over to the groom and everybody left and they consummated the marriage.  But it was a week-long feast....Cana is a little village just outside of Nazareth.  You can easily walk there.  And so...the family of Jesus was invited to be guests. So, they went to the wedding, Jesus also being invited and His disciples along with Him....The wine gave out, which is not good because that's embarrassing for the host.  "And the mother of Jesus said to Him, 'They have no wine.'" (Jn 2:3)  Now she knew who He was.  She doesn't go beyond just saying, "They have no wine," she brings the problem to His attention.  One could speculate that He was the greatest problem-solver any mother ever had in her house.  Growing up He would have understood every problem perfectly and known the solution to everything.  And in this case it would be very natural for her now in His adulthood to say they have a problem and we're very confident that You can solve it. So she says, "They have no wine."  Jesus said to her, and this is quite interesting, "Woman, what do I have to do with you?" (Jn 2:4)  Boy! That was a sting.  Jesus had to say it because Mary had to know...there was no longer this mother-son relationship. He had now gone through His baptism.  He had now been set apart for His ministry. That which was anticipated when He said at the age of twelve, "I have to be in My Father's house, doing My Father's business" had now come to full fruition and Mary laid no claims on Him because He was now fully under the control of the sovereign God, His Father, and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Mary didn't play into that and she needed to know that from now on she had to see Him fully not as her Son, but as her Savior.  This is not a term of unkindness, but it is a term of distance. He is separating her by saying, "Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come."  I am on a divine timetable. I am under the sovereign control of God, My Father. But she knew His heart.  "She said to the servants, 'Whatever He says to you do it.'" (Jn 2:5) Now I don't know that she knew what He would do, but as I said, He would have been the greatest problem solver anybody ever knew.  "Now there were six stone water pots set there for the Jewish custom of purification containing twenty to thirty gallons each."  (Jn 2:6) These would be stone because stone doesn't absorb the liquid like clay does, so they would be able to store water...and water storage obviously was very important.  This does indicate there was a large number of people in this family.  It may have been a well-to-do family to have that much water stored, twenty to thirty gallons times six. "Jesus said to them, 'Fill the water pots with water,' and they filled them up to the brim." (Jn 2:7) They did what Mary told them to do. She said do whatever He tells you.  "And He said to them, 'Draw some out and take it to the head waiter," and they took it to him.  (Jn 2:8) And when the head waiter tasted the water which had become wine." (Jn 2:9)  Now that's rather incidental, isn't it?  I mean, wouldn't you have expected that Jesus got up on the building and put His arms out and thunder and lightning came and He said, "wine."  No, there's absolutely no fanfare.  This didn’t diminish His power at all. This didn't take some great exerted effort.  He didn't grandstand.  Just put the water in there and when they dipped it out, took it to the head waiter, it wasn't water, it was wine.  He just created wine without a vine, without grapes, without ground, without sun He created wine.  This is omnipotence at its rudimentary level.  This is the power to create.  This is not the power to move creation or adjust creation or control creation; this is the power to create something out of nothing.  This is God's creative power. And the head waiter tasted the water that had become wine, didn't know where it came from, “but the servants who had drawn the water knew.  The head waiter called the bridegroom and said to him, 'Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely then that which is poorer.  You have kept the good wine until now.'"  (Jn 2:10) Obviously this was the best thing he had ever tasted in his entire life because this was wine that passed the test. This was wine created by God!...Why does John tell this story?  He tells the story because this is at the heart and soul of the character of Jesus.  He is...He is omniscient.  He knows the person's life that He's never met.  He sees people that aren't visible to the naked eye.  He is...He is also transcendent.  He opens the way to heaven.  And He is omnipotent to the point where He can create out of nothing.

And then when you come to John 2:12, He leaves Galilee.  He goes from Nazareth, which is a little bit north and west of the Sea of Galilee, down a little south and east to the lake edge, to the Lake of Chinnereth, or the Sea of Galilee to the town of Capernaum.  (See map of the setting of Luke) It says in Jn 2:12 He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers, disciples and stayed there a few days. So this is a very brief visit; a few days with the disciples, three days later a wedding that lasts a week, a few days in Capernaum.  I mean, in total maybe three weeks and He's on His way, Jn 2:13, the Passover is at hand and so He's down to Jerusalem.  It says "went up" because it's up in terms of elevation, it's down in terms of direction, north from south.  But they always refer to it as up in the Bible because Jerusalem is on a plateau....Jn 2:14-16, "He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves and money changers seated.  He made a scourge of cords and drove them out of the temple with the sheep and the oxen, He poured out the coins of the money changers, overturned their tables.  To those who were selling the doves, He said, 'Take these things away, stop making My Father's house a house of merchandise.'"  And here John introduces to another attribute, the attribute of holiness...Here is righteous indignation.  It is burning indignation.  And Jesus reacted.  The Lord of love, yes.  The Lord of grace, yes.  But the God of holiness, yes. And He will not talk about grace and He will not talk about love until He has shattered the complacency of sin and irreverence. So the first thing He does in His public ministry when He arrives at Jerusalem is step right into the temple and attack their irreverence and sin.  This is the antithesis of the seeker-friendly mentality. Jesus goes in there in a rage of holy indignation. The destruction eventually led to His murder...There was a sort of a Jerusalem mafioso made up of the family of the high priest.  They were running the temple operation and making a fortune. When anybody came down to sacrifice an animal, all they had to do was say, "Now the animal is not good enough, the animal has a flaw here, a flaw there, and he doesn't qualify for sacrifice, you have to use one of our animals," and charge triple the price.  When they exchanged the money, they would only allow them to give certain money, certain coins that didn't have Caesar's imprint, and so in the exchange they would charge exorbitant rates and they were bilking the people...Jesus comes in and just devastates the temple business and calls it what it is, a den of thieves.  This initiates the hostility of the Jewish leaders that ultimately ends in Jesus being murdered. That's the part of the story that I point out in the book on The Murder of Jesus.  The gentle Jesus, yes, but not when holiness is the issue.  He makes an unmistakable claim to deity, "My Father's house." (Jn 2:16)...They never heard anybody claim that God is "My Father" in a personal expression like that.  And if they knew the Bible they would know that this is a direct fulfillment of Psalm 69:9 where the prophetic Psalm says that “zeal for Your house has eaten me up and the reproaches that fall on You are fallen on me."  That was speaking of the Messiah who would see the desecration of the house of God and passionately seek to change it. (Ed: For more detail see sermon Jn 2:12-17 Zeal for My Father’s House)

In Jn 2:18 "The Jews said to Him, 'What sign do You show to us seeing that You do these things?'"  Who do You think You are? "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple, in three days I'll raise it up.'" (Jn 2:19)  Here's the next attribute, eternality.  He says, "I am eternal.  I cannot ultimately die.  I will conquer death."  He is the very living God.  In fact, you could even say, life is an attribute of God, life, indomitable life. (See John 2:18-22 Deity on Display)

So we see His omniscience.  We see His transcendence.  We see His holiness.  We see His life.  And, of course, they didn't know what He was talking about.  They were talking about whether He was going to destroy the temple and then later they used that against Him that He was going to somehow destroy the temple literally.  He was talking, of course, about the temple of His own body.  When He was raised from the dead, His disciples had remembered that He had said this and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.(Jn 2:22) And then in Jn 2:23 when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover during the feast, many believed in His name, beholding His signs which He was doing, more miracles.  "But Jesus on His part was not entrusting Himself to them for He knew all men and because He didn't need anyone to bear witness concerning man because He Himself knew what was in man."  This is another attribute of deity and I know this is an obscure word but I want to use it.  It is a very interesting word...“Perspicacity” is the word and the word simply means to see things exactly the way they are....and that is a characteristic of God.  God is never deceived.  He is never wrong in an assessment.  God has perfect discernment, right?  Jesus demonstrates that perspicacity, absolute accurate assessment of reality.  And, of course, it is linked to omniscience, but here it comes in a little different way.  Omniscience is general knowledge of everything.  Perspicacity is: understanding every single issue as to its genuine reality. Jesus is not dazzled by this apparent success as people are saying they believe in Him because He has a knowledge of every individual and knows the shallowness and the false faith....We begin to see that John presents elements of His life. These are the portraits hanging in the art gallery, if you will.  Here's a picture of His omniscience and here's a picture of His transcendence and here's a picture of His omnipotence.  And here's a picture of His holiness as He's cleansing the temple.  And then here's a picture of His life as He says, you can take away My life but I'm going to take it right back again.  Here's a picture of His perspicacity....  And this is another portrait to hang in the gallery....

Then John wants to tell us about His proclamation, His message....the third chapter of us the message of Jesus....The first ten verses (Jn 3:1-10), Jesus has a conversation with a man named Nicodemus and we learn about regeneration...what it means to be born again....I read an article yesterday that says about...well, four out of five Americans call themselves "Christians."  A third of the people who call themselves "born again" Christians, a third of them believe also in reincarnation!  Those are not compatible beliefs.  And they also believe in astrology.  So a third of the "born-again" Christians believe in astrology and reincarnation.  The people who say they're born again might be calling the psychic hot line as much as they would be reading the Bible....You need to go back and find out what regeneration really is. So John gives us the message of Jesus and the message is simply this, "Nicodemus, you're the teacher in Israel, you know more than anybody else in Israel, you are the smartest man.  You're the Pharisee of Pharisees.  You know all the law of God.  You've got it all sorted out."  And Nicodemus might have expected Jesus to say, "You know, you're so far down the line, Nicodemus, you just need to add this little deal and you'll be there, my friend."  And Jesus said, "You know what you need to do, Nicodemus, you need to forget everything you know, all of it completely, the whole works-righteousness system, go all the way back to the beginning and be born all over again because the whole thing is useless." That was an absolutely shocking statement. Nicodemus as the teacher in Israel...would have assumed that he was so far along the line you just need to add a few things to enter the kingdom. Jesus said forget it all, you have to be born again.  You've got to die literally to everything you believe and hold dear. Your whole works-righteousness, Pharisaic system you've got to put in the dumpster, as it were, and start all over again.  And Nicodemus, speaking to Jesus in these...metaphorical terms acknowledges, "I think I'm too old to do that."   Well, he wasn't because later on, you'll remember, he became a disciple of Jesus. So the message of the King, the Messiah is regeneration.  You have to go all the way back to the beginning.  You can take all that existed in Pharisaic Judaism and throw it away.  You don't need to add something to it.  You don't need to tweak it here or there, dump it and go start all over again.  Paul says, Philippians 3, "Everything, being born an Israelite, tribe of Benjamin, Hebrew of the Hebrews, zealous for the law, a Pharisee of the Pharisees, the whole thing, all my life, all these years, when I saw Christ I saw it all as dung," right?  Dung, garbage. What a blow to Nicodemus.  You've got to go all the way back and be born again.  You need a new heart. You need to have the stony heart taken out of you and you need a heart of flesh put in you.  And you need the Holy Spirit planted in you.  And Jesus talks to him in the terms of Ezekiel 36+ with which he was familiar. So in divine majesty with one glorious stroke in the first ten verses of this chapter, Jesus brushed aside all sinners' refuge in religion, traditionalism, formalism, ceremonialism, legalism, ritualism, ecclesiasticism.  He literally wiped it all out and pointed the barbed arrow of spiritual truth at the vital point of need, and that is that the heart had to be totally transformed.  Jesus had great respect for the law.  He had too much respect for the law to let any sinner think he could keep it so that he could please God. So the great truth of Christ literally shatters into bits the system of religion in Israel.  Like destructive lightning from the clouds, all the forms and formulas and dogmas and legalistic requirements and ecclesiastical rituals that are placed between the souls of men and God were splintered by what Jesus said.  And He went to the root of the problem with Nicodemus and everybody else no matter how religious they were -- you're a sinner and you're unforgiven and you need to fall on your face and admit your sinfulness and be born all over again.  You need to be regenerated.  No more laws, no more rules, no more services, sacrifices, prayers, candles, etc., you need a new heart.  So He talked about regeneration in the first ten verses. (See related sermons - John 3:1-3 Jesus Teaches the TeacherJohn 3:3 The Blueprint for Being Born AgainJohn 3:1-10 God's Role in RegenerationJohn 3:1-10 The New Birth). 

Then from John 3:11-21 He talked about salvation, that God so loved the world that He sent His Son to be the Savior. The first part about regeneration demonstrates the need and the inability of religion to save. The second part demonstrates the appropriation.  Now that you know the need, how do you appropriate salvation, and the key theme of Jn 3:11-21 is to believe, to believe, to believe, to believe.  It's repeated again and again and again. (See related sermons - John 3:11-21 Twin Truths: God’s Sovereignty and Man’s ResponsibilityJohn 3:11-14 Simply BelieveJohn 3:11-21 Responding to the Divine Offer of Salvation). Then you can see the same thing even further down in this third chapter...go to the last verse of the third chapter.  "He who believes in the Son has eternal life." (Jn 3:36) That's it. He who believes in the Son has eternal life.  "He who doesn't obey the Son” and belief obviously encompasses a response of obedience “will not see life but the wrath of God abides on him."  That sums it up.  You either believe and you're saved and you have eternal life or you don't believe and you're not saved and you have eternal wrath.  That's it!

So John in this early portrait of Jesus gives us the man and the message.  And then he also gives us the mission, or the purpose in John 4:1-54...Suffice it to say, this chapter has one show the mission of Jesus to reach the world because it's a story about Jesus bringing the Gospel to what kind of woman?  A Samaritan woman who had how many husbands?  Five and who was living with a man who wasn't her husband.  This is a classic outcast. First of all, she's a woman and in ancient Judaism that was barely above an animal.  Secondly, she is a Samaritan, the most hated and despised of all people on the planet by the Jews because they were half-breeds, the product of Jews who desecrated their birthright by inter-marrying with Gentiles...A Gentile couldn't help that he was a Gentile, but a Jew could marry a Jew and perpetuate the race.  And to not do that, to marry a Gentile in ancient Judaism, was the worst.  No Jew would even go through Samaria.  Whenever they went through the south, Judea, to Galilee in the north, they went all around the area of Samaria because they didn't want any Samaritan dirt on their feet. They were such a cursed people.  So it's a woman and it's a woman who’s a Samaritan.  Beyond that, it's a woman who is an evil, wicked, sinful woman sexually.  She's had five husbands and she's living in adultery at the present time. She must have had a lot of other problems to have shed that many men.  If you can chase away five in a modest amount of years, you've got some problems....And the whole point that Jesus is trying to say here is here we are at the very beginning. He hasn't even come to Jerusalem in the sense that He's actually had a formal ministry in Jerusalem. He's just gone down, wiped out the temple, had a conversation with Nicodemus and now He's on His way back up toward the north and going through Samaria and what does He do?  He immediately says, "I have come for the outcasts.  I have come for the people that nobody wants.  I've come for the despised.  I've come for the wicked and the sinful, the grossly wicked, the grossly sinful."  And He presents Himself to this Samaritan woman and she believes and she is saved and then she becomes a witness to the people in her town. That's really the key to understanding the mission or the purpose of Jesus.   He came to be the Savior of the world, not just the Savior of Israel.

Jn 4:39   "And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified."  So now we've got a whole bunch of Samaritans being converted.  "He told me all the things that I have done." Again it was His omniscience that struck her. So when the Samaritans came to Him, they were asking Him to stay with them.  He stayed there two days, many more believed because of His Word.  He stayed and preached. (Jn 4:40-41) So the first group of people that came to the knowledge of the Messiah weren't even Jews. And this demonstrates the mission and the purpose of the Messiah to the world.  And they were saying to the woman in Jn 4:42, "It's no longer because of what you say that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this one is indeed the Savior of the world."  Not just Israel, the world! (See sermons - John 4:1-15 Messiah: The Living Water, Part 1John 4:16-26 Messiah: The Living Water, Part 2John 4:27-42 Messiah: The Living Water, Part 3John 4:43-45 Contemplating Unbelief)

And then John 4:43, "After the two days, He went forth from there into Galilee."  Jn 4:45, "When He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they themselves also went to the feast.  He came therefore again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine."  This is where He begins to inaugurate His Galilean ministry. (See sermon - John 4:43-45 Contemplating Unbelief)

Now the reason I wanted to take you through that is because now you understand why His fame spread abroad ("news about Him spread through all the surrounding district." - Luke 4:14).  Now you understand why when He came to Galilee for His official ministry to begin, John was now in prison, and Jesus comes to Galilee and the Galileans are receiving Him.  Why?  Because they were down at the Passover when they saw Him do what He did. And they also were aware of the wedding at Cana when He went right back to Cana where He made water wine.  And there was a certain royal official there whose son was sick.  And you know the story.  He heals that child and this cements their confidence.  (John 4:46-53 - see sermon John 4:46-54 Saving Faith in a Herodian Household) John 5:54: "This is the second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee." (The preceding excerpt is from Dr MacArthur's sermon on Luke 4:14-15 From the Wilderness to Galilee: Jesus' Judean Ministry)

Luke 4:16  And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 

Related Passages:

Mark 6:1-6+  (JESUS' SECOND SERMON IN NAZARETH) Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown (NAZARETH); and His disciples followed Him. 2 When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? 3 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?  (NOTE JOSEPH NOT MENTIONED. ? DECEASED) Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense (skandalizo - "scandalized") at Him. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” 5 And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching.

Nazareth - Hometown
Source: ESV global study Bible


The record in Luke 4:16–31 is found only in the Gospel of Luke. It is interesting that Luke’s Gospel takes notice of Jewish practices and consistently records Jewish motifs. Luke 4:16-31 records Jesus' initial reception turned to rejection in His hometown of Nazareth and Mark 6:1-6 records the final rejection by the citizens of Nazareth. The rejection in Nazareth was a but a microcosm or harbinger of His later rejection by the entire nation (cf Jn 1:9-11+).

And He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up (Lk 2:39-51+) - Hometown boy makes it good!  Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth and this accounts for His being called Jesus of Nazareth (7x - Mt. 26:71; Mk. 1:24; Lk. 4:34; Lk. 18:37; Jn. 1:45; Acts 10:38; Acts 26:9). 

As was His custom He entered the synagogue (sunagoge) on the Sabbath (sabbaton) (Click depiction of Synagogue) and stood up to read (anaginosko) - Undoubtedly this had been His custom (to go to the synagogue) since childhood, where custom describes the habit of doing something.

MacDonald on custom -  "There were two other things which we read that He did regularly. He prayed regularly ("And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives" = Luke 22:39, 40-46), and He made it a habit to teach others ("according to His custom, He once more began to teach them" = Mark 10:1)." (Believers Bible Commentary).

Pulpit Commentary - "This had been for years his practice in the little synagogue of the village where was his carpenter's shop. Children at the age of five years were admitted into the synagogue, and at thirteen attendance there was part of the legal life of the Jew. These synagogues were the regular places for religious gatherings every sabbath day, and also usually on Mondays and Tuesdays, besides on other special occasions. We hear of them after the return from the Captivity, and probably they existed long before. Some think that in Psalm 74:8 there is a reference to them." 

It is interesting that Luke's description is the earliest Biblical description of a synagogue service. Nehemiah mentions the standing position three times

Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the sons of Israel assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dirt upon them. 2  And the descendants of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. 3  While they stood in their place, they read from the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God. 4  Now on the Levites' platform stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and they cried with a loud voice to the LORD their God. (Neh 9:1-4)

Daniel Block on on the Sabbath - This is the first of six key Sabbath day events in Luke (Luke 4:31; 6:1-2, 7-9; 13:10-16; 14:1-5). Luke-Acts has 29 of the 68 NT uses. This seventh day of the week was the weekly day of rest and worship for Jews. It with circumcision comprised two of the major distinctive markers of Judaism (clean and unclean food was a third key marker with worship at a single temple as the fourth). The setting apart of the day goes back to the OT (Ex. 23:12; Dt. 5:13-14). The day was held in such high regard in later Judaism, that it was said the day would be observed in hell (b Sanh 65b) and that Messiah would come if Israel kept two Sabbaths perfectly (b Shab 188b).

Vincent on stood up - Not as a sign that he wished to expound, but being summoned by the superintendent of the synagogue.

NET Note -  In normative Judaism of the period, the OT scripture was read and discussed in the synagogue by the men who were present. See the Mishnah, m. Megillah 3–4; m. Berakhot 2. First came the law, then the prophets, then someone was asked to speak on the texts. Normally one stood up to read out of respect for the scriptures, and then sat down (v. 20) to expound them. 

Alfred Edersheim comments on the Synagogue at Nazareth - As the lengthening shadows of Friday’s sun closed around the quiet valley, He would hear the well-remembered double blast of the trumpet from the roof of the Synagogue-minister’s house, proclaiming the advent of the holy day. Once more it sounded through the still summer-air, to tell all, that work must be laid aside. Yet a third time it was heard, ere the ‘minister’ put it aside close by where he stood, not to profane the Sabbath by carrying it; for now the Sabbath had really commenced, and the festive Sabbath-lamp was lit. Sabbath morn dawned, and early He repaired to that Synagogue where, as a Child, a Youth, a Man, He had so often worshipped in the humble retirement of His rank, sitting, not up there among the elders and the honored, but far back. The old well-known faces were around Him, the old well-remembered words and services fell on His ear. How different they had always been to Him than to them, with whom He had thus mingled in common worship! And now He was again among them, truly a stranger among His own countrymen; this time, to be looked at, listened to, tested, tried, used or cast aside, as the case might be. It was the first time, so far as we know, that He taught in a Synagogue, and this Synagogue that of His own Nazareth. (See the entire lengthy discussion of the synagogue by Alfred Edersheim, “Life and Times of Jesus”)

Nazareth (3478) (see Nazara or Nazaret or Nazareth) is the name of the home town of Jesus fulfilling OT prophecies (not a single prophecy) that Jesus "shall be called a Nazarene." Nazareth was an obscure village not mentioned in the OT and was located about 20 miles southwest of Capernaum (see map) and about 70 miles north of Jerusalem (see map). Nazareth did not enjoy a favorable reputation as judged by Nathaniel's question "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (Jn 1:46+) Yes, not just any "good thing" but the greatest Person in time and eternity, the God-Man, Christ Jesus. Our Lord was called "Jesus of Nazareth" seven times in the NT (Matt. 26:71; Mk. 1:24; Lk. 4:34; 18:37; Jn. 1:45; Acts 10:38; 26:9)  But even the term Jesus of Nazareth in some contexts implies reproach (cp Mt 26:71, Acts 26:9+) Although Nazareth was small, it did have a Jewish synagogue and was the site of Jesus "inauguration message" in Lk 4:16. There are no uses of Nazareth in the Septuagint (see The Puzzling Problem of Nazareth)

The related name Nazarene, (nazarenos) an inhabitant of Nazareth, was used to refer to Jesus the Nazarene (13x - Mt 26:71; Mk 10:47; Luke 18:37; 24:19; Jn 18:5, 7; Acts 3:6; 4:10; 6:14), was written as an inscription on the Cross (Jn 19:19), was the Name Peter used in his dramatic sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2:22+) as did Paul (Acts 26:9+) and our Lord Himself (Acts 22:8+).

At this time in history Nazareth was not a spot that religious pilgrims visited! In fact it could hardly be called a city for it was only a small rural village estimated to have a population at that time of no more than 400. In short, like Jesus Himself (Php 2:5-11) and His mother Mary, Nazareth was a humble, obscure village, hardly the place one would expect the King of kings to be born! Mark it down, beloved, this is the way God works, through the meek and humble. You may be "obscure" and little known in your church, but rest assured that God desires to use you in His good work because you are His masterpiece (see Eph 2:10-note and related article "Believers Are God's Masterpiece, His Poiema"). And remember! You may not see all of the effects of your work in His will in this short life, but such works will endure for eternity! (see John 15:816)

ESV Study Bible - Excavations at Nazareth have located tombs, olive presses, wells, and vaulted cells for wine and oil storage, indicating that the village was a small agricultural settlement. However, Nazareth was located on a road leading from nearby Sepphoris into Samaria. The current Church of the Annunciation lies atop previous early Byzantine church structures and caves (from the 4th century or possibly earlier); these commemorated the early life of Jesus and his family.

John MacArthur adds that "Nazareth was not on any of the major trade routes; all the important roads bypassed it. It was well off the beaten path, far from the important centers of Jewish culture and religion. Moreover, Galilee, where Nazareth was located, was known as “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Isa. 9:1; Matt. 4:15) because of its proximity to Gentile regions. God’s choice of Nazareth to be Jesus’ birthplace reveals that He is the Savior of the world, not of the powerful and elite of one nation only, but of all “those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks” (1 Cor. 1:24; cf. Isa. 11:10; 42:6; Luke 2:32; Acts 10:34–35; 13:48–49; Rom. 15:9–12)."

Sabbath (4521sabbaton from shabath - 07676 = to cease from work, intermission - see note on shabath) the seventh day of the week held sacred by Jews and strictly speaking means rest or ceasing from labor. (1) For the seventh day of the week (Saturday) (Mt 12.1, 2); (2) as the sacred festival held each week on the seventh day, beginning with sundown Friday evening and ending at sundown Saturday evening (Jn 19.31); (3) as a designation for the span of seven days week (Mt 28.1b; Lk 18.12);

Sabbaton in Luke and Acts - Lk. 4:16; Lk. 4:31; Lk. 6:1; Lk. 6:2; Lk. 6:5; Lk. 6:6; Lk. 6:7; Lk. 6:9; Lk. 13:10; Lk. 13:14; Lk. 13:15; Lk. 13:16; Lk. 14:1; Lk. 14:3; Lk. 14:5; Lk. 18:12; Lk. 23:54; Lk. 23:56; Lk. 24:1;  Acts 1:12; Acts 13:14; Acts 13:27; Acts 13:42; Acts 13:44; Acts 15:21; Acts 16:13; Acts 17:2; Acts 18:4; Acts 20:7; 

To read (314)(anaginosko from aná = emphatic, again + ginosko = know <> know again) literally to know again or to recognize again. It came to mean to distinguish between, to know accurately and then to read. In the NT anaginosko is only used with the meaning of to read (albeit once in a figurative sense of men "reading" the lives of the Corinthian saints as one would an actual written letter), especially referring to reading aloud and to public reading. In Acts 8:28, 30, 32 we see the Ethiopian eunuch is reading in private (until encountered by Phillip). Anaginosko is found in the papyri in the reading aloud of a petition or of the reading aloud of a will. In another use anaginosko refers to copies of an edict set up in public places "in full view of those who wish to read (anaginosko)." Anaginosko is used in Luke 4:16, 6:3, 10:26.

Colin Brown on anaginosko - In late Judaism the reading of the Law was an unquestioned part of every service (cf. the synagogue inscription found in Jerusalem: synagogen eis anagnosin nomou, the synagogue is for the reading of the Law). This was the right of every member of the congregation (Luke 4:16ff), but was early on linked to a lectionary, at least for the Torah. In spite of opinions to the contrary there were no regular readings in the Temple. In the synagogue there is a reading from the Pentateuch on sabbaths, all festivals, the New Moon, fast days, Mondays and Thursdays, with a reading from the Prophets on sabbaths, festivals and fasts. No fixed lectionary existed in the 1st cent. A.D.) In this connection it should be noted that already in the LXX Yahweh’s command to the prophets to proclaim the word (Jer. 3:12; 11:6, etc.) was translated by anaginosko, thereby implying reading in a service. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)

Vincent on to read - Usually in New Testament of public reading. After the liturgical services which introduced the worship of the synagogue, the “minister” took a roll of the law from the ark, removed its case and wrappings, and then called upon some one to read. On the Sabbaths, at least seven persons were called on successively to read portions of the law, none of them consisting of less than three verses. After the Law followed a section from the Prophets, which was succeeded immediately by a discourse. It was this section (the Prophets) which Jesus read and expounded. See Acts 13:15; Neh. 8:5, 8. 

R A Torrey's Life and Teaching of Our Lord - Luke 4:16-32 Our Lord Rejected at Nazareth


1. Jesus’ Love for the House of God, Luke 4:16

Where is the scene of this lesson? Why did Jesus go to Nazareth? In what way had the expectation in regard to Him been awakened in the hearts of the people (Luke 4:23)? What glimpse does the 16th verse give into Jesus’ habits? Why was Jesus in the habit of going to church? (Luke 2:49, R. V.; John 18:20.) By what other teacher was this custom followed? (Acts 17:2.) What is the first thing He is recorded as doing in the synagogue? Did He do this by invitation?

2.Jesus’ Familiarity with the Word of God, Luke 4:17–27

What Book was handed Him to read there? Was He familiar with that Book? How did He know just what place to turn to? Is there any suggestion here for us? What is suggested as to who Jesus was by the Greek word for “anointed” (Luke 4:18)? What is the Hebrew word? By applying this then to Himself, what did Jesus proclaim Himself to be? Why must this have been peculiarly startling to the persons to whom He made the proclamation? With what was Jesus anointed? (Acts 10:38.) What follows in Isaiah immediately after the place where Jesus closed the quotation? Why didn’t Jesus quote those words too?

What is the first thing Jesus said He was to do? To whom was He to preach the Gospel? What does “Gospel” mean? Is this thought, that it was “the poor” to whom the glad tidings belonged, found elsewhere in the Bible? (Luke 6:20; 7:22; Is. 29:19; Zeph. 3:12; Zech. 11:11; Matt. 5:3; 11:5; Jas. 2:5.) What are these good tidings? What was the next thing He was to do (R. V.)? Captives to whom? Released from what? (John 8:34, 31, 32.) If we desire liberty, then to whom must we go? What was the third thing He was to do? What kind of “blind”? (John 9:39.) If we want sight to whom must we go? (1 John 5:20.) What was the next thing Jesus was to do? “Bruised” by whom? (Gen. 3:15.) Can you give a Scriptural illustration of Jesus doing these four things? To what Jewish custom does verse 19 refer? (Lev. 25:8–13; 50–54.) Of what was the year of jubilee a type? What is the view of man’s natural condition which these words from Isaiah imply? What is the only way of deliverance from this sad condition? In whom did Jesus say these words were fulfilled? How must this have sounded to His hearers? Whom did Jesus always preach? Should we imitate Him in this? (2 Cor. 4:5, first half.)

What does the record indicate as to Jesus’ manner as He spoke these startling words? Did He have the attention of His audience? How did He get it (Luke 4:18, 32)? How was His audience at first affected by His words? Did that look promising? Was this early promise realized? What was the next thought that came into their minds? What was the meaning of that query at just this point? What was the next thought that Jesus saw stealing into their minds (Luke 4:23)? What does that thought imply? In what proverb does Jesus sum up His treatment? Why is it that “no prophet is acceptable in his own country”? What thought comforted Jesus in His disappointment at rejection by His own (Luke 4:25, 27)? What is it we always find Jesus quoting in every emergency? How was it that Jesus was so ready with Scripture? What was the point of the quotations here?

3. Jesus’ Rejection by the People of God, Luke 4:28–30

What was the effect of these words upon Jesus’ hearers? Do men ever get angry at the truth nowadays? At which are men most likely to rage—at truth or error? Why? (John 7:7.) If you hold truth up to men, will they always accept it? Why not? (John 3:19, 20.) What was it in this particular case that made the hearers rage? (Compare Acts 22:21–23.) How many of His hearers were “filled with wrath”? Does it prove that a man is not preaching as he should when all his hearers get mad? How mad were they? How far did they get Him? What happened then? How did He do that? (John 18:6, 7.) Did He ever go back to Nazareth? (Compare Mark 1:21–34 with vv. 31–46 and Mark 6:1–6; Matt. 4:13 with 13:54–58.) What were the steps in the rejection of Jesus at Nazareth? (1—Wonder and admiration, Luke 4:22; 2—doubt, Luke 4:22; 3—unbelief, Luke 4:23; 4—anger, rejection and hate, Luke 4:29.) What is the lesson in that for us? Did Jesus give up preaching because Nazareth rejected Him and imperiled His life? What did He do (Luke 4:31)? What is the lesson in that for us? (Matt. 10:23; Acts 14:1, 2, 6, 7, 19–21; 17:1–3, 10.)


1. Jesus Christ

  1. His person—human, Luke 4:29; divine, Luke 4:18, 21.
  2. His character—affectionate, church-loving, Luke 4:16; Bible-loving, Luke 4:17, 25–27; gracious, Luke 4:22; compassionate, Luke 4:18; patient, Luke 4:29, 31; awe-awakening, Luke 4:30.
  3. His work—to teach, Luke 4:31, etc.; to preach the Gospel, to open blind eyes, to set at liberty Satan’s victims, Luke 4:18: to inaugurate the Christian year of jubilee, Luke 4:19.
  4. His preaching—to the poor, Luke 4:18; Scriptural, Luke 4:18, 25–27; in the Holy Ghost, Luke 4:18; gracious, Luke 4:22; with power, Luke 4:32; comforting, Luke 4:18; convicting, Luke 4:28; awakening anger, Luke 4:29; its subject—Himself, Luke 4:21.
  5. His reception—admiration, doubt, Luke 4:22; unbelief, Luke 4:23; wrath, Luke 4:28; murder, Luke 4:29.


  1. By nature—poor, captive, blind, bruised, Luke 4:18.
  2. By grace—rich, free, seeing, redeemed, Luke 4:18, 19.

Luke 4:17  And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

Portion of the Isaiah Scroll, longest
and oldest (c. 100 B.C.) of “Dead Sea Scrolls” at Qumran


The book (biblionof the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him - Why? Clearly Jesus had earned a reputation as a respected teacher and rabbi and it was a common practice to ask visiting rabbis to teach (see Acts 13:15+). Notice Jesus did not choose this, but it was handed to Him. It was the scroll of the prophet Isaiah  handed by the chazzan (huperetes, under rower). This is a reflection of God's providence, for God wanted Jesus to read from the prophet Isaiah.  As the Dead Sea Scrolls have shown, the entire text of Isaiah could be contained in a single scroll.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum a Jewish believer gives us some helpful background on reading the book in the synagogue -   It was Jewish practice, and still is, to go through the Mosaic Law each Sabbath throughout the year. It is divided into 54 sections, and the same part would be read no matter what synagogue one attends any where in the world. The books of the prophets are likewise read in such a fashion, correlating with the reading of the Mosaic Law. A minimum of three verses would be read. Jesus broke this tradition by not reading the full three verses, only half the passage. This passage of Isaiah 61:1-3 was recognized as being Messianic.

And He opened (anaptusso) the book (biblion) and found (heuriskothe place where it was written (grapho) - Literally Jesus unrolled the scroll. The Scriptures in Jesus' day were written on skins of parchment, and rolled on two rollers, beginning on each end, so that in reading from right to left, they rolled off with the left hand while they rolled on with the right. (See Torah Reading)

Vincent on He found - "As if by chance reading at the place where the roll opened of itself, and trusting to divine guidance."

A T Robertson  - At the proper stage of the service “the attendant” or “minister” (huperetes, under rower) took out a roll of the law from the ark, unwrapped it, and gave it to someone to read. On sabbath days some seven persons were asked to read small portions of the law. This was the first lesson or Parashah [pārāšâ; פָּרָשָׁה]. This was followed by a reading from the prophets and a discourse, the second lesson or Haphtarah [hap̱ṭārâ; הַפְטָרָה]. This last is what Jesus did....Apparently Isaiah was handed to Jesus without his asking for it....It was a congenial service that he was asked to perform. Jesus used Deuteronomy in his temptations and now Isaiah for this sermon. The Syriac Sinaitic manuscript has it that Jesus stood up after the attendant handed him the roll....found the place...He continued to unroll (rolling up the other side) till he found the passage desired. It may have been a fixed lesson for the day or it may have been his own choosing. At any rate it was a marvelously appropriate passage (Isa. 61:1-2 with one clause omitted and some words from Isa 58:6). It is a free quotation from the Septuagint.

Opened (380)(anaptusso from ana = back again + ptusso = to roll up) means unrolled and is only used here in the NT.

Anaptusso - 5x in the Septuagint - Dt. 22:17 (= "spread [unfold] the garment"); Jdg. 8:25; 2 Ki. 19:14 (="spread it out before the LORD"); Ezek. 41:16; Ezek. 41:21

Baker on anaptusso - "To roll or fold back, unroll, as a volume or roll of a book. See Sept.: Dt. 22:17. The word refers to the form of books used among the Jews which did not, like ours, consist of distinct leaves bound together, but were long scrolls of parchment rolled upon two sticks and written in columns (Lk 4:17), as copies of the OT now are used in the Jewish synagogues. This word is also used with the meaning of spreading out (Sept.: 2 Ki 19:14)." (Complete Word Study Dictionary)

Vincent adds that "Both this (anaptusso) and the simple verb ptusso to close (Lk 4:20), occur only once in the New Testament. The former word was used in medical language of the opening out of various parts of the body, and the latter of the rolling up of bandages. The use of these terms by Luke the physician is the more significant from the fact that elsewhere in the New Testament anoigo is used for the opening of a book (Rev 5:2–5; 10:2, 8; 20:12); and eilisso for rolling it up (Rev 6:14)."

Liddell-Scott  on anaptusso - to unfold the rolls on which books were written; and so, to unrolL, open for reading, Hdt:- to undo, open, Eur.; "with arms outspread" Id. 2. to unfold, disclose, reveal, Lat. explicare, Trag. II. as military term, to fold back the phalanx, i.e. deepen it by wheeling men from both flanks to rear, Xen.; but conversely, to to open out the wing, i.e. extend the line by wheeling men from rear to front"

Book (975)(biblion from biblos =  the inner bark of a papyrus plant, hence a scroll, a book) is the diminutive form of biblos and means a book, a roll, a volume, a document, a scroll, a writing. Ancient writing were in the form of a scroll, which was "sheets of papyrus glued together and rolled at each end to collect a long literature work in a form for public reading or private study." (See excellent articles in NIDNTT on page 243 and ISBE description

The first two uses of biblion in the NT refer to a certificate that documents a divorce (a Jewish bill of divorce - Mt 19:7, Mk 10:4). The use of biblion here in Lk 4:17 is probably most accurately translated as scroll because the verb Luke then used was anaptusso which means to literally to unroll as one would a scroll. So in Luke 4:17 Biblion refers to the scroll of Isaiah. The New Testament writers used it of their own writings (John 20:30; Rev 1:11-note; Rev 22:7,9,10,18,19-note). The entire Old Testament is called a “book” (Gal 3:10-note; Heb 10:7) as well. Revelation refers to the “Book of Life” (e.g.,Rev 13:8-note; Rev 17:8; Rev 20:12; Rev 21:27-note = book of those whom God has appointed to eternal salvation) and other books (of all unbelievers with ALL the works of their life, good or evil, on which they would be judged - while none would be saved by "good works" those with more "evil works" receive more punishment - cf Jesus' words - Mt 10:15-see note; see note on works) to be opened on judgment day (e.g., Rev 20:12-note). The “scroll” described in Revelation 5:1-note was sealed (seven seals), and only Christ is worthy to open this book and to break the seal. Many conservative commentators see this scroll as equivalent to the "Title Deed of the Earth!"  As Tony Garland says "A purchase was made at the cross, and now the deed of that purchase is being claimed by its rightful owner." (note)

Related Resource - Excellent discussion of the Book of Life

Vincent on book - The book (biblion). A diminutive of biblos, the inner bark of the papyrus, used for writing. Hence a roll. The word is also used to denote a division of a work, and is therefore appropriate here to mark the writings of a single prophet as related to the whole body of the prophetic writings.

Gilbrant Biblos, the parent word, originally came from Byblos, the name of a city in Syria. This seaport city was a major avenue for the shipping of papyrus plants to Greece, where the plants were converted into writing material. Eventually biblion came to be so commonly used in place of biblos that another diminutive form, biblaridion (967), was needed. Biblion in the Septuagint - Biblion occurs quite regularly in the Septuagint where it translates eight Hebrew terms. By far the most common equivalent, however, is s̱ēpher (cf. mis̱pār, s̱āphar, s̱ᵉphar), which is also the regular Hebrew term behind biblos (e.g., Genesis 5:1). Biblion may refer to “the book of the law of God” (e.g., Joshua 24:26; cf. Deuteronomy 28:61; 30:10). Often it refers to the writings of kings, or records of their reigns (e.g., 1 Kings 14:29; 15:7,23; 16:14; etc.), or it may refer to the writings of a prophet (e.g., 2 Chronicles 13:22). Other contractual documents are also rendered by biblion (e.g., Jeremiah 32:10-12). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Biblion - 29v - Usage: book(27), books(4), certificate(2), scroll(1). Matt. 19:7 = "certificate"; Mk. 10:4; Lk. 4:17; Lk. 4:20; Jn. 20:30; Jn. 21:25; Gal. 3:10; 2 Tim. 4:13; Heb. 9:19; Heb. 10:7; Rev. 1:11; Rev. 5:1; Rev. 5:2; Rev. 5:3; Rev. 5:4; Rev. 5:5; Rev. 5:8; Rev. 5:9; Rev. 6:14 = "scroll"; Rev. 10:8; Rev. 13:8; Rev. 17:8; Rev. 20:12; Rev. 21:27; Rev. 22:7; Rev. 22:9; Rev. 22:10; Rev. 22:18; Rev. 22:19

Found (2147)(heurisko) means to find after searching and so to discover (Mt 7:7) or to find accidentally or without seeking (Mt 12:44). Clearly, Jesus did not accidentally arrive at Isaiah 61, but this passage was chosen by divine providence and for the purpose of God.

It was written (1125)(grapho) has been used 3 times in Luke 4 (Lk 4:4, 4:8, 4:10) and again is in the perfect tense, passive voice indicating it had been written down at some time in the past and it "stood written" or "remained written."  

THOUGHT - There are no human books which will "remain written" in the sense of the eternal existence of the Word of God. This truth alone should motivate to eschew books about the Bible (e.g., Christian novels, etc) in favor of the pure milk of God's Word (1 Peter 2:2+). Are you spending time reading the only book which will never pass away and while reading you have the Author present the entire time to illuminate passages as you read? How tragic that only 13% of respondents in a 2016 Barna survey said they read the Bible every day (14% at least 4x/week, 8% once/week, 7% once/month, 27% never). Barna writes "Americans continue to own Bibles—but readership is not as ubiquitous as ownership. About one-third of Americans read the Bible at least once a week, and this proportion has remained fairly stable. Likewise, the two out of five American adults who read the Bible less than once a year or never has thus far proven to be a stable proportion. Unless something dramatically changes among Millennials, however, Barna researchers expect reading frequency in the general population to trend downward in coming years as Elders become a smaller share of the total: Half of Elders read the Bible at least once a week (49%), compared to one-quarter of Millennials (24%)." (Source)


Lxx pneuma kuriou ep eme ou eineken echrisen me euaggelisasthai ptochois apestalken me keruxai aichmalotois aphesin kai tuphlois anablepsin, aposteilai tethrausmenous en aphesei

Comment:  The words in green are from the Septuagint (Lxx) of Isaiah 61:2 (Jesus is quoting the Greek text of Isaiah 61:1, not the Hebrew text). The words in red are from the Septuagint (Lxx) of Isaiah 58:6. So clearly Jesus skipped some sections and selected the passages He desired to read. Interesting!

NET  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed,

ESV  "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

NLT "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,

CSB   The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed,

GWN  "The Spirit of the Lord is with me. He has anointed me to tell the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to announce forgiveness to the prisoners of sin and the restoring of sight to the blind, to forgive those who have been shattered by sin,

NAB "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,

NIV "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,

NJB The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,

KJV 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,

YLT   'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because He did anoint me; To proclaim good news to the poor, Sent me to heal the broken of heart, To proclaim to captives deliverance, And to blind receiving of sight, To send away the bruised with deliverance,

"Liberty to the captives"


In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus reads from Isaiah 61:1, 2 and from Isaiah 58:6 ("And to let the oppressed go free".  As discussed more below Jesus apparently omitted the phrase "He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted" in Isaiah 61:1 which is included only in the King James Version (and Young's Literal Version) which are based on the Greek Textus Receptus.  The text that Jesus chose to read (Isa 61:1-2a and Isa 58:6) would have been well known to the Jews as a prophetic passage referring to the Messiah. 

Clinton Arnold -  These images bring together Isaiah’s related portraits of the messianic King (Isa. 11:1–2), the Servant of the Lord (42:1), and the prophetic herald of salvation (61:1–2). (Borrow the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary)

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD (kurios) IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED (chrio) ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL (euaggelizo/euangelizo) TO THE POOR (ptochos). HE HAS SENT (apostello)  ME TO PROCLAIM (kerussoRELEASE (aphesisTO THE CAPTIVES (aichmalotos), AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT (anablepsis) TO THE BLIND (tuphlos), TO SET (apostello)  FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED (thrauo) - The words in Luke 4:18-19 are ALL CAPS because that is the way the NAS identifies direct OT quotations. Unfortunately the popular ESV and NIV do not identify OT quotes.

The Spirit of the Lord - The "power Source" is mentioned first. What Jesus shows us here is that while the prophecy was fulfilled in Him as the Messiah, the power with which He was anointed to fulfill the 4 aspects described in this verse is also the same power Source every believer has access to for the proclamation of the Gospel! This should encourage you to be bold in the Spirit and proclaim the good news in America which is growing darker spiritually every day (Summer, 2022)!

The Holy Spirit is repeatedly mentioned by Luke in this Gospel -- first in the supernatural ministries of men - Lk. 1:15; Lk. 1:35; Lk. 1:41; Lk. 1:67;  Lk. 2:25; Lk. 2:26; Lk. 2:27. Beginning in chapter 3 we see the Spirit repeated associated with Jesus -  Lk. 3:16; Lk. 3:22; Lk. 4:1; Lk. 4:14; Lk. 4:18.  As we have discussed above while Jesus clearly performed some miracles we will not be able to perform, the important point is that He trusted His daily life (and His ministry) to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and in so doing He provided a perpetual perfect pattern to pursue. Are you filled with His Spirit (Eph 5:18+)? Are you walking by His Spirit (Gal 5:16+)? If not you are walking naturally in the power of your fallen flesh and you will accomplish absolutely nothing of eternal value for the Kingdom of God and the glory of your King! (cp Jn 15:5)

Is upon Me - The Spirit did not come upon Him. He already was "upon" Him, as symbolized by His coming upon Him in His baptism (Lk 3:16). Jesus ALWAYS had the Spirit indwelling Him (from the womb to the tomb) and ALWAYS depended wholly on the Holy Spirit for His empowerment to fight the good fight of faith. 

Because - This term of explanation explains why the Spirit is upon Him. 


He anointed (chrio) Me to preach the Gospel (euaggelizo/euangelizo) - Jesus' purpose was to proclaim the truth of the eternal life giving Good News to souls dead in their trespasses and sins. 

Luke also mentions Jesus' anointing in Acts:

Acts 4:27 “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, Whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,

Acts 10:38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Preach the Gospel (euaggelizo/euangelizoto the poor - This recalls Jesus' words in Matthew 5:3 "Blessed (makarios) are the poor (ptochos) in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. In Luke 7:22 preaching the gospel to the poor is one items Jesus says to tell John the Baptist in prison, so he would know it was Jesus.

And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT (Quoting Isa 35:5), the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. (Quoting Isa 61:1) 

Comment: John’s disciples were to report that Jesus was doing precisely what Scripture foretold of the Messiah (Lk 7:21)—even though the scheme of prophetic fulfillment was not unfolding quite the way John the Baptist had envisioned it.

Ptochos describes not simply honest poverty, and the struggle of the laboring man to make ends meet but also describes abject poverty, which has literally nothing and which is in imminent danger of real starvation. Ptochos focuses on a state of dependence, so that in Mt 5:3 "the poor in spirit" are those who have learned to be completely dependent on God for everything and these are the ones who possess the kingdom of heaven.

In sum, the word "poor" can cover poverty of every kind, but in this passage Jesus lays the emphasis on a soul's sense of moral and spiritual poverty, which often is the case of those who are literally poor. A soul who is worldly rich is less likely to be aware of his or her spiritual poverty (see Laodicea below), whereas the financially poor are often open to receiving Jesus' teaching as good news because they realize their poor spiritual condition and thus their desperate spiritual need.

Darrell Bock on ptochos (ptochos) - Here is the emphasized audience for Jesus' preaching, the poor. This term has rich OT roots, referring to the persecuted and pious poor as Luke 6:23 also shows (Ex. 22:25-27; Ps 14:6; 22:24; 69:29; Isa. 3:14-15). The term has both religious and sociological meaning as piety and faith are placed together with social standing. It is those who have been marginalized by the world for their faith that are most open to the Gospel. In the context of Judaism, this is a call to free the spiritually exiled and persecuted. Their suffering opens them up to the hope. Luke has 10 of 34 NT uses.

The KJV has one additional phrase not found in most modern Bible versions - "He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted." While it may not be in accepted as authenticate by most modern experts, one cannot deny the beauty of this phrase which is found in the original passage in Isaiah 61:1 from which Jesus quoted 

The NET Note comments on this extra phrase in the KJV - The majority of MSS, especially the later Byzantines, include the phrase "to heal the brokenhearted" at this point (A Q Y 0102 ¦(1 )Û). The phrase is lacking in several weighty MSS (a B D L W X ¦(13 )33 579 700 892* pc lat sy(s )co), including representatives from both the Alexandrian and Western text types. From the standpoint of external evidence, the omission of the phrase is more likely original. When internal evidence is considered, the shorter reading becomes almost certain. Scribes would be much more prone to add the phrase here to align the text with Isaiah 61:1 ("He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted") the source of the quotation, than to remove it from the original.

William MacDonald comments on what Jesus read in Isaiah - Notice the revolutionary implications of the Messiah’s mission. He came to deal with the enormous problems that have afflicted mankind throughout history:  Poverty. To preach the gospel to the poor. Sorrow. To heal the brokenhearted. (If one accepts the KJV rendering) Bondage. To proclaim liberty to the captives. Suffering. And recovery of sight to the blind. Oppression. To set at liberty those who are oppressed.

Jesus is God's "Apostle" (sent One) to men, the One "Whom You have sent (apostello)." (Jn 17:3). "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider (aorist imperative - Do this now! Do it effectively! Only possible as we are daily filled with His Spirit Who points us to Him - cp "He will bear witness of Me" = Jn 15:26, 16:14) Jesus, the Apostle (apostolos) and High Priest of our confession." (Heb 3:1-note)


He has sent Me to proclaim (kerussorelease (aphesisto the captives (aichmalotos) - Jesus was sent to proclaim or be a herald even as Noah in the Genesis was a herald of the need for men to receive God's righteousness by faith lest they be destroyed in the coming global flood...

and (God - context 2 Pe 2:4) did not spare the ancient world, but preserved (phulasso = guarded, protected, watched over) Noah, a preacher (noun form  kerux) of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;(2 Peter 2:5-note)

Vincent remarks that aphesis "occurs in Luke more frequently than in all the other New Testament writers combined. Used in medical language of the relaxation of disease." 

NET Note - The release in view here is comprehensive, both at a physical level and a spiritual one, as the entire ministry of Jesus makes clear (Luke 1:77–79; 7:47; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 5:31; 10:43).

In sum Jesus uses aphesis here to describe the act of liberating souls from that that confines them, freeing them from obligation (debt) they could never pay. And what is it that proclaims release? It is the proclamation of the Gospel that sets the captives free! God make us Holy Spirit empowered witnesses (Acts 1:8-note) to proclaim Your soul saving Gospel with our lives and our lips, for Your glory. Amen

The OT gives us a beautiful picture of the meaning of aphesis in the celebration of the Year of Jubilee. In fact there are 11 uses of aphesis in the Septuagint translation of Leviticus 25 (Lev 25:10-13, 28, 30-31, 33, 40, 41, 50, 52, 54) where aphesis is frequently substituted for the Hebrew word Jubilee, so that instead of the phrase Year of Jubilee the Lxx translated into English reads "Year of the Release" in Lev 25:13 (or "Jubilee of Release in Lev 25:11). One aspect of the Year of Jubilee involved the setting free of indebted servants or slaves (cf Lev 25:10). It is interesting that the OT release from debts was associated with a time of celebration. How much more should we as NT saints daily celebrate and revel in the truth that we have been released from our sin debt! I fear I do not ponder this profound truth often enough and begin to take it for granted and become complacent and even indifferent which makes me vulnerable to committing sin! We need to remember that the Year of Jubilee was an OT picture which pointed to and was fulfilled in the crucifixion of the Messiah Whose fully atoning, substitutionary death made release from sin, Satan and death possible for all who receive this truth by grace through faith. Here is an example from Leviticus 25...

Leviticus 25:10-note You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release (Hebrew = deror = a flowing, liberty; Lxx = aphesis) through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.

Leviticus 25:12-note 'For it is a jubilee (Hebrew - yobel = ram's horn; Lxx = aphesis + onmasia = shouting, a day for blowing the trumpets - The beginning of this year was marked by the blast of the Shofar [Jewish Encyclopedia] or ram's horn); it shall be holy to you. You shall eat its crops out of the field.

Bock -  The later line from Isaiah 58:6 at the end of this verse declares that Jesus will actually effect the release he proclaims ("release," NIV; "set free," NASB, NET; "to set at liberty," RSV). Both the proclamation of Jesus and his work refer to release, using the same term aphesis.

Hughes on the captives -  No prisoners were attached to the congregation in Nazareth, but the word broadly includes many forms of spiritual bondage—bondage to money (Luke 19:1-10), bondage to Satan (Luke 8:26-39), bondage to guilt (Luke 7:41-50), bondage to sensuality, and bondage to hatred. (Preaching the Word)

He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood availed for me.
--Charles Wesley 

Paul reminds Timothy (and us) of the power of the knowledge of the truth (The Gospel) to set captives free explaining that as we minister with kindness and gently correct those in opposition, God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth (The Gospel - 2 Ti 2:25-note) and "they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive (zogreo in perfect tense = in the state of captivity) by him to do his will." (2 Ti 2:26-note)


AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT (anablepsis) TO THE BLIND (tuphlos) - Clearly this refers not just to recovery of literal eyesight (as was the case in a number of Jesus' miracles) but in the context of proclamation of the Gospel speaks of recovery of spiritual sight, opening the eyes of one's heart to see spiritual truth, because the natural (unregenerate) soul simply cannot see supernaturally, for as Paul explains "a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised (I.e., He needs to receive spiritual 20/20 vision!)." (1 Cor 2:14+)

NET Note on recovery of sight - Again, as with the previous phrase, regaining of sight may well mean more than simply miraculously restoring physical sight, which itself pictures a deeper reality (Luke 1:77–79; 18:35–43).

To the worldly rich but spiritually dead, lukewarm church at Laodicea Jesus said

‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked (NOTE: YOU HAVE TO "KNOW", TO RECOGNIZE YOUR CONDITION, YOUR NEED! THE CHURCH MEMBERS AT LAODICEA DID NOT KNOW THEIR NEED FOR THE GOSPEL - THEY WERE SELF DECEIVED LIKE SO MANY IN THE CHURCH TODAY!), I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see (SPIRITUAL SIGHT WHICH PAUL DESCRIBES IN 2 Cor 4:18+ - "we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen;"). (Rev 3:17-18+)


JESUS READS FROM ISAIAH 58:6 - TO SET (apostelloFREE (aphesisTHOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED (thrauo)- More literally "To send away the bruised with deliverance (or "set the bruised free")." While Jesus could be speaking of literal physical bruising by someone, the thrust of the Gospel clearly is to set men and women free from "spiritual bruising" so to speak.

So in Luke 4:18 Jesus reads the first portion from Isaiah 61:1 and this last portion from the Septuagint (Lxx) of Isaiah 58:6. There is one difference between the Lxx version and Luke 4:18 and that is the fact that in Isa 58:6 the words "Let go" are a command in present imperative, whereas in Luke 4:18 the words "set free" (or "let go") is an aorist infinitive (speaks of purpose). That said, here is the Isaiah 58:6 passage with the words Jesus read in bold font...

 "Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed (thrauo) go free
(Lxx = apostelle tethrausmenous en aphsei)
And break every yoke?

NET Note - The essence of Jesus' Messianic work is expressed in the phrase to set free. This line from Isa 58 says that Jesus will do what the nation had failed to do. It makes the proclamation messianic, not merely prophetic, because Jesus doesn't just proclaim the message - he brings the deliverance. The word translated set free is the same Greek word (aphesis) translated release earlier in the verse.

Vincent adds to set free (ἀποστεῖλαι) is l to send away in discharge. Inserted from the Sept. of Isa. 58:6. See on Luke 3:3, and Jas. 5:15.

Macolm Muggeridge alluded to this Gospel's power to set free - All other freedoms, once won, soon turn into new servitude. Christ is the only Liberator whose liberation lasts forever.

Vincent on them that are bruised. Lit., broken in pieces. Only here in New Testament. Wycliffe, to deliver broken men into remission. The same Hebrew word is used in Isaiah 42:3: “a crushed reed shall he not break,” which the Septuagint translates by thalo (to crush in Jdg 10:8, bruise, break down), a word which does not occur in the New Testament. In the citation of this latter passage (Mt. 12:20) the word for bruised is suntribo which the Septuagint uses for break.

Pulpit Commentary on He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel - The common interpretation referred this passage to the state of the people on the return from the Captivity. Nothing, however, that the people had yet experienced in any way satisfied the brilliant picture painted in the great prophecy. A remnant certainly had returned several centuries back from their distant exile, but the large majority of the chosen people were scattered abroad; their own land was crushed under what seemed a hopeless servitude; poverty, ignorance, universal discontent, reigned alike in Jerusalem, garrisoned with Roman legionaries, and in the most distant of the poor upland villages of Galilee. Only could deliverance come and a golden age of prosperity return with the promised Messiah. This was the interpretation which the choicest spirits in Israel applied to the great Isaiah prophecy read that sabbath day in the little synagogue of Nazareth. This was the meaning which Jesus at once gave to it, only he startled his hearers by telling them that in him they saw the promised long-looked-for Deliverer. We only possess, it is evident, the very barest abstract of the words of the Teacher Jesus on this occasion. They must have been singularly eloquent, winning, and powerful to have extorted the wonder and admiration alluded to in the twenty-second verse.

Lord (master, owner)(2962)(kurios from kuros = might or power, related to kuroo = to give authority) primarily means the possessor, owner, master, the supreme one, one who is sovereign (used this way of Roman emperors - Acts 25:26) and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership and uncontested power. Kurios is used of the one to whom a person or thing belonged, over which he has the power of deciding, the one who is the master or disposer of a thing (Mk 7:28)

Anointed (5548)(chrio see study of derivative word Christos = Christ) means literally to daub, smear, anoint with oil or ointment, to rub oneself with oil. The figurative use means to consecrate or set apart for sacred work. It means to assign a person to a task, and in the present context conveys the implication of supernatural sanctions. Here chrio is used figuratively of God the Spirit's activity in appointing and empowering Jesus for His ministry (cp Heb 1:9-note). The reference to anointing by the Spirit looks back to what took place at the baptism of Jesus (Lk 3:22). Clearly Jesus is declaring that He fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-2a .

Preach the Gospel (2097)(euaggelizo/euangelizo from eu = good, well + aggéllo = proclaim, tell; English = evangelize) literally means to announce good news. Euaggelizo was often used in the Septuagint for preaching a glad or joyful message (cf. 1Sam. 31:9; 2 Sa 1:20; 4:10). Euaggelizo/euangelizo in its original sense could be used to refer to a declaration of any kind of good news, but in the NT it (with 2 exceptions) refers especially to the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God and of salvation obtained through Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Most of NT uses of euaggelizo are translated "preach" or "preach the Gospel," whichever fits more smoothly into the context. There are two passages that illustrate the original meaning of simply to "bring glad tidings" or "bring good news" of any nature. The first is in Luke…

Lk 1:19+ And the angel answered and said to him (Zacharias), "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I have been sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. (that he would have a son, John the Baptist).

The other is 1 Thessalonians…

1 Th 3:6+ But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news (euaggelizo) of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you

Aside from these two passages euaggelizo usually has the technical meaning of publishing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the NAS, the verb is translated -bring glad tidings(1), bring good news(2 - one referring to birth of John the Baptist and the other to the birth of Jesus, so that the latter would in a sense refer to "preaching the good news"), brought good news (1Th 3:6), good news preached(2), gospel preached(4), preach(4), preach good news(1), preach the gospel(12), preached (m) (9), preached the gospel(4), preaching(8),preaching a gospel(1), preaching good news(1), preaching the gospel(4).

Luke uses euaggelizo/euangelizo 10 times in the Gospel and 15 times in the book of Acts -  Lk. 1:19; Lk. 2:10; Lk. 3:18; Lk. 4:18; Lk. 4:43; Lk. 7:22; Lk. 8:1; Lk. 9:6; Lk. 16:16; Lk. 20:1;Acts 5:42; Acts 8:4; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:25; Acts 8:35; Acts 8:40; Acts 10:36; Acts 11:20; Acts 13:32; Acts 14:7; Acts 14:15; Acts 14:21; Acts 15:35; Acts 16:10; Acts 17:18;

Poor (4434)(ptochos from ptosso = crouch, cringe, cower down or hide oneself for fear, a picture of one crouching and cowering like a beggar with a tin cup to receive the pennies dropped in!) is an adjective which describes one who crouches and cowers and is used as a noun to mean beggar. These poor were unable to meet their basic needs and so were forced to depend on others or on society. Classical Greek used the ptochos to refer to a person reduced to total destitution, who crouched in a corner begging. As he held out one hand for alms he often hid his face with the other hand, because he was ashamed of being recognized. Ptochos is used in the first "beatitude" Mt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The parallel in Luke reads “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." (Lk. 6:20)

Luke's uses of ptochos  Lk. 4:18; Lk. 6:20; Lk. 7:22; Lk. 14:13; Lk. 14:21; Lk. 16:20; Lk. 16:22; Lk. 18:22; Lk. 19:8; Lk. 21:3

Sent (649)(apostello from apo = from, away from + stello = to withdraw from, avoid) is to send forth from one place to another. But the meaning of apostello is more than just to send because it means "to send off on a commission to do something as one’s personal representative, with credentials furnished" (Wuest) Three things are true of the person sent from God. (1) He belongs to God, who has sent him out. (2) He is commissioned to be sent out. (3) He possesses all the authority and power of God, who has sent him out. (Practical Word Studies). Apostello is in the perfect tense which means Jesus was sent at a point in time with the Father's commission and that commission remains on Him. In Jn 4:34 Jesus said to the disciples, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work." The night before He was crucified He prayed to His Father "I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do." (Jn 17:4). The Father SENT the Son for a specific WORK which He ACCOMPLISHED.

THOUGHT-  As believers, God owns us (1 Cor 6:19-20+) and has a call on our life. What WORK is He sending you to ACCOMPLISH for His Kingdom? Don't miss your divine opportunity of a lifetime!

Luke frequently uses the verb apostello in his Gospel and in Acts - Lk. 1:19; Lk. 1:26; Lk. 4:18; Lk. 4:43; Lk. 7:3; Lk. 7:20; Lk. 7:27; Lk. 9:2; Lk. 9:48; Lk. 9:52; Lk. 10:1; Lk. 10:3; Lk. 10:16; Lk. 11:49; Lk. 13:34; Lk. 14:17; Lk. 14:32; Lk. 19:14; Lk. 19:29; Lk. 19:32; Lk. 20:10; Lk. 20:20; Lk. 22:8; Lk. 22:35; Lk. 24:49;  Acts 3:19; Acts 3:26; Acts 5:21; Acts 7:14; Acts 7:34; Acts 7:35; Acts 8:14; Acts 9:17; Acts 9:38; Acts 10:8; Acts 10:17; Acts 10:20; Acts 10:36; Acts 11:11; Acts 11:13; Acts 11:30; Acts 13:15; Acts 15:27; Acts 15:33; Acts 16:35; Acts 16:36; Acts 19:22; Acts 26:17; Acts 28:28

Release (859) (aphesis from aphiemi = action which causes separation and is in turn derived from apo= from + hiemi = put in motion, send) literally means to send away or to put apart, a letting go, a leaving behind, a removal.  Aphesis refers to a remission as when one remits (pardons, cancels) a debt, or releases then from an obligation. To release from captivity. Remission (see definition of English word) of sins means once and for all taking them away, removing the guilt, punishment and power of sin. And so to release one’s sins, is not just release from the ("legal" or forensic) charge and the just penalty of sin but also release from the power and dominion of sin (and in Heaven the release from the presence of sin and the pleasure of sin). 

Is is notable that aphesis is one of the aspects of redemption as described by Paul....

In Him we have redemption (apolutrosis) through His blood, the forgiveness (aphesis) of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7-note)

in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness (aphesis) of sins. (Colossians 1:14-note)

Redemption was used in secular Greek as a technical term for money paid to buy back and set free prisoners of war or to emancipate slaves (liberate them from subjection or domination) from their masters. Believers have been ransomed, bought back, like the redemption of a bondservant by a kinsman-redeemer (Lev 25:49). Before redemption we were held captive by the devil (cf "dominion [exousia] of Satan" in Acts 26:18-note) to do his will and were enslaved to our old sin nature (see Sin = Principle) inherited from Adam (Ro 5:12-note). A Roman or Grecian slave could be freed with the payment of money, but no amount of money can set an enslaved sinner free. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can redeem us. Christ paid the ransom price (see lutron/lytron used only twice in NT = Mt 20:28, Mk 10:45) with His blood (1Pe 1:18-19-note, 1Pe 1:20-Note; 1Cor 6:20-note; Rev 5:9-note), freeing us from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13-note; Gal 4:5) and releasing us from bondage of sin into the freedom of grace (cp Ro 6:14-Note).

The captives (prisoners) (164)(aichmalotos from aichme = a spear + halotós = to be taken or conquered) was a military term which describes one who has been taken captive (at spear point) as a prisoner or be led away captive. Jesus is using it figuratively to describe a soul in moral and/or spiritual bondage (to the world, the flesh and the devil and Sin). This is the only NT use but see below for 25 uses in Septuagint.

Vincent says that aichmalotos is "from aichme, a spear-point, and aliskomai, to be taken or conquered. Hence, properly, of prisoners of war. Compare Isa. 42:7: “To open blind eyes, To bring out (Lxx = exago = lead out) prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.” The allusion is to Israel, both as captive exiles and as prisoners of Satan in spiritual bondage."

Aichmalotos - 25 times in the Septuagint - Ex 22:10; Exod. 22:14; Num. 21:29; Est. 2:6; Job 12:17; Job 12:19; Job 41:32; Isa. 5:13; Isa. 14:2; Isa. 23:1; Isa. 46:2; Isa. 52:2; Isa. 61:1; Ezek. 12:4; Ezek. 30:18; Amos 6:7; Amos 7:11; Amos 7:17; Nah. 3:10;

Isaiah 5:13-note Therefore My people go into exile (Heb = galah = remove; Lxx = aichmalotos) for their lack of knowledge; And their honorable men are famished, And their multitude is parched with thirst.

Comment: Beloved, while the truth in Isaiah 5:13 referred to a literal capture by the enemy, note the clear application to us today. Why were they taken captive? Lack of knowledge! O, how important it is for us to be saturated with the Word of God! To memorize the Word of God! To meditate on the Word of God! The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17-note) with which the Spirit enables us to fight victoriously and not be taken captive for lack of knowledge! How is your morning time in the Word of Life? No guilt and shame meant! Only encouragement! Like the Nike commercial used to say "JUST DO IT!" (enabled by the Spirit Who gives you the desire and the power - Php 2:13NLT-note)

Isaiah 46:2 They stooped over, they have bowed down together; They could not rescue the burden, But have themselves gone into captivity.


Recovery of sight  (309)(anablepsis from aná = up or again, + blépo = see or look) describes the ability to see again, to regain one's site. Used only here in NT and in the Septuagint only in Isaiah 61:1.  The related verb anablepo is used primarily in a literal sense (Mt 11:5, 20:34, of ears opened = Mk 7:34, Mk 10:51, 52, Lk 7:22, 18:41-43). 

In Acts 26 Jesus explained Paul's role ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’  (Acts 26:16-18+)

Blind (5185)(tuphlos from tuphlóo = envelop with smoke, be unable to see clearly) can refer to literal blindness (Mt 9:27, 28; 11:5; 12:22; Lk 7:21, 22; Jn 9:1, 2, 3.; Acts 13:11 Lv 19:14; Job 29:15) but more often is used to describe spiritual blindness, picturing one's mind as blind to spiritual truth, even incapable of comprehending (see Mt 15:14; 23:16, 17, 19, 24, 26; Ro 2:19; 2Pe 1:9; Rev 3:17; Isa 42:16,18,19; 43:8) The Greek writers used tuphlos to describe those who were "mentally blind".

Jesus used tuphlos figuratively in his discussion with those who had religion but no relationship with God (the Scribes and Pharisees, but this applies to many who are in churches today and profess "religion" but tragically and deceptively do not possess a "relationship" with Jesus!)...

And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that (Same purpose as here in Lk 4:18) those who do not see may see (Good News), and that those who see may become blind.” (Bad News) Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind (I.e., if they recognized their state of spiritual blindness, humbled themselves, and cried out to God to "heal" them) you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ (I.e., In a state of total self-deception and steadfast rejection of the "sight giving Gospel") your sin remains. (John 9:39-41)

Comment: Jesus called the hypocritical religious leaders of His day "blind guides" because instead of leading the people to the Light of the world (Jn 8:12) and eternal life (Jn 3:16, 36), the were leading the people who were in temporal (spiritual) darkness to eternal darkness (Mt 8:12, 25:30). Jews in general, and the scribes and Pharisees in particular, considered themselves to be superior mentors of the community in spiritual and moral matters. They saw themselves as religious guides to their unlearned Jewish brethren and especially to the spiritually blind Gentile pagans. But because of their arrogant pride and blatant hypocrisy, Jesus charged them with “blindness” in regard to "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn 14:6)! Far from being qualified to guide others, they were themselves in desperate need of their spiritual blindness removed and their sight recovered so that they could see the one and only "Way Leader", Christ Jesus.

Free (859aphesis from aphiemi = action which causes separation and is in turn derived from apo = from + hiemi = put in motion, send) literally means to send away or to put apart, a letting go, a leaving behind, a removal.  Aphesis refers to a remission as when one remits (pardons, cancels) a debt, or releases then from an obligation. To release from captivity. 

Remission (see definition of English word) of sins means once and for all taking them away, removing the guilt, punishment and power of sin. And so to release one’s sins, is not just release from the ("legal" or forensic) charge and the just penalty of sin but also release from the power and dominion of sin (and in Heaven the release from the presence of sin and the pleasure of sin). And so we see that Wuest translates Col 1:14 as "the putting away of our sins" (Wuest)

The OT gives us a beautiful picture of the meaning of aphesis in the celebration of the Year of Jubilee. In fact there are 11 uses of aphesis in the Septuagint translation of Leviticus 25 (Lev 25:10-13, 28, 30-31, 33, 40, 41, 50, 52, 54) where aphesis is frequently substituted for the Hebrew word Jubilee, so that instead of the phrase Year of Jubilee the Lxx translated into English reads "Year of the Release" in Lev 25:13 (or "Jubilee of Release in Lev 25:11). One aspect of the Year of Jubilee involved the setting free of indebted servants or slaves (cf Lev 25:10). It is interesting that the OT release from debts was associated with a time of celebration. How much more should we as NT saints daily celebrate and revel in the truth that we have been released from our sin debt! I fear I do not ponder this profound truth often enough and begin to take it for granted and become complacent and even indifferent which makes me vulnerable to committing sin! We need to remember that the Year of Jubilee was an OT picture which pointed to and was fulfilled in the crucifixion of the Messiah Whose fully atoning, substitutionary death made release from sin, Satan and death possible for all who receive this truth by grace through faith. Here is an example from Leviticus 25...

Leviticus 25:10 You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release (Hebrew = deror = a flowing, liberty; Lxx = aphesis) through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family.

Leviticus 25:12 'For it is a jubilee (Hebrew - yobel = ram's horn; Lxx = aphesis + onmasia = shouting, a day for blowing the trumpets - The beginning of this year was marked by the blast of the Shofar [Jewish Encyclopedia] or ram's horn); it shall be holy to you. You shall eat its crops out of the field.

Are oppressed (2352)(thrauo) means literally to shatter or to break in pieces as pottery (used literally in Mk 14:3 but text is not accepted as authentic by most scholars). Josephus also used it literally (e.g., Antiquities 8.14.5). This is the only NT use of thrauo and is figuratively and passive voice, of persons broken in spirit by oppressive circumstances, those who have been downtrodden or overwhelmed with trouble. They have been broken by calamity, crushed by the circumstances of life to the point that they see no way of escape. 

Gilbrant adds this note on thrauo that "figuratively it may be used of “breaking” an oath or of “oppressing” or “bruising” someone or something (cf. Bauer). The word is common in the papyri where it refers to the “crushing power” of evil (cf. Moulton-Milligan)." (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Thrauo used 24 times in the Septuagint most often speaking of literal breaking or oppression -Ex 15:6; Num. 16:46; Num. 24:17; Deut. 20:3; Deut. 28:33; 1 Sam. 20:34; 2 Sam. 12:15; 2 Chr. 6:24; 2 Chr. 20:37; Isa. 2:10; Isa. 2:19; Isa. 2:21; Isa. 42:4; Isa. 58:6; Jer. 51:30; Ezek. 21:7; Ezek. 21:15; Lk. 4:18

Exodus 15:6  “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy. 

Deuteronomy 20:3 “He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic (Heb = chaphaz = be in trepidation, hurry, alarm; Lxx = thrauo), or tremble before them,

Numbers 24:17 “I see him (MESSIAH - A MESSIANIC PROPHECY), but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob (MESSIAH), A scepter shall rise from Israel (MESSIAH), And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth. 

Isaiah 2:19-note Men will go into caves of the rocks And into holes of the ground Before the terror of the LORD And the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble (OR "WHEN HE ARISES TO CRUSH THE EARTH" - REFERRING TO THE SECOND COMING OF MESSIAH WHEN HE THE STONE WILL CRUSH ALL THE GODLESS KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD AND THEIR GODLESS CITIZENS - Daniel 2:32-35-note, Da 2:42-45-note).

He Came for You

Read: Luke 4:14-21

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. Luke 4:18

In his novels The Trial and The Castle, Franz Kafka (1883–1924) portrays life as a dehumanizing existence that turns people into a sea of empty faces without identity or worth. Kafka said, “The conveyer belt of life carries you on, no one knows where. One is more of an object, a thing, than a living creature.”

Early in His ministry, Jesus went to a synagogue in Nazareth, stood up in front of the crowd, and read from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

The Lord's mercy extends to all people.

Then Christ sat down and declared, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21). Centuries earlier, the prophet Isaiah had proclaimed these words (Isa. 61:1-2). Now Jesus announced that He was the fulfillment of that promise.

Notice who Jesus came to rescue—the poor, brokenhearted, captive, blind, and oppressed. He came for people dehumanized by sin and suffering, by brokenness and sorrow. 
He came for us!

For those who sin and those who suffer.
For those who suffer because of sin.
For those who sin to alleviate suffering.
Lord, have mercy on us.
--- Robert Gelinas, The Mercy Prayer

No matter how impersonal the world may seem, Jesus loves each of us as if we were His only child.

INSIGHT: Luke 4 provides a classic portrait of how a prophet is without honor in his own country (see Matt. 13:53–57; John 4:44). In the synagogue Jesus made His formal announcement of His role as the promised Messiah, quoting Isaiah’s great messianic prophecy (Luke 4:16–21; Isa. 61:1–2). The people immediately responded with amazement and “spoke well of Him” (v. 22). But when Jesus responded by challenging the hardness of their hearts, they tried to kill Him (vv. 23–30). In the midst of His challenge to them Jesus pointed to the reality of being rejected by those of His own hometown (v. 24).

By Bill Crowder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Weighed Down At Christmas

Read: Luke 4:14-21

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, . . . to set at liberty those who are oppressed. —Luke 4:18

During a December visit to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, I paused to admire the magnificent Christmas tree. It was covered with angels and surrounded at its base by an elaborate 18th-century nativity scene. Nearly 200 figures, including shepherds, the Magi, and a crowd of townspeople, looked in anticipation toward the manger or gazed up in awe at the angels.

But one figure appeared different from the rest—a barefoot man, who carried a heavy load on his back and looked at the ground. It struck me that this man, like so many people today, was so weighed down that he couldn’t see the Messiah.

Christmas can be a difficult time for those who carry the burden of hard work, stressful family situations, and personal loss. But we should remember that Christ came into our world to lift up all those who are bowed down. Jesus used the words of Isaiah to announce His God-given mission on earth: “To preach the gospel to the poor; . . . 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” (Luke 4:18).

Jesus came to lift our burdens so we can raise our eyes to welcome Him at Christmas. 

Help us, Lord, to give our burdens
To Your tender, loving care;
Grant us faith to trust You fully,
Knowing that each one You bear.
—D. De Haan

To find true joy at Christmas, look to Jesus.

By David McCasland(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The Lighthouse

Read: Isaiah 61:1–6 

[The Lord bestows] on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning. Isaiah 61:3

By its very existence, a ministry center in Rwanda called the “Lighthouse” symbolizes redemption. It sits on land where during the genocide in 1994 the country’s president owned a grand home. This new structure, however, has been erected by Christians as a beacon of light and hope. Housed there is a Bible institute to raise up a new generation of Christian leaders, along with a hotel, restaurant, and other services for the community. Out of the ashes has come new life. Those who built the Lighthouse look to Jesus as their source of hope and redemption.

When Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath, He read from the book of Isaiah and announced that He was the Anointed One to proclaim the Lord’s favor (see Luke 4:14–21). He was the One who came to bind up the brokenhearted and offer redemption and forgiveness. In Jesus we see beauty coming from the ashes (Isa. 61:3).

He was the One who came to bind up the brokenhearted and offer redemption and forgiveness.

We find the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide, when intertribal fighting cost more than a half-million lives, mind-boggling and harrowing, and we hardly know what to say about them. And yet we know that the Lord can redeem the atrocities—either here on earth or in heaven. He who bestows the oil of joy instead of mourning gives us hope even in the midst of the darkest of situations.

Lord Jesus Christ, our hearts hurt when we hear about the pain and suffering that some endure. Have mercy, we pray.

Jesus came to bring us hope in the darkest of circumstances.

INSIGHT: Jesus announced His mission by reading from this messianic prophecy in Isaiah 61, a text that clearly anticipated His ministry to the marginalized and hurting (Luke 4:18–19). He offers good news, healing, freedom, release, and joy to supplant the heartaches that inevitably come our way. Jesus went to the cross to deal with the root cause of our brokenness—sin—so that one day we could experience an eternity where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev. 21:4). Jesus-followers can likewise be involved in important ministries of help and encouragement for the hurting. In what ways has Jesus responded to your own hurts and needs? In what ways can you respond to the needs of those around you who are hurting?

By Amy Boucher Pye  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

From Mourning to Dancing

Read: Isaiah 61:1–4 |

He has sent me . . . to bestow on [those who grieve] a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning. Isaiah 61:1, 3

“We’re cutting your job.” A decade ago those words sent me reeling when the company I worked for eliminated my position. At the time, I felt shattered, partly because my identity was so intertwined with my role as editor. Recently I felt a similar sadness when I heard that my freelance job was ending. But this time I didn’t feel rocked at my foundation, because over the years I have seen God’s faithfulness and how He can turn my mourning to joy.

Though we live in a fallen world where we experience pain and disappointment, the Lord can move us from despair to rejoicing, as we see in Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming of Jesus (Isa. 61:1–3). The Lord gives us hope when we feel hopeless; He helps us to forgive when we think we can’t; He teaches us that our identity is in Him and not in what we do. He gives us courage to face an unknown future. When we wear the rags of “ashes,” He gently gives us a coat of praise.

God can bring times of growth out of our times of heartache.

When we face loss, we shouldn’t run from the sadness, but neither do we want to become bitter or hardened. When we think about God’s faithfulness over the years, we know that He’s willing and able to turn our grief to dancing once again—to give us sufficient grace in this life and full joy in heaven.

Father God, You turned Jesus’s pain on the cross into our best gift ever. Deepen my faith that I may welcome Your life-changing love into my life.

God can bring times of growth out of our times of heartache.

By Amy Boucher Pye  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God Is Here Read: Luke 4:16-21 

[The Lord] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. —Psalm 147:3

Leslie and her two daughters were about to be evicted from their home. Although Leslie believed that God could help, so far He hadn’t given a clue as to how. She wondered, Where is God? As she drove to the courthouse, she prayed for God’s intervention. Then she heard a song on the radio proclaiming, “God is here! Let the brokenhearted rejoice.” Could this be the assurance from God that she was longing to hear?

Inside the courtroom, Leslie stood before the judge, heard his decision, and signed the legal documents, but still God had not given her an answer.

As Leslie was walking to her car, a truck pulled up beside her. “Ma’am,” said the driver, “I heard your testimony inside the courtroom, and I believe God wants me to help you.” And he did. Gary helped Leslie get in contact with a woman from a local church who was able to work with the parties involved to reverse the process so that she and her girls could stay in their home.

When people ask, “Where is God?” the answer is, “Right here.” One way God is at work is through Christians like Gary who are continuing the work Jesus started—healing the brokenhearted and binding up their wounds (Ps. 147:3).

God is here; He stands beside you.
God is here; He wants to guide you.
God is here and He will help you,
So do not fear—Your God is near.
—D. De Haan

When we love God, we will serve people.

By Julie Ackerman Link (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)



TO PROCLAIM (kerussoTHE FAVORABLE (dektos - same word "welcome" Lk 4:24) YEAR OF THE LORD - This quotation is from the first half of Isaiah 61:2+  "To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD // And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn"

PROCLAIM (kerusso)  was used of the official whose duty it was to proclaim loudly and extensively the coming of an earthly king, even as our gospel is to clearly announce the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16+)! The irony in this verse is that the coming King of kings was Himself preaching!

What are the two words/phrases that are a clear contrast in Isaiah 61:2? Clearly favorable year and day of vengeance are diametrically opposed. Good news and Bad News. Why did Jesus give only the good news and not the bad news? Because He was describing His first coming which was for salvation, "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him." (Jn 3:17+). The "bad news" in the last half of Isaiah 61:2 remains to be fulfilled at Messiah's Second Coming when He returns at the end of the Great Tribulation, as the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16+) "to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom" (2 Ti 4:1), "having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him." (Heb 9:28) The writer of Hebrews speaks of this day of vengeance of our God warning that "if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES...for our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 10:26-27+, Hebrews 12:29+, cp John 5:22-27) One other important observation on Isaiah 61:2 is that there is what is referred to in prophetic writings as a "TIME GAP," (see discussion) a period of time which separates the fulfillment of two prophecies, in this case Jesus' first coming for salvation and His second coming for judgment.

Clinton Arnold - Isaiah’s language echoes the description of the Year of Jubilee in Leviticus 25, where every fiftieth year (after seven Sabbath years) property in Israel was to be returned to its original inheritors, debts were to be canceled, and slaves set free. (Borrow the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary)

Indeed, for those who refuse the good news of the favorable year, there awaits only bad news that will last for all eternity! 

This description of Jesus as the Herald of the Gospel reminds me of what J Hudson Taylor once wrote -- "God said to me, "I am going to evangelize China, and if you will walk with me, I will do it through you." 

Darrell Bock writes on favorable year of the LORD - This expression is an idiom for the year of Jubilee ("year of the Lord's favor," NET; NW; "acceptable year of the Lord," RSV). This year was described in the Law as a time every 50 years when all debt was forgiven (Lev. 25:10). This became a figure of spiritual, divine forgiveness in Isaiah 49:8 and Isaiah 58:5-8. Jesus uses it in this last sense to picture His work as a labor designed to bring divine forgiveness. 

Marvin Vincent has a similar note on  favorable year of the LORD - To preach (Rev., proclaim) the acceptable year of the Lord. As on the first day of the year of Jubilee, when the priests went through the land proclaiming, with sound of trumpet, the blessings of the opening year (Lev. 25:8–17). Note Lev 25:10-note, where liberty is to be proclaimed to all in that year. Wycliffe, the year of the Lord pleasant. A literal interpretation of the word year gave rise among some of the Christian fathers to the theory that our Lord’s ministry lasted but a single year!

In Leviticus 25-note Moses gives Israel God's instructions for celebration of the Year of Jubilee -

‘You are also to count off seven Sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the time of the seven Sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine years. 9 You shall then sound a ram’s horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land. 10 You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release (Hebrew = deror = a flowing, free run, liberty; Lxx = aphesis = release of captives as here in Lk 4:18, cancellation of a debt; forgiveness of sins - Mt 26:28) through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. 11 ‘You shall have the fiftieth year as a jubilee; you shall not sow, nor reap its aftergrowth, nor gather in from its untrimmed vines. 12 ‘For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat its crops out of the field.  13 ‘On this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his own property. 14 ‘If you make a sale, moreover, to your friend or buy from your friend’s hand, you shall not wrong one another. 15 ‘Corresponding to the number of years after the jubilee, you shall buy from your friend; he is to sell to you according to the number of years of crops. 16 ‘In proportion to the extent of the years you shall increase its price, and in proportion to the fewness of the years you shall diminish its price, for it is a number of crops he is selling to you. 17 ‘So you shall not wrong one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the LORD your God.  (Leviticus 25:8-17 )

Michael Card

The Lord provided for a time for the slaves to be set free
For the debts to all be canceled so His chosen ones could see
His deep desire was for forgiveness, He longed to see their liberty
And His yearning was embodied in the Year of Jubilee

Jubilee, Jubilee
Jesus is our Jubilee
Debts forgiven
Slaves set free
Jesus is our Jubilee

At the Lord's appointed time His deep desire became a man
The heart of all true jubilation and with joy we understand
In his voice we hear a trumpet sound that tells us we are free
He is the incarnation Of the year of Jubilee

To be so completely guilty, given over to despair
To look into your judges face, and see a

Proclaim (2784) (kerusso or kerysso from kerux/keryx = a herald - one who acts as the medium of the authority of one who proclamation he makes; kerugma = the thing preached or the message) means to proclaim (publicly) or to herald or act as a public crier - the town official who would make a proclamation in a public gathering. To preach, proclaim, publish, always with the suggestion of formality, gravity and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed. The idea is to preach or proclaim with the goal to persuade, urge or warn to comply. Kerusso was used of the official whose duty it was to proclaim loudly and extensively the coming of an earthly king, even as our gospel is to clearly announce the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16-note)! The Imperial Herald would enter a town in behalf of the Emperor, and make a public proclamation of the message which his Sovereign ordered him to give, doing so with such formality, gravity, and authority as to emphasize that the message must be heeded! Think about this secular use and compare it with what Jesus is proclaiming! Even as the Roman emperor's hearal gave the people exactly what the Emperor instructed him proclaim, nothing more, nothing less, so to did Jesus speak testifying "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me." (Jn 8:28, cf John 5:19, 30, 9:33) Neither the Roman herald nor the royal Jesus add to the message or take away from it. Should this not be the example and pattern every preacher and teacher of the holy gospel of God seeks and strives to emulate, yea, even doing so with fear and trembling! ("not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts" see 1Th 2:4-note) Much of Jesus' role involves proclaiming release and offering sight to the blind which are pictures of what salvation brings.

More background on Kerux - The original meaning of the root word kerux was a "herald at the royal court." Homer used kerusso and kerux in this connection. They not only announced the coming of the prince, but they also carried his commands to the uttermost corners of his realm. As the government of Greece became more republican, these heralds came to serve the state rather than the court. Certain qualities were required of heralds. They must have powerful voices, so voice auditions were often held. Also they had to be capable of calming down an unruly mob, in order to faithfully communicate the command. An honest disposition was also required, as a protection against the exaggeration of a royal decree. Furthermore, they could make no additions or subtractions from the received message. Later these heralds were also used to declare the message of a Greek deity or a religious oracle.

William Barclay on kerusso and kerux - The word preach has come down in the world; it is all too unfortunately connected in the minds of many people with boredom. The word in Greek is kerusso, which is the word for a herald’s proclamation from a king. Kerux is the Greek word for herald, and the herald was the man who brought a message direct from the king.This word tells us of certain characteristics of the preaching of Jesus and these are characteristics which should be in all preaching. (i) The herald had in his voice a note of certainty. There was no doubt about his message; he did not come with perhapses and maybes and probably’s; he came with a definite message. Goethe had it: “Tell me of your certainties: I have doubts enough of my own.” Preaching is the proclamation of certainties, and a man cannot make others sure of that about which he himself is in doubt. (ii) The herald had in his voice the note of authority. He was speaking for the king; he was laying down and announcing the king’s law, the king’s command, and the king’s decision. As was said of a great preacher, “he did not cloudily guess; he knew.” Preaching, as it has been put, is the application of prophetic authority to the present situation. (iii) The herald’s message came from a source beyond himself; it came from the king. (John 8:28, 38, 12:49, 50) Preaching speaks from a source beyond the preacher. It is not the expression of one man’s personal opinions; it is the voice of God that Jesus spoke to men. (Matthew 4)

Kerusso tin Luke and Acts - Lk. 3:3; Lk. 4:18; Lk. 4:19; Lk. 4:44; Lk. 8:1; Lk. 8:39; Lk. 9:2; Lk. 12:3; Lk. 24:47; Acts 8:5; Acts 9:20; Acts 10:37; Acts 10:42; Acts 15:21; Acts 19:13; Acts 20:25; Acts 28:31; 

Luke 4:20  And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.


And He closed (ptusso) the book, gave it back to the attendant (huperetesand sat down -  The fact that Jesus sat is a detail recorded by Luke indicates he was familiar with the Jewish practice of standing to read the Biblical text (as in Lk 4:16) and then taking a seat to teach the text. 

and the eyes of all in the synagogue (sunagoge)  were fixed (atenizo - present tense - continually) on Him - Note all in the synagogue means He had garnered the attention of every single person in the building. No one fell asleep during this reading! Their eyes were gazing, staring, "fastened" (NIV) on this hometown boy who was now a Man. But why would they be so fixated on Jesus? Recall that He had just read Isaiah 61:1-2a which they knew was a passage describing the actions of the coming Messiah. They had also heard about the miracles He had performed in Capernaum, which was only about 20 miles away. And so they were on "high alert" (so to speak), but probably were not prepared for the next words that came out of His mouth!

Jesus had a way of getting the Jews' attention - One is reminded of Luke 19:48+ - "and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said." And in John 7:46 the apostle records "The officers answered, "Never did a man speak the way this man speaks." And at the termination of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew records "When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes." (Mt 7:28-29+)

Closed (4428)(ptusso) means to fold or roll together, such as a book and used only in Lk 4:20.

Attendant (5257)(huperetes from hupo = under, beneath + eretes = a rower) is literally and under oarsman and then a subordinate, a servant, an attendant (Lk 4:20), one who is in the service of another or an assistant in general. 

Were fixed (816)(atenizo from a = intensifies + teino = stretch, strain) means to fix one's gaze on something, fasten one's eyes on, stare at, gaze earnestly, look straight at something. The sons of Israel could not look directly into Moses' face because of the intensity of the supernatural glory his skin reflected (2 Cor 3:7+). Moses' face certainly would have made a "great endorsement" for beauty creams that promise to make your face radiant (but this of course would have been "false advertising" for the glory was from his abiding in the presence of the Lord, not the putting of cream on one's face.) Has your face ever shone after spending time with Jesus? One gets a sense of this verb atenizo in the only other use in Luke's Gospel when a servant girl was looking intently at Peter as he was denying Jesus and then concluded that he was one who was with Jesus. (Lk 22:56).

Atenizo - 14x in 14v - most often by Luke. - Usage: fixed(1), fixed...gaze(4), fixing...gaze(2), gaze(1), gazed intently(1), gazing intently(1), look intently(2), looking intently(2). Lk. 4:20; Lk. 22:56; Acts 1:10 = "And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going"; Acts 3:4 = "Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!”; Acts 3:12; Acts 6:15; Acts 7:55 = " being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven"; Acts 10:4; Acts 11:6; Acts 13:9 = " Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him"; Acts 14:9; Acts 23:1; 2 Co. 3:7; 2 Co. 3:13

Luke 4:21  And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."


And He began to say (present tense - continuous action) to them - The entire synagogue had been "all eyes" and now was "all ears" as He began to speak. They could hardly believe their ears, and in fact did not believe His words and thus sadly did not receive His offer of good news described in Lk 4:18! They missed God's beautiful merciful gracious provision of a spiritual Year of Jubilee which their souls could have experienced "TODAY"!

THOUGHT - Dear reader don't hear Jesus' words and fail to receive and believe and heed them, for "Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION!" (2Cor 6:2+) Don't miss God's offer, the gracious gift of a lifetime, the gift of a new life, the gift of eternal life! Don't put it off until tomorrow, for you may not have tomorrow! (Jas 4:14+)

"The moment of hushed expectancy was passed." (Robertson)

Vincent points out that the phrase He began do "Not necessarily denote his first words, but indicate a solemn and weighty opening." 

Today (semeron) - This day. This word is first in His sentence which gives it added emphasis. He is saying "Today! Now! This moment!" It would be hard for his audience to miss His emphasis! In essence Jesus declares that He is the messianic fulfillment of the Anointed One described in Isaiah 61:1+. In short, the promised new age of deliverance had arrived because the Deliverer Himself had finally arrived! There should have been a shout of "Hallelujah" in the synagogue but sadly there was no such grateful exclamation but instead unbelief, indifference and finally animosity. These are the same reactions we see today when we share that Jesus is the Messiah, the sole Savior of the lost world! 

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus referred to the prophecy in Isaiah 6:9,10+ which was being fulfilled in the synagogue in Nazareth!


NET Note on the significance of Jesus' use of the word today -  Its use, especially in passages such as Luke 2:11 , 4:21, 5:26; 19:5, 9, signifies the dawning of the era of Messianic salvation and the fulfillment of the plan of God. 

This Scripture (graphe) has been fulfilled (plerooin your hearing - Remember that when you read the word "Scripture" in the NT, it almost always refers to the Old Testament Scripture, for that is all they had written down at this time. Jesus is referring specifically to the prophecy in Isa 61:1-2 which his hearers understood as a prophecy of the Messiah. What Jesus was clearly stating was that He was the fulfillment, that He was the "Anointed" one, the long expected Messiah (See Messiah - Anointed One). Can you imagine being in the synagogue that day listening to the One read from Isaiah the prophecy that was fulfilled in Himself? The verb fulfilled (pleroo) is in the perfect tense which means it was fulfilled with the first word out of His mouth and it remains fulfilled or stands fulfilled (even to our day and throughout eternity). 

A T Robertson comments that "Today this scripture (Isaiah 61:1-2, just read) stands fulfilled in your ears." It was a most amazing statement and the people of Nazareth were quick to see the Messianic claim involved. (ED: THEY UNDERSTOOD THE CLAIM BUT NOT THE CLAIMANT!) Jesus could only mean that the real year of Jubilee had come, that the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah had come true today, and that in Him they saw the Messiah of prophecy. There are critics today who deny that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. To be able to do that, they must reject the Gospel of John and all such passages as this one. And it is no apocalyptic eschatological Messiah whom Jesus here sets forth, but the one who forgives sin and binds up the broken-hearted. The words were too good to be true and to be spoken here at Nazareth by one of their own townsmen!

Warren Wiersbe comments that Jesus' reference could be an allusion to "the Year of Jubilee described in Leviticus 25+. Every seventh year was a "Sabbatical year" for the nation, when the land was allowed to rest; and every fiftieth year (after seven Sabbaticals) was set apart as the "Year of Jubilee." The main purpose of this special year was the balancing of the economic system: slaves were set free and returned to their families, property that was sold reverted to the original owners, and all debts were canceled. (ED: COMPARE THIS TO JESUS' WORDS IN Luke 4:18). The land lay fallow as man and beast rested and rejoiced in the Lord. Jesus applied all of this to His own ministry, not in a political or economic sense, but in a physical and spiritual sense. He had certainly brought Good News of salvation to bankrupt sinners and healing to brokenhearted and rejected people. He had delivered many from blindness and from bondage to demons and disease. Indeed, it was a spiritual "Year of Jubilee" for the nation of Israel! (See page 150 in Bible Exposition Commentary)

Michael Card

The Lord provided for a time for the slaves to be set free
For the debts to all be canceled so His chosen ones could see
His deep desire was for forgiveness, He longed to see their liberty
And His yearning was embodied in the Year of Jubilee

Jubilee, Jubilee
Jesus is our Jubilee
Debts forgiven
Slaves set free
Jesus is our Jubilee

Related Resource -

Scripture (1124) (graphe from  grapho = to write; English = graphite - lead in a pencil) means first a writing or thing written, a document. The majority of the NT uses refer to the Old Testament writings, in a general sense of the whole collection when the plural (= Scriptures - Mt 21:42; 22:29; 26:54; Mk. 12:24; 14:49; Lk. 24:27, 32, 45; Jn. 5:39; Acts 17:2, 11; 18:24, 28; Rom. 15:4; 2Pe 3:16) is used and other times of a particular passage when the singular is used (= the Scripture - Mk. 12:10; 15:28; Lk. 4:21; Jn. 13:18; 19:24, 36f; Acts 1:16; 8:35; Ro 11:2; Jas. 2:8, 23) and is used in such a way that quoting Scripture is understood to be the same as quoting God!

Graphe in Luke and Acts - Lk. 4:21; Lk. 24:27; Lk. 24:32; Lk. 24:45; Acts 1:16; Acts 8:32; Acts 8:35; Acts 17:2; Acts 17:11; Acts 18:24; Acts 18:28; 

Fulfilled (4137)(pleroo) literally conveys the idea of totality and thus that which have been filled up completely. Here the idea is the fulfillment of the prophecy.  Pleroo frequently speaks of fulfilled prophecy (Mt 1:22; 13:35; 26:54, 56; Mk 14:49; Lk 9:31; 22:16; John 18:9, 32; 19:24, 36).

Pleroo in Luke and Acts -  Lk. 1:20; Lk. 2:40; Lk. 3:5; Lk. 4:21; Lk. 7:1; Lk. 9:31; Lk. 21:24; Lk. 22:16; Lk. 24:44;  Acts 1:16; Acts 2:2; Acts 2:28; Acts 3:18; Acts 5:3; Acts 5:28; Acts 7:23; Acts 7:30; Acts 9:23; Acts 12:25; Acts 13:25; Acts 13:27; Acts 13:52; Acts 14:26; Acts 19:21; Acts 24:27;


JUBILEE YEAR - (shenath ha-yobhel; etos tes apheseos; annus jubilaeus, "year of jubilee" (Lev 25:13), or simply ha-yobhel, "the jubilee" (Lev 25:28; compare Nu 36:4), the King James Version and the English Revised Version Jubile): The Hebrew word yobhel stands for qeren ha-yobhel, meaning the horn of a ram. Now, such a horn can be made into a trumpet, and thus the word yobhel came to be used as a synonym of trumpet. According to Lev 25:9 a loud trumpet should proclaim liberty throughout the country on the 10th day of the 7th month (the Day of Atonement), after the lapse of 7 sabbaths of years = 49 years. In this manner, every 50th year was to be announced as a jubilee year. All real property should automatically revert to its original owner (Lev 25:10; compare 25:13), and those who, compelled by poverty, had sold themselves as slaves to their brothers, should regain their liberty (Lev 25:10; compare 25:39).

In addition to this, the Jubilee Year was to be observed after the manner of the sabbatic year, i.e. there should be neither sowing nor reaping nor pruning of vines, and everybody was expected to live on what the fields and the vineyards produced "of themselves," and no attempt should be made at storing up the products of the land (Lev 25:11 f). Thus there are three distinct factors constituting the essential features of the Jubilee Year: personal liberty, restitution of property, and what we might call the simple life.

1. Personal Liberty:

The 50th year was to be a time in which liberty should be proclaimed to all the inhabitants of the country. We should, indeed, diminish the import of this institution if we should apply it only to those who were to be freed from the bonds of physical servitude. Undoubtedly, they must have been the foremost in realizing its beneficial effects. But the law was intended to benefit all, the masters as well as the servants. They should never lose sight of their being brothers and citizens of theocratic kingdom. They owed their life to God and were subject to His sovereign will. Only through loyalty to Him were they free and could ever hope to be free and independent of all other masters.

2. Restitution of Property:

The institution of the Jubilee Year should become the means of fixing the price of real property (Lev 25:15 f; compare 25:25-28); moreover, it should exclude the possibility of selling any piece of land permanently (Lev 25:23), the next verse furnishing the motive: "The land is mine: for ye are strangers and sojourners with me." The same rule was to be applied to dwelling-houses outside of the walled cities (Lev 25:31), and also to the houses owned by Levites, although they were built within walled cities (Lev 25:32).

In the same manner the price of Hebrew slaves was to vary according to the proximity of the Jubilee Year (Lev 25:47-54). This passage deals with the enslaving of a Hebrew by a foreigner living among the Jews; it goes without saying that the same rule would hold good in the case of a Hebrew selling himself to one of his own people.

In Lev 27:17-25 we find a similar arrangement respecting such lands that were "sanctified unto Yahweh." In all these cases the original owner was at liberty to redeem his property at any time, or have it redeemed by some of his nearest relatives (25:25-27,29,48 ff; 27:19).

The crowning feature, though, was the full restitution of all real property in the Jubilee Year. The primary object of this regulation was, of course, the reversion of all hereditary property to the family which originally possessed it, and the reestablishment of the original arrangement regarding the division of the land. But that was not all; for this legal disposition and regulation of external matters was closely connected with the high calling of the Jewish people. It was a part of the Divine plan looking forward to the salvation of mankind. "The deepest meaning of it (the Jubilee Year) is to be found in the apokatastasis tes basileias tou theou, i.e. in the restoring of all that which in the course of time was perverted by man's sin, in the removing of all slavery of sin, in the establishing of the true liberty of the children of God, and in the delivering of the creation from the bondage of corruption to which it was subjected on account of man's depravity" (Rom 8:19 ff) (compare Keil, Manual of Biblical Archaeology). In the Year of Jubilee a great future era of Yahweh's favor is foreshadowed, that period which, according to Isa 61:1-3, shall be ushered in to all those that labor and are heavy laden, by Him who was anointed by the spirit of the Lord Yahweh.

3. The Simple Life:

The Jubilee Year, being the crowning point of all sabbatical institutions, gave the finishing touch as it were to the whole cycle of sabbatic days, months and years. It is, therefore, quite appropriate that it should be a year of rest for the land like the preceding sabbatic year (Lev 25:11 f). It follows, of course, that in this instance there were two years, one after the other, in which there should be no sowing or systematic ingathering. This seems to be clear from Lev 25:18-22: "And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat of the fruits, the old store; until the ninth year, until its fruits come in, ye shall eat the old store." Thus in the 7th and 8th years the people were to live on what the fields had produced in the 6th year and whatever grew spontaneously. This shows the reason why we may say that one of the factors constituting the Jubilee Year was the "simple life." They could not help but live simply for two consecutive years. Nobody can deny that this afforded ample opportunity to develop the habit of living within very limited means. And again we see that this external part of the matter did not fully come up to the intention of the Lawgiver. It was not the simple life as such that He had in view, but rather the laying down of its moral and religious foundations. In this connection we must again refer to Lev 25:18-22, "What shall we eat the seventh year?" The answer is very simple and yet of surpassing grandeur: "Then I will command my blessing upon you," etc. Nothing was expected of the people but faith in Yahweh and confidence in His power, which was not to be shaken by any doubtful reflection. And right here we have found the root of the simple life: no life without the true God, and no simplicity of life without true faith in Him. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Mt 4:4; compare Dt 8:3).

We may well ask: Did the Jewish people ever observe the Jubilee Year? There is no reason why they should not have observed it in pre-exilic times (compare Lotz in The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, X, under the word "Sabbatical Year" and "Year of Jubilee"). Perhaps they signally failed in it, and if so, we should not be surprised at all. Not that the institution in itself was cumbered with any obstacles that could not have been overcome; but what is more common than unbelief and unwillingness to trust absolutely in Yahweh? Or, was it observed in post-exilic times? Here, too, we are in the dark. There is, indeed, a tradition according to which the Jubilee Year has never been observed--neither in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah nor at any later period. The truth of this seems to be corroborated by the silence of Josephus, who, while referring quite frequently to the sabbatic year, never once mentions the Year of Jubilee. William Baur

Related Resources:

Speaking The Truth

He sent prophets to them, . . . but they would not listen. —2 Chronicles 24:19

In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch is a respected small-town lawyer in the segregated South during the 1930s. When he takes on a case that pits an innocent black man against two dishonest white people, Atticus knows he will face terrible prejudice from the jury. But his conscience compels him to speak the truth boldly in the face of opposition.

The Old Testament prophets were often sent to preach the truth to a stubborn people. “[God] sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the Lord; and they testified against them, but they would not listen” (2 Chron. 24:19). Their message often resulted in persecution and sometimes even death (Heb. 11:32-38).

During Christ’s ministry on earth, His message also resulted in angry opposition (Luke 4:21-30). Yet, in the sovereignty of God, the terrible miscarriage of justice that sentenced Jesus to death on the cross purchased our redemption. Now, as representatives of the risen Christ in this world, we are to promote reconciliation, justice, and integrity (Mic. 6:8; 2 Cor. 5:18-21). And in so doing, this may mean speaking the truth in the face of opposition. This is the charge to every believer until that day when Christ sets all things right (Rev. 20:11-15).

The life that counts must toil and fight, Must hate the wrong and love the right; Must stand for truth, by day, by night— This is the life that counts. —Anon.

It’s better to declare the truth and be rejected than to withhold the truth just to be accepted.

By Dennis Fisher

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?"


And all were speaking well (martureoof Him - They were repeatedly (over and over = imperfect tense) bearing witness, speaking well of Him. So far so good as they say. 

Spurgeon - They did not at first cavil at or deny what Jesus said; his doctrine was pleasing and comforting; and they were ready to accept it.

A T Robertson adds that the audience "all began to bear witness that the (news was) not exaggerations (Lk 4:14) as they had supposed, but had foundation in fact if this discourse or its start was a fair sample of his teaching. "

And wondering (thaumazo - marveled over and over = imperfect tense) at the gracious (charis - winsome) words (or words of grace) which were falling (flowing, coming) from (ekporeuomai - present tense - continually coming forth from) His lips - The perfect Man had perfect speech. No man ever spoken like Jesus spoke! Even as a boy in the Temple (Lk 2:46) "all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers." (Lk 2:47+) The officers (the attendants of the Sanhedrin) recognized something different about the way Jesus spoke, telling the Pharisees "Never did a man speak the way this man speaks." (Jn 7:45). sermon on

Robertson comments on gracious (chariswords - "The genitive case here means that the words that came out of the mouth of Jesus in a steady stream (present tense) were marked by fascination and charm. They were “winning words” as the context makes plain, though they were also gracious in the Pauline sense of grace."

THOUGHT - I like that last thought - it was as if Jesus' words spoken in the synagogue had a double meaning. Yes, they were words full of charm and loveliness, but even more significantly, they conveyed the implicit offer of God's favor to sinful men (cf "favorable year"), especially the "list" of undeserved benefits Jesus offered in Luke 4:18! Oh, how wonderful it would have been had the Jewish audience received these words not just as gracious but as grace giving to sinners in desperate need of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus as their Messiah and Redeemer! We see this today where many unbelievers will speak well of Jesus' gracious speech, but they stop short of acknowledging Him as the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world and most importantly as their Redeemer! 

John Butler - This claim (THAT HE FULFILLED PROPHECY Lk 4:21) was too big for neighbors and friends to stomach! What delusions of grandeur. He says God's Spirit has brought Him to us. He has news that the poor, impoverished people have been waiting for. He is God's anointed. Does that mean He thinks He is the Anointed One, the Messiah? People in prison, He will free. The blind He will make see. Our oppressed nation He will release from captivity and renew its strength. Today is the day. This is the year God will show favor and grace on his people. A young man from Nazareth can do all this? He can bring in the true Jubilee year when we release not only our slaves but also our nation from oppression and captivity (see Lev. 25:8-55)?  It sure sounds good. Nazareth can be proud of a young man who can make such a fine speech. Can you believe it? Joseph's son doing so well? Wish he could really do all this, but you know him as well as I do! (Ibid)

And they were saying, (NLT - How can this be?) "Is this not Joseph's son?" - This question expects a positive answer. As explained below, this was not necessarily a positive remark. It is a bit like "Who does He think He is, for after all He was a carpenter and the Son of a carpenter!" 

NET Note adds that their question "really amounts to an objection, as Jesus' response in the next verses shows. Jesus spoke smoothly and impressively. He made a wonderful declaration, but could a local carpenter's son make such an offer? That was their real question."

The other synoptic writers describe a similar reaction on Jesus' second visit to Nazareth (about 1.5 years later) again to teach in the synagogue. It is amazing that He returned after what they did to Him the first time! It is as if He wanted to give them a "second chance" to repent and belief! However the hometown folks were still skeptical and antagonistic. In Matthew 13:54+ the hometown Jews asked "Where did this man get this wisdom, and these miraculous powers?" Mark's account records a more skeptical, even derogatory reaction to Jesus' gracious words, for here the Jews asked "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense (skandalizo = they were scandalized!) at Him." (Mk 6:2-3+). Sadly, the Jews of His hometown were scandalized by His amazing grace! MacArthur adds that "The residents of Nazareth were deeply offended at Jesus' posturing Himself as some great teacher because of His ordinary background, His limited formal education, and His lack of an officially-sanctioned religious position."  (Borrow MacArthur Study Bible)

One writer draws an interesting and reasonable conclusion based on the crowds' questions noting that "despite being so impressed and perplexed by Jesus' remarks that they marvel, resolve the situation with the realization that this is a carpenter's son. In other words, someone with this common a background cannot be who he claims to be."

A T Robertson - Witness and wonder gave way to bewilderment (Ed: Title of this section) as they began to explain to themselves the situation. The use of ouchi  intensive form of ouk in a question expects the answer “yes.” Jesus passed in Nazareth as the son of Joseph as Luke presents him in Lk 3:23. He does not stop here to correct this misconception because the truth has been already amply presented in Lk 1:28–38; Lk 2:49. This popular conception of Jesus as the son of Joseph appears also in John 1:45. The puzzle of the people was due to their previous knowledge of Jesus as the carpenter (Mark 6:3; the carpenter’s son, Matt. 13:55). For him now to appear as the Messiah in Nazareth where he had lived and labored as the carpenter was a phenomenon impossible to credit on sober reflection. So the mood of wonder and praise quickly turned with whispers and nods and even scowls to doubt and hostility, a rapid and radical transformation of emotion in the audience."

Speaking well ("bear...witness" - KJV)(3140)(martureo from mártus = witness) means to confirm or attest something on the basis of personal knowledge and thus to witness which speaks of a human declaration of ascertainable facts based on firsthand knowledge and so in its most basic sense refers to a legal witness. Martureo is used only once in the Gospel of Luke and means to give a good report, speak well of, to affirm in a supportive manner, testify favorably, or to approve. 

In this context the idea is that they were testifying favorably, over and over speaking (imperfect tense) with approval concerning His discourse (cp similar uses Jn 3:26; Acts 13:22; 14:3). 

Wondering (2296)(thaumazo from thauma [from thaomai = to wonder] = wonder, admiration) means to wonder, marvel, be struck with admiration or astonishment. Thaumazo describes the human response when confronted by divine revelation in some form (Mt 9.33). Thaumazo was a rhetorical device used in law courts and politics to attack things done by the opposition party.

John uses thaumazo describing the reaction to Jesus "The Jews then were astonished (thaumazo), saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” (Jn 7:15)

Luke frequently uses thaumazo - 13 times in the Gospel and 5 times in Acts  -Lk. 1:21; Lk. 1:63; Lk. 2:18; Lk. 2:33; Lk. 4:22; Lk. 7:9; Lk. 8:25; Lk. 9:43; Lk. 11:14; Lk. 11:38; Lk. 20:26; Lk. 24:12; Lk. 24:41; Acts 2:7; Acts 3:12; Acts 4:13; Acts 7:31; Acts 13:41. 

Gracious (favor) (5485charis most often means undeserved favor of God. In the present context the meaning is graciousness, attractiveness Lk 4:22. This should describe the believer's speech Paul writing "Let your speech always be with grace (charis), as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." (Col 4:6+)

Robertson adds that grace (charis) has "a variety of applied meanings. They all come from the notion of sweetness, charm, loveliness, joy, delight, like words of grace, Luke 4:22, growing grace, Eph. 4:29, with grace, Col. 4:6. The notion of kindness is in it also, especially of God towards men as here. It is a favourite word for Christianity, the Gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) in contrast with law or works (John 1:16). Gratitude is expressed also (Luke 6:32), especially to God (Ro 6:17).

Falling (proceeding out, coming from) (1607) ekporeuomai from ek = out + poreuomai = come, go) to make to go forth, to go forth. Friberg -  (1) literally; (a) absolutely go from or out of a place, depart from (Mk 6.11); go out (Acts 9.28); (b) of the dead coming out of tombs emerge, come forth (Jn 5.29); (c) of demons come out ( Mt 17.21); (d) of a journey set out (Mk 10.17); (2) figuratively; (a) of words or thoughts proceed from, go or come out of the mouth, i.e. be spoken (Mt 15.11); (b) of a report spread abroad, tell everywhere (Lk 4.37); (c) of the Spirit proceed from (Jn 15.26); (d) of water flow out, stream forth (Rev 22.1) BDAG - 1. to be in motion from one area to another, 2. to come forth from, come/go out, proceed, in imagery, of things, words, or thoughts  Mt 15:11, Lk 4:22; Eph 4:29. What comes out of a pers. Mk 7:15, 20, 21, 23.  Mt 4:4 (Dt 8:3 ). Of truth ev. Hm 3:1. Of fire, lightning, etc. (Job 41:12): lightning (Ezek 1:13) Rev 4:5; fire Rev 9:17,18; 11:5;  fiery locusts Hv 4, 1, 6. Of streams of water flow out (Ezek 47:1, 8 , 12)  Rev 22:1 Of a sword project Rev 1:16; 19:15;  reports about him spread into every place Lk 4:37.

Luke 4:23  And He said to them, "No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, 'Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.'"


And He said to them, "No doubt you will quote this proverb (paraboleto Me, 'Physician (iatros), heal (therapeuo in aorist imperative) yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum (Kapharnaoum), do (aorist imperativehere in your hometown (patris) as well - NLT paraphrases it "Then he said, "Probably you will quote me that proverb, 'Physician, heal yourself'--meaning, 'Why don't you do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum?'" The phrase no doubt you will quote... implies Jesus was reading their minds and understood they did not believe He was the long expected Messiah. He understood that they wanted a "signs and wonders" show and His teaching on Isaiah 61:1-2 was not sufficient to validate that He was the Messiah. 

THOUGHT - If the living and active Word of the Gospel is not enough to convince one that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the World, then signs and wonders won't make them believe. The Gospel is the power of salvation. 

Spurgeon - “You have been doing great things over yonder at Capernaum, do the same at Nazareth. You should not leave your own native town without working miracles here.” Now there was an opportunity for Jesus to ingratiate himself with the people, and win their good word. If he would only perform miracles among them, he should be highly exalted in their esteem. (ED: WELL YES PROBABLY, BUT THEY STILL WOULD NOT BELIEVE IN HIM!) 

Clinton Arnold -  This proverb was a common one, appearing in both Jewish and Greek writers. Here it may mean, “Prove your worth as a physician.” Or, the emphasis may be on “yourself,” with the idea, “Heal your own people rather than outsiders from Capernaum.” Both ideas may be present. (Borrow the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary)

A T Robertson on proverb (parabole) - Here the word has a special application to a crisp proverb which involves a comparison. The word physician is the point of comparison. Luke the physician alone gives this saying of Jesus. The proverb means that the physician was expected to take his own medicine and to heal himself. The word parabole in the N.T. is confined to the Synoptic Gospels except Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 11:19. This use for a proverb occurs also in Luke 5:36; Luke 6:39. This proverb in various forms appears not only among the Jews, but in Euripides and Aeschylus among the Greeks, and in Cicero's Letters. Hobart quotes the same idea from Galen, and the Chinese used to demand it of their physicians. The point of the parable seems to be that the people were expecting Him to make good His claim to the Messiahship by doing here in Nazareth what they had heard of his doing in Capernaum and elsewhere. "Establish your claims by direct evidence" (Easton). This same appeal (Vincent) was addressed to Christ on the Cross (Mt 27:40 = "And saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Mt 27:42 = “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him."). There is a tone of sarcasm towards Jesus in both cases.

Robert Stein - The Greek term is parabole, which has a broad range of meaning from story and example parables, allegories, similitudes, and metaphors to proverbs. This particular proverb has numerous parallels both in form and in context. For the latter cf. Luke 23:35. For the former we find in Greek literature (Euripides, Incertarum Fabularum Fragmenta 1086) the following proverb, “A physician for others, but himself teeming with sores”; and in Jewish literature (Genesis Rabbah 23:4) we find, “Physician, physician heal thine own limp!” Here as elsewhere (Luke 5:22; 6:8; 7:40; 9:47; 11:17) Jesus possessed a unique awareness of others’ thoughts. (See Luke: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition)

Butler on No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me - They told him to put up or shut up: "If you have such a calling from God, let us see you prove it." Here they echoed Satan's temptation to Jesus: "We will believe you and follow you if you do things our way." Jesus sought faith in his word and in his person, not faith in miracles. The people felt slighted. They had heard of a ministry he performed in Capernaum—the significant military, trading, and commercial city of the area. Why not do the same at home for his friends and neighbors? (Ibid)

Marvin Vincent on physician heal (therapeuo) yourself - A saying which Luke alone records, and which would forcibly appeal to him as a physician. Galen speaks of a physician who should have cured himself before he attempted to attend patients. The same appeal was addressed to Christ on the cross (Mt 27:40, 42).

Robert Stein on Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum - In the setting of Jesus this expresses a skepticism about the factuality of these reports and a demand that Jesus perform the alleged miracles before them. (Ibid)

NET Note - The proverb Physician, heal yourself! means that Jesus should prove his claims. It is a "Prove it to us!" mentality that Jesus says the people have. The remark "What we have heard that you did at Capernaum" makes many suspect that Luke has moved this event forward in sequence to typify what Jesus' ministry was like, since the ministry in Capernaum follows in vv. 31–44. The location of this event in the parallel of Mark 6:1–6 also suggests this transposition.

Bock agrees adding that "The mention of Capernaum here suggests that this synagogue scene was moved up chronologically by Luke (In Matthew, it appears in Matthew 13:53-58). For Jesus has not yet been in Capernaum in Luke's Gospel. In fact, it is the ministry Luke describes next in Luke 4:31-44. The importance of the literary move is that Luke is indicating that this synagogue scene typifies Jesus' ministry in this period and the reaction to him. It may also reflect how Jesus preached in the synagogue in general. 

Do here in your hometown (patris) as well - They give Jesus a command in the aorist imperative which is as if they are commanding Him "Do it here in Your own country and town and do it now without delay!" Woe! 

Proverb (symbol) (3850parabole from para = beside, near + ballo = throw, cast; English "parable") is literally a throwing beside or placing of one thing by the side of another (juxtaposition as of ships in battle in classic Greek). The metaphorical meaning is to place or lay something besides something else for the purpose of comparison. (Mt 24:32, Mk 13:28, Mk 3:23, Lk 14:7). An illustration (Mt 13:3). In Hebrews 9:9 the idea is of something (OT Tabernacle) that serves as a model or example pointing beyond itself for later realization and thus a type or a figure.

Parabole in the Gospels - Matt. 13:3; Matt. 13:10; Matt. 13:13; Matt. 13:18; Matt. 13:24; Matt. 13:31; Matt. 13:33; Matt. 13:34; Matt. 13:35; Matt. 13:36; Matt. 13:53; Matt. 15:15; Matt. 21:33; Matt. 21:45; Matt. 22:1; Matt. 24:32; Mk. 3:23; Mk. 4:2; Mk. 4:10; Mk. 4:11; Mk. 4:13; Mk. 4:30; Mk. 4:33; Mk. 4:34; Mk. 7:17; Mk. 12:1; Mk. 12:12; Mk. 13:28; Lk. 4:23; Lk. 5:36; Lk. 6:39; Lk. 8:4; Lk. 8:9; Lk. 8:10; Lk. 8:11; Lk. 12:16; Lk. 12:41; Lk. 13:6; Lk. 14:7; Lk. 15:3; Lk. 18:1; Lk. 18:9; Lk. 19:11; Lk. 20:9; Lk. 20:19; Lk. 21:29; Heb. 9:9; Heb. 11:19

Capernaum (NW side of Sea of Galilee)(2746)(Kapharnaoum of Hebrew origin - kaphar - a village + Nachum = Nahum) is literally the village of Nahum that was located on the NW shore of Sea of Galilee Matthew recording that Jesus left "Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali" and this village served as His  headquarters during His ministry in Galilee (Mt 4:13; 9:1; Mk 2:1). Capernaum must have been a sizable town because Matthew was a tax collector there when he was called by Jesus (Mk 2:14). In addition a high officer of the king (Herod Antipas) had his residence there and built a synagogue for the people (Mt 8:5-13; Lu 7:1-10). The Lord performed many striking miracles there, healing of the centurion’s palsied servant (M t8:5-13), a man sick of the palsy borne to Jesus by four friends (Mk 2:3-12), and the nobleman’s son (Jn 4:46-54). In spite of Jesus’ miraculous works and teachings, the people did not repent and Jesus predicted the judgment of the town "And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” (Mt 11:23, 24; cf Lu 10:15). 

Capernaum - 16x in 16v - Mt. 4:13; Mt. 8:5; Mt. 11:23; Mt. 17:24; Mk. 1:21; Mk. 2:1; Mk. 9:33; Lk. 4:23; Lk. 4:31; Lk. 7:1; Lk. 10:15; Jn. 2:12; Jn. 4:46; Jn. 6:17; Jn. 6:24; Jn. 6:59

Hometown (country) (3968patris is literally one's native country and so fatherland, homeland (Jn 4:44; fig. Heb 11:14). It also can refer as in the present passage to one's home town, one's own part of the country (Mt 13:54, 57; Mk 6:1, 4; Lk 2:3, 4:23f) Leon Morris notes that hometown is "patris is strictly the feminine of patrios, but it is used to mean one’s “fatherland,” “home land,” or, as here, “hometown.” (PNTC-Mt) (ED: Think "patriotic") BDAG adds patris is "a relatively large geographical area associated with one’s familial connections and personal life." or "a relatively restricted area as locale of one’s immediate family and ancestry, home town."

Patris - 8x in NT - country(1), country of their own(1), hometown(6). Matt. 13:54; Matt. 13:57; Mk. 6:1; Mk. 6:4; Lk. 4:23; Lk. 4:24; Jn. 4:44; Heb. 11:14

Patris in Septuagint - Lev. 25:10; Est. 2:10; Est. 2:20; Est. 8:6; Jer. 22:10; Jer. 46:16; Ezek. 23:15;

QUESTION - What is the meaning of “Physician, heal thyself”? 

Jesus’ audience in Nazareth reacted in amazement to His words in the synagogue, and they began to remind themselves of His personal history: “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22). They could point to no sin in Jesus’ past, but they definitely brought up the fact that He was a local boy—as if that disqualified Him from being the Messiah. In essence, they were saying, “Jesus is the son of the local carpenter; He’s common, like us. Where does He get the idea that He’s something special? The Messiah will not be a tradesman!” Jesus’ response to their reluctance to believe was to make Himself the point of a proverb: “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” (Luke 4:23KJV). In the proverb “Physician, heal thyself,” Jesus is the physician, and the Nazarenes are demanding that He heal Himself. It’s another way of saying, “We won’t believe a word you say until you take care of what ails you”—except, being a proverb, it’s much less wordy. The basic idea is that no one wants to visit a feverish doctor who is hacking up phlegm. The advice of a dermatologist whose face is covered with an itchy, scaly rash carries little weight. “Hey, Jesus,” the crowd is saying, “before you can help us, you have to take care of your own problems!”

“Physician, heal thyself” also carries the idea of needing proof.

The attitude to the synagogue-goers in Luke 4 is that a real doctor should be able to prove his credentials by correctly diagnosing and treating whatever ailment he suffers from personally. To apply the point of the proverb more specifically to Jesus’ situation, “It will take more than words to convince us. If you’re truly the Messiah, prove it by working a miracle or doing something else equally messianic.” As Jesus expounds on the proverb, He mentions the miracles He had done in nearby Capernaum—miracles that the Nazarenes had heard about and wanted to see duplicated in their own city. 

“Physician, heal thyself” also communicates a demand that the Miracle-worker work some of His miracles at home.

The doctor in the proverb should heal himself; that is, he should practice his medicine at home. In the same way, Jesus should display His power at home, in Nazareth, and not just in other places. In this way, the proverb “Physician, heal thyself” is similar to our modern proverb “Charity begins at home.” 

The challenge was clear. The people of Jesus’ hometown demanded signs and wonders before they would accept Him as the Messiah. Jesus gave them no miracles. Rather, He used the examples of Elijah and Elisha (Ed: Which were in fact miracles! Just not ones they wanted to be reminded of!) to show how unbelief in Israel had caused those prophets to work “away from home” with Gentiles (Luke 4:25–27). The Sabbath crowd listening to Jesus grew irate at the comparison, and they attempted to kill Jesus (Lk 4:28–29). So much for a homecoming party.  Jesus should have been given the keys to the city of Nazareth; instead, He was given skepticism, rejection, and a terse proverb: “Physician, heal thyself.” As Jesus told the crowd just before their attempted murder, “No prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4:24). (Gotquestions)

Luke 4:24  And He said, "Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.


And He said, "Truly (amenI say to you, no prophet is welcome (dektos - same word "favorable" Lk 4:19) in his hometown  (patris) - This proverb is an allusion to the unbelief of the Jews in Nazareth, for here was a "hometown prophet" Who had just spoken to them of the good news in Luke 4:18 but they they did not have ears to hear it! Jesus knew the Jews wanted the hometown boy to do a few miracles, but He also knew that even if He complied with their command (demand), they still would not receive Him as their Messiah and Savior! In a very real sense this was a prophecy which would soon be fulfilled in Nazareth as the Jews sought to kill Jesus! So Jesus then proceeds to describe the miraculous work of two prophets Elijah and Elisha who were not that popular in their "hometown" (so to speak). And with these two well-known OT stories Jesus emphasizes how the faith of the widow and of Naaman led to their being blessed by Jehovah. As the writer of Hebrews says "And without faith it is impossible (DON'T MISS THAT QUALIFICATION!) to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.." (Heb 11:6). 

Truly (amen, verily) (281)(amen from the Hebrew word amen which in turn is from the Hebrew verb aman = to be firm, to believe, this word conveying the idea of certainty) means trustworthy. Truly acknowledges that which is valid and binding. The OT often used "amen" at the end of a sentence (truly, surely, certainly) to confirm the preceding words and invokes their fulfillment. Some writers use Amen at the end of a sentence but only the Lord Jesus uses amen (truly) at beginning of a sentence. His "Amen" accentuates and guarantees the truth of His saying while also affirming His authority!

Amen in Luke -  Lk. 4:24; Lk. 12:37; Lk. 18:17; Lk. 18:29; Lk. 21:32; Lk. 23:43

Welcome (acceptable) (1184)(dektos) speaks of one of whom there is or has been a favorable decision of the will. There is a sad irony here for dektos is the same word Jesus had used to describe His arrival as the "favorable (dektos) year of the Lord" and finds that He is not acceptable as the Messiah, indicating a major missed opportunity for the Jews of Nazareth.  Jesus explains the historical basis for the remark in v. 24 in the verses that follow. 

Dektos - 5v in NT - acceptable(2), favorable(1), welcome(2).Lk. 4:19; Lk. 4:24; Acts 10:35; 2 Co. 6:2; Phil. 4:18

Luke 4:25  "But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land;

Related Passages:

1 Kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”

1 Kings 18:1-2  Now it happened after many days that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth.” 2 So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria.

James 5:17  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.

But I say to you in truth - NLT = But the truth is, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown." What He is getting ready to say is truth that every Jew should have known for it was recorded in the Old Testament writings. 

There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land - Elijah (Elias) refers to the incident described in 1 Kings 17-18, but in selecting Elijah, Jesus compares himself to the prophet and compares the people to the nation of old. This is a period in Israel's history when the nation was most obstinate in rejecting God's way.

Luke mentions the prophet Elijah seven times in his Gospel out of 29 NT uses (Lk 1:17; 4:26; 9:8, 19, 30, 33).

NET Note on days of Elijah - Jesus, by discussing Elijah and Elisha, pictures one of the lowest periods in Israel's history. These examples, along with Lk 4:24, also show that Jesus is making prophetic claims as well as messianic ones. See 1 Kgs 17–18.

When the sky was shut up (kleio) for three years and six months - God sovereignly brought drought on the land and the result was not juse a famine but a great famine, the same phrase used in the time of the next prophet Elisaha in 2 Ki 6:25 (cf the third use in Acts 11:28)...

There was a great famine in Samaria; and behold, they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver. (Woe! When the price of dove's dung rises, you know the famine is severe!)

Spurgeon on a great famine came over all the land - Many husbands died, and many widows in Israel were left desolate in those terrible days of trial.

Truth (225aletheia  from a = indicates following word has the opposite meaning ~ without + lanthano = to be hidden or concealed, to escape notice, cp our English "latent" from Latin = to lie hidden) has the literal sense of that which contains nothing hidden. Aletheia is that which is not concealed. Aletheia is that which that is seen or expressed as it really is.

Aletheia in Luke and Acts -Lk. 4:25; Lk. 20:21; Lk. 22:59;  Acts 4:27; Acts 10:34; Acts 26:25; 

Shut (Closed) (2808kleio  literally means to shut or close (like shutting the door of your prayer room so that you pray in secret - Mt 6:6, the door has already been shut = Lk 11:7, after the resurrection the disciples were together and the doors were shut… for fear of the Jews = Jn 20:19, 26). Figuratively to shut the windows of heaven means to have no rain (Lk 4:25, Rev 11:6). In Mt 23:13 kleio is used metaphorically of the Scribes and Pharisees shutting off the kingdom of heaven from men. In the parable of the 10 virgins (Mt 25:1-12) the foolish virgins were shut out of the wedding feast (Mt 25:10) because the Lord did not know them (Mt 25:11, cp Mt 7:21-23). 

Kleio - 15v in NT - Matt. 6:6; Matt. 23:13; Matt. 25:10; Lk. 4:25; Lk. 11:7; Jn. 20:19; Jn. 20:26; Acts 5:23; Acts 21:30; 1 Jn. 3:17; Rev. 3:7; Rev. 3:8; Rev. 11:6; Rev. 20:3; Rev. 21:25

Luke 4:26  and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.


and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow - A widow in Sidon would identify her as a Gentile. The fact that Elijah was sent to none of the Jewish widows in Israel speaks to the hardened hearts of the Jewish people in Israel in Elijah's day. Although this was documented in the OT, Jesus' quoting it would have begun to rile up the Jews in the synagogue because of their rabid hatred of Gentiles. 

Fruchtenbaum has an interesting that that "By mentioning the Gentile widow to whom Elijah was sent (to the exclusion of the Jewish widows), and the healing of the Syrian leper by Elijah (to the exclusion of the Jewish lepers), Jesus is hinting that what the Jews reject the Gentiles will accept."

Spurgeon - This was as much as to say, “It is not because I lived here that I shall work miracles in this place. There were many widows round about Elijah, but he was not sent to one of them, he was sent to a widow in Sarepta, a city of Sidon, a heathen woman in another country.” Mark the sovereignty of God; he bestows his mercy where he wills, according to his declaration to Moses, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” We dare not ask God why he does this, “for he giveth not account of any of his matters.” He acts wisely; but he acts according to the good pleasure of his own will.

Zarephath (see Sarepta) is the The modern village Surafend on the coast road between Tyre and Sidon.

In the land of Sidon - An ancient mercantile city of Phoenicia, in the narrow plain between Lebanon and the Mediterranean, where the mountains recede two miles from the sea; 20 miles N. of Tyre. Now Saida. Old Sidon stands on the northern slope of a promontory projecting a few hundred yards into the sea, having thus "a fine naturally formed harbour" (Strabo). The citadel occupies the hill behind on the south.

Bock - This widow of Sidon is a Gentile and had her son revived from the dead in 1 Kings 17:8-24. Jesus' point is that the land was so obstinate that only Gentiles received the benefit of ministry. This is the only mention of this figure in the NT.

QUESTION What is the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath?

ANSWER - 1 Kings 17 introduces the prophet Elijah and gives the account of his dealings with a widow from Zarephath. The chapter notes that the Lord was withholding rain from Israel (verse 1). The drought was in judgment of the nation’s rampant idolatry, led by the royal couple Ahab and Jezebel. In verse 8, the Lord commanded Elijah to go to Zarephath, a town outside of Israel, where a widow would provide food for him. He obeyed, finding a woman gathering sticks. He said to her, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink,” and, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand” (verses 11–12).

The widow, however, was in great need herself. She responded, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die” (verse 13). She expected the meal she was about to fix to be the last for her family. She had no other prospect than to die of starvation.

Elijah’s answer was surely a test of her faith. He told her that she was to make some food for him, anyway, using the last of her ingredients for him. He added a promise: “For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth’” (1 Kings 17:14). The widow’s faith was evident in her obedience. And God was faithful to His promise: “She and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah” (verses 15–16). The widow’s food supply was supernaturally extended, as promised.

Elijah stayed there for some time, living in an upper room of the widow’s house. The woman’s son later died of an illness and, in her anger and grief, she blamed Elijah for his death—she assumed God was judging her for her sin (1 Kings 17:17–18). But Elijah cried out to God: “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” (verse 21), and the child was restored to life. When the woman saw this, she said, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth” (verse 24).

This account is also mentioned in the New Testament. Early in His ministry, Jesus was speaking in the synagogue of His hometown, Nazareth. He said, “In truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow” (Luke 4:25–26). Jesus’ point was that no prophet is accepted in his hometown. Just as Elijah found more faith outside of Israel than within it, Jesus found little faith in His boyhood home. As if to prove His point, the people of Nazareth grew enraged and attempted to throw Jesus off a cliff (Luke 4:29).

The account of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath offers many insights. First, God often uses unlikely people and sources to accomplish His purposes. Second, God’s mercy extends to all people, both Jews and Gentiles, and the Sidonian widow was blessed for her faith (see Acts 10:34–35). Third, God requires faith (Hebrews 11:6). The widow’s miracle only came after she prepared a meal for Elijah—an act of sincere faith on her part.

Luke 4:27  "And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."


And there were many lepers (leprosin Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed (katharizo) - Jesus presents a striking and painful (to the Jews) contrast between many Jewish lepers who were not cleansed and one Gentile leper who was cleansed! Jewish lepers (of which there were many) were not cleansed in Elisha's day. One reason is that there was no faith in them. Even Naaman the Syrian was not cleansed until he believed and his belief was shown to be authentic because he obeyed.

THOUGHT - Beloved, a faith that does not obey is a dead faith and not a saving faith. Be wary of those who say they believe in Jesus and continue to "live like the devil!" This is deception of the highest degree and most tragic, for sadly eternity will prove these professors are not "possessors"!

None is the stronger negative adjective oudeis (also used in Lk 4:26 "sent to none of them") which means absolutely not even one! The relative medeis is less emphatic. 

But only - This term of contrast introduces a dramatic contrast. Not only were the Jewish lepers not cleansed, the only one cleansed was an "unclean" (to the Jews) Syrian Gentile!

2 Kings 5:1 Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper.

2 Kings 5:14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times (the obedience of faith) in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.

Naaman the Syrian refers to the incident from 2 Ki 5:8-19 and provides a second example of "missionary outreach" to the godless Gentiles. As an aside, this is the only mention of the prophet Elisha in the NT. This second mention of a Gentile was simply too much for His Jewish audience to accept as the next passage shows!

Spurgeon - He, too, was a heathen from a distant country. Healing came unto him, but unto none of the lepers of Israel. God will do as he pleases with his own mercy and grace. The question that he asks is, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? “This doctrine of divine sovereignty was not according to the taste of these people, they did not like it, and some of you, I fear, do not like it. They grew very angry, they began to gnash their teeth, and to say, “This young man must be silenced; we will not listen to such doctrine as this from him.”

Butler - Jesus would not be reduced to a local side show attraction. He did things only when they were God's will leading to God's purposes for God's kingdom. So Jesus had another proverb for them. He knew the fate of prophets as well as they did. Prophets receive honor only years after their death, and certainly not among the people who know them best. The Bible itself proves that. First Kings 17 shows how Elijah had to go up to Phoenicia to do his miracles and find faith. Naaman (2 Kgs. 5) was the only person with the horrible skin disease that Elisha chose to cure. Naaman was from Syria. Yes, prophets often have to go far afield, even outside Israel—certainly outside their hometown—to do God's work. Nazareth is not going to force Jesus to do God's work when they have no faith in him. Yes, God can send the Messiah and see Israel reject him. God can take his message of hope and grace clear outside the chosen people Israel to Gentiles like the widow and Naaman. (Ibid)

Jesus was not a people pleaser as C H Spurgeon so eloquently explained...

OUR Saviour never sought popularity. His ministry was so attractive that thousands thronged to hear him, glad to catch the accents of his instructive tongue; but he never for a moment sought to preach flesh-pleasing truths, neither did he keep back any doctrine by which it might be feared that his hearers would be disgusted. On this occasion, he was speaking to his own townsmen. The young man, who had left the place for a while, and who, during his absence, had acquired great fame as a teacher and miracle-worker, had come home; and there was, naturally, much curiosity to hear him. They supposed that he would make the town, where he had been, brought up, to be the chief place of his benedictions. They were his fellow-townsmen, so surely they had some claim upon him; but our Lord, knowing right well that, if they really understood his teaching, they would not be pleased with it, and knowing that the blessings he came to bring were not such as they desired, at once dealt honestly with them, and told them that Elisha did not heal the lepers in his own country, but one was healed who came from a foreign land; and he led them to infer that, very likely, he would do his greatest deeds of healing elsewhere than at Nazareth, that God might be pleased to bestow the richest supplies of his grace upon heathens,—upon Syrians, and not upon those who seemed to suppose that they had some right or claim to it. Our Lord, in fact, preached to these people the great doctrine of divine sovereignty, the humbling doctrine of divine election, of which Paul wrote to the Romans, “He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”* That was the main point of our Saviour’s discourse, and his fellow-townsmen could not endure it, as many since have not been able to endure it; and, seeking to end such hateful teaching by murdering the Teacher, they hurried him from the synagogue to the top of the precipice whereon their city stood, that they might hurl him down, and destroy him.

I learn, from this incident in our Lord’s life, that it is not the preacher’s business to seek to please his congregation. If he labours for that end, he will in all probability not attain it; but  if he should succeed in gaining it, what a miserable success it would be! He must lose the favor of his Master if he should once aim at securing the favor of his fellow-men. We therefore ought to preach many truths which will irritate our hearers; we ought to declare to them the doctrines which are really for their present and eternal welfare, however distasteful they may be to their carnal reason and natural inclinations. As the physician must give bitter draughts to his patients if he would cure them of their diseases, so must the preacher, who is truly sent of God, proclaim unpalatable truths to his hearers, and he must preach the more often upon those very bitter truths because men are so unwilling to receive them. That part of the gospel which they will readily embrace without any persuasion need not be preached so often, but that part which they will kick at and resist must be enforced again and again, if haply at last their judgment should be convinced of its truth, and their heart won for its reception. (See full sermon on Lk 4:27 - The Rule of Grace)

Lepers (3015lepros from lepo = to scale, peel or lepis = a scale as of a fish - see picture of scaly rash) originally meant scaly or scabby and then was used to describe one afflicted with leprosy. It was was used to refer to an uneven surface of any kind (e.g., a road), but usually denotes a leprous condition of the skin, a serious skin disorder secondary to various etiologies, not always infection with the Mycobacterium leprae (pix), the cause of Hansen's Disease. Leper - 9x - Matt. 8:2; Matt. 10:8; Matt. 11:5; Matt. 26:6; Mk. 1:40; Mk. 14:3; Lk. 4:27; Lk. 7:22; Lk. 17:12. Lepros in the Septuagint (Lxx) - Lev. 13:44; Lev. 13:45; Lev. 14:2; Lev. 14:3; Nu 5:2; 2 Sa 3:29; 2 Ki. 5:11; 2 Ki. 7:3; 2 Ki. 7:8; 2 Chr 26:20; 2 Chr. 26:21; 2 Chr. 26:23. 

Cleansed (2511)(katharizo) referred to literal cleansing and figuratively of ritual cleansing (washing to be ceremonially clean - Mt 23:25,26 where their cleansing was only external). Here Jesus speaks of healing leprosy which rendered these men ceremonially unclean (cf Mk 1:40)

Friberg - (1) literally, as thoroughly cleansing for sacred use wash, make clean, cleanse (Lk 11.39); (2) figuratively; (a) of ritual cleansing, making levitically clean, as foods cleanse, purify, declare clean (Acts 10.15); (b) of healing of diseases that render ceremonially unclean, as leprosy cleanse, make ritually clean (Mk 1.40); (c) of religious and moral purity, as from sin and a guilty conscience cleanse, make pure, make acceptable to God (1Jn 1.7) (Borrow the Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament ) 

Katharizo in NT - 30v -  clean(3), cleanse(5), cleansed(16), cleanses(1), cleansing(1), declared...clean(1), make...clean(3), purify(1). - Matt. 8:2; Matt. 8:3; Matt. 10:8; Matt. 11:5; Matt. 23:25; Matt. 23:26; Mk. 1:40; Mk. 1:41; Mk. 1:42; Mk. 7:19; Lk. 4:27; Lk. 5:12; Lk. 5:13; Lk. 7:22; Lk. 11:39; Lk. 17:14; Lk. 17:17; Acts 10:15; Acts 11:9; Acts 15:9; 2 Co. 7:1; Eph. 5:26; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 9:14; Heb. 9:22; Heb. 9:23; Heb. 10:2; Jas. 4:8; 1 Jn. 1:7; 1 Jn. 1:9

QUESTION  What can we learn from the story of Elisha and Naaman?

ANSWERNaaman was the commander of Syria’s (Aram’s) army and well regarded as a military man, but he had leprosy. His Israelite servant girl suggested he go to Elisha to be healed. Naaman left for Israel, taking a large gift with him and a letter from Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, asking the king of Israel to heal Naaman (2 Kings 5:1–6). The king of Israel’s reaction was panic—how could anyone heal leprosy? The king of Israel thought Ben-hadad was trying to start a fight (2 Kings 5:7).

When the prophet Elisha heard of the king’s distress, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel” (2 Kings 5:8). Naaman then came to Elisha’s house with his chariots, gifts, and servants.

Elisha did not even come out to greet Naaman. Instead, he sent a message to wash in the Jordan River seven times to be healed. “Naaman was angry and went away, saying, ‘Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage” (2 Kings 5:11–12).

Naaman’s servants urged him to reconsider, and Naaman wisely did. After dipping himself in the Jordan River seven times, he was completely healed as Elisha had said. In fact, “his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy” (2 Kings 5:14). Naaman returned to Elisha and said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant” (verse 15). Elisha refused the gift and sent the Syrian commander away in peace.

However, Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, followed Naaman and deceitfully asked for a gift in Elisha’s name. Naaman gave him “two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing” (2 Kings 5:23). Gehazi hid the loot and returned home, where Elisha confronted him. Gehazi lied again to cover the matter. The Lord had given Elisha insight, and the prophet told Gehazi, “Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever” (verse 27). Gehazi immediately contracted leprosy.

Much can be learned from this account. First, there is a clear contrast between the faith of the young servant girl, who knew of Elisha and believed in his power; and the distress of Israel’s king, who did not even think of Elisha and fretted over his own lack of power.

Second, we have a contrast between the pomp of Naaman and the lowliness of Elisha. Naaman came to be healed carrying rich gifts in fine chariots; Elisha had no such finery, just the power of God. Naaman’s pride was almost his undoing: too proud and stubborn to follow the prophet’s simple instructions, he almost bypassed the blessing that God had in store. We, too, should obey the Word of God, even when God’s way does not make sense to us.

Also, those who serve God do not do so for financial gain but out of love and simple obedience to the Lord. Elisha refused the princely gift offered to him. God is a giver, not a taker, and His gifts cannot be bought. Naaman’s healing from leprosy is a wonderful picture of our salvation from sin—freely bestowed by the grace of God in response to faith (Ephesians 2:8–9).

Gehazi’s greed and deception are warnings to us. The Bible warns us against “pursuing dishonest gain” (Titus 1:7). We are called to be honest in all of our dealings, knowing that God sees everything and will judge accordingly. We can be sure that our sins will find us out (Numbers 32:23).

Jesus used the story of Naaman and Elisha as an illustration of Israel’s problem of unbelief. In Luke 4:27, Jesus tells the crowd in the synagogue of Nazareth, “There were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” The lepers of Israel overlooked the healing that could have been theirs through Elisha, so God healed a Syrian instead. In the same way, the Israelites of Jesus’ day were missing the Power right in front of their eyes. But God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34–35), and the Gentiles eventually received the gospel that Israel rejected.

Related Resources

Luke 4:28  And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things;

Related Passages:

Luke 2:34+  And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed (antilego = spoken against)


Luke 4:16-31 records Jesus' initial rejection in His hometown of Nazareth and Mark records the final rejection. (Mark 6:1-6)

All the people in the synagogue (sunagoge) - Note that Luke uses the word "all" (pas) which means all without exception. This was condemnation of Christ by consensus and by many of the people who must have known Him as a boy! Note secondly where the rage rises up! In the Jewish synagogue, the place where devotion to God was to be most evident! Indeed, themost vicious opposition to Jesus was always from those who were "religious" but who lacked a relationship with God.

THOUGHT- If you are a Spirit filled, Word centered preacher or teacher (like Jesus was - Lk 4:1, 14, 18), then you can be sure that you will experience opposition and it will often come from the "religious" folks in your congregation! This is a sad truth and one I have painfully experienced to the point it led me to consider never teaching again! So next time it happens to you dear one, remember that Jesus has Himself been "tempted (tested) in that which He has suffered, and He is able to come to the aid of those who are (continually being) tempted (tested)." (Heb 2:18+). 

And all the people in the synagogue (sunagoge) were filled (pimplemi) with rage (thumosas they heard these things - First ask "What things?" Not Luke 4:18 which they appreciated as "gracious words", even if they did not fully understanding that in this passage the Messiah Himself was explaining the way of salvation (for those who were poor, prisoners, blind, oppressed - when one recognized their need in one of these categories, and would call out for salvation, they would be saved by Messiah). Clearly these things refers to the offensive (to Jewish ears) teaching about a Gentile widow and a leprous Gentile adversary of Israel. The Greek construction indicates their anger was building to a crescendo as Jesus spoke these words. One can picture them beginning to squirm and seethe and shake like a volcano preparing to erupt! And erupt it did! Once again we see the clear teaching that what fills a person controls that person, in Jesus' case it was the Holy Spirit and in the case of the Jews it was their unholy, fleshly, sinful spirit! 

What fills a person, controls the person
(Holy Spirit vs Unholy Rage) 

It is worth noting that it was not Jesus' claim that He was the Messiah that made them angry, but it was when He recounted one of the worst periods in Israel's history explaining that Gentiles might be more helped by God than the sinful nation of Israel. 

Spurgeon - They did not mind hearing the first part of his teaching; but now that he exalts the sovereignty of God, and lays the sinner low, he speaks too plainly for them: “They were filled with wrath.” 

Similar Jewish reactions to the mention of Gentiles appeared in Acts when Paul spoke...

Acts 22:21-22+  “And He (MESSIAH) said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”  They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!” (CONTRAST THE REACTION OF THE GENTILES IN Acts 13:46-48+)

Acts 26:23-24+  that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”  While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad.”

A T Robertson - were all filled with wrath (eplēsthēsan pantes thumou). First aorist passive indicative of the common verb pimplēmi followed by the genitive case. The people of Nazareth at once caught on and saw the point of these two Old Testament illustrations of how God in two cases blessed the (GENTILE) heathen instead of the Jewish people. The implication was evident. Nazareth was no better than Capernaum if as good. He was under no special obligation to do unusual things in Nazareth because he had been reared there. Town pride was insulted and it at once exploded in a burst of rage.

Filled (4092)(pimplemi from the obsolete pláō = to fill) to fill, to make full, to complete. In the passive voice as in this verse pimplemi speaks of of intellectual and spiritual processes signifying to experience completely. Figuratively pimplemi speaks of persons filled with something which means they are wholly affected, controlled or influenced with or by what fills them, especially the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:15 = of John the Baptist while still in mother's womb, Lk 2:4, Acts 4:8 = of Peter, Acts 4:31 = the praying believers, Acts 9:17 = of Paul, Acts 13:9 = of Paul) Filled with an emotion often bad (Lk 4:28, Lk 6:11 = filled with rage, Lk 5:26 = filled with fear, Acts 3:10 = wonder and amazement, Acts 5:17 = jealousy, Acts 13:45 = Jews filled with jealousy, compare Acts 19:29 = city filled with confusion). The point is that what fills you controls you and here a spirit of anger and rage filled them and controlled them and led them to seek to actually commit murder! Remember these are the religious people who had just been in the Synagogue presumably to worship a holy God! But sadly the Holy God-Man had provoked a most unholy reaction from His hearers!

Pimplemi in NT - 24v - come(1), completed(2), ended(1), filled(18), fulfilled(1), passed(1). - Matt. 22:10; Matt. 27:48; Lk. 1:15; Lk. 1:23; Lk. 1:41; Lk. 1:57; Lk. 1:67; Lk. 2:6; Lk. 2:21; Lk. 2:22; Lk. 4:28; Lk. 5:7; Lk. 5:26; Lk. 6:11; Lk. 21:22; Acts 2:4; Acts 3:10; Acts 4:8; Acts 4:31; Acts 5:17; Acts 9:17; Acts 13:9; Acts 13:45; Acts 19:29

Rage (indignation) (2372)(thumos from thuo = to seethe, to move impetuously, particularly as the air or wind, a violent motion or passion of the mind; move violently, rush along) describes passion (as if breathing hard) and so speaks of an agitated or "heated" anger that rushes along (impulse toward a thing). Thumos describes a tumultuous welling up of the whole spirit; a mighty emotion which seizes and moves the whole inner man. Thumos (especially when accompanied by breathing violently or hard) pictures a "panting rage". We've all seen individuals in whom there was a sudden outburst of this type of passionate anger. You can even see their nasal passages widening to take in more air in the heat of their passion. Eadie says thumos is "explosions of rage that proceed from a vindictive heart and an ungovernable temper."

Steven Cole on Jesus' rejection -  Being religious does not guarantee that we will accept Jesus Christ. If anything, it increases the danger that we will reject Him for the reasons just mentioned, as I will explain. It was the religious crowd in Nazareth that not only reacted against Jesus’ sermon, they went right from their “church” service to try to shove the speaker off a cliff! I trust that no one here would do that, but still, we must be careful to examine our own hearts, so that we do not imitate the religious people of Nazareth in their hostile rejection of Jesus.

Religious people reject Christ because they do not want to submit to His lordship.

A. Religious people may accept Jesus on a superficial level, but they do not want to bow before Him as Lord.

Outside of Nazareth, the news about Jesus was spreading, and so far it was favorable: He was “praised by all” (Lk 4:15). Probably at this point, the people of Nazareth were proud of their hometown boy who was becoming famous. A few may have grumbled, “Why doesn’t He come to Nazareth and show His stuff here? Does He think He’s too good for us now?” But others said, “He’s just too busy. But He will come and we’ll see if the rumors are true.” Sure enough, He soon came into town, and everyone turned out at the synagogue that Sabbath. The synagogue probably originated during the Babylonian captivity, after the Temple had been destroyed. It served as a local center for worship and instruction each week, even after the Temple had been rebuilt. A typical synagogue service consisted of the reciting of the Shema (Dt. 6:4-9, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one....”), prayers, a reading from the Law, another reading from the Prophets, instruction on the passages, and a benediction. Any qualified male could read the Scripture and expound on it. So Jesus stood up to do this. There is debate about whether He deliberately chose the passage from Isaiah 61:1-2, or whether it was the assigned portion for that day, but Luke seems to hint that He picked the passage Himself. (The KJV includes in Lk 4:18 the line, “to heal the brokenhearted,” which is in the LXX of Isaiah 61:1, but there is weak textual support for the phrase in Luke. Also, Luke adds from Isaiah 58:6 the phrase, “to set free those who are downtrodden.” We can’t say for sure, but perhaps Jesus expounded on the phrase from Isaiah 58 during His sermon, and Luke summarizes it here.) We have here (Lk 4:21) only a sentence summary of Jesus’ sermon, because Luke states that Jesus began to speak, and the people mention “the gracious words which were falling from His lips” (Lk 4:22), implying that He said much more. But, the point is, the initial response to Jesus’ sermon at Nazareth was favorable, although superficial. They were speaking well of Him and were amazed at the smooth manner in which He communicated. As sermon critics, they were giving the “hometown kid” good marks on His delivery and style. “Not bad! I can see why we’ve been hearing good reports about the young man. He’s a polished speaker.”

But it wasn’t long until the nodding heads began to stop, and the approving smiles turned to frowns. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. “Who does He think He is, making these claims about fulfilling this Scripture? He’s implying that His message applies to us! We’re not poor! We’re not slaves! We’re not blind and downtrodden! How dare He imply that He can be our Savior, as if we even needed one! If He really is so great, then why doesn’t He do here some of the miracles we heard that He supposedly did in Capernaum? Then we might believe in Him!” They were initially impressed by Jesus’ style, but they took offense at the substance of His sermon. Their offense soon turned to rage and rejection.

Even though it came right out of their own Scriptures, they were offended when Jesus brought up the stories from Elijah and Elisha’s ministries and applied it to them. The point of both stories was the same. Israel was at a low point of idolatry and moral corruption. God told Elijah to pray that it would not rain, and so a famine came over the land. That meant that Elijah himself needed food. God could have picked any one of many widows in the land as the place to send Elijah for sustenance, but instead, God sent him to a widow in Sidon, a Gentile. Through her, God provided both for her and for the prophet. Similarly, in Elisha’s time, there were many lepers in Israel whom God could have cleansed. But instead, God chose to heal a pagan man, Naaman the Syrian, a general in the army of Israel’s enemy.

These stories offended the religious crowd in Nazareth for two reasons.

First, they were offended because the stories clearly teach that God sovereignly chooses those on whom He bestows His mercy, and that no one can demand His grace, because all are undeserving sinners. If God chooses to go outside Israel and bestow His blessing on a widow in Sidon or a general in Syria, while withholding His blessing from those in Israel, He is free to do that. Proud man will accuse the Almighty God of being unfair because He does not pour out His grace on everyone, as if everyone was deserving of it! But the Bible teaches that there is none righteous, not even one (Ro 3:10), and that God owes nothing but judgment to all sinners. If He chooses to show His mercy to some, that is His prerogative as the Sovereign Potter, but Scripture plainly declares, “He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires” (Ro 9:18). And if proud man cries, “That’s not fair,” Scripture’s answer is, “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” (Ro 9:20). That doctrine is offensive to religious people who think that they are deserving of God’s blessings because of their basic goodness.

The second reason these stories offended the religious crowd was that they show that God is pleased to bestow His blessings on pagans as well as the religious. The widow in Sidon and Naaman the Syrian were both pagans, outside of the covenant blessings of God’s chosen people. There is a wrong way to apply the doctrine of election, namely, to grow conceited and think, “I’m really something because I’m one of God’s chosen people. But that person is not as good as me, because he is a pagan.” The proper application of the doctrine should fill us with humility, gratitude and fear (Ro 11:17-22). When we realize that God shows His mercy to one kind of person only-sinners-we who know God should reach out with compassion to those who are lost.

Let’s apply this point to ourselves: It’s easy to accept Jesus on a superficial level. We hear that God loves us and that Jesus cares for all our needs, and that’s true. So, we welcome Him into our lives. But at some point early on we begin to get a bit uncomfortable as we realize that Jesus’ teaching confronts our pride and self-righteousness. Rather than building up our self-esteem, Jesus begins shining the light of His holiness into the dark, hidden closets of our soul. We begin to see that “nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh” (Rom. 7:18). At this point, you have a crucial decision to make. You can dodge the hard truths of the Bible, either by throwing out the whole thing or, as many people do, by finding a church where you hear more soothing, comfortable messages. Or, God’s way is that we face the hard truth about ourselves and submit to Jesus as Lord.

Luke 4:29  and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. 

Standing on the edge of that cliff outside of Nazareth

And they got up and drove Him out (ekballo) of the city - Why did they get up from the worship service? As discussed above instead of being filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit, they were filled with and controlled by a most "unholy spirit" (not saying they were demonically possessed but only that their own spirit had very evil intentions!) It is interesting that this same verb (ekballo) is used in Mark 1:12+ "Immediately the Spirit impelled (ekballo) Him to go out into the wilderness.." 

And led (agoHim to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built (oikodomeo), in order to throw Him down (katakremnizo) the cliff - It is interesting that  the verb led (ago) is the same verb used once of the Spirit leading Jesus (Lk 4:1) and once of the devil leading Jesus (Lk 4:9). The core of old Nazareth is situated in a long, bowl-like valley surrounded by several hills. Newer buildings and dense neighborhoods cover the hillsides above the old city, the elevation of which is approximately 1,200 feet (400 meters) above sea level. If the cliff above is representative of where they led Jesus, one can see throwing Him off would have been fatal! Be alert to the phrase In order to which always introduces a purpose, in this case the  purpose was to murder the Messiah! 

Vincent on the brow (of the hill) - Only here in New Testament. Wyc., cope, which is originally cap or hood. The word is used in medical language both of the eyebrows and of other projections of the body. It would naturally occur to a physician, especially since the same epithets were applied to the appearance of the eyebrows in certain diseases as were applied to kills. Thus Hippocrates, describing a deadly fever, says, "The eyebrows seem to hang over," the same word which Homer uses of a rock. So Aretaeus, describing the appearance of the eyebrows in elephantiasis, depicts them as προβλῆτες, projecting, and όχθώδεις, like mounds. Stanley says: "Most readers probably from these words imagine a town built on the summit of a mountain, from which summit the intended precipitation was to take place. This is not the situation of Nazareth; yet its position is still in accordance with the narrative. It is built upon, that is, on the side of a mountain, but the brow is not beneath, but over the town, and such a cliff as is here implied is found in the abrupt face of a limestone rock about thirty or forty feet high, overhanging the Maronite convent at the southwest corner of the town" ("Sinai and Palestine").

Robertson on in order to throw him down the cliff - Throw down = katakremnizo from kata = down + kremnos = precipice =  cast down from a precipice, cast down headlong only here in the NT but used in Lxx of 2 Chr 25:12) Neat Greek idiom with hōste (in order to) for intended result, "so as to cast him down the precipice." The infinitive alone can convey the same meaning (Mt 2:2; 20:28; Lk 2:23). Krēmnos is an overhanging bank or precipice from kremannumi, to hang. Kata is down. The verb occurs in Xenophon, Demosthenes, LXX, Josephus. Here only in the N.T. At the southwest corner of the town of Nazareth such a cliff today exists overhanging the Maronite convent. Murder was in the hearts of the people. By pushing him over they hoped to escape technical guilt.

The NET Note is "too nice" to the enraged Jews - The attempt to throw him down the cliff looks like "lynch law," but it may really be an indication that Jesus was regarded as a false prophet (Ed: Recall what made them mad was His relating a true story of two true prophets -- nothing false was even implied) who was worthy of death (Dt 13:5). Such a sentence meant being thrown into a pit and then stoned. 

Drove out (1544)(ekballo from ek = out + ballo = cast, throw, drive) means literally to throw out of an area, to cause to leave (but in this context that sense is probably too "soft"!) Ekballo often has the idea of force (Mt. 8:12; 15:17; 25:30; Acts 16:37, 27:38; Lxx - Lev. 14:40). To throw out of an area or object, throw out, jettison (Mt 21:39 Acts 27:18). Frequently used of casting out demons (Mt 7:22, Mt 8:16, 31,9:34, 10:1, etc). Used of casting or throwing unbelievers into outer darkness (hell). Mark 1:12 used this verb to describe the Holy Spirit impelling Jesus to go into the wilderness. How sadly ironic that the same verb used to describe Jesus casting out evil spirits (e.g., Mt 8:16) is the very verb used here to describe the "religious" Jews with evil hearts seeking to cast out Jesus! 

Luke uses ekballo frequently - Lk. 4:29; Lk. 6:22; Lk. 6:42; Lk. 9:40; Lk. 9:49; Lk. 10:2; Lk. 10:35; Lk. 11:14; Lk. 11:15; Lk. 11:18; Lk. 11:19; Lk. 11:20; Lk. 13:28; Lk. 13:32; Lk. 19:45; Lk. 20:12; Lk. 20:15 Acts 7:58; Acts 9:40; Acts 13:50; Acts 16:37; Acts 27:38

Built (3618oikodomeo from oikos = dwelling + doma = building [of a house] from demo = to build - see word study on derivative verb sunoikodomeo) means literally to build, construct or erect a dwelling. 

Oikodomeo in Luke and Acts - Lk. 4:29; Lk. 6:48; Lk. 6:49; Lk. 7:5; Lk. 11:47; Lk. 11:48; Lk. 12:18; Lk. 14:28; Lk. 14:30; Lk. 17:28; Lk. 20:17  Acts 7:47; Acts 7:49; Acts 9:31; Acts 20:32

Luke 4:30  But passing through their midst, He went His way.

Related Passages:

Jn 8:59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.

Jn 10:39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.

Jn 18:6-7 So when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground.  Therefore He again asked them, "Whom do you seek?" And they said, "Jesus the Nazarene."


But passing through (dierchomaitheir midst, He went (poreuomai) His way - NLT - "but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way." Some writers say Jesus' first miracle in Luke was casting out the demon in Lk 4:35, but Jesus passing through the midst of a raging crowd bent on killing Him was in some way the equivalent of a miraculous event! As Spurgeon says "They could not destroy him at that time. His work was not done, and he was immortal till it was fully accomplished. (cf Rev 11:7+ "when they [the two witnesses who witness for 1260 days - Rev 11:3+] had finished their testimony" the beast was allowed to kill them.)

THOUGHT - Beloved you too can be fully assured that you are immortal until the work the Lord has given you to accomplish (Eph 2:10+) is fully finished! Thank You Lord!

The verb passing through is ironic in this context in Luke 4:30, for Robertson says dierchomai "seems to be almost a technical term for a missionary tour or evangelistic journey."

I agree with John Martin who writes "Luke no doubt described a miraculous escape from the angry crowd. This pattern is seen throughout the rest of Jesus' ministry: Jesus went to the Jews; they rejected Him; He told of Gentile participation in the kingdom; some Jews wanted to kill Him. But He was not killed until the proper time, when He chose to die (23:46; cf. John 10:15, 17-18). (See the Bible Knowledge Commentary)

We see other accounts of the Jews trying unsuccessfully to seize Jesus.

John 8:59 (Why? See Jn 8:58) Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.

John 10:39 (Why? See Jn 10:39) Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp. 

Passing through (going through, piercing)(1330dierchomai from dia = through + erchomai = come, go) means to go through, to pass through, to move through an area ("When they had gone through the whole island" = Acts 13:6+; Jesus "went about doing good and healing" = Acts 10:38+; Paul "went about preaching the kingdom" = Acts 20:25+, cf Acts 8:4, 40+, Acs 17:23+; "they began going throughout the villages" = Lk 9:6+; Jesus "passing through Jericho" = Lk 19:1; Jesus "was passing between Samaria and Galilee" = Lk 17:11; "when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places" = Mt 12:43; "easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle" = Mk 10:25; "all passed through the sea" =1 Cor 10:1; "a great High Priest Who has passed through the heavens" = Heb 4:14). To pierce (figuratively "a sword will pierce even your own soul" = Lk 2:35). To go about ("I went about preaching the kingdom" = Acts 20:25). To go from place to place or be scattered ("those who had been scattered went about preaching the word" = Acts 8:4). To spread (Figuratively of a report being told everywhere = "the news about Him was spreading even farther" = Lk 5:15; Figuratively = "death spread to all men, because all sinned" = Ro 5:12).  It can mean simply to come or go ("the angels had gone away from them into heaven" = Lk 2:15; Jn 4:15;  “Do not delay in coming to us.” = Acts 9:38+

Went (4198)(poreuomai form póros = a passing or passage which is from peírō or peráō (n.f.), to pierce or run through; Eng. = pore) means to  go from one place to another, to move from one place to another, to transport oneself, to traverse, to take a journey, to go from one place to another. To pursue the journey on which one has entered, continue on one's journey. The first use of poreuomai in Lk 1:6-note illustrates the figurative meaning of poreuomai for Zacharias and Elizabeth were "walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord (in short they were "OT believers!") Here is the contrasting lifestyle - "The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way (speaks of their conduct, behavior) they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity." (Lk 8:14)There is another contrast in the Septuagint, where God describes the devil's "way of life" declaring to him "Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go (Lxx = poreuomai) And dust you will eat All the days of your life."  (Ge 3:14)  In 2 Pe 2:10 poreuomai is used in the figurative sense is to follow (poreuomai) after (opiso = behind) the flesh or as Young's Literal puts it "those going behind the flesh in desire of uncleanness" which is a striking picture of our fallen nature's inclination to follow after the lust of the flesh rather than the life of the Father exemplified in His Son and empowered by His Spirit! O my! 

The verb poreuomai in Luke often suggests divine direction, "to go in a led direction" (Luke 4:42; 7:6, 11; 9:51, 52, 56, 57; 13:33; 17:11; 22:22, 29; 24:28)

Here in Lk 4:30 poreuomai in the imperfect tense depicts Jesus as going on His way. 

Poreuomai is a favorite verb of Luke's Gospel where he uses it 51x in 48v (out of a total of 153x in 146 verses in NT) - 

Lk. 1:6; Lk. 1:39; Lk. 2:3; Lk. 2:41; Lk. 4:30; Lk. 4:42 (twice); Lk. 5:24; Lk. 7:6; Lk. 7:8 (twice); Lk. 7:11; Lk. 7:22; Lk. 7:50; Lk. 8:14; Lk. 8:48; Lk. 9:12; Lk. 9:13; Lk. 9:51; Lk. 9:52; Lk. 9:53; Lk. 9:56; Lk. 9:57; Lk. 10:37; Lk. 10:38; Lk. 11:5; Lk. 11:26; Lk. 13:31; Lk. 13:32; Lk. 13:33; Lk. 14:10; Lk. 14:19; Lk. 14:31; Lk. 15:4; Lk. 15:15; Lk. 15:18; Lk. 16:30; Lk. 17:11; Lk. 17:14; Lk. 17:19; Lk. 19:12; Lk. 19:28; Lk. 19:36; Lk. 21:8; Lk. 22:8; Lk. 22:22; Lk. 22:33; Lk. 22:39; Lk. 24:13; Lk. 24:28 (twice)

Luke 4:31  And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath;

Related Passage: Here is the parallel in Mark...

Mark 1:21-28+ They went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach. 22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!” 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26 Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him. 27 They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28 Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee.

A T Robertson on Mark 1:21 - And taught. Inchoative imperfect tense, began to teach as soon as he entered the synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath. The synagogue in Capernaum afforded the best opening for the teaching of Jesus. He had now made Capernaum (Tell Hum) his headquarters after the rejection in Nazareth as explained in Luke 4:16–31 and Mt 4:13–16. The ruins of this synagogue have been discovered and there is even talk of restoring the building since the stones are in a good state of preservation. Jesus both taught (didaskō) and preached (kērussō) in the Jewish synagogues as opportunity was offered by the chief or leader of the synagogue (archisunagōgos). The service consisted of prayer, praise, reading of scripture, and exposition by any rabbi or other competent person. Often Paul was invited to speak at such meetings. In Luke 4:20 Jesus gave back the roll of Isaiah to the attendant or beadle (tōi hupēretēi) whose business it was to bring out the precious manuscript and return it to its place. Jesus was a preacher for over a year (Ed: See John MacArthur's summary of Jesus' first year of ministry) when he began to teach in the Capernaum synagogue. His reputation had preceded him (Luke 4:14+).

Capernaum a City of Galilee
Source: ESV global study Bible


And - This copulative would link the following Sabbath teaching in Capernaum with the first Sabbath teaching in Nazareth (Lk 4:16+). Jesus would have traveled about 20 miles north and west to reach the city of Capernaum on the NW shore of the Sea of Galilee (see map above). Matthew 4:13+ adds "and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled (katoikeo - settled down, made His abode) in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali (map)." Note that from Luke 4:31 through Luke 4:44 is one day in the life of Jesus. 

He came down to Capernaum (Kapharnaoum), a city of Galilee - Came down means they literally descended in altitude for Capernaum (See map above) was 680 feet below sea level while Nazareth was about 1200 ft above sea level. Capernaum was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region. Collins Dictionary note is interesting referring to Caperaum as "a ruined town in northern Israel (Ed: cf Jesus' words to this city - Mt 11:23, 24+, Lk 10:15+), on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee."  

THOUGHT- Capernaum (Kapharnaoum) today is marked only by ruins, because they rejected the incredible exposure they had to the Light of Jesus Who used this town as home base. Dear reader, if you have rejected or are presently rejecting the claims of Christ to be the only way to God (Jn 14:6, Acts 4:12+, cf Mt 7:13-14+), then your life is for all intents and purposes ruined now, but far worse will be ruined eternally! Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved! (Acts 16:31+, cf Ro 10:9-10+). 

Robertson - Capernaum (Tell Hum)...(became) the headquarters of the Galilean ministry (for 18 months - Mt 9:1+ called "His own city" where He paid tribute/tax), since Nazareth had rejected Jesus. Luke 4:31-37 is parallel with Mark 1:21-28 which he manifestly uses. (Ed:The miracle of casting out a demon in Lk 4:33-35 and Mark 1:23-26 is the first of Christ's miracles which these two Gospels record)

And He was teaching (didasko - present tense) them on the Sabbath (sabbaton) - This is the second Sabbath recorded in Luke’s gospel, the first having been in Jesus' hometown in Nazareth (Lk 4:16–30+). It is interesting to note that in both of Jesus' times of teaching in the synagogue, He encountered opposition, first from the hometown Jews and a demon in Capernaum! As one pastor taught me "Teach the Word and duck!" Them of course refers to the Jews who were present in the synagogue on the Sabbath. O, to have had this unspeakable privilege to sit at the feet of the Master Teacher, the Rabbi of rabbis!

Heresy flourishes where sound Christian teaching lags.

THOUGHT - Teaching refers to imparting positive truth. It is the responsibility of every believer (Col 3:16), and is part of the Great Commission (Mt 28:20). It is especially the responsibility of church leaders. “An overseer, then, must be… able to teach” (1Ti 3:2). Heresy flourishes where sound Christian teaching lags. The idea is to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them by word of mouth (tutor, direct, advise, put in mind). In the NT almost without exception didasko refers to the teaching of groups. Didasko means to teach a student in such a way that the will of the student becomes conformed to the teaching taught. So the teacher teaches in such a way that as the student is taught, he now changes his mind saying in essence ''I won't do it this way, but I will do it this way because I've learned this doctrine or this teaching.'' Doctrine determines direction of our behavior, conformed to world or to God? Teaching that Scripture finds significant is not that which provides information alone but also the teaching that results in transformation and creates disciples who live in the power of the Spirit in obedience to God's will.

Notice the emphasis on doctrine before miracles, the latter authenticating His authority and the authenticity of His teaching. Teaching is the verb didasko which is in the present tense

THOUGHT - Jesus was continually teaching them, a good model for all of His followers! And we are all teaching someone (informally or formally), even parents, for our children are always watching to see whether our words and our works line up. Does your life match your lips? Whatever is your answer is what you are "continually teaching!"

Chronology of the events of a Day in the Life of Jesus in Capernaum - based on the Synoptic Gospels:

  1. Healing a leper (Only in Mt 8:1-4)
  2. Healing centurion's son (Only in Mt 8:5-13)
  3. Preaching the Word with Authority in Synagogue (Mk 1:21-22, Lk 4:31-32, not in Matthew)
  4. Casting out unclean spirit/demon  (Mk 1:23-27, Lk 4:33-36, not in Matthew)
  5. Spread of the report/news about Jesus (Mk 1:28, Lk 4:37, not in Matthew)
  6. Entering Peter's Home and Healing his Mother-in-Law (Mk 1:29-31, Lk 4:38-39, Mt 8:14-15)
  7. Healings and casting out demons in evening (Mk 1:32-34, Lk 4:40-42, Mt 8:16-17-adds quote from Isa 53:4)

Luke 4:32  and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority.

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 18:18+  ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

Mark 1:22+ They were amazed at His teaching; for (EXPLAINS WHY THEY WERE AMAZED) He was teaching them as one having authority, and (THIS IS ONE REASON THEY WERE AMAZED BECAUSE HIS TEACHING WAS) and not as the scribes.


And they were amazed (ekplesso) at His teaching (didache) - Jesus had this effect on people, for Luke used ekplesso earlier to describe the reaction of His own parents "When they saw Him (context = Lk 2:46, 47), they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” (Lk 2:48+) Here in Lk 4:32 ekplesso is in the dynamic imperfect tense picturing the hearers as astonished again and again. The idea is to drive out of one's senses by a sudden shock, to be so amazed as to be practically overwhelmed. You can picture Jesus saying something and they would be amazed. Then He would follow with another teaching and they would again react with again astonishment. You can almost picture them uttering ooh's and aah's, maybe even looking quizzically at each other (like "Who is this Man?" type look).

For (because) - Discipline yourself (1 Ti 4:7,8+) to pause and ponder this term of explanation and the illuminating Spirit will reward your diligence and discipline! What is Luke explaining? This one is straightforward as Luke explains why the people were amazed at His teaching. 

His message was with authority (exousia) - Message is the word logos which in this context was a general term for speaking, but always with rational content, certainly true with the incomparable words of Jesus! What was it about Jesus' authority? The parallel passage in Mark 1:22+ gives us a clue, for Mark records the contrast between the message of Jesus and that of their scribes adding that Jesus' message was not as the scribes. Jewish rabbis typically cited a list of so-called Jewish "authorities" to substantiate their point (and their "authority"). Jesus quoted no one! 

A T Robertson explains Jesus' authority noting that "He struck a note not found by the Jewish rabbis. They quoted other rabbis and felt their function to be expounders of the traditions which they made a millstone around the necks of the people (cf Lk 17:2+, Mt 18:6, Mk 9:42+). By so doing they set aside the word and will of God by their traditions (paradosis) and petty legalism (Mk 7:9, 13+). They were casuists and made false interpretations to prove their punctilious points of external etiquette to the utter neglect of the spiritual reality (cf Mt 23:23, 24, 25). The people noticed at once that here was a personality Who got His power (authority) direct from God, not from the current scribes. “Mark omits much, and is in many ways a meager Gospel, but it makes a distinctive contribution to the evangelic history in showing by a few realistic touches (this one of them) the remarkable personality of Jesus” (Bruce). Mt 7:29+ for the same impression made by the Sermon on the Mount where we read "He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes." The chief controversy in Christ’s life was with these scribes, the professional teachers of the oral law and mainly Pharisees. At once the people see that Jesus stands apart from the old group. He made a sensation in the best sense of that word. There was a buzz of excitement at the new Teacher that was increased by the miracle that followed the sermon." 

THOUGHT - A good prayer to emulate - The Prince of preachers, C H Spurgeon the truth of Jesus manifesting authority ("power" = KJV) praying "God grant that His Word may be with power tonight! Amen." I am reminded of one other practice of Spurgeon who on ascending the steps to his elevated pulpit would say/pray with each step "I need the Holy Spirit! I need the Holy Spirit! I need the Holy Spirit! etc" What would happen to your preaching if you prayed consistently as a beggar for authority/power and the Spirit? 

They were amazed  (1605)(ekplesso  from ek = out + plesso = strike) (imperfect tense) means strike out, expel by a blow, drive out or away, force out or cast off by a blow. Some versions render it astonished which is a good translation of ekplesso. It is interesting to note that our English word "astonish" is derived from the Latin word extonare which means to strike with thunder! What a picture of the amazing effect of Jesus' radical message striking His hearers like thunder! Figuratively the verb ekplesso meant to drive out of one's senses by a sudden shock or strong feeling, or "to be exceedingly struck in mind". It meant to cause to be filled with amazement to the point of being overwhelmed (struck out of one's senses). It encompasses the ideas of wonder, astonishment or amazement and expresses a stunned amazement that leaves the subject unable to grasp what is happening. One can just picture the crowd with their mouths wide open in wonder!  A T Robertson says that ekplesso means “strictly to strike a person out of his senses by some strong feeling, such as fear, wonder, or even joy” (Gould).

Ekplesso is used 13 times in the NT and 4x by Luke (including one use in Acts) - Matt. 7:28; Matt. 13:54; Matt. 19:25; Matt. 22:33; Mk. 1:22; Mk. 6:2; Mk. 7:37; Mk. 10:26; Mk. 11:18; Lk. 2:48; Lk. 4:32; Lk. 9:43; Acts 13:12. 

Teaching (instruction) (1322)(didache rom didasko = to give instruction in a formal or informal setting with development of the pupil as the goal; English = didactic = intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive) is a noun which describes the activity of teaching (instruction). The idea of didache is to impart knowledge to or instruct someone, for example in how to do something, etc. 

Didache in Luke and Acts - Lk. 4:32; Acts 2:42; Acts 5:28; Acts 13:12; Acts 17:19

With authority ("with power" = KJV)(1849)(exousia) means basically Jesus taught with right (He had the right to teach) and might (He had the power to teach - cf "in the power of the Spirit" = Lk 4:14-note). The English definition of authority is the power or right to control, judge, or prohibit the actions of others. Exousia describes the potential and/or resource to command, control, or govern (e.g., over demons Lk 4:36) and is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Jesus' teaching. Many conflicts in Jesus' life and ministry turn on debates about authority or the idea that Jesus taught with an unparalleled authority (Mt 7:29; 8:9; 9:6, 8; 21:23-27; Mt 28:18 = "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."; Mk 1:22, 27; 2:10; 3:15; 11:28-33; Lk 4:32, 36; 5:24; 7:8; 20:2-8). Luke 4:36 couples the authority of teaching with the power of exorcism. Among the major uses are Jesus' authority to do things like forgive sins (Lk 5:24) and a major confrontation in Jesus' last week over who gave Jesus such authority (Lk 20:2-8).

Luke uses exousia 16 times in his Gospel and 7x in Acts (out of 102 uses in the NT) - earlier in this chapter the devil tempted Jesus (Who Himself had authority) promising "“I will give You all this domain (authority - exousia) (Lk 4:6-note)" Lk. 4:6; Lk. 4:32; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 5:24; Lk. 7:8; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 10:19; Lk. 12:5; Lk. 12:11; Lk. 19:17; Lk. 20:2; Lk. 20:8; Lk. 20:20; Lk. 22:53; Lk. 23:7; Acts 1:7; Acts 5:4; Acts 8:19; Acts 9:14; Acts 26:10; Acts 26:12; Acts 26:18;

Ray Ortlund - Power Encounters (comments on Lk 4:31-37) - 

It has long struck me as odd that a demon-possessed man was right there in the synagogue.  It’s surprising, because a synagogue was where the Bible was studied.  It was a place of devotion to God.  It was where Jesus wanted to go.  What on earth was a demon-possessed man doing there, of all places?  Moreover, the people weren’t alarmed by his presence.  What amazed them was the teaching of Jesus.

I suppose they had gotten used to this poor man.  Their reading of the Bible was so covered over with layers of tradition, the power was suppressed.  Their thinking had become unclear, their alertness dulled.  Over time, they probably made allowances for this man and his weirdness.  They had to.  They had no power to help him.

But the presence and teaching of Jesus aroused the intensity of this man’s true condition.  He flew into a rage.  It became a dramatic power encounter.  The visit of Jesus to that synagogue made the crisis inevitable, and the power of Jesus made the outcome beautifully redemptive: “. . . having done him no harm.”

Three take-aways for church leaders:

One, let’s guard the spiritual integrity of our membership.  Unregenerate church members will import not just their problems but actual opposition to Jesus.  There is a difference.

Two, let’s call sin sin.  We need wisdom here, so that we don’t inadvertently create an environment of ungracious accusation.  But it is spiritually costly to build allowances around blatant sin among our members.  Unresisted sin will resist the presence of Jesus.  It will even presume to define the character of the church.  The demoniac did not say to Jesus, “What have you to do with me?”  He shouted, “What have you to do with us?”

Three, the remedy for spiritual mixture is the undiluted authority of the teaching of Jesus.  He did not lean on previous rabbis for validation but declared his own authority as “the Holy One of God.”  For us, that translates into reverent preaching and hearing of the biblical gospel with complete openness to whatever challenges it brings and changes it demands.  We do not need Calvin, Edwards and Spurgeon for validation.  Illustration, yes.  Validation, no.  They bring no power.  The Bible, with the Holy Spirit, brings all the power we need.  Let it speak.  And let nothing get in the way.  Jesus is among us

Luke 4:33  In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,

Related Passage

Mark 1:23+  Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out

Robertson on Mark 1:23+ - With an unclean (akathartos) spirit [en pneumati akathartōi]. This use of [en] “with” is common in the Septuagint like the Hebrew be [bə; בְּ], but it occurs also in the papyri. It is the same idiom as “in Christ,” “in the Lord” so common with Paul. In English we speak of our being in love, in drink, in his cups, etc. The unclean spirit was in the man and the man in the unclean spirit, a man in the power of the unclean spirit. Luke 4:33KJV has “had,” the usual construction. Unclean spirit is used as synonymous with demon (daimonion). It is the idea of estrangement from God (Zech 13:2+ [ED COMMENT - describing the future glorious Millennium [Robertson is amillennial] - no demons! Hallelujah!]). The whole subject of demonology is difficult, but no more so than the problem of the devil. Jesus distinguishes between the man and the unclean spirit. Usually physical or mental disease accompanied the possession by demons. One wonders today if the degenerates and confirmed criminals so common now are not under the power of demons. The only cure for confirmed criminals seems to be conversion (a new heart - Ezek 36:26-note, cf Ezek 18:31).

Man Possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon
- James Tissott


In the synagogue (sunagoge) there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean (akathartos) demon (daimonion) - Jesus' teaching stirs up opposition a second time. This is not the last time a demon filled "religious person" would be in the pew!

NET Note - “having an unclean, demonic spirit,” that is, an evil spirit. This is the only place Luke uses this lengthy phrase. Normally he simply says an “unclean spirit.” (Ed: 13 uses of the phrase "unclean spirit" = Zech. 13:2; Matt. 12:43; Mk. 1:23,26; 3:30; 5:2,8; 7:25; 9:25; Lk. 8:29; 9:42; 11:24; Rev. 18:2).

Steven Cole - Did you know that outside of the Gospels, there are only four references to demon-possession in the whole Bible: two in the Old Testament (Saul, 1Sa. 16:14 ff.; the deceiving spirits in the mouths of Ahab’s prophets, 1Ki 22:22 ff.) and two in the Book of Acts (the Philippian servant girl, Acts 16:16 ff.; the sons of Sceva, Acts 19:13 ff.; see Norval Geldenhuys, Luke [Eerdmans], p. 174)? It seems that when Jesus began to minister, the powers of hell knew that they were in a battle to the death, and so Satan unleashed his forces to oppose Jesus. (ED: Or better, the sovereign God allowed them to be manifest so that men could see Jesus had power over the demons!) (Jesus Lord Over All)

The spirit of an unclean (akathartosdemon (daimonion) - Luke refers to demons 23 times in his Gospel, this is the only verse he does so with this lengthy combination of terms. Jesus' first work is seen in His confrontation with the spiritual forces of darkness, making a point about where the fundamental battle is as He seeks to deliver humanity from that dark domain (cf Col 1:12-14+). The spirit that controlled this person was an "unclean" demon, which is a bit redundant to me as their are NO "clean" demons. He may have added this as some Greeks distinguished clean and unclean spirits. However, all are filthy and foul!

THOUGHT - We do well to remember that when we are suddenly assaulted by foul or filthy thoughts (or old foul memories are stirred up)! While the source certainly could be our foul fallen flesh, it could also be fiery demonic missiles assaulting our mind (Eph 6:16+).

A T Robertson - A spirit of an unclean (akathartosdemon (daimonion). Mark 1:23+ has “unclean spirit.” Luke’s phrase is a unique combination. Plummer notes that Matthew has [daimonion] ten times and [akatharton] twice as an epithet of Spirit [pneuma]; Mark has [daimonion] thirteen times and [akatharton] eleven times as an epithet of [pneuma]. Luke’s Gospel uses [daimonion] twenty-two times and [akatharton] as an epithet, once of [daimonion] as here and once of [pneuma]. In Mark the man is in ([en]) the power of the unclean spirit (Ed: See Robertson's note above), while here the man “has” a spirit of an unclean demon. 

And he cried out (anakrazowith a loud voice (megas + phone like our "megaphone") - The man literally shrieks at the top of his lungs. The presence, power and preaching of the Person of Jesus disturbed this demon's spiritual world! Word centered, Gospel centered preaching will always disturb the spiritual world of unbelievers, whether human souls or unclean spirits! Of course only the former can respond by repenting and believing in Jesus.  The preacher should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. 

THOUGHT - Don't miss the irony! Who knows how long this demon possessed man had been sitting in the synagogue, listening to the droning on of the rabbis, all the while remaining calm and completely undisturbed by what he heard. Why was he not disturbed? Because the rabbis were not preaching the Word of God! But when Jesus preached the Word, the demon reacted immediately, screaming out through the man’s vocal cords! Of course, the unclean spirit also recognized Jesus' authority to send him to eternal punishment and that truth clearly contributed to his screeching! Here's the point - it is very difficult for unbelievers (not possessed by evil spirits, but their own selfish, self-centered evil flesh) to sit week after week under a Spirit anointed preacher, powerfully proclaiming the Word of Truth! Little wonder, that in one of his final exhortations to Timothy, Paul commanded him to "Preach the Word!" (2 Ti 4:1-2+). Dear pastor, do you make unbelievers and demons uncomfortable? If not, you have a problem now and in the future when you have to give an account to Jesus and find that your entire life's work may be burned up (see 1 Cor 4:1-2+, 1 Cor 3:10-15+)!

A T Robertson on loud voice - With a loud voice [phōnēi megalēi - Ed: cf "megaphone"!]. Not in Mark. Really a scream caused by the sudden contact of the demon with Jesus.

Unclean (169)(akathartos from a = without + kathaíro = cleanse from katharos = clean, pure, free from the adhesion of anything that soils, adulterates, corrupts, in an ethical sense, free from corrupt desire, sin, and guilt; See also akatharsia) in a moral sense refers to that which is unclean in thought, word, and deed. It can describe a state of moral impurity, especially sexual sin and the word foul is an excellent rendering. The idea is that which morally indecent or filthy. Given this definition, it is not surprising that akathartos is repeatedly applied to filthy demonic spirits in the Gospels! They were not just "ceremonially unclean" but filthy and foul! 

Luke uses akathartos 6x in 6v all referring to the characteristic trait of demons = unclean! - Lk 4:33, 4:36, 6:18, 8:29, 9:42, 11:24. Here is an example similar in results to the present exorcism...

 And while he was still approaching, the demon dashed him to the ground, and threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples (Lk 9:42, 43)

Demon (1140)(daimonion from daímon = demon used 5x = Mt 8:31, Mk 5:12, Lk 8:29, Rev 16:14, 18:2) most often describes demons or evil spirits who have supernatural powers and are neither human nor divine (Mt 7:22). Acts 17:18 refers specifically to to heathen gods ("strange gods" where "gods" = daimonion, see note on 1 Cor 10:20 for discussion of association of demons with idols). In the context of a Jewish use it more often refers to a demon, evil spirit, devil, or one who is subject to Satan, the ruler of the kingdom of darkness. Daimonion was used in pagan Greek writings to refer to an inferior race of divine beings, lower than the Greek gods, but more powerful than men.

Daimonion in Luke and Acts - Lk. 4:33; Lk. 4:35; Lk. 4:41; Lk. 7:33; Lk. 8:2; Lk. 8:27; Lk. 8:29; Lk. 8:30; Lk. 8:33; Lk. 8:35; Lk. 8:38; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 9:42; Lk. 9:49; Lk. 10:17; Lk. 11:14; Lk. 11:15; Lk. 11:18; Lk. 11:19; Lk. 11:20; Lk. 13:32; Acts 17:18; 

All 55 uses in NT - Matt. 7:22; Matt. 9:33; Matt. 9:34; Matt. 10:8; Matt. 11:18; Matt. 12:24; Matt. 12:27; Matt. 12:28; Matt. 17:18; Mk. 1:34; Mk. 1:39; Mk. 3:15; Mk. 3:22; Mk. 6:13; Mk. 7:26; Mk. 7:29; Mk. 7:30; Mk. 9:38; Mk. 16:9; Mk. 16:17; Lk. 4:33; Lk. 4:35; Lk. 4:41; Lk. 7:33; Lk. 8:2; Lk. 8:27; Lk. 8:29; Lk. 8:30; Lk. 8:33; Lk. 8:35; Lk. 8:38; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 9:42; Lk. 9:49; Lk. 10:17; Lk. 11:14; Lk. 11:15; Lk. 11:18; Lk. 11:19; Lk. 11:20; Lk. 13:32; Jn. 7:20; Jn. 8:48; Jn. 8:49; Jn. 8:52; Jn. 10:20; Jn. 10:21; Acts 17:18; 1 Co. 10:20; 1 Co. 10:21; 1 Tim. 4:1; Jas. 2:19; Rev. 9:20; Rev. 16:14; Rev. 18:2

Cried out (349anakrazo from aná = intensifies force of krazo = to cry, croak or shriek as a raven) means to cry out, exclaim.  (1) of the loud cry of demonized or frightened people cry aloud, scream, shout (Mk 1.23+); (2) of an aroused multitude shout out, howl, yell (Lk 23.18+) (Friberg) Note that Lk 23:18+ might as well have been demon possessed men crying out because this was the crowd crying out for Pilate to crucify Jesus and give them Barabbas!

Anakrazo - 5x - Mk. 1:23+; Mk. 6:49+; Lk. 4:33+; Lk. 8:28; Lk. 23:18+

Anakrazo - 11x in 10v in the Septuagint - Jos. 6:5 (= "all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat"); Jdg. 7:20 (= "cried, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!"); 1 Sa 4:5 ("As the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout"); 1 Ki. 12:24; 1 Ki. 22:32; Ezek. 9:1; Ezek. 21:12; Joel 3:16 (="The LORD roars from Zion"); Zech. 1:14; Zech. 1:17; 

Luke 4:34  "Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!"

ESV  "Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God."

NLT  "Go away! Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-- the Holy One sent from God!"

CSB  "Leave us alone! What do You have to do with us, Jesus-- Nazarene? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-- the Holy One of God!"

NIV  "Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!"

NAB   "Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-- the Holy One of God!"

NET  "Ha! Leave us alone, Jesus the Nazarene! Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are– the Holy One of God." 

Related Passage: 

Luke 4:41 Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ. 

Luke 8:28  Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.”

Matthew 8:29   And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

Mark 1:24 saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!”

Mark 1:34 And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was. 

Mark 5:7 and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!”


Let us alone -  ESV = "Ha! The NAS gives an interpretative rendering of the word "Ha!" or "Ah!" (ea) Ah! is an interjection of anger or dismay, displeasure or surprise. The NET and ESV include this exclamation which adds to the sense of demonic displeasure and dread associated with this confrontation between Light (Jn 8:12) and darkness. The plural US could be interpreted as one demon who was serving as "spokesman" for all other demons or could reflect that the poor man had more than one demon possessing him (cf Lk 8:2, 27, 30). The former is most likely as Jesus uses addresses him with singular form in Lk 4:35.

What business do we have with each other Jesus (Iesous) of Nazareth? - “What do we have in common?” “Do not meddle with me!” (Marshall) Danker paraphrases it "Why this interference?" Good question! Clearly nothing! As Paul asked rhetorically "what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial?" (2 Cor 6:14-15+). NOTHING! 

NET Note on What business do we have with each other- which NET Bible translates as "Ha! Leave us alone" - The literal Greek reads “What to us and to you?” This is an idiom meaning, “We have nothing to do with one another,” or “Why bother us!” The phrase (ti hēmin kai soi) is Semitic in origin, though it made its way into colloquial Greek. The equivalent Hebrew expression in the Old Testament had two basic meanings: (1) When one person was unjustly bothering another, the injured party could say “What to me and to you?” meaning, “What have I done to you that you should do this to me?” (Jdg 11:12; 2 Chr 35:21; 1 Kgs 17:18). (2) When someone was asked to get involved in a matter he felt was no business of his, he could say to the one asking him, “What to me and to you?” meaning, “That is your business, how am I involved?” (2 Kgs 3:13; Hos 14:8). Option (1) implies hostility, while option (2) merely implies disengagement. BDAG suggests the following as glosses for this expression: What have I to do with you? What have we in common? Leave me alone! Never mind! Hostility between Jesus and the demons is certainly to be understood in this context, hence the translation: “Leave me alone.…” For a very similar expression, see Luke 8:28 and (in a different context) John 2:4.

A T Robertson on What have we to do with thee? - The same idiom in Mt. 8:29 ("What business do we have with each other, Son of God?"). (It is as they are saying and rightly so there is) Nothing in common between the demon and Jesus....The recognition of Jesus by the demons may surprise us since the rabbis (the ecclesiastics, the religious folks) failed to do so! The demons call Jesus “The Holy One of God”. Hence the demon feared that Jesus had come to destroy him.... In Mt. 8:29 the demon calls Jesus Son of God. Later the disciples will call Jesus The Holy One of God (John 6:69). The demon cried out that all heard the strange testimony to Jesus. The man says “I know” (oida), correct text, some manuscripts “we know” ([oidamen]), including the demon.

Jesus  (Iesous) of Nazareth - Although Jesus is now headquartered in Capernaum, and specifically at Peter's house = cf use of "home" or "house" in Mk 2:1; Mk 3:20; Mk 9:33; Mk 10:10; cf Mt 9:1 where Matthew calls Capernaum "His [JESUS'] own city."), the demons refer to Him using the name of His hometown, Nazareth. Perhaps it was meant to be derogatory, for even "Nathanael said to him (Philip), "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46+). Ryrie adds that Nazareth "had a negative reputation at this period (cf Jn 7:52)."

Jesus of Nazareth - 7x in 7v (Mt. 26:71; Mk. 1:24; Lk. 4:34; Lk. 18:37; Jn. 1:45; Acts 10:38; Acts 26:9

Jesus the Nazarene -  8x in 8v (Mk. 10:47; Mk. 14:67; Mk. 16:6; Lk. 24:19; Jn. 18:5; Jn. 18:7; Jn. 19:19; Acts 2:22; Acts 22:8

Have You come to destroy (apollumi - ruin) us? - Notice the us indicating the demon speaks for all of the demons. Notice he did not say "You have no power over us." Or "You cannot destroy us." The demons know orthodox theology and they know their final fate is utter and eternal destruction (not annihilation which is a cessation of existence but destruction which is a loss of usefulness for anything!) The demons would forever lose their freedom to harass and wreak havoc in human beings. Jesus later explained that "the eternal fire has been prepared for the devil and his angels." (Mt 25:41)

John alludes to the destruction and ruin of the demons writing "the one who practices (present tense - habitually) sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy (luo - bring to an end, do away with) the works of the devil." (1Jn 3:8+)

I know (eidoWho You are--the Holy (hagios) One of God! - The demon uses an OT Messianic title to describe Jesus (e.g., Ps 16:10). The demon is saying he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt the identity of Jesus! How sad that demons know more than most liberal theologians who deny the Deity of Jesus. In fact every major cult in some way will attack the deity of Jesus because He is the key to redemption and eternal life. And so satan does all he can to twist the truth about Jesus so people end up believing in a false Jesus and end up going to hell when they thought they were assured of going to heaven (cf Jesus' warning Mt 7:21-23+).

Now think about this for a moment -- who was in the synagogue? Jews. They hopefully had heard passages like Isaiah 54:5 (Holy One of Israel -31x in the OT!). What thoughts must have run through their minds as they beheld this cosmic struggle between divine and demonic? The demon is speaking through the man and attests to his belief that Jesus is God, indeed the Holy One of God! Imagine the ripples through that synagogue! And so we see the demon has a "belief" but clearly he does not have a belief that leads to salvation (fallen angels cannot be redeemed). James makes it clear that "the demons also believe, and shudder." (James 2:19+) The word shudder is phrisso in the present tense signifying that the demons continually shiver from fear or dread! They know they are doomed to eternal torment! 

Utley has an interesting note - The demon’s recognition and testimony was not meant to help Jesus, but to add to the Pharisee’s charge that His power was from Satan (cf. Lk 4:41; Lk 11:15; Mt. 9:34; Mt 12:24; Mark 3:22).

Daniel Bock makes an interesting comment on I know (eido). "The demon's naming of Jesus as Holy One is an attempt to gain control of the situation. In ancient texts of exorcism, it was common to name the demon as a way of showing authority in the encounter. The move is a defensive one born from nervousness about Jesus' position and power." (Source Unclear)

Holy One of God - exact phrase occurs only three times - Mk. 1:24; Lk. 4:34; Jn. 6:69. It is a recognition by the demon of Jesus' special status as one set apart (hagios) by God with the mission to redeem the world. In Lk 4:41 the demons were declaring “You are the Son of God!”  They are repeatedly "unwelcome evangelists!"

Related phrase Holy One of Israel - 31x in the OT - 2 Ki. 19:22; Ps. 71:22; Ps. 78:41; Ps. 89:18; Isa. 1:4; Isa. 5:19; Isa. 5:24; Isa. 10:20; Isa. 12:6; Isa. 17:7; Isa. 29:19; Isa. 30:11; Isa. 30:12; Isa. 30:15; Isa. 31:1; Isa. 37:23; Isa. 41:14; Isa. 41:16; Isa. 41:20; Isa. 43:3; Isa. 43:14; Isa. 45:11; Isa. 47:4; Isa. 48:17; Isa. 49:7; Isa. 54:5; Isa. 55:5; Isa. 60:9; Isa. 60:14; Jer. 50:29; Jer. 51:5

NET Note adds that "The confession of Jesus as the Holy One here is significant, coming from an unclean (Ed: "unholy") spirit. Jesus, as the Holy One of God, Who bears God’s Spirit and is the expression of holiness, comes to deal with uncleanness and unholiness. (Ed: What a scene! Unholy ones addressing THE Holy One!)  

THOUGHT - From results of surveys like Barna Reports, I fear there are many in the the so called church in America who profess a belief in Jesus, but it is little more than a belief like that of the demons. When I read a  Barna report that says 75% of Americans profess to be Christians (2015 report), I am gravely concerned that many of them might be deceived and therefore be destined for eternal destruction. Why? If 75% of America was Christian, there would be an overwhelming spiritual outcry of righteous indignation against the incredible assault on the veracity of God and the sufficiency of His Word, the Bible. Jesus and James address this frightening self-deception, mincing no words when they say...

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does (present tense = as their lifestyle, which is not speaking of "perfection" but of general "direction" of one's life!) the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many (NOTE JESUS' QUANTIFIER!) will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never (at any point in time) knew you; DEPART (aorist imperative - Command with the sense of "Do it now!") FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE (present tense = as one's lifestyle. We are sin, but this describes continual sin indicating there has never been any change in the professor's heart!) LAWLESSNESS.’ (Mt 7:21-23+)

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?  (James 2:19-20+

Robertson's note on the demons' recognition of Jesus in Mt 8:29 = "And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

Thou Son of God. The recognition of Jesus by the demons is surprising. The whole subject of demonology is difficult. Some hold that it is merely the ancient way of describing disease. But that does not explain the situation here. Jesus is represented as treating the demons as real existences separate from the human personality. Missionaries in China today claim that they have seen demons cast out. The devil knew Jesus clearly and it is not strange that Jesus was recognized by the devil’s agents. They know that there is nothing in common between them and the Son of God and they fear torment “before the time”. Usually ta daimonia is the word in the New Testament for demons, but in Mt 8:31 we have hoi daimones (the only example in the NT). Daimonion is a diminutive of daimōn. In Homer daimōn is used synonymously with theos and thea. Hesiod employed daimōn of men of the golden age as tutelary deities. Homer has the adjective daimonios usually in an evil sense. Empedocles considered the demons both bad and good. They were thus used to relieve the gods and goddesses of much rascality. Grote (History of Greece) notes that the Christians were thus by pagan usage justified in calling idolatry the worship of demons. See 1 Cor. 10:20f.; 1 Ti 4:1; Rev. 9:20; 16:13f. In the Gospels demons are the same as unclean spirits (Mk 5:12, 15; 3:22, 30; Lk 4:33). The demons are disturbers (Vincent) of the whole life of man (Mk 5:2; 7:25; Mt. 12:45; Luke 13:11, 16).

Ha! Ah! (435)(ea) perhaps related to the imperative of eao meaning let alone!  Ea is used 4x in Scripture (Job 15:16; 19:5; 25:6; Lk. 4:34) and serves as an exclamation of surprise or displeasure especially before a question. Thayer writes ea is "an interjection expressive of indignation, or of wonder mixed with fear (derived apparently from the imperative present of the verb ean (according to others a natural, instinctive sound), frequent in the Attic poets, rare in prose writings (as Plato, Prot., p. 314 d.), "Ha! Ah!": Mark 1:24 [only found in the Greek Textus Receptus],  Luke 4:34.) RobertsonAh! (Ea). An interjection frequent in the Attic poets, but rare in prose. Apparently second person singular imperative of [eaō], to permit. It is expressive of wonder, fear, indignation. Here it amounts to a diabolical screech. For the rest of the verse see discussion on Mark 1:24 and Mt. 8:29. NET Bible translates it as "Ha! Leave us alone." The demons are trying to deflect the light of the Gospel of Jesus against their world of spiritual darkness.

Destroy (622)(apollumi from apo = away from or wholly + olethros = state of utter ruin <> ollumi = to destroy <> root of apollyon [Re 9:11] = destroyer) means to destroy utterly but not to caused to cease to exist. Apollumi is not the loss of being per se, but is more the loss of well-being. The gospel promises everlasting life for the one who believes. The failure to possess this life will result in utter ruin and eternal uselessness (but not a cessation of existence).

Apollumi in Luke and Acts - Lk. 4:34; Lk. 5:37; Lk. 6:9; Lk. 8:24; Lk. 9:24; Lk. 9:25; Lk. 9:56; Lk. 11:51; Lk. 13:3; Lk. 13:5; Lk. 13:33; Lk. 15:4; Lk. 15:6; Lk. 15:8; Lk. 15:9; Lk. 15:17; Lk. 15:24; Lk. 15:32; Lk. 17:27; Lk. 17:29; Lk. 17:33; Lk. 19:10; Lk. 19:47; Lk. 20:16; Lk. 21:18; Acts 5:37; Acts 27:34;

Know (1492)(eido) literally means perception by sight as in Mt 2:2 where the wise men "saw His star".  This verb speaks of absolute certainty, of knowledge that is self-evident and sure The other major NT word for know is ginosko which generally refers to knowledge obtained by experience whereas eido more often refers to intuitive knowledge although the distinction is not always crystal clear. In the present passage the demons were absolutely certain they were in the presence of God! 

Eido in Luke and Acts - Lk. 2:49; Lk. 4:34; Lk. 4:41; Lk. 5:24; Lk. 6:8; Lk. 8:53; Lk. 9:33; Lk. 9:47; Lk. 9:55; Lk. 11:13; Lk. 11:17; Lk. 11:44; Lk. 12:30; Lk. 12:39; Lk. 12:56; Lk. 13:25; Lk. 13:27; Lk. 18:20; Lk. 19:22; Lk. 20:7; Lk. 20:21; Lk. 22:34; Lk. 22:57; Lk. 22:60; Lk. 23:34;  Acts 2:22; Acts 2:30; Acts 3:16; Acts 3:17; Acts 5:7; Acts 7:18; Acts 7:40; Acts 10:37; Acts 12:9; Acts 12:11; Acts 16:3; Acts 19:32; Acts 20:22; Acts 20:25; Acts 20:29; Acts 23:5; Acts 24:22; Acts 26:4; Acts 26:27

There are several different Greek terms that the NT uses to speak of Jesus.
A. NT Terms
      1.      Nazareth - the city in Galilee (cf. Luke 1:26; 2:4, 39, 51; 4:16; Acts 10:38). This city is not mentioned in contemporary sources, but has been found in later inscriptions.
      For Jesus to be from Nazareth was not a compliment (cf. John 1:46). The sign over Jesus’ cross which included this place name was a sign of Jewish contempt.
      2.      Nazarēnos - seems to also refer to a geographical location (cf. Luke 4:34; 24:19).
      3.      Nazōraios - may refer to a city, but could also be a play on the Hebrew Messianic term “Branch” (netzer, cf. Isa. 4:2; 11:1; 53:2; Jer. 23:5; 33:15; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; in the NT, Rev. 22:16). Luke uses this of Jesus in 18:37 and Acts 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 6:14; 22:8; 24:5; 26:9.
      4.      Related to #3 nāzir means “consecrated one by means of a vow.”
B. Historical usages outside the NT.
      1.      It denoted a Jewish (pre-Christian) heretical group (Aramaic nāsōrayyā).
      2.      It was used in Jewish circles to describe believers in Christ (cf. Acts 24:5, 14; 28:22, nosri).
      3.      It became the regular term to denote believers in the Syrian (Aramaic) churches. “Christian” was used in the Greek churches to denote believers.
      4.      Sometime after the fall of Jerusalem, the Pharisees reorganized at Jamnia and instigated a formal separation between the synagogue and the church. An example of the type of curse formulas against Christians is found in “the Eighteen Benedictions” from Berakoth 28b–29a, which calls the believers “Nazarenes.”
      “May the Nazarenes and heretics disappear in a moment; they shall be erased from the book of life and not be written with the faithful.”
      5.      It was used by Justin Martyr, Dial. 126:1, who used Isaiah’s netzer of Jesus.
C.   Author’s opinion
    I am surprised by so many spellings of the term, although I know this is not unheard of in the OT as “Joshua” has several different spellings in Hebrew. The following items cause me to remain uncertain as to its precise meaning:
      1.      the close association with the Messianic term “Branch” (netzer) or the similar term nāzir (one consecrated by means of a vow)
      2.      the negative connotation of Galilee
      3.      little or no contemporary attestation to the city of Nazareth in Galilee
      4.      it coming from the mouth of a demon in an eschatological sense (i.e. “Have you come to destroy us?”).
    For a full bibliography of studies of this word group, see Colin Brown (ed.), New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 2, p. 346 or Raymond E. Brown, Birth, pp. 209–213, 223–225.


Luke 4:35  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm.

Related Passages: 

Matthew 17:18  And Jesus rebuked (epitimao) him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once. 

Mark 1:25+ (PARALLEL PASSAGE) And Jesus rebuked  (epitimao) him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”

Mark 3:11-12+  Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, “You are the Son of God!” 12 And He earnestly warned them not to tell who He was.

Mark 9:26+ After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, "He is dead!"

Acts 16:17-18+  Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” 18 She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment. 


Note this clear illustration of the authority of Jesus over the powers of darkness! And keep in mind this same Jesus now indwells us, John writing "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you (JESUS - Col 1:27b+) than he (SATAN AND HIS MINIONS) who is in the world (cf 1 Jn 5:19+)." (1 Jn 4:4+).

But Jesus rebuked (epitimao - charged, firmly commanded) him, saying, "Be quiet (phimoo - Be muzzled!) and come out of him!" - The cosmic confrontation comes to a head! Both commands are aorist imperative calling for the demon to do this immediately and not delay. The demon immediately obeyed the One Who had authority to make such a bold command and came out of him. Imagine the reaction of the onlookers! Jesus is not interested in a unclean spirit testifying about His divinity! This reminds us of Paul's reaction in Acts 16 in Ephesus where he is being followed around by "a slave-girl having a spirit of divination...who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling" and who "kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment." (Acts 16:16-18+

NET Note - The command Come out of him! is an example of Jesus’ authority (see note on Lk 4:32). Unlike other exorcists, Jesus did not use magical incantations nor did he invoke anyone else’s name. The departure of the evil spirit from the man without hurting him shows Jesus’ total deliverance and protection of this individual. (Ed: And the same Jesus is our Protector!)

Jesus sometimes commanded the demons not to confess Who He is (e.g., Mk 1:24, 25+). Bock reasons that "It appears that this kind of an endorsement could produce confusion about Who Jesus was, as later the Jews suggest it is through the devil's power that Jesus works (Luke 11:14-20+).

And when the demon (daimonionhad thrown him down (rhipto) in the midst of the people -  (cf Lk 9:39, 42+) - Dr Luke uses a verb from his medical vocabulary (it is not used by any other NT writers), as in medicine rhipto described the convulsions associated with an epileptic fit. It pictured a violent action of one being flung or hurled down. And here it took place right in the middle of the gathering right smack dab in the middle of the Jews so it would be hard to miss! Can you imagine the reactions of rear and horror in that Jewish crowd on that fateful day? In the parallel passage Mark 1:26+ we read "Throwing him into convulsions (sparasso), the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him." A T Robertson explains the unclean spirit was "convulsing him like a spasm. Medical writers use the word for the rotating of the stomach."

THOUGHT - This casting out of the demon is a foretaste of the tossing of Satan out of Heaven in Rev 12:12+! Beloved, the powers of darkness have been defeated and we have nothing to fear from them. Yes, we need to respect them for we are in an endless war with these invisible spirits until we go home to glory, but the war now is a war over truth, not a power struggle! All the more reason we need to be systematically, diligently taking in and treasuring the word of God in our heart that we might always be alert and ready to counter the attacks from the evil forces. Indeed, now the "battlefield" is our mind, with Satan and his minions shooting flaming missiles of lies, etc (cf Jn 8:44), to disrupt our partaking of our privilege as those who now have the "mind of Christ." (1 Cor 2:16+) Resources - MeditatePrimer on Biblical MeditationMemorizing His WordMemory Verses by Topic

He came out of him without doing him any harm (blapto Blapto was used in In medicine indicating the damage done to the system by a disease. Here it means that no permanent bodily damage was done to the man. Dr Luke adds this significant detail that the demon caused the man no injury, a detail not found in Mark's parallel account (Mk 1:26+). Mark has a detail not found in Luke describing the loud voice (phonus + megas - like our "megaphone!" - but Luke did record this was the demon's initial cry in Lk 4:33). One can hear him screeching and screaming at the top of his lungs (as we say), and this would have created a moment of intense excitement in the synagogue. I doubt if anyone slept through the service that day!

Be silent (aorist imperative = Obey now!)(5392)(phimoo from phimós = muzzle for a beast's mouth) means to close the mouth with a muzzle, to muzzle, gag, restrain as an ox (1 Co 9:9; 1 Ti 5:18). Figuratively, phimoo means to stop one's mouth in order make speechless or reduce to silence (Mt 22:34; 1 Pe 2:15)  It was used especially as in this passage of reducing an adversary to silence. Christ commanded the evil spirit not to speak (Mk 1:25; Lu 4:35) and the raging sea to be still (Mk 4:3).  He muzzled the Sadducees (for muzzling see English definition) (Mt 22:34). Jesus also silenced the raging elements with His word's "Hush! (siopao) Be still (phimoo)" (Both verbs are commands - Mark 4:39). Phimoo is a more vigorous word than just "Be Quiet" as NASB translates in Mk 1:25. The picture is “Be muzzled” like an ox. Gould renders it “Shut up.” “Shut your mouth” would be too colloquial. Phimoo is used once in the Septuagint in Deuteronomy 25:4 "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing."

Phimoo - 7x in 7v - Usage: muzzle(1), quiet(2), silence(1), silenced(1), speechless(1), still(1). Matt. 22:12; Matt. 22:34; Mk. 1:25; Mk. 4:39; Lk. 4:35; 1 Tim. 5:18; 1 Pet. 2:15

Thrown...down (4496)(rhipto) means to throw, hurl or cast (Mt 27:5; Lk 17:2; Ac 27:19, 29). Vine - "to throw with a sudden motion, to jerk, cast forth." In medicine rhipto was used of convulsive fits and similar affections. Figuratively of the people's spirits (Mt 9:36), of Israel casting God's law behind their backs (i.e., disregarding it) (Lxx 9:26). Of Judas throwing the silver in the Temple, after which he hanged himself (Mt 27:5). Rhipto was used of throwing tackle overboard (Acts 27:19), of casting an anchor (Acts 27:29), of throwing someone into the sea (Lk 17:2), of throwing off clothes (Acts 22:23), of throwing Joseph into a pit (Lxx of Ge 37:20, 24), of casting Hebrew male newborns into the Nile (Lxx of Ex 1:22), of Moses throwing the staff to the ground and it becoming a serpent (Lxx of Ex 4:3, cf Ex 7:9, 10, 12), of God hurling the Egyptians into the Red Sea (Lxx of Ex 15:1, 4, 21), of Moses throwing the tablets when he saw Israel's idolatrous calf and reveling (Lxx Ex 32:19, Dt 9:17), of a woman throwing a millstone on Abimelech's head! (Lxx Jdg 9:53). In a gentler sense, meaning to deposit a load by laying down a sick person. (Mt 15:30 [cf. Sept.: 2 Ki 2:16]). Demons have power and/or power to control the one possessed as shown in this verse where the man was thrown down (but without harm). 

Rhipto - 8x in 8v - Usage: cast(1), dispirited(1), laid...down(1), threw(2), throwing off(1), thrown(1), had thrown...down(1).

Matthew 9:36  Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 15:30  And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them.

Matthew 27:5  And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.

Luke 4:35  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm.

Luke 17:2+  "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.

Acts 22:23  And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air,

Acts 27:19+  and on the third day they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands.

Acts 27:29+  Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak.

Rhipto - 78x in 76v in the Septuagint  Gen. 21:15; 37:20,24; Exod. 1:22; 4:3; 7:9f,12; 15:1,4,21; 32:19,24; Deut. 9:17,21; Jos. 8:29; 10:27; Jdg. 4:22; 9:53; 15:17; 2 Sam. 11:21f; 18:17; 20:21; 1 Ki. 13:24f,28; 2 Ki. 2:16,21; 3:25; 6:6; 7:15; 9:25f; 10:25; 13:21; 23:6,12; 2 Chr. 30:14; 34:4; Neh. 9:11,26; 13:8; Job 16:11; Ps. 88:5; Isa. 14:19; 22:18; 33:12; 34:3; Jer. 14:16; 22:19; 26:23; 36:23,30; 38:6,11,26; 41:9; 50:30; 51:63; Ezek. 5:4; 7:19; 19:12; 28:17; Dan. 4:17; 6:5,7f,12,14,16,22,24; 8:12; Joel 1:7; Zech. 5:8

Harm (984)(blapto) means to hurt, injure, harm. Used only 2x in the NT = Mk 16:18 = "it will not hurt him," Lu 4:35. The only use in the Septuagint is Pr 25:20 to describe one who "sings songs to a troubled (hurt) heart." Secular uses of blapto include to disable, hinder, stop - Homer "to disable the feet, to lame them." Of horses "caught in a branch." Of the mind to distract, delude, deceive (of the gods). After Homer to damage, hurt, mar.  Blapto was used in In medicine indicating the damage done to the system by a disease. In Luke 4:36 it means that no permanent bodily damage was done to the man.

Luke 4:36  And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, "What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out."

NET  They were all amazed and began to say to one another, "What's happening here? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!"

Related Passages: 

Mk 1:27 And they were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority (exousia).! He commands even the unclean (akathartos) spirits, and they obey Him."

A T Robertson on Mark 1:27 - They questioned among themselves (Luke has "they began talking with one another"). By look and word. A new (kainos - never anything like it before) teaching. One surprise had followed another this day. The teaching was fresh (kainos), original as the dew of the morning on the blossoms just blown. That was a novelty in that synagogue where only staid and stilted rabbinical rules had been heretofore droned out. This new teaching charmed the people, but soon will be rated as heresy by the rabbis! And it was with authority (exousia). It is not certain whether the phrase is to be taken with “new teaching,” “It’s new teaching with authority behind it,” as Moffatt has it, or with the verb; “with authority commands even the unclean spirits” (kai tois pneumasin tois akathartois epitassei). The position is equivocal and may be due to the fact that “Mark gives the incoherent and excited remarks of the crowd in this natural form” (Swete). But the most astonishing thing of all is that the demons “obey him” (hupakouo). The people were accustomed to the use of magical formulae by the Jewish exorcists (Mt. 12:27; Acts 19:13), but here was something utterly different. Simon Magus could not understand how Simon Peter could do his miracles without some secret trick and even offered to buy it (Acts 8:19).


And amazement (thamboscame upon them all - All is probably literally everyone there and is not hyperbole, for they had heard and seen some truly remarkable events in the synagogue. This was not your usual humdrum Sabbath Service. And so they were struck with a mixture of fear and awe at these events. They knew they had experienced something special and unique. Sadly they still did not receive Jesus as Messiah. They were "stunned" but not saved! As John wrote "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him." (John 1:11+) Stephen helps us understand their resistance to reception of the Redeemer writing "You (JEWISH) men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit (cf Jn 16:8) you are doing just as your fathers did." (Acts 7:51+).

And they began talking with (sullaleoone another saying "What is this message?" ("What's happening here? = NET "What is this word" = ESV, "What is this teaching?" = NIV) - Though struck with astonishment at the unusual events, they were not speechless. Began talking is in imperfect tense signifying they began and kept up the speaking together. Mark uses a different verb (suzeteo) which means to carry on a discussion, more like a joint discussion inquiring of each other and the present tense (Mk 1:27+) of "debated" emphasizes durative action so that Mark is describing an animated, prolonged discussion. You can just imagine the synagogue scene! Message is the word logos used in Lk 4:22+ ("gracious words") and Lk 4:32+ ("His message"). "Logos has a wide range of meaning. Here it seems to mean, “What is this matter?” More idiomatically it would be, “What’s going on here?!" 

For - Another profitable term of explanation. What is Luke explaining? This is straightforward. He is explaining the amazed state of all in the synagogue.

With authority (exousiaand power (dunamis - see Lk 4:14+He commands (epitassothe unclean (akathartosspirits and they come out - Lk 4:1 says Jesus was full of the Spirit and Lk 4:14 says returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.  It is clear that Jesus' power for ministry derived from the Holy Spirit.

NET Note - "The phrase with authority and power is in an emphatic position in the Greek text. Once again the authority of Jesus is the point, but now it is not just his teaching that is emphasized, but his ministry. Jesus combined word and deed into a powerful testimony in Capernaum." 

And they come out - Just as did the demon in Lk 4:35. The demons had already acknowledged that Jesus was Lord of the Universe. Jesus' needed no incantations, no exorcism ceremony, but only His Word of authority and power! And they, rebellious spirits that they were, obeyed Him without hesitation. O, for my heart to be as quick to heed my Lord's life giving commands and warnings!

THOUGHT - Remember that Jesus' miracles had a specific purpose -- to authenticate His teaching, to stir the Jews interest to examine carefully His claim to be the Messiah and ultimately to place their total trust in Him, in His Gospel message, not in His miracles. But believers today, through the indwelling Spirit, do have access to supernatural power to enable us to live a "supernatural ("dynamic" - dunamis empowered) life!" Dear believing brother or sister, the world desperately needs to see "authentic ("miraculous") Christianity" on bold display. And what will the response be? Some like the Jews in Capernaum will be struck with amazement, others will be filled with rage like the Jews in Nazareth (Lk 4:28), and yet others will ask "you to give an account for the hope that is in you." (1 Peter 3:15+)!

Amazement (2285)(thambos) describes an emotion in which awe and fear are mingled (astonishment, amazement from admiration). BDAG says "a state of astonishment brought on by exposure to an unusual event = amazement, awe." (Only 3x in the NT - Lk 4:36; 5:9; Acts 3:10, Six uses in the Septuagint - 1 Sa 26:12; Eccl. 12:5; Song 3:8; 6:4;  6:10; Ezek. 7:18). The astonishment shows that these kinds of miracles were not seen as so common, unlike the way some portray the ancient world. But what really amazed them (and shook them somewhat) was the fact that Jesus' word alone conveyed such power and authority!

They began talking with (4814) (sullaleo from sun/syn = with, speaks of intimacy + laleo = to talk, speak) means to talk together or with, to converse.  BDAG = " to exchange thoughts with." Gilbrant on sullaleo - In extra-Biblical literature prior to the New Testament it can mean “to talk together with” or “to carry on a conversation with” (Moulton-Milligan; cf. Bauer). The word appears in the Septuagint in passages such as Exodus 34:35, of Moses talking with God; Proverbs 6:22, of the commandments talking with an individual; and Isaiah 7:6, of men conferring together. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary

Sullaleo - 6x in 6v - - Usage: conferred(1), discussed(1), talking(4). Matt. 17:3; Mk. 9:4; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 9:30; Lk. 22:4; Acts 25:12

Sullaleo - 4x in the Septuagint - Ex. 34:35; Prov. 6:22; Isa. 7:6; Jer. 18:20

Commands (2004)(epitasso from epí = upon, over + tasso = arrange, appoint or place appropriately) literally means to arrange upon, i.e. order. To appoint over, put in charge; put upon one as a duty. Epitasso was a Greek military term, the noun form used of an “orderly array.” The root verb tasso was used in classical Greek meaning to draw up in order of battle, array, marshal. The noun form epitage referred to a royal command that is not negotiable, but mandatory. Of Jesus' command to the people to sit in groups (Mk 6:39). Of Jesus command to demons (Mk 1:27, 9:25, Lk 4:36, 8:31) Of King Herod's order to sever the head of John the Baptist (Mk 6:27). Of Jesus' commanding the winds and water (Lk 8:25, cf similar use of epitasso in Lxx of Ps. 107:29)

Epitasso - 10x in 10v mostly by Luke - command(2), commanded(4), commands(3), order(1). Mk. 1:27; Mk. 6:27; Mk. 6:39; Mk. 9:25; Lk. 4:36; Lk. 8:25; Lk. 8:31; Lk. 14:22; Acts 23:2; Philemon 1:8

Epitasso 16x in 14v in the Septuagint -  Gen. 49:33; Est. 1:1; Est. 1:8; Est. 3:12; Est. 8:8; Est. 8:11; Ps. 107:29; Ezek. 24:18; Dan. 1:18; Dan. 2:2; Dan. 2:46; Dan. 3:19; Dan. 3:20; Dan. 6:9

Steven Cole - There is much confusion today because some teach that Jesus’ promise to the disciples, that they would do greater works than He did (John 14:12), means that we should routinely be seeing miracles of healing and even resurrections from the dead. If that’s what Jesus meant, then Paul was in sin when he told Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach ailments (1 Tim. 5:23). He should have told him to claim his healing by faith. Paul must have lacked faith when he told Timothy that he left Trophimus sick at Miletus (2 Tim. 4:20). Why didn’t he heal him? When the author to the Hebrews wrote to this second-generation church, they had to be reminded of the signs and wonders that the apostles had performed (Heb. 2:4). It is obvious that those miracles already had diminished in frequency. To claim that we should be experiencing the same frequency of miracles that Jesus did is to misunderstand the purpose of miracles in the Bible.

Contrary to what many think, miracles are not uniformly distributed throughout the Bible. They occur mostly in clusters around the time of Moses, again with Elijah and Elisha, a few in Daniel’s time, and at the time of Christ and the apostles. These were all crucial periods of God’s dealings with His people.

There were several reasons for Jesus’ miracles. First, they authenticate His person and teaching, proving Him to be the Messiah sent by the Father (see Luke 7:20-22). Second, the miracles show us who Jesus is. He feeds the 5,000 and claims to be the bread of life. He claims to be the light of the world and opens the eyes of a man born blind. Third, the miracles give symbolic lessons of spiritual truth. The sick and the dead represent the human race, broken under sin. Without Christ, they are helpless. But when He speaks the word, they are instantly cured. Thus the miracles show us God’s great gift of salvation. Finally, the miracles show us either implicitly or explicitly how we should respond to Jesus Christ. We must come to Him in our utter helplessness and cast ourselves totally on His mercy and power. The miracles also warn us how not to come to Jesus, since many sought after Him not so that they could follow Him as Lord, but just to use Him for their own selfish purposes. An evil and adulterous generation seeks after miracles.

Let me give some brief guidelines about seeking God’s miraculous healing today. First, check your motive. God’s glory, not your comfort, should be foremost (Phil. 1:20). Second, submit to the Lord, who knows better than you do what is best in any situation. Paul thought it would be best to get rid of the thorn in his flesh. God knew otherwise (2 Cor. 12:7-10). Third, don’t limit God by unbelief (Mark 6:5, 6). God is able to do the impossible, if it’s His will. So, pray for miraculous healing, believing that God is able, but recognize that it may not be His will. Fourth, look for the spiritual lessons God is trying to teach you in the trial. There may be a sin you need to confess (James 5:13-16). You may need to learn to trust God in a greater way (2 Cor. 1:8, 9). You may need to learn to focus more on the things above and the hope of heaven (Col. 3:1-4). You may need to rearrange your priorities (Matt. 6:33). God uses affliction to conform us to the image of His Son, and so instant, miraculous healing is often not His will. (Luke 4:31-44 Jesus—Lord Over All)

Luke 4:37  And the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district.

Young's Literal - and there was going forth a fame concerning him to every place of the region round about.

Related passage

Mark 1:28+ "And immediately the news (the noun akoe = hearing, then report, news, fame) about Him went out everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee."

"The Surrounding District" - Galilee
Source: ESV global study Bible


And the report (echos) about Him was spreading (ekporeuomaiinto every locality in the surrounding district  (perichoros) - No emails, no texting, just word of mouth from one person to another. Indeed, although they had no texting capability, the radical message "spread like wildfire"! Miracles always seem to draw a great amount of attention! The surrounding district (perichoros) refers to the district of Galilee (Mk 1:28+, cf Lk 4:31).

The word for report is echos which could depict this report "roaring" throughout the district of Galilee because it was indeed that "earth shaking" (so to speak)! Luke's use of the word echos in fact suggests that it would have difficult for anyone in Galilee to claim ignorance of Jesus' marvelous words and miraculous works!  The people were struck with amazement, and the sound of this amazement (figuratively speaking) went through throughout the district just as would happen in the propagation of a sound when a bell was sharply struck. 

Spreading (first in the Greek sentence for emphasis) is (ekporeuomai  (used in Lk 4:22 "the gracious words which were falling from His lips") the same verb is used to describe the dead who will come out of their tombs in Jn 5:29 and the demons coming out of men in Mt 17:21. There is an interesting play on words - the words coming out of Jesus' mouth produced the coming out of the demons, which led to the coming forth of His fame throughout the land. 

Report (2279)(echos  a late form of a primitive word  eche  = noise, sound) refers to a loud or confused noise ("echo"), a roar, a sound (Acts 2:2; Heb 12:19; Ps 150:3). Figuratively echos referred to fame or rumor (the former in Lk 4:37). Jesus uses echos to describe signs in the end times which include "the roaring of the sea and the waves" (Lk 21:25). Luke uses echos to describe the "noise like a violent rushing wind" signifying the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and the birth of the Church (Acts 2:2) The writer of Hebrews uses echos to describe the frightening "blast of a trumpet" coming from Mt Sinai signifying God's awe producing presence and power (Heb 12:19). 

Echos - 4x in 4v - Usage: blast(1), noise(1), report(1), roaring(1). Lk. 4:37; Lk. 21:25; Acts 2:2; Heb. 12:19

Echos - 23x in 23v in the Septuagint -  1 Sam. 4:15; 1 Sam. 14:19; Ps. 9:6; Ps. 42:4; Ps. 65:7; Ps. 77:16; Ps. 150:3; Prov. 11:15; Isa. 13:21; Jer. 47:3; Jer. 51:16; Jer. 51:42; Dan. 3:7; Dan. 3:10; Dan. 3:15; Joel 3:14; Amos 5:23

Surrounding district (4066)(perichoros from perí = around + choros = region, place) literally means around a place, i.e., surrounding, neighboring, or around the region. The neighborhood with its inhabitants. Perichoros is used often with the preceding definite article (tes) which gives it the sense of describing the surrounding region, the region around, the country roundabout (Mt. 14:35; Mk 1:28; 6:55; Luke 3:3; 4:14, 37; 7:17; 8:37; Acts 14:6). Perichoros is used figuratively to describe the inhabitants of a certain region (Mt. 3:5; Lxx - Ge 13:10, 11; Dt. 3:13, 14) All the uses of perichoros are in the Gospels (except one use in Acts) and speak primarily of Jesus' renown spreading through the various districts of the land. One use refers to the renown of John the Baptist (Lk 3:3). 

Perichoros - 9x in 9v - Usage: country(1), district around(2), surrounding district(6), surrounding region(1).

Matthew 3:5  Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan;

Matthew 14:35  And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick;

Mark 1:28  Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee.

Luke 3:3  And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;

Luke 4:14  And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.

Luke 4:37  And the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district.

Luke 7:17  This report concerning Him went out all over Judea and in all the surrounding district.

Luke 8:37  And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat and returned.

Acts 14:6  they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region;

Perichoros - 22x in 21v in the Septuagint - Gen. 13:10; Gen. 13:11; Gen. 13:12; Gen. 19:17; Gen. 19:28; Deut. 3:4; Deut. 3:13; Deut. 3:14; Deut. 34:3; 1 Chr. 5:16; 2 Chr. 4:17; 2 Chr. 16:4; Neh. 3:9; Neh. 3:12; Neh. 3:14; Neh. 3:16; Neh. 3:17; Neh. 3:18; Neh. 12:28; Est. 9:12

Luke 4:38  Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's home. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her.  

Related Passages: Two parallel descriptions of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law 

Mark 1:29-30+ And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew (PETER'S BROTHER), with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever (puretos); and immediately they *spoke to Jesus about her.

Robertson The house of Simon and Andrew. Peter was married and both he and Andrew lived together in “Peter’s house” (Mt 8:14) with Peter’s wife and mother-in-law. Peter was evidently married before he began to follow Jesus. Later his wife accompanied him on his apostolic journeys (1 Cor 9:5). This incident followed immediately after the service in the synagogue on the Sabbath. All the Synoptics give it. Mark heard Peter tell it as it occurred in his own house where Jesus made his home while in Capernaum. Each Gospel gives touches of its own to the story. Mark has “lay sick of a fever” (katekeito puressousa), lay prostrate burning with fever. Matthew puts it “stretched out (beblēmenēn) with a fever.” Luke has it “holden with a great fever” (ēn sunechomenē puretōi megalōi), a technical medical phrase. They all mention the instant recovery and ministry without any convalescence. Mark and Matthew speak of the touch of Jesus on her hand and Luke speaks of Jesus standing over her like a doctor. It was a tender scene.

Matthew 8:14-17+ - When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever (puresso = be sick with fever). 15 He touched her hand, and the fever (puretos)  left her; and she got up and waited on Him. 16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.”

Robertson  - Lying sick of a fever (biblēmenēn kai puressousan). Two participles, bedridden (perfect passive of [ballō]) and burning with fever (present active). How long the fever had had her we have no means of knowing, possibly a sudden and severe attack (Mark 1:30), as they tell Jesus about her on reaching the house of Peter. We are not told what kind of fever it was. Fever itself was considered a disease. “Fever” is from German feuer (fire) like the Greek [pur].


John MacArthur gives an overview of Lk 4:38-44 - This closing section of chapter 4 might appear at first glance to be a series of brief, disconnected comments that sum up a certain period in Jesus’ life. But they are in reality very carefully connected. The Jewish people wanted to see signs to prove that Jesus was the Messiah (cf. Lk 11:16; Matt. 12:38; 16:1; 1 Cor. 1:22), and in this brief passage Luke provided some for them.

Then He got up (anistemiand left the synagogue (sunagoge), and entered Simon's home (oikia) - Got up indicates He was seated, the usual position for a Jewish teacher. If you have visited Capernaum, you know that the ruins of a synagogue are very close to the purported site of Peter's home. And since the usual Sabbath service ended around noon, it would often be followed by a meal in someone's home. Simon's home indicates he had means enough to at least allow him to possess his own home. This fact becomes significant when we later hear him say to Jesus "Behold, we have left (aphiemi) our own [homes] ("we have left everything we own") and followed (akoloutheo) You." (Lk 18:28+)

In his comment on Mark's parallel account (see Mark Commentary), MacArthur points out that "A typical synagogue service ended around noon. Jesus’ first four disciples, whom He called just a short time earlier (Mark 1:16-20+), would have attended the synagogue service with Him and, along with the crowds, been amazed by His preaching (Mk 1:22+) and astonished by His authority over the demon who confronted Him (Mk 1:27+). As the hubbub subsided, and the people were dismissed, the four former fishermen came with Jesus out of the synagogue, undoubtedly talking excitedly with one another about the spectacular deliverance they had just witnessed." (see Mark Commentary)

Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering (sunecho/synecho) from a high fever (puretos) - Here we learn that Simon Peter was clearly married, a fact even mentioned later by Paul (1Co 9:5). Simon had first encountered Jesus in John 1:42+ (during Jesus' initial ministry recorded only by John - refer to the chart at top of this page and note the non-shaded area indicating John's record of the first year) had he not yet been called to follow Jesus. Jesus call to follow Him as His disciple would be described in Lk 5:1-10 (cf Mt 4:18-22, Mk 1:16-20) and later he (and the other disciples) would be called apostles (Lk 6:13-14). Suffering is present tense indicating that is a persistent (long-standing) problem. A high fever (puretos) is a detail is added by the physician Dr Luke  and is not found in Mark's or Matthew's accounts. (Mk 1:30, Mt 8:14). High ferver is a medical term used by Galen for a “category of fever.” High is the Greek adjective megas (great ~ "mega fever"). The point is that she was seriously sick!

MacArthur adds this note on Simon's matriculation from observer of Jesus to disciple of Jesus, from Simon to Peter to Cephas - Peter had been introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew (John 1:35–42+). On that occasion Jesus changed his name to “Peter” (Greek) or “Cephas” (Aramaic) to indicate his future role as part of the foundation of the church (Matt. 16:16–18). Peter was originally from nearby Bethsaida (John 1:44) and now operated a fishing business in Capernaum with his brother Andrew (Matt. 4:18) and their partners, James and John (Luke 5:10), also recently called to follow Jesus (Mark 1:16–20). Having been present in the synagogue to hear Jesus’ unparalleled exposition of the Word of God and witness the amazing display of His power over the demonic realm, Peter invited Him to his house for the Sabbath meal, along with Peter’s brother Andrew, James, and John (Mark 1:29). (See Luke Commentary)

And they asked Him to help her - Help is actually not in the original Greek but is the preposition peri which means around or on all sides and so more literally reads "asked Him concerning" her or as the CSB renders it "they asked Him about her." But clearly in the context of a high (serious) fever their purpose was to seek Jesus' help to heal her. Undoubtedly they had heard about His power to heal (cf Lk 4:14+). 

Got up (450)(anistemi from ana = up, again + histemi = stand, to cause to stand) means literally to get up, to stand up, to stand again, to cause to rise ("to raise"). Most uses denote the act of getting up from a seated or reclined position.

Anistemi in Luke and Acts - Lk. 1:39; Lk. 4:16; Lk. 4:29; Lk. 4:38; Lk. 4:39; Lk. 5:25; Lk. 5:28; Lk. 6:8; Lk. 8:55; Lk. 9:8; Lk. 9:19; Lk. 10:25; Lk. 11:7; Lk. 11:8; Lk. 11:32; Lk. 15:18; Lk. 15:20; Lk. 16:31; Lk. 17:19; Lk. 18:33; Lk. 22:45; Lk. 22:46; Lk. 23:1; Lk. 24:7; Lk. 24:12; Lk. 24:33; Lk. 24:46; Acts 1:15; Acts 2:24; Acts 2:32; Acts 3:22; Acts 3:26; Acts 5:6; Acts 5:17; Acts 5:34; Acts 5:36; Acts 5:37; Acts 6:9; Acts 7:18; Acts 7:37; Acts 8:26; Acts 8:27; Acts 9:6; Acts 9:11; Acts 9:18; Acts 9:34; Acts 9:39; Acts 9:40; Acts 9:41; Acts 10:13; Acts 10:20; Acts 10:23; Acts 10:26; Acts 10:41; Acts 11:7; Acts 11:28; Acts 12:7; Acts 13:16; Acts 13:33; Acts 13:34; Acts 14:10; Acts 14:20; Acts 15:7; Acts 17:3; Acts 17:31; Acts 20:30; Acts 22:10; Acts 22:16; Acts 23:9; Acts 26:16; Acts 26:30;

Home (3614) (oikia from oikos = house) is one's residence, home or abode. "The house of Simon and Andrew" (Mark 1:29) —1. house lit. Mt 7:24–27; 9:28; 19:29; Mk 1:29; 6:10; 13:34f; Lk 18:29; 20:47; Jn 8:35; 12:3; Ac 4:34; 10:6; 1Co 11:22. Figurative Jn 14:2; figuratively, of the body as the habitation of the soul = 2 Cor 5:1.—2.  by metonymy a household, family Mt 12:25; Mk 3:25; 6:4; Jn 4:53; 1Co 16:15. Or property, possession, goods (Mk 12.40) —3. a kind of middle position between meanings 1 and 2 is held by Mt 10:12f and Phil 4:22; in the latter passage oikia refers to the servants and slaves in the emperor's court.

Oikia in Luke and Acts - Lk. 4:38; Lk. 5:29; Lk. 6:48; Lk. 6:49; Lk. 7:6; Lk. 7:37; Lk. 7:44; Lk. 8:27; Lk. 8:51; Lk. 9:4; Lk. 10:5; Lk. 10:7; Lk. 10:38; Lk. 15:8; Lk. 15:25; Lk. 17:31; Lk. 18:29; Lk. 20:47; Lk. 22:10; Lk. 22:11; Lk. 22:54; Acts 4:34; Acts 9:11; Acts 9:17; Acts 10:6; Acts 10:17; Acts 10:32; Acts 11:11; Acts 12:12; Acts 16:32; Acts 17:5; Acts 18:7

Suffering (4912)(sunecho/synecho from sun = together, with + echo = to have, hold) means to hold something together. In the passive sense sunecho meant to be gripped (seized) by difficult circumstances such as illness. Luke uses sunecho in Lk 8:37 of severe emotional distress ("gripped with great fear"), of crowds pressing in on Jesus (Lk 8:45), of Jesus' distress at His impending crucifixion (Lk 12:50), of Jerusalem be hemmed in on every side (Lk 19:43).

Sunecho -12v - afflicted(1), controls(1), covered(1), crowding(1), devoting...completely(1), distressed(1), gripped(1), hard-pressed(1), hem(1), custody(1), suffering(2). - Matt. 4:24; Lk. 4:38; Lk. 8:37; Lk. 8:45; Lk. 12:50; Lk. 19:43; Lk. 22:63; Acts 7:57; Acts 18:5; Acts 28:8; 2 Co. 5:14; Phil. 1:23

Fever (4446)(puretos from pur = fire) means fiery heat, then fever ("burning heat"). Only use in Septuagint is Dt 28:22. TDNT says "The word puretos describes the symptom of “fever.” Greek medicine distinguishes types of fever, and ascribes them to natural causes. Popular belief thinks gods or demons can both cause and cure fevers."

Matthew 8:15  He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him.

Mark 1:31  And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.

Luke 4:38  Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's home. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her.

Luke 4:39  And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them.

John 4:52  So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him."

Acts 28:8  And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him.

Related Resources on Healing from Gotquestions:

Luke 4:39  And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them. 

Related Passages:

Mark 1:31+  And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them. 

Matthew 8:15+ He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. 

A T Robertson on Mt 8:15 - Touched her hand. In loving sympathy as the Great Physician and like any good doctor today. Ministered. “Began to minister” (conative imperfect) at once to Jesus at table in gratitude and love.


And standing over (ephistemiher He rebuked (epitimao) the fever (puretos), and it left (aphiemiher -  As a physician would do when coming up to the patient in bed. Jesus stepped up to the bed or rug on which the patient lay and bent over her (Arndt). Both Mark and Matthew mention that Jesus took or touched her hand (Mt. 8:15; Mk 1:31), certainly a tender gesture. In Luke 4:35+ Jesus had rebuked a demon. His rebuke in Lk 4:39 should not be taken to suggest her fever was caused by a demon, just as His rebuke of the wind in Lk 8:24 does not suggest the wind was demonically empowered. There is no evidence for either supposition. It is interesting that the other parallel passages (Mk 1:31+ Mt 8:15+) do not record Jesus rebuking the fever. Luke records a similar rebuke over "nature" when "He got up and rebuked (epitimao) the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm." (Lk 8:24+). 

Robertson on standing over her is a detail recorded "only in Luke. Surely we are not to take Luke to mean that Jesus here took the exorcist’s position and was rebuking a malignant personality. The attitude of Jesus is precisely that of any kindly sympathetic physician. Mark 1:31 and Mt. 8:15 (see both verses above) mention the touch of her hand rather than the tender look over her head."

Bock on rebuked -  This verb is normally reserved for encounters between people (Luke 4:41; 9:42, 55), so that disease here is almost treated like a power that needs to be stopped and over which Jesus has authority. Creation will be treated in a similar way in Luke 8:24.

Utley - Just a word about Jesus rebuking a fever. This literary personification of a physical problem does not make this an exorcism. Demons can cause physical problems, but not all physical problems are demonic. Be careful of the extremes (no demons; demons cause everything)!

Spurgeon applies the passage - Here is a type of another form of the disease of sin. This time it is a hot and burning fever, and there are many men who have the fever of pride, or the fever of ambition, and some who have the fever of impetuous lust. 

And she immediately got up and waited on them - Jesus healed her miraculously, instantaneously, immediately with no need for time to "recuperate" (as one might expect after a severe fever). She was 100% recovered when Jesus spoke the words of rebuke (whatever those words were -- the text is silent) to the fever.

NET Note on immediately - The language here (commanded) almost treats the illness as a personal force (cf demons in Lk 4:35, 41), but this is not the case. This healing shows Jesus’ power over sickness and should not be construed as an exorcism. The note that this happened immediately shows the speed and totality of the recovery.

Standing over (2186ephistemi from epi = upon, by, near + histemi = stand) means literally to stand by, upon or over and conveys the sense of to be at hand, be present. It is generally used of any sudden unexpected appearance for example of a person coming suddenly upon another (Luke 2:9; 24:4; Acts 4:1; 12:7, confront - Lk 20:1). The coming eschatological day (presumably Second Coming in Lk 21:34+) and when "destruction will come upon them suddenly" (1Th 5:3). In Acts 17:5 it is used in coming to attack.  Of rain "setting in" in Acts 28:2. Figuratively in 2 Timothy 4:6  Paul saying the "time of my departure has come." In the Septuagint ephistemi is used several times in the phrase when God says "I will set My face against" (Lev. 20:3, 5; 6; 26:17). In Pr 23:5 "When you set your eyes on (wealth) it is gone."

Ephistemi in Luke and Acts - Lk. 2:9; Lk. 2:38; Lk. 4:39; Lk. 10:40; Lk. 20:1; Lk. 21:34; Lk. 24:4; Acts 4:1; Acts 6:12; Acts 10:17; Acts 11:11; Acts 12:7; Acts 17:5; Acts 22:13; Acts 22:20; Acts 23:11; Acts 23:27; Acts 28:2;

Rebuked (2008)(epitimao from epi = upon + timao = to honor) means literally to put honor upon and then to mete out due measure and so then to find fault with, to censure severely, to rebuke, to express strong disapproval of, or to denounce (cp the incredible example in Mt 16:22). This verb is used primarily for rebuking people or demons but is used in Mk 4:39 and Lk 8:24 of rebuking the winds and waves. These uses (including that in our present passage) demonstrate that Jesus had power over nature and power of sickness. Epitimao conveys the sense of warning which includes an implied threat (Lk 8:24; Mt 16:20). Jesus "rebuked the fever" of Peter's mother in Lk 4:39. In Lk 4:41 He rebuked demons calling Him "the Son of God." (cf Lk 9:42 In Lk 8:24 He rebuked the wind. In Lk 9:21 He warned His disciples not to tell anyone He was "The Christ of God.” (cf rebuke of His disciples - Lk 9:55, contrast Lk 19:39).

Luke uses epitimao in 12/30 NT uses - Lk. 4:35; Lk. 4:39; Lk. 4:41; Lk. 8:24; Lk. 9:21; Lk. 9:42; Lk. 9:55; Lk. 17:3; Lk. 18:15; Lk. 18:39; Lk. 19:39; Lk. 23:40

Left (863) aphiemi from apo = prefix speaks of separation, putting some distance between + hiemi = put in motion, send) conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation. Literally aphiemi means to send from one's self, to forsake, to hurl away, to put away, let alone, disregard, put off. It conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation and refers to total detachment, total separation, from a previous location or condition. It means to send forth or away from one's self. It refers to the act of putting something away or of laying it aside. In secular Greek aphiemi initially conveyed the sense of to throw and in one secular writing we read "let the pot drop" (aphiemi). From this early literal use the word came to mean leave or let go.

Aphiemi in Luke and Acts - Lk. 4:39; Lk. 5:11; Lk. 5:20; Lk. 5:21; Lk. 5:23; Lk. 5:24; Lk. 6:42; Lk. 7:47; Lk. 7:48; Lk. 7:49; Lk. 8:51; Lk. 9:60; Lk. 10:30; Lk. 11:4; Lk. 12:10; Lk. 12:39; Lk. 13:8; Lk. 13:35; Lk. 17:3; Lk. 17:4; Lk. 17:34; Lk. 17:35; Lk. 17:36; Lk. 18:16; Lk. 18:28; Lk. 18:29; Lk. 19:44; Lk. 21:6; Lk. 23:34;  Acts 5:38; Acts 8:22; Acts 14:17; 

Waited on (the vivid imperfect tense - you can picture her ministering here and there, over and over)(1247)(diakoneo - derivation uncertain - cp diakonis = in the dust laboring or running through the dust or possibly diako = to run on errands; see also study of related noun - diakonia) means to minister by way of rendering service in any form or to take care of by rendering humble service.

Luke 4:40  While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them.

Related passages

Mark 1:32-34+ When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city had gathered at the door.  34 And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was. 

A T Robertson on Mark 1:32-33 - When the sun did set. This picturesque detail Mark has besides “when evening” (genitive absolute, evening having come). Matthew has “when evening was come,” Luke “when the sun was setting.” The Sabbath ended at sunset and so the people were now at liberty to bring their sick to Jesus. The news about the casting out of the demon and the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law had spread all over Capernaum. They brought them in a steady stream (imperfect tense). Luke 4:40 adds that Jesus laid his hand on every one of them as they passed by in grateful procession.

Mark 1:33 At the door. At the door of Peter’s house. The whole city was gathered together there. Mark alone mentions this vivid detail. He is seeing with Peter’s eyes again. Peter no doubt watched the beautiful scene with pride and gratitude as Jesus stood in the door and healed the great crowds in the glory of that sunset. He loved to tell it afterwards.

Matthew 8:16+ When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.

A T Robertson on Mt 8:16+ - When even was come (opsias genomenēs). Genitive absolute. A beautiful sunset scene at the close of the Sabbath day (Mark 1:21). Then the crowds came as Jesus stood in the door of Peter’s house (Mark 1:33+; Matt. 8:14) as all the city gathered there with the sick, “all those who had it bad” (Mt. 4:24+ = "Those that were sick”, literally “those who had it bad,” cases that the doctors could not cure) and he healed them “with a word” (logos). It was a never to be forgotten memory for those who saw it. (ED: That may be true, but see John 12:37).


While the sun was setting - The Greek word duno/dyno means to sink down, especially of the sun sinking below the horizon, the present tense picturing it slowly disappearing and darkness slowly increasing. The significance of this detail was that it marked the end of the Sabbath so healings were rabbinically legal, people could now travel any distance they needed to in order to reach and carry those who were not able to come in their own strength (the legalistic Jewish leaders and oppressive laws restricted the length one could travel on Sabbath and did not allow bearing burdens on that day because that was considered work -- healing was also considered work - cf Mk 3:1-5+). So we see here the simple principle that LEGALISM (oppressive Sabbath regulations added by the rabbis) blunts/restricts the work of GRACE! (See "Sabbath's Day Journey") Note that Jesus had already "broken the Sabbath" in Mk 1:21-28+ and would do so several more times (Mk 3:14, John 5, John 9). Now in the eyes of the legalistic leaders, Jesus was "free" to heal because it was not the  Sabbath, although He would later challenge their legalistic interpretation of the Sabbath! (cf Mt 12:9-14) 

THOUGHT - Spurgeon applies this phrase the sun was setting commenting "Ah, it is setting with some of you! Those gray hairs are like the streaks of light upon the horizon as the sun goes down; but blessed be God, he who heals the spiritually sick in the early morning, by bringing children to himself, does not cease to work until the sun goes down."

All (hapas) those who had any who were sick (astheneo) with various (poikilosdiseases (nososbrought them to Him - "All" means everybody. There is nothing here that says He healed only those who had faith in Him. We know in fact from other Scriptures (e.g., Jn 1:9+; John 12:37 = "though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him") that most of the Jews did not have faith in Him. His healing was a sign of Who He was. Paul writes "indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom" (1 Cor 1:22) and indeed Jesus gave them signs, many, many signs! In Mark's parallel (Mk 1:32+) instead of brought we read began bringing which is in the imperfect tense ("KEPT BRINGING") picturing people streaming one after another bringing all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed (Mk 1:32+ adds demon-possessed). Frankly I am surprised they were able to bring the demon-possessed people as surely the demons knew what was awaiting them and could have caused a convulsion or some other hindrance to keep them from being brought to Jesus. Personally, I think this is another evidence of the power of divine over demoniacal. 

THOUGHT - You may be a skeptic and an unbeliever (or have a friend or relative who is) and you say if you saw Jesus do some miraculous signs, then you would believe. No you would not believe (cf Jesus' declaration to the rich man in Hades - Lk 16:30-31+)! If you do not believe His eternal Word of Truth (Mt 24:35), you are not likely to believe temporal signs. Some of the Jews even said "let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him." (Mt 27:42) Well, He did even better than come down from the Cross. He came up from the grave and they still refused to believe! (cf again Lk 16:30-31+)

MacArthur on all those -  Do you see the comprehensiveness of that?  Now we know from the account of Peter's mother-in-law how He healed.  He healed with a word.  He healed instantaneously.  He healed without a recovery period.  He healed completely and totally.  And here we find He did that with everybody.  These were instantaneous healings of everyone. (Jesus: The Divine Deliverer, Part 1)

William MacDonald - As the Sabbath drew to a close, the people were freed from enforced inactivity; they brought a great number of invalids and demoniacs to Him. None came in vain. He healed every one of those who were diseased, and cast out the demons. Many of those who profess to be faith healers today confine their miracles to pre-chosen candidates. Jesus healed every one of them. (See Believer's Bible Commentary)

NET Note on all those who had any who were sick - The use of eichon, “had” suggests that the subject of the accusative participle “those being sick” (asthenountas)  is not simply acquaintances, but rather relatives, perhaps immediate family, and certainly close friends. (Ed: And isn't that naturally who we all gravitate to, seeking Jesus and His Spirit to "heal" our loved ones with the miracle of salvation by grace through faith?)

Mark adds the detail that "the whole city had gathered at the door"! (Mark 1:33+) What a scene! The entire populace of Capernaum (estimates place the population at 1500 at that time)! Jesus was the main attraction. Of course He was doing His teaching and miracles that the Jews might come to realize He really was the long expected Messiah and might place their faith in Him. Remember that the sun was setting, so night was falling, but that did not keep the people from coming or prevent Jesus from healing. He must have been exhausted physically but He had come to accomplish the work of the Father (Jn 4:34, 17:4) and knew that the (spiritual) night would come when no man could work (Jn 9:4), so He redeemed every moment (Eph 5:16+), declaring "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (Jn 9:5)

And laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing (therapeuo) them - Laying His hands on each one is the adjective hekastos which means every single one who came to Him! No exceptions. No one was too unclean for Jesus!

THOUGHT- And that still holds true -- no person has a sin so heinous, so unclean that Jesus cannot heal that soul!

Laying hands on (or laid hands on) occurs 21 times in the NT, 10 times in Luke and Acts (Lk 13:13; Acts 6:6, 8:17, 19; 9:12, 17; 13:3; 19:6; 28:8). It is associated with healing (Mt. 9:18), commissioning (Acts 13:3), or with the passing on of the Spirit through the apostles (Acts 8:17, 19). In this scene, Jesus' personal contact in healing is stressed.

Life Application - Here in Capernaum, Luke records that the touch of Jesus' hand healed the sick. Why not just speak a word and heal the whole crowd at once? Why go to all the trouble of treating each person individually, face-to-face? Because human touch is so very important. Does someone need a touch from you today? 

THOUGHT - I love this picture -- healing by personal contact with Jesus! Indeed, there is absolutely no "spiritual healing" to one's sin sick soul today without personal contact with Jesus and His Gospel by grace through faith. Has your terminal heart condition been healed by contact with the Great Physician? 

THOUGHT - "Now, God does heal -- and thank God for physical healings. But they are only temporary blessings at best. What Jesus continually emphasizes is the healing of the spirit of man -- the healing of bitterness and hostility and lust and anger, of worry and anxiety and a critical spirit. This is what he is after deliverance from these ugly and evil things -- because this is of eternal value. The healing of the spirit is a permanent thing. So Jesus turns his back on popular acclaim, tries to suppress it and keep it under control, in order that he might be free for the ministry of greater importance." (Ray Stedman - A Day In The Life Of Jesus)

THOUGHT all...He was healing them - Oh, that he would do that just now! Still is he mighty to save; oh, that he would now display his ancient power, and lay His healing hands on every one of you! What fame He would get if He would do so! What joy there would be if all of you should now be turned to God! And why should it not be? Christ is able to do this; then, let us ask it of Him in earnest believing prayer (C H Spurgeon)

In Lk 4:23+ Jesus had used therapeuo in quoting the proverb "Physician, heal yourself!" 

All (537)(hapas from a = collative ["to bring together" or as a particle of union] or from hama [260] = together + pas = all) means all like pas but even stronger. It is a strengthened from of pas often used with intensive meaning (the whole, everybody). And so Hapas means whole, universally, everybody, absolutely everybody, everything, quite all, the whole, all together (Mk 8:25). Plural = everyone, everything, all things. Mounce says hapas expresses "the wholeness of the object it describes, the fullness of the group."

In Lk 3:21 all the people were baptized and in Lk 8:37 "all the people" asked Jesus to leave! As Jesus approached Jerusalem descending the Mount of Olives "the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully." With the negative in Lk 21:15 means "none of your opponents." In Lk 23:1 "the whole body of them got up and brought Him before Pilate." John 4:25 says the Messiah "will declare all things to us." In Acts 2:44 "all (pas) those who had believed were together and had all things (hapas) in common," certainly a challenge to followers of Christ in a world filled with selfish ambition! Are you (am I) willing to part with money and "things" for the common good of the body? In 1 Ti 3:16 "his perfect patience" is literally "the whole (hapas) of his longsuffering."

TDNT says that "In Luke hapas is sometimes preferred when something impressive is to be said." 

BDAG summarized - (1) "the totality of a mass or object, whole, all, (hapas ton laon =) the whole people ("all the people" as opposed to an individual) Lk 3:21; Lk 8:37; 19:37; 23:1;  Acts 25:24. Lk 21:4 "all that had happened" = Mt 28:11. "this whole domain" = Lk 4:6. Lk 19:48 (= "all the people"). (2) all, everybody, everything Mt 24:39; Lk 5:26; 7:16

Liddell-Scott -  quite all, the whole, and in pl. all together, Homer, etc. 2. with an Adj., all silver, i.e. of massive silver, Od.; altogether evil, Ar. II. in singular everyone, 

In the Lxx in Ge 19:4 "all the people" surrounded Lot's house in Sodom (they were all depraved!), in Lev 6:22 "entirely offered up (Lxx = hapas = "whole offering') in smoke to the LORD", 

Hapas - 32x - Usage: all(21), all things(2), everyone(1), everything(4), none*(1), perfect(1), whole(2). Matt. 6:32; Matt. 24:39; Matt. 28:11; Mk. 1:27; Mk. 8:25; Mk. 11:32; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 3:21; Lk. 4:6; Lk. 4:40; Lk. 5:26; Lk. 8:37; Lk. 9:15; Lk. 19:37; Lk. 19:48; Lk. 20:6; Lk. 21:15; Lk. 23:1; Jn. 4:25; Acts 2:44; Acts 4:31; Acts 5:16; Acts 10:8; Acts 11:10; Acts 16:3; Acts 16:28; Acts 16:33; Acts 25:24; Acts 27:33; Eph. 6:13; 1 Tim. 1:16; Jas. 3:2

Hapas - 41x in 39v in the Septuagint -  Gen. 19:4; Lev. 6:22; Lev. 8:27; Deut. 22:19; Deut. 22:29; Jos. 6:13; Jos. 6:20; 2 Sam. 3:25; 1 Ki. 2:26; 1 Ki. 12:24; 1 Ki. 13:11; 1 Chr. 10:11; 1 Chr. 16:43; 1 Chr. 17:10; Est. 8:12; Est. 9:28; Ps. 22:23; Prov. 25:4; Jer. 1:18; Jer. 5:19; Jer. 16:10; Jer. 18:23; Jer. 19:15; Jer. 23:8; Jer. 26:2; Jer. 29:1; Jer. 32:23; Jer. 36:11; Jer. 36:16; Jer. 36:32; Jer. 40:4; Jer. 41:12; Jer. 44:1; Jer. 47:2; Ezek. 38:8; Amos 7:10; Zech. 7:5

Sick (770)(astheneo from asthenes = without strength, powerless from a = without + sthenos = strength, bodily vigor) means to be feeble (in any sense), to be diseased, impotent, sick, to lack strength, to be infirm, to be weak. Luke's uses of astheneo -  Lk 4:40; Acts 9:37; 19:12;

Various (4164)(poikilos) means existence in various kinds or modes, diversified, manifold, variegated, many colored. "Poikilos is a common word in classical literature meaning “many/various/rich colors” along side each other, woven, or embroidered." (Hoehner) The point of this detail is the Jesus' power was not restricted to rebuking fever, but was power that produced positive effects in every shape, size or color (so to speak) of illness. 

Diseases (3554)(nosos) means a physical malady, disease, illness. BDAG adds it was "frequently  viewed in Mediterranean society as socially devaluing." BDAG adds that nosos was also used of moral malady but no uses like that in the NT (secular quote = "the adulterer gives satisfaction to his own diseased inclination"). Liddell-Scott adds the following on nosos - sickness, disease, malady, Hom., etc. II. generally, distress, misery, suffering, sorrow, evil, Hes., Trag. 2. disease of mind, Trag.; i.e. madness, Soph. 3. of states, disorder, sedition, Plat. 4. a plague, bane, of a whirlwind, Soph."

All 11 uses of nosos - Mt. 4:23; Mt. 4:24; Mt. 8:17; Mt. 9:35; Mt. 10:1; Mk. 1:34; Lk. 4:40; Lk. 6:18; Lk. 7:21; Lk. 9:1; Acts 19:12

Healing (curing)(2323)(therapeuo from therapon = an attendant, servant) means primarily to care for, to wait upon, minister to. It has two main senses in the NT, one speaking of rendering service (Acts 17:25) and the more common use describing medical aspects such as to take care of the sick, to heal, to cure (Matt. 4:24; 12:10; Mark 1:34+; Luke 6:7; 10:9),  to recover health, to restore. Therapeúō means to heal miraculously in Matt. 4:23, 24; 10:1, 8; Acts 4:14. Luke 4:40 uses the picturesque imperfect tense for therapeuo -- the picture is of Jesus continually healing -- one sick person would come and He would lay His hands on him and heal him, then a lame person would come and He would heal him, then a deaf person would come and He would heal him, etc, etc. The imperfect tense then helps us to see the continuing stream of sick and demon possessed coming to Jesus. And quite a scene it was. We don't know how long this scene lasted, but we do know the whole town was there and it was evening. So depending on how many were sick, this scene could have lasted well into the night. Did Jesus pause for dinner? The text does not say. While we do not know how long it lasted, remember that Jesus was fully Man, and here at the end of a long day must have been "fully exhausted!" But remember that Luke 4:14+ tells us Jesus the Man was functioning, not relying on His own divine power (Php 2:7+), but relying on "the power (dunamis) of the Spirit." (cf Acts 10:38+) While a Spirit filled Man is performing spiritual work, he is supernaturally energized. Will He still become fatigued? Of course he will but have we not all had the experience of having to teach or preach after being sick or sleepless and exhausted and yet when we began to minister we experienced "supercharging" from the Spirit? 

Luke uses therapeuo 18x in the Gospel and Acts - Lk. 4:23; Lk. 4:40; Lk. 5:15; Lk. 6:7; Lk. 6:18; Lk. 7:21; Lk. 8:2; Lk. 8:43; Lk. 9:1; Lk. 9:6; Lk. 10:9; Lk. 13:14; Lk. 14:3; Acts 4:14; Acts 5:16; Acts 8:7; Acts 17:25; Acts 28:9


John MacArthur gives us six characteristics of Jesus' healing ministry which provides us a standard by which we can honestly examine anyone who claims to have a healing ministry (and there sadly are many charlatans out there taking advantage of people by claiming to be able to heal their diseases). 

(1) Jesus healed with a word or a touch, with a word or a touch.  And whenever you study the healings of Jesus, He spoke the healing or He touched someone, on some occasions He did both.  And you see this in the many, many healings of Jesus in the New Testament.

(2) He healed instantly.  It never says, "Jesus healed him and he kept on getting better." There never was any progression.  The centurion's servant was healed in Matthew 8:5-13 that very hour (Mt 8:13).  The woman with the bleeding problem in Mark 5:25-34 was healed immediately (Mk 5:29).  In Luke 17:11-19 Jesus healed ten lepers instantaneously.  And He touched another man with leprosy and immediately the leprosy departed from him, Luke 5:12,13.  The crippled man at the pool of Bethsaida in John 5:1-9 immediately became well, took up his bed, began to walk (Jn 5:9). The man born blind in John 9:1-7 had to go and wash his eyes.  As soon as he washed his eyes was healed instantly (Jn 9:7). People never said, "I've been healed and I know I'm going to get better."  Jesus never did progressive healings.  He healed instantly.  He healed immediately.....There were no natural recovery processes involved, and that's what we saw with this mother-in-law of Peter.  She immediately got up, no loss of strength, no diminished energy, and she began to wait on the people and serve the meal.

(3) Jesus healed totally. There were no partial healings. I remember a lady telling me, "You know, I believe in healing."  I had spoken on this subject somewhere and she said, "You're wrong, I believe in healing.  God healed my husband of cancer." I said, "Really, how long ago?" She said, "Two years." I said, "How's he doing now?" She said, "He's dead." That's a rather narrow definition of healing to me. It's amazing people wanting to believe something so badly they'll believe what is obviously not the case.  Jesus healed totally and you see that in the case of the healing of Simon Peter's mother-in-law. There was a full and total restoration.  No relapse, no recovery time.

(4) Jesus healed everybody.  Unlike healers today, Jesus didn't leave long lines of disappointed people and wrecked lives.  People going back home trying to figure out why it is that they didn't have enough faith, or somewhere along the line they said a negative word and the negative word obviated the positive confession that could have produced their healing. You notice in Lk 4:40 it says, "Laying hands on every one of them, He was healing them." And that is true of the healing of Jesus. He healed everyone.  

(5) He healed organic disease.  He didn't go up and down alleviating low back pain or heart palpitation, or headache, or any kind of invisible ailment that could have been caused by emotional stress or some momentary problem. What Jesus did was not anything short of creative. He replaced crippled legs with legs that functioned fully. He replaced blind eyes with seeing eyes.  He replaced deaf ears with hearing ears. He replaced paralysis with full function. His healings were creative, they literally recreated on an organic level.

(6) Jesus raised the dead.  In Luke 7:11-16 and  Mark 5:35-42, He raised dead people.

Jesus did all of this and He did it anywhere and everywhere. There wasn't any stage. There wasn't any setting. There wasn't any screening process. He did it all in public before huge crowds in various locations without any artistry involved. And most of the people that He healed exhibited no particular faith in Him and made no confession of faith in Him....His miracles did not necessarily require faith. Furthermore, His miracles happened predominantly to unbelievers, almost always unbelievers who had no faith in Him, no salvation.  In fact, He raised dead people and dead people don't believe anything.  Dead people are dead.  They couldn't have faith. They couldn't acknowledge Jesus. And they couldn't make a positive confession. His miracles were strung out throughout His entire ministry of three years, not in specially controlled environments and circumstances but everywhere all the time during the normal flow of daily activity everywhere He went. In fact, to make it very simple, for all intents and purposes, in three years He banished disease from Palestine. In the three years of His ministry everywhere He went there were massive crowds and the people brought all of the sick people to Him and He healed them all. (Full sermon)


John MacArthur sums up Jesus' "healing ministry"...

Now I want you to understand, as you get into the three-year ministry of Jesus there are nearly ninety New Testament texts in the four gospels about His healings. He did this everywhere through His ministry. It was literally a healing explosion that essentially banished disease from Palestine!...Never in human history was there anything close. And those today who say, "Well, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever and we ought to expect Him to heal today just as the way He healed then," they don't get it. Listen, the first healing recorded in the Bible was during the time of Abraham.  There are no healings recorded in the first 1,600 years of biblical history up to the Flood!  And there were billions of people alive when the Flood hit.  The first healing is recorded in the time of Abraham, that's about 2200 B.C.  So for the first 2200-year history of the world there are no healings recorded. Now listen, from Abraham to Isaiah would be from 2200 B.C. to 750 B.C., OK, so 1,450 years, or 1,500.  During that period from Abraham to Isaiah, 1,500 years let's say, there are recorded twenty healings, 1,500 years twenty healings, five of them...from the time of Job and Abraham which would be the patriarchal time, five in Moses' day, two in Samuel's day, eight from David to Isaiah for a total of twenty. Twenty healings in 1,500 years! From Isaiah to Christ 750 years, guess how many healings are recorded in the Bible?  Zero; there aren't any, none! This is not something God did willy-nilly all the time.  During all that time from Isaiah to Christ there was sickness, there was disease, and there was death and everybody died.  But there were no healings.  That is why when Jesus began to heal in Matthew 9:33, the people said, "Nothing like this was ever done in Israel." They knew there had never been anything like this.  Even the people of Israel had absolutely no expectation of this....They had never seen anything like it.  Mark 2:12, "We have never seen anything like this."  Never.  In Luke 10:23, "Turning to His disciples,” Jesus had been healing, “He said to them, 'Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see.  I say to you, many prophets and kings wish to see the things you see and didn't see them.'" Nobody had ever seen this. In the Gospel of John in the 9th chapter when the blind man was healed, this was remarkable. "Since the beginning of time” John 9:32 “it had never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind."  How about that?  Since the beginning of time nobody ever heard of a blind person healed, nobody!  This idea that you have all through the Bible healings....just flooding the world and somehow that should be the way it is today.  Just not true!

But Jesus comes and how is God going to vindicate His claims?  And how is God going to prove that Jesus is the Messiah?  By granting Him the privilege to do what His power commanded that He could do and that is to create, and to manifest that creative power in healings.  And so when Jesus came into the world there was an explosion of healing that banished illness from Palestine. Jesus gave to the seventy that He sent out and to the twelve Apostles the power to do healing as well because they were preaching Him. They were preaching His Gospel and establishing the Scripture. And at the explosive time in human history when the Messiah came and the Scriptures were penned...the New Testament, healing came to attest to the divinity of Jesus and the divine character of the Gospel and the Scripture.  But as you go past that time, what happens?  Paul is ill and he doesn't get well.  Trophimus is ill later in the New Testament.  Timothy is ill.  And Epaphroditus is ill.  And you come into 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus, the epistles for the church, no mention of healing ministry, no promise of healing. The healing explosion had a purpose and John tells us the purpose. John 20:31,"These have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and believing you might have life in His name."

Now let me close with this.  If anybody can do healing, then what was intended to point to Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the apostles as the ministers of the gospel and the writers of Scripture is confused.  That was a special power for a very special period in redemptive history.  You can see in the New Testament it begins to fade away and certainly we can't expect that today.  God may choose to answer your prayers in a wonderful and providential way and heal someone, but that's not the pattern, and you can't expect that.  You can know that if we pray and God chooses to hear and answer that prayer, He may choose that a person should get well.  It's unlikely that He's going to use some miraculous means to do it.  He may providentially allow that person to recover under medical care.  He may aid in wonderful ways. But I don't know anybody who has ever seen under any effort of prayer a quadriplegic get up out of a wheelchair and walk away.That's not what God does today.  I have never seen such a miracle. I don't know anybody who has. So we know that this is not the norm, but that's okay.

We know that Jesus has the power over the physical, doesn't He?  How do we know that?  Because He demonstrated it, right?  I don't frankly need to be fully healed in this life. I just want to know that in the life to come I'm not going to have to deal with this body, right?  That's the issue.  And Jesus proves to us that He can overpower the fallenness of our body.  Philippians 3:20, "Our citizenship is in heaven from which we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."  Listen to verse 21, "Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory."  Isn't that what we want?  Don't we want an eternal body that can praise God?  Don't we want an eternal voice that can praise God?  Don't we want eternal limbs that can serve God?  Don't we want an eternal mind that can worship God?  Isn't that what we want?  To look for a Messiah who can do that and that's Jesus and He showed that He could do it by His healing miracles.

People always say, "Well isn't there healing in the atonement?"  Sure.  Matthew 8, and when Jesus had come to Peter's home, here's Matthew's account.  "He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.  He touched her hand and the fever left her.  She arose and waited on Him.  And when evening was come they brought in many who were demon-possessed and He cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled saying, 'He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.'" What a statement.  He fulfilled that day in the house of Simon the prophecy of Isaiah that the Messiah when He comes will be able to show that He will remove infirmity and disease.  It doesn't mean that you're guaranteed a temporal healing through salvation but it does mean that you are guaranteed an eternal healing. He will take away all our illness, won't He?  He will take away all our disease ultimately. Frankly, that's all I need to know. I don't really care about here. I don't particularly want to live forever here, do you? But I do want to be all that God can make me to be, perfect in the resurrected image of Jesus Christ. There is healing in the atonement. He did display the power to take away our infirmities and carry away all our diseases and conquer death for us by the amazing power of His miracles. So when you're looking for who is the Savior and who is the Messiah, find somebody who can overpower the tremendously debilitating, decaying, and deadly power of sin.  And Jesus showed that He and He alone had the power to do that.  And that's why we believe He is the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah, the great Deliverer.  (Jesus: The Divine Deliverer, Part 1)

Luke 4:41  Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.

NET  Demons also came out of many, crying out, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

KJV   And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ (added by the Greek Textus Receptus) the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.

ESV And demons also came out of many, crying, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

Related Passage:

 Mark 1:34+ And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons (daimonion) to speak, because they knew who He was. 

A T Robertson on Mark 1:34Various diseases. See Mt. 4:24 about poikilos meaning many-coloured, variegated (“various” like fever, leprosy, blindness. The adjective means literally many colored or variegated like flowers, paintings, jaundice, etc). All sorts of sick folk came and were healed....Devils (daimonia). Demons it should be translated always. Not permitting. Would not allow, imperfect tense of continued refusal. The reason given is “because they knew him”. Whether “to be Christ” is genuine or not, that is the meaning and is a direct reference to Mk 1:24 when in the synagogue the demon recognized and addressed Jesus as the Holy One of God. Testimony from such a source was not calculated to help the cause of Christ with the people. He had told the other demon to be silent. See on Matt. 8:29 for discussion of the word demon.

Demons (daimonionalso were coming out of many -  Mt 8:16 says He cast out the spirits with a word. Mark 1:34+ has He cast out many demons. Note how Luke distinguishes healing (in Lk 4:40) from casting out demons, emphasizing that the two are not related. Some illness was demonic, but most was not. Imagine the scene for a moment. Not just one demon but many demons coming out and screaming and howling continually! Put yourself in the crowd of witnesses! This was a terrifying scene to the people. It was one they would never forget. And what they clearly witnessed was Jesus' power and authority over the demonic world, a world they feared, but a world that clearly feared Him! This should have been convincing proof that this One in authority was none other than the Messiah in the flesh! But as John says toward the end of His 3 year ministry "though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him." (Jn 12:37). A lot of people in America know Who Jesus is but they do not believe in Him! 

ESV Study note - Luke clearly distinguishes between the casting out of demons and healing, showing that not all diseases are due to demonic power, though some diseases do have a demonic origin (cf. Lk 13:10-17; note on Mt. 8:16-17). (Borrow ESV study Bible)

Matthew 8:16-17+ When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.”

Spurgeon on the demons (daimonionalso were coming out and saying... - Perhaps they thought that their testimony would tend to blacken His character. We are, in a sense, pleased when bad men find fault with us, for that is really the best commendation that they can give us; but when they begin to praise us, we feel suspicious that there is something wrong. We think of how Christ acted when the devils said to Him, “ Thou art Christ, the Son of God,” and we would fain have them hold their tongues. What a vile thing sin is, for it makes even good words to be evil when they come out of sinful lips! 

Declared by Demons!
Denied by most men!

Shouting, "You are the Son of God!" - In Mk 1:24+ the demon in the synagogue called Jesus the Holy One of God. Here they call Him the Son of God. In both cases their "theology" is completely orthodox! The present tense is vivid as it pictures them as continually howling, shrieking, and giving testimony to the true identity of Jesus! One has to wonder what went through the minds of the Jews who heard these demons testify to Jesus' divinity! The passage adds that He was not allowing them to speak implying that they may have uttered this one sentence (You are the Son of God) and then He shut their mouths. 

Life Application - Why didn't Jesus want the demons to reveal who he was? (1) Jesus commanded them to remain silent to show his authority over them. (2) Jesus wanted his listeners to believe he was the Messiah because of his words, not because of the demons' words. (3) Jesus was going to reveal his identity according to God's timetable, and he would not be pushed by Satan's evil plans. The demons called Jesus "Son of God" or "the Holy One sent from God" (Lk 4:34) because they knew he was the Christ. But Jesus was going to show himself to be the suffering servant before he became the great King. To reveal his identity as King too soon would stir up the crowds with the wrong expectations of what he had come to do.

John MacArthur - As Jesus went and preached He literally shattered the demonic world.  They like to be clandestine.  They like to stay hidden.  They like to do their work covertly.  They like to be behind the scenes.  They like to where a gray flannel suit and appear very, very normal.  They don't want to reveal themselves.  But under the preaching of Jesus when He stepped into the scene, they knew exactly who He was.  He traumatized them.  He terrorized them.  Remember they were living inside people.  Demons take up residence and they...and they literally possess people and they dominate their thinking and they torment them.  And they stay there in a hidden fashion (Sermon)

The Son of God  - MacArthur makes an interesting comment that this is "an involuntary comment (by the demons). They don't want to say it if they can help it." In short, the demons make confessions regarding Jesus as He performs exorcisms. As in Lk 4:34-35, Jesus silences the effort. Luke will use this title "Son of God" only twice more in Lk 8:22, when the storm is calmed, and in Lk 22:70, when Jesus is asked at his trial by the High Priest if he is this figure in a context where being Messiah and Son of Man are the points of dispute. It is amazing that the demons destined for eternal hell knew full well that Jesus was God, a critical truth that the cults like Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons fail to acknowledge and will also suffer eternal separation from Him in the Lake of Fire (geenna)! The wages of sin is eternal death, but the wages of deception in this context is also eternal death!

NET Note - Note how Luke associates Son of God with Messiah (Christ) in this context, a regal connection with OT roots (Ps 2:7). 

But rebuking (epitimaothem - Rebuking (addressed also to the demon in the synagogue in Capernaum - Mk 1:25+, cf Mk 3:12 warned = epitimao) means to express strong disapproval of these demons, to censure them and to warn them. Jesus was continually (present tense) rebuking them.

He would not allow (eao) them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ (Christos) - Jesus is clearly demonstrating His power over the demons by not allowing them to speak. So not only does Jesus have power over the natural (the high fever) but over the supernatural! He Who could rebuke a fever, could just as easily rebuke a demon! 

NET Note on He would not allow them to speak - Jesus would not allow the demons to speak because the time for such disclosure was not yet at hand, and such a revelation would have certainly been misunderstood by the people. In all likelihood, if the people had understood him early on to be the Son of God, or Messiah, they would have reduced his mission to one of political deliverance from Roman oppression (cf. John 6:15). Jesus wanted to avoid, as much as possible, any premature misunderstanding about who he was and what he was doing. However, at the end of his ministry, he did not deny such a title when the high priest asked him (Lk 22:66–71). 

For more on this Topic of Not Permitting them to Speak see Daniel Akin's note below

This story reminds us of Paul's demonic encounter in   Philippi "It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.  (Acts 16:16-18-note)

John MacArthur applies this truth about Jesus' authority over the demons - Sinners don't just wander around independently having their own thoughts.  They are literally the victims of demons. They may not all be possessed by demons. They may not all be dominated and tormented by demons who dwell in them, but they all have bought into demonic lies, one way or another. They're all blinded, ignorant, empty-minded, because the god of this world has blinded their minds. It is critical not only that we have our bodies delivered from the curse of sin, but that our minds be free.  We want to have the full mind of Christ. We want to have our minds purged and purified.  We want to think the way God thinks.  So these demons in an involuntary way scream out the truth.  Jesus doesn't want the truth from demon-possessed people and He doesn't want them precipitating some mob effort to force Him to become the Messiah so He rebukes them.  But more than that, He rebukes them to show us that He has total power over them. That's critical.Darkened minds, blinded minds devoid of truth, corrupt minds, reprobate minds, those are the playgrounds of demons. We're talking from sophisticated religious cults all the way to immorality, all the way to insanity, all of that is the playground of demons. It's all ideas, thought patterns raised up against the knowledge of God.  And men need their minds delivered from those supernatural influences and Jesus proves that He can do it. (Sermon)

Shouting (2905)(kraugazo from  krauge - outcry from krazo = clamor or cry = a word like "croak" ~ suggests a rough and guttural sound = croaking of ravens = croak or cry out with a loud, raucous voice like donkey in Job 6:5, childbirth Is 26:17, war cry in Josh 6:16) means to cry out loud, to clamor, yell loudly, to shout with intensity, to make an outcry, in some contexts to scream or howl (one especially thinks of the demons screaming, croaking and howling! What a scene!) Term was used of a dog's barking, a raven's squawking and even a drunk's bawling.

Webster says clamor is "noisy shouting" and describes those who "become loudly insistent" making a vehement protest or demand."  

Kraugazo describes the cry of the demons (Lk 4:4), the cry of Jesus for Lazarus to "come forth" (Jn 11:43 - in utter irony for Jesus' cry to give life to Lazarus results in cries for His life!), as Jesus entered Jerusalem on Psalm Sunday the crowds cried out "Hosanna" (Jn 12:13), the Jewish mob crying to Pilate to release Barabbas (Jn 18:40, 19:12), and finally the Jewish mob escalating their cry to "Crucify! Crucify!" (Jn 19:6). Notice all of these are emotion filled, tense moments. 

Barclay says the root verb krazo describes "a cry which a man does not choose to utter but is wrung from him in the stress of some tremendous tension or searing pain."

TDNT note on this entire word group - krazo, krauge, kraugazo - 1. In the Greek world the group has religious significance in connection with the demonic sphere (invoking the gods of the underworld) and magic (incantations). The Greeks and Romans mostly felt that such crying was unworthy of the gods. The verbs also occur for proclamation, e.g., of the mysteries of Eleusis. 2. The Greek OT (Lxx) uses the group for crying to God in times of need. God graciously hears such crying (Ex. 22:22; Judg. 3:9; Pss. 22:5; 34:7, 17, etc.), but he will not hear the cries of the wicked (Mic. 3:4; Jer. 11:11). In the Psalms this crying takes on a special form which expresses a confident appeal for a hearing and an answer (Pss. 27:7; 28:1). There is here no magical attempt to force God; the crying to God may be both sorrowful (Ps. 22:2) and joyful (Ps. 55:17). A different usage occurs in Is. 6, where the seraphim cry “Holy, holy, holy” (v. 3). Different again is Is. 42:2, where the Servant will not cry or lift up his voice. Jeremiah, however, is to cry to God, and he is granted a great vision of restoration (33:3ff.). 3. In Judaism Josephus uses the group for the proclamation of the prophets, while the rabbis use the equivalents to introduce quotations, i.e., in the formula: “The Holy Spirit (or a prophet) cries and says.…”

Kraugazo - 10x in 10v - Usage: cried(5), cry(1), crying(2), shout(1), shouting(1). Matt. 12:19; Lk. 4:41; Lk. 18:39; Jn. 11:43; Jn. 12:13; Jn. 18:40; Jn. 19:6; Jn. 19:12; Jn. 19:15; Acts 22:23 The only use in the Lxx is Ezra 3:13.

The Christ (See also Messiah - Anointed One)(5547)(Christos from chrio = to rub or anoint, consecrate to an office) means one who has been anointed, symbolizing appointment to a task. The majority of the NT uses refer to Jesus (exceptions = "false Christs" - Mt 24:24, Mk 13:22). Bock adds "The presence of this explanation that Jesus is the anointed one and its equation with Son of God in this scene is only noted by Luke. Just as in Luke 1:31-35, the stress is on Jesus as the unique messianic Son."

  • See related word - messias - Messiah

Jesus' prohibition to the demons is often referred to in Mark's Gospel as the Messianic Secret - On several occasions in the Gospel of Mark Jesus tells someone not to tell, either who He is, or what they have seen that would demonstrate who He is. This is called the Messianic Secret.

Daniel Akin on why Jesus was not permitting the demons to speak (and similar statement to leper in Mk 1:44) - This raises an important and interesting issue discussed by both believing and unbelieving ("CRITICAL") scholars called “The Messianic Secret.” James Edwards helps us to see why the question was raised in the first place when he writes,

On three occasions demons are enjoined to silence (Mark 1:25; Mk 1:34; Mk 3:11). Jesus commands silence after four miracles (cleansing of a leper, Mk 1:44; raising of a dead girl, Mk 5:43; healing of a deaf-mute, Mk 7:36; healing of blind man, Mk 8:26). Twice the disciples are commanded to silence (Mk 8:30; 9:9). Twice Jesus withdraws from crowds to escape detection (Mk 7:24; Mk 9:30). Beyond these explicit admonitions to secrecy, Mark implies secrecy in other aspects of Jesus’ public ministry. But, ironically, the command to silence often results in the opposite: “the more he [commanded to silence], the more they kept talking about it” (Mk 7:36; Mk 1:45;Mk 5:20; Mk 7:24). (p. 63).

When one considers the historical context, Messianic expectations and the nature of how the Kingdom has come and will grow, several observations can be made about this interesting phenomenon.

Why did Jesus hide and conceal His Messiahship during His ministry?

1) To avoid the impression of being a mere miracle worker (a divine man) or magician since so many commands to silence accompany a miraculous work.

2) To avoid unnecessary and unhelpful publicity in order to have more moments of private teaching and peace with His disciples.

3) To avoid the mistaken idea of the type of Messiah he would be. His Messiahship was to be manifested through service and suffering, not sensational displays of miraculous activity which would excite political messianic fever. 

4) To express His humility as the Suffering Servant of the Lord. 6 5) To inform us that only through the medium of faith (ultimately in a crucified and humiliated Jesus of Nazareth) is His Messiahship personally apprehended. (cf. I Corinthians 1-2).

6) To avoid recognition from an undesirable source such as the demonic.

7) To point to the hostility of the religious and political leadership and to mark clearly Jesus’ own choice of the destined hour of His passion.

The idea that this is a Markan creation to explain why Jesus was not recognized as Messiah prior to the Easter event is untenable and should be rejected as liberal conjecture grounded in an anti-supernatural bias. That Hebrews rooted in Jewish monotheism would have conceived of, much less fabricated, Jesus as Messiah in terms of His divine Sonship is simply not believable. No, the Messianic Secret arose from Jesus Himself, and His self conscious identification with Isaiah’s Suffering Servant of the Lord and the need to guard his messianic identity from premature and false understandings. He was the Messiah, but He was not the kind of Messiah the 1st century world hoped for. However, He was the kind of Messiah that world, indeed the whole world, truly and genuinely needed. Our greatest need is not sickness but sin, not demons but death. No, we needed a Messiah who would give his life as a ransom, a payment, for sinners like you and me. Praise God, he sent us the kind of Messiah we needed!

Luke 4:42  When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them.

Related Passage

Mark 1:35+ -  In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.

A T Robertson on Mark 1:35 - In the early morning, while it was still dark. Luke has only “when day came”. The word prōi in Mark means the last watch of the night from three to six A.M. Ennucha lian means in the early part of the watch while it was still a bit dark. Rose up and went out....Gould notes that Jesus seems to retreat before his sudden popularity, to prayer with the Father “that He might not be ensnared by this popularity, or in any way induced to accept the ways of ease instead of duty.” But Jesus also had a plan for a preaching tour of Galilee and “He felt He could not begin too soon. He left in the night, fearing opposition from the people” (Bruce). Surely many a popular preacher can understand this mood of Jesus when in the night He slips away to a solitary place for prayer. He knew the blessing of prayer and the power of prayer. And there prayed. Imperfect tense picturing Jesus as praying through the early morning hours.


When day came Jesus left - This would be our Sunday after the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday. Mark adds "in the early morning while it was still dark." Days come and days go. Such are the days of our lives. Jesus knew His time was short and redeemed every moment, here the Son arising even before the Sun arose! This shows us Jesus' Humanity (seeking rest in the presence of the Father after an exhausting day) and Jesus' dependence on His Father and His willingness to humbly submit to His will. 

THOUGHT - Should we have any less sense of urgency, especially since we do not know the number of our days (Ps 90:12, James 4:14+)! Are you redeeming the time you have for time or for eternity (Eph 5:15, 16+)? You don't want to miss the "opportunity of a lifetime!" (See Redeem the Time).

And went to a secluded place (eremos) - Secluded place is the same world translated wilderness in Lk 4:1+. Luke does not state why but Mark 1:35+ adds He "was praying there." This is a good model to follow. It's difficult to pray with earnest when in the midst of the tempest of life! Jesus' example also teaches us the need for rest after work (Jesus' encounter with the demonic). After work, it is good to rest in proportion with an added portion of prayer. Mark 1:36-37+ suggests Jesus' time of seclusion was short-lived, for He was a popular Person in high demand.

And the crowds were searching for (epizeteoHim, and came to Him -  Luke says the crowd were searching for Jesus, whereas Mk 1:36+ says Simon and his companions searched for Him. Jesus was a popular Fellow! The Greek verb (epizeteo) for searching speaks of in pursuit of Jesus "in hot haste." Mark uses a different verb katedioko but the idea is the same as it describes eagerly hunting for someone. Why? Because the crowds had seen what He had done. They witnessed His power over the natural world, His power over the supernatural world, and quite naturally they wanted to hold onto Him. Who wouldn't? His display of amazing power over disease and demons drew the crowds back to Him. Luke continues this description of the crowds pursuing Jesus in the next chapter - See Luke 5:1+, Luke 5:19+ and in Luke 6:19+ and Luke 8:19, 40+, and finally Luke 12:1+. Imagine His ministry during this time -- one huge crowd after another. They were coming primarily because He could heal diseases and deliver from demons, but in Luke 4:43, Luke reminds us of His true purpose which was to preach the Gospel throughout the land of Israel. (cf Mark 1:38+)

And tried to keep (katechoHim from going away from them - ESV has "and would have kept him from leaving them." Jesus' reception in Capernaum (they wanted Him to stay) is diametrically the opposite of His reception in His hometown of Nazareth (Lk 4:24+) where they actually tried to kill Him! (Lk 4:28-30+). Capernaum would see Jesus again for it would be Christ's center of operations for a while. 

Related Resource:

Secluded place (2048)(eremos) when used as an adjective, normally describes places which are abandoned, desolate, or unpopulated. Eremos "is an adjectival form used primarily in the nominal sense of "wilderness," "desert"' (Renn)  A desolate place (Mt 14:15, Mk 6:35). Summary of eremos - (1) empty, uninhabited place, abandoned, lonely, desolate (Mt 14:13, 15; Mk 1:35, 45; 6:31, 32, 35; Lk 4:42; 9:10), (2) figuratively describes a woman who is solitary, unmarried (Gal 4.27 quoting Isa 54:1); (3) describes an uncultivated or uninhabited place, a desert, wilderness ( Lk 15.4) 

General references to "wilderness" include Mt. 14:13; 24:26; Mk 6:31 ff.; Lk 5:16; 15:4; Jn 11:54; Acts 21:38; Rev 12:6, 14; 17:3. References to Israel's wandering in the "wilderness" between Egypt and Canaan are found in John 6:31, 49; Acts 7:30 ff.; 13:18; 1 Cor. 10:5; Heb. 3:8, 17, emphasizing the divine actions of both blessing and judgment.

The first two NT uses describe John the Baptist who preached (Mt 3:1) and cried out (Mt 3:3, Mk 1:3, Jn 1:23, Luke 1:80, 3:2, 4; Lk 7:24 refers to John the Baptist) in the wilderness preparing the people for the coming of Christ. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (Mt 4:1, Lk 4:1, Mk 1:12, 13). Eremos refers to a secluded place that Jesus would go to (Mt 14:13, Mk 1:35, Lk 4:42, 5:16, cf Mk 6:31, 32, Jesus' invited His disciples to join Him in a "secluded place" Mk 6:31, 32). In Matthew 24:26 eremos describes the wilderness where false Christs will appear in the end times. Mark 1:45 refers to unpopulated areas, the only place He could minister after He became so popular. Jesus compared Himself to "manna in the wilderness" (Jn 6:31, 49) When antagonism to Jesus increased, He had to go to the wilderness (Jn 11:54). The angel (Angel of the Lord) appeared to Moses in the wilderness (Acts 7:30, 38). 

In Mt 23:38 Jesus declared “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" referring to judgment on Israel for rejecting her Messiah at His first coming, where the house could be their Temple (which would be desolate in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed it) or a broader reference to Jerusalem's leadership. MacArthur adds "Because she not only had forsaken God’s commandments but even His own Son, Israel would now be left desolate, subject to the vagaries of an ungodly world that would mock her, despise her, and persecute her people from city to city just as she would soon do with the prophets, wise men, and scribes Christ would send to her." In Acts 1:20 "LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE" refers to the fate of Judas the betrayer

In the Septuagint eremos is used to translate Negev (south country) in Ge. 12:9; 13:1,3; 14:6. As one might imagine eremos is used frequently in the Septuagint to describe the wilderness of Sinai and the following wilderness wanderings of Israel, including their rebellions in the wilderness (Nu 1:1,19; 3:4,14; 9:1,5; 10:12,31; 12:16; cf Ps 78:15, 40, 52, Ps 95:8, 106:9, 14, 26, Ps 107:4, 136:16). In Pr 21:19 it is said to be better to live in a desert (eremos) than with a contentious woman!

Gilbrant comments on the Classical Greek and Septuagint Usage of eremos - The word erēmos is properly an adjective, but it may also be used as a noun. In classical Greek it is primarily used as an adjective meaning “desolate, lonely,” or “solitary.” Erēmos may describe places which have been abandoned or which have very few if any inhabitants. It may describe persons or animals. When erēmos is used of human beings, it frequently refers to poor, friendless persons. It may also modify words pertaining to court decisions where one party does not appear and the other party wins by default. In the papyri erēmos describes a village which has been deserted as well as a beach which is desert-like. It is also used in the legal sense of “default” when one party fails to appear (see Moulton-Milligan). The Septuagint almost always uses erēmos as a noun meaning “desert” or “wilderness.” But it may be used as an adjective meaning “desolate” (Nehemiah 2:17). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Zodhiates on eremos - adjective. Desolate, deserted, lonely. Used as a noun and translated "wilderness" thirty-two times in the kjv. Also with the meanings desert, desolate, waste (Matt. 14:13, 15; 23:38; Mark 1:35, 45; 6:31, 32, 35; Luke 4:42; 9:10, 12; 13:35; Acts 1:20; 8:26; Sept.: Lev. 26:31, 33; Neh. 2:17; Jer. 33:10, 12 [cf. Ps. 69:25]). As a subst. with chóra <5561>, country, land or region implied, a desert, wilderness (Matt. 4:1; John 3:14; 6:31; Acts 7:30, 36). Sometimes it denotes no more than an uncultivated piece of ground used for pasture in distinction from arable or enfenced land (Luke 15:4). Used of a woman meaning solitary, destitute of a husband, unmarried (Gal. 4:27 quoted from Isa. 54:1). As a subst., hē érēmos, referring to chóra <5561>, region, a solitary desert, equivalent to erēmía <2047>, i.e., an uninhabited and uncultivated tract of country (Matt. 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:23, all quoted from Isa. 40:3. See also Matt. 11:7; 24:26; Luke 5:16; 7:24; 8:29; Rev. 12:6, 14; 17:3). Spoken of the desert of Judea, i.e., the southeastern part of Judea from the Jordan along the Dead Sea which was mostly uninhabited (Matt. 3:1; Mark 1:4; Luke 1:80; 3:2 [cf. Judg. 1:16]); of the desert or mountainous region where Jesus was tempted, probably near Jericho (Matt. 4:1; Mark 1:12, 13; Luke 4:1); of a desert probably between the Mount of Olives and Jericho (Acts 21:38). As to John 11:54 see Ephraím <2187>. Of the Arabian Desert between Mount Sinai and Palestine (John 3:14; 6:31, 49; Acts 7:30, 36, 38, 42, 44; 13:18; 1 Cor. 10:5; Heb. 3:8, 17; Sept.: Ps. 78:15, 19; 136:16). (Complete Word Study Dictionary)

Eremos - 48x in 48v - Usage: desert(2), deserts(1), desolate(6), open pasture(1), secluded(5), unpopulated(1), wilderness(32). Eremos and John the Baptist = Mt 3:1, Mt 3:3, Mt 11:7, Mk 1:3, Mk 1:4, Lk 1:80, Lk 3:2, 3:4, Lk 7:24, Jn 1:23 Eremos and Jesus = Mt 4:1, Mk 1:12, 13,  Lk 5:16 Eremos describes the place Jesus went to commune with His Father - Mt 14:13, Mk 1:35.

48x in 48v -  Matt. 3:1; Matt. 3:3; Matt. 4:1; Matt. 11:7; Matt. 14:13; Matt. 14:15; Matt. 23:38; Matt. 24:26; Mk. 1:3; Mk. 1:4; Mk. 1:12; Mk. 1:13; Mk. 1:35; Mk. 1:45; Mk. 6:31; Mk. 6:32; Mk. 6:35; Lk. 1:80; Lk. 3:2; Lk. 3:4; Lk. 4:1; Lk. 4:42; Lk. 5:16; Lk. 7:24; Lk. 8:29; Lk. 9:12; Lk. 15:4; Jn. 1:23; Jn. 3:14; Jn. 6:31; Jn. 6:49; Jn. 11:54; Acts 1:20; Acts 7:30; Acts 7:36; Acts 7:38; Acts 7:42; Acts 7:44; Acts 8:26; Acts 13:18; Acts 21:38; 1 Co. 10:5; Gal. 4:27; Heb. 3:8; Heb. 3:17; Rev. 12:6; Rev. 12:14; Rev. 17:3

Eremos - 342x in 328v in the Septuagint - Gen. 12:9; 13:1,3; 14:6; 16:7; 21:14,20f; 24:62; 36:24; 37:22; Exod. 3:1,18; 4:27; 5:1,3; 7:16; 8:20,27f; 13:18,20; 14:3,11f; 15:22; 16:1,3,10,14,32; 17:1; 18:5; 19:1f; 23:29,31; Lev. 7:38; 16:10,21f; 26:31,33; Num. 1:1,19; 3:4,14; 9:1,5; 10:12,31; 12:16; 13:3,17,21f,26; 14:2,16,22,25,29,32f,35; 15:32; 16:13; 20:1,4; 21:1,5,11,13,20,23; 23:28; 24:1; 26:61,64f; 27:3,14; 32:13,15; 33:6,8,11f,15f,36; 34:3; Deut. 1:1,19,31,40; 2:1,7f,26; 4:43,45; 6:4; 7:22; 8:2,15f; 9:7,28; 11:5,24; 29:5; 32:10,51; 34:3; Jos. 1:4; 5:6; 12:8; 14:10; 15:1,21; 16:1; 20:8; 21:36,42; 24:7; Jdg. 1:16; 8:7,16; 11:16,18,22; 20:42,45,47; 1 Sam. 4:8; 23:14,24f; 24:1; 25:1,4,7,14,21; 26:2f; 2 Sam. 2:24; 15:18,23,28; 16:2; 17:16,29; 1 Ki. 2:34; 4:20; 19:4,15; 2 Ki. 2:8; 3:8; 1 Chr. 5:9; 6:78; 12:8; 21:29; 2 Chr. 1:3; 8:4; 20:16,20,24; 24:9; 26:10; Ezr. 9:9; Neh. 2:17; 9:19,21; Est. 8:12; Job 1:19; 15:28; 38:26; 39:6; Ps. 29:8; 55:7; 63:1; 65:12; 68:7; 75:6; 78:15,19,40,52; 95:8; 106:9,14,26; 107:4,33,35; 136:16; Prov. 9:12; 21:19; Cant. 3:6; Isa. 1:7; 5:9,17; 6:11; 13:9; 14:17,23; 15:6; 16:1,8; 17:9; 21:1; 24:12; 30:6; 32:15f; 34:11; 35:1f,6; 40:3; 41:18; 42:11; 43:19f; 44:26; 48:21; 49:8,19; 50:2; 51:3; 52:9; 54:1; 58:12; 61:4; 62:4; 63:13; 64:10; Jer. 2:6,15,24,31; 4:11,26f; 9:2,10,12,26; 12:10,12; 13:24; 17:6; 22:6; 23:10; 25:24; 31:2; 33:10,12; 34:22; 44:2; 48:6; 49:13; 50:12; Lam. 4:3,19; 5:9; Ezek. 5:14; 6:14; 13:4; 14:8; 19:13; 20:10,13,15,17f,21,23,35f; 23:42; 25:13; 26:20; 29:9f; 30:12; 33:28f; 34:25; 35:3f,7,12,14f; 36:2,33,35,38; 38:8; Dan. 4:25; 9:17; Hos. 2:3,14; 9:10; 13:5,15; Joel 1:19f; 2:22; Amos 2:10; 5:25; Zeph. 2:13; Hag. 1:9; Zech. 14:10; Mal. 1:3f;

Searching (imperfect tense = over and over - vivid picture of their search)(1934)(epizeteo from epi = intensifies meaning + zeteo = try to learn location of something, searching for) means to search or look for (people [Jesus] Lk 4:42). While their action was commendable in one sense, their motive was less commendable. They were seeking Jesus not for His good news of spiritual healing but His great power of physical healing and authority over the demons. They missed the significance of His miraculous signs. They forgot that signs (as we commonly use the term) point to something beyond the sign itself. Sadly, the crowds fixated on the signs He performed and missed the forgiveness He proclaimed! 

Epizeteo - 12v -  craves(1), eagerly seek(2), searched(1), searching(1), seek(2), seeking(3), seeks after(1), sought(1), want(1). Matt. 6:32; Matt. 12:39; Matt. 16:4; Lk. 4:42; Lk. 12:30; Acts 12:19; Acts 13:7; Acts 19:39; Rom. 11:7; Phil. 4:17; Heb. 11:14; Heb. 13:14

Tried to keep (restrained) (2722)(katecho) is used here literally of holding Jesus to keep Him from going. Did they physically hold Him? I doubt it! Katecho is used figuratively to describe the Holy Spirit's restraining ministry during this age (2 Th 2:6-7). Katecho is used of the seed (Word) "in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." (Lk 8:15+) It is used of men "who (continually present tense) suppress the truth in unrighteousness." (Ro 1:18+). An important use is found in 1 Cor 15:2+ referring to the Gospel "by which also you are saved, if you hold fast (the only one who can hold it fast is one who has the "Enabler" the Holy Spirit, Who indwells EVERY true believer) the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain." (cf similar use of katecho in Hebrews 3:6+). 

Katecho - 18v - afflicted(1), bound(1), heading(1),, hold fast(5), hold firmly(1), keep(2), occupy(1), possess(1), possessing(1), restrains(2), suppress(1). Lk. 4:42; Lk. 8:15; Lk. 14:9; Jn. 5:4; Acts 27:40; Rom. 1:18; Rom. 7:6; 1 Co. 7:30; 1 Co. 11:2; 1 Co. 15:2; 2 Co. 6:10; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Thess. 2:6; 2 Thess. 2:7; Phlm. 1:13; Heb. 3:6; Heb. 3:14; Heb. 10:23

J D Jones on THE POWER ROOM (from his comments on the parallel passage in Mark 1:35) - And let us never forget that what is true of Christ's sermons is also true of Christ's miracles—they cost. Power, one of the evangelists tells us, went forth from Him (Luke 8:46+). Every act of healing was a drain upon His vitality. It cost Him life to restore life to others. Now if that be so He must have been a tired Christ that Sabbath evening. The day had cost Him much in desire and compassion and sympathy, and He might fairly claim to have earned His rest. But it is not of rest we read, but of new and costly activities. (see Mk 1:32,33) All the city at the door, and within a tired Christ! But he makes no mention of weariness. Out of Simon's house into the midst of that pathetic crowd He passes, carrying healing and blessing with Him. What tireless activity is this! Christ spent Himself in the service of men. He lived under the constraint of a great urgency. "We must work the works of Him that sent Me while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work" (John 9:4). And side by side with this picture of Christ in the midst of His activities, we have a picture of Christ in the midst of His devotions. "In the morning, a great while before day, He rose up and went out, and departed into a desert place, and there prayed" (ver. 35, R.V.). There is the most close and intimate connexion between the one picture and the other. I was once taken through the engineering shops in the Devonport dockyard. I saw innumerable machines busy at various kinds of work, most of them making considerable noise in the process. Then my conductor took me to a room which by contrast was almost silent, where a great engine was working smoothly and quietly. "The Power-room" "This," said he, "is the power-room." In that quiet room I found the secret of the multifarious activities of the machines in the various shops. In Mark 1:32-34, Mark has been showing us our Lord's various activities. In Mark 1:35 he takes us to the "power-room." Back of all the activities of the synagogue and the street lay a life of secret prayer. In communion with His Father, Jesus refreshed and renewed Himself for further labour and toil amongst men. "A great while before day"—Jesus made time for prayer! He snatched it from His sleep. An Example for us. What an object-lesson as to the indispensable necessity of prayer! We realise the obligation of service in these days, and consequently we have become very "busy." But are we neglecting the "POWER ROOM"? We must keep the balance true. We must never become too busy to pray. "This kind," said our Lord, "can come out by nothing, save by prayer" (Mark 9:29, R.V.). (Mark Commentary)

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."

NET  But Jesus said to them, "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, for that is what I was sent to do."

NLT   But he replied, "I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent."

CSB   But He said to them, "I must proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose."



But He said to them, "I must (dei) preach (euaggelizo/euangelizo) the kingdom (basileiaof God to the other cities also - Also means not just here in Capernaum (and previously in Nazareth - Lk 4:16+). Must is a verb that speaks of obligation or necessity and in this context speaks of His divine commission (cf. Lk 2:49+).

THOUGHT - It was a necessity for Jesus and it is a necessity for all who call themselves followers of Jesus. Preach the Gospel with your (supernatural, Spirit enabled) life to be sure, but that does not replace preaching (boldly empowered by the Spirit) with your lips! There is a catchy saying that I have heard and when I was a younger believer bought into, but it is not Biblical. What is the saying? "Preach the Gospel with your life and if necessary use words." The bottom line for Jesus is it is always necessary to use words. After all, He had preached with His life with countless miracles, but He saw His ultimate purpose (other than of course the Cross) was to preach the Gospel, the good news of the Kingdom of God. For believers, the "kingdom" is where the King reigns and that is in our hearts! Is He the King of your heart? Are you like David, a man or woman after His heart, who seeks to do all His will? (Acts 13:22+). 

John MacArthur comments - He came not merely to demonstrate His power over the effects of sin in the body by physical healing and the mind by overcoming demonic influence, but most importantly His power to overcome sin’s eternal consequences. For that to happen required repentance and faith in the gospel preached (cf. Rom. 10:13-17). Only by faith in the truth preached could sinners be rescued from Satan’s kingdom of darkness and enter into the kingdom of God (See Luke Commentary).

The Kingdom of God - One must understand that there are at least two phases to the Kingdom of God. The first phase is the invisible, internal Kingdom of God which Jesus is preaching about and which He later described as "in your midst” (Lk 17:21+), the Kingdom in which the King reigns in the heart of the person who has accepted Jesus as Messiah. When the King returns on "the day that the Son of Man is revealed," (Lk 17:30+) the heart of every person will also be revealed as to whether they sought the kingdom of "SELF" or the kingdom of the SAVIOR! The future phase of the Kingdom of God is known as the Messianic Age or the Millennial Kingdom.(See more detailed explanation of Jesus' meaning of the Kingdom of God in notes on Luke 17:20-21).

The kingdom of God  "refers to the promised rule of God. Jesus preaches and brings this kingdom (Ed: Of course only to those who receive His message by grace through faith!). It (The kingdom of God) is both present with Jesus, having been prepared for by John the Baptist (Luke 7:28; 11:20; 16:16; 17:21) and yet to come in fullness in the future (Luke 19:11 = " they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately." Ed: See also Acts 1:6 "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" This future kingdom refers to the Millennium). In fullness, it is the promised rule of God on the earth with the righteous vindicated and the wicked judged. In the present, it is the arrival of forgiveness and the presence of the Spirit, an arrival that is based on Jesus' authority to defeat the spiritual forces of evil (see the parable in Lk 11:21-23). As this verse makes clear, the kingdom is the topic of Jesus' preaching the good news." (Darrell Bock - Bible Knowledge Key Word Study - The Gospels)

The only kingdom that will prevail in this world
is the kingdom that is not of this world!

To the other cities also - Nazareth had rejected Him. Capernaum had basked in the light of His miraculous power, but there is no description that they received His good news (cf Jn 1:11). So now other cities in Israel needed to hear Messiah's message of freedom Jesus had proclaimed in Nazareth (Lk 4:18-19+). 

For - This strategic term of explanation is another cause to pause and ponder. What is Luke explaining?

I was sent (apostello) for this purpose - The word "purpose" is added for clarity. This is clearly the language of divine commission. Jesus repeatedly affirmed that the Father had sent Him with a purpose (read Mt. 10:40; Mk 9:37; Luke 10:16; John 4:34; 5:24, 30, 36, 37; 6:38, 39, 44, 57; 7:16, 28, 29, 33; 8:16, 18, 26, 29, 42; 9:4; 11:42; 12:44, 45, 49; 13:20; 14:24; 15:21; 16:5; 17:8, 18, 21, 23, 25; 20:21). What purpose? To preach the Gospel, the only news that has the intrinsic power to break the power of sin and Satan and death.

Must (necessary, ought) (1163)(dei from deo = to bind or tie objects together, put in prison and also root of doulos, bond-servant) refers to what is not optional but needful (binding) out of intrinsic necessity or inevitability. Dei refers to inward constraint which is why it is often translated "must". Dei describes that which is under the necessity of happening or which must necessarily take place, and as stated above, conveys a sense of inevitability. To express the sense of necessity dei is translated "one ought", "one should", "one has to" or "one must". In English dictionaries must means to be obliged and expresses both physical and moral necessity or insistence. Must speaks of something that should not be overlooked or missed. Must is used to indicate requirement by immediate or future need or purpose.

Dei is used more frequently by Luke than any other NT writer (39/97 verses)  - Lk. 2:49; Lk. 4:43; Lk. 9:22; Lk. 11:42; Lk. 12:12; Lk. 13:14; Lk. 13:16; Lk. 13:33; Lk. 15:32; Lk. 17:25; Lk. 18:1; Lk. 19:5; Lk. 21:9; Lk. 22:7; Lk. 22:37; Lk. 24:7; Lk. 24:26; Lk. 24:44; Acts 1:16; Acts 1:21; Acts 3:21; Acts 4:12; Acts 5:29; Acts 9:6; Acts 9:16; Acts 14:22; Acts 15:5; Acts 16:30; Acts 17:3; Acts 19:21; Acts 20:35; Acts 23:11; Acts 24:19; Acts 25:10; Acts 25:24; Acts 26:9; Acts 27:21; Acts 27:24; Acts 27:26

Kingdom (932)(basileia from basileus = a sovereign, king, monarch) denotes sovereignty, royal power, dominion. Basileia can also refer to the territory or people over whom a king rules.  The Bible teaches that there are two kingdoms at war, the kingdom of this world (cf "present evil world" Gal 1:4KJV+, James 4:4+, 1 Jn 2:15-17+) headed by Satan (see Lk 4:5-6+, see especially verse 6, cf 1 Jn 5:19+) and the Kingdom of God headed by Jesus (cf Jn 18:37+, Rev 19:16+). The Gospel of Kingdom which Jesus proclaimed (Mt 4:23) is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and that is the only message that can rescue a lost soul from the dominion of Satan and transfer them to the Kingdom of God. We see that clearly in God's "purpose statement" for the life of Paul when he was converted on the Damascus Road...

But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing (DELIVERING) you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you (TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL AND PREACH JESUS), 18 to open their eyes (THE "SPIRITUAL EYES" OF THEIR HEART) so that (PURPOSE STATEMENT) they may turn from (THE KINGDOM OF) darkness to (THE KINGDOM OF) light and from the dominion (AUTHORITY - RIGHT AND MIGHT) of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ (Acts 26:16-18-note

Holman Study Bible has an interesting description of the kingdom of God: This is the first of more than 30 times that the kingdom of God is mentioned in Luke's Gospel. A full-blown concept of the kingdom includes: (1) the King (ruler), (2) the rule itself (authority to rule), (3) the realm being ruled (this world), and (4) those ruled (individuals who believe the gospel). The kingdom of God is already present in at least some senses (Matt. 12:28) but also still future (Matt. 6:10).

Kingdom of God - 66x in 65v - 31 times in the Gospel of Luke, 7 times in Acts - Matt. 12:28; Matt. 19:24; Matt. 21:31; Matt. 21:43; Mk. 1:15; Mk. 4:11; Mk. 4:26; Mk. 4:30; Mk. 9:1; Mk. 9:47; Mk. 10:14; Mk. 10:15; Mk. 10:23; Mk. 10:24; Mk. 10:25; Mk. 12:34; Mk. 14:25; Mk. 15:43; Lk. 4:43; Lk. 6:20; Lk. 7:28; Lk. 8:1; Lk. 8:10; Lk. 9:2; Lk. 9:11; Lk. 9:27; Lk. 9:60; Lk. 9:62; Lk. 10:9; Lk. 10:11; Lk. 11:20; Lk. 13:18; Lk. 13:20; Lk. 13:28; Lk. 13:29; Lk. 14:15; Lk. 16:16; Lk. 17:20; Lk. 17:21; Lk. 18:16; Lk. 18:17; Lk. 18:24; Lk. 18:25; Lk. 18:29; Lk. 19:11; Lk. 21:31; Lk. 22:16; Lk. 22:18; Lk. 23:51; Jn. 3:3; Jn. 3:5; Acts 1:3; Acts 8:12; Acts 14:22; Acts 19:8; Acts 28:23; Acts 28:31; Rom. 14:17; 1 Co. 4:20; 1 Co. 6:9; 1 Co. 6:10; 1 Co. 15:50; Gal. 5:21; Col. 4:11; 2 Th 1:5

QUESTION - . What is the kingdom of God? See video on the Kingdom of God

ANSWER - The kingdom of God is referenced often in the gospels (e.g., Mark 1:15; 10:15; 15:43; Luke 17:20) and other places in the New Testament (e.g., Acts 28:31; Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 15:50). The kingdom of God is synonymous with the kingdom of heaven.

The concept of the kingdom of God takes on various shades of meaning in different passages of Scripture.

Broadly speaking, the kingdom of God is the rule of an eternal, sovereign God over all the universe. Several passages of Scripture show that God is the undeniable Monarch of all creation: “The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). And, as King Nebuchadnezzar declared, “His kingdom is an eternal kingdom” (Daniel 4:3). Every authority that exists has been established by God (Romans 13:1). So, in one sense, the kingdom of God incorporates everything that is.

More narrowly, the kingdom of God is a spiritual rule over the hearts and lives of those who willingly submit to God’s authority. Those who defy God’s authority and refuse to submit to Him are not part of the kingdom of God; in contrast, those who acknowledge the lordship of Christ and gladly surrender to God’s rule in their hearts are part of the kingdom of God. In this sense, the kingdom of God is spiritual—Jesus said His kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36), and He preached that repentance is necessary to be a part of the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17). That the kingdom of God can be equated with the sphere of salvation is evident in John 3:5–7, where Jesus says the kingdom of God must be entered into by being born again. See also 1 Corinthians 6:9.

There is another sense in which the kingdom of God is used in Scripture: the literal rule of Christ on the earth during the Millennium. Daniel said that “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44; cf. Da 7:13–14), and many of the other prophets predicted the same thing (e.g., Obadiah 1:21; Habakkuk 2:14; Micah 4:2; Zechariah 14:9). Some theologians refer to the future, open manifestation of the kingdom of God as the “kingdom of glory” and the present, hidden manifestation of the kingdom of God as the “kingdom of grace.” But both manifestations are connected; Christ has set up His spiritual reign in the church on earth, and He will one day set up His physical reign in Jerusalem.

The kingdom of God has several aspects. The Lord is the Sovereign of the universe, and so in that sense His kingdom is universal (1 Timothy 6:15). At the same time, the kingdom of God involves repentance and the new birth, as God rules in the hearts of His children in this world in preparation for the next. The work begun on earth will find its consummation in heaven (see Philippians 1:6). (from recommended resource Gotquestions)

Related Resource:

Luke 4:44  So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Related Passage:

Mark 1:39+ - And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons. 

A T Robertson on Mk 1:39- The first tour of Galilee by Jesus. We are told little about this great preaching tour.

John MacArthur comments on the parallel section in Mark writing that "In this section (Mk 1:29-39), Mark succinctly pulls together three core elements of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The proof of His divine kingship was in His miracles. The power that sustained His ministry came from His prayer life, as He submitted to the Father and depended on the Spirit. The priority of His ministry was to preach the Gospel to the lost, so that through Him they might have everlasting life....(MacArthur adds this note on Mark 1:39) In that single verse, Mark summarizes weeks if not months of time as Jesus continued doing exactly what He had done in Capernaum-preaching the good news and overpowering the demons. In this way, Jesus both validated His identity as the messianic King, while also proclaiming that salvation can be found only through faith in His name (cf. Acts 4:12). When He taught throughout the synagogues of Galilee, His emphasis was on gospel proclamation. The apostle Paul would later articulate the importance of such preaching in Romans 10:13-15. (See Mark Commentary)

Matthew 4:23+ Jesus was going (imperfect - repeated/continuous action) throughout all Galilee (~60 x 30 mile area), teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. 


So He kept on preaching (kerusso) - Jesus knew He was sent to "seek and to save the lost" (Lk 19:10) and the best way to accomplish that mission is to keep on preaching the Gospel. Kept on preaching is in the present tense describes His continual activity. Jesus was as we say today "laser focused." His time was short (3 years to turn the world upside down). But He was a Spirit filled/empowered Man on mission.

Mark adds the detail that He was casting out the demons. The demons seemed to enjoy the services in the Jewish synagogues! 

In the synagogues of Judea - The synagogues were the "hub" of the Jewish religion in each city and so they were always His prime target. Obviously He also preached in the open outdoors as in the Sermon on the Mount. But how do you explain Judea, for Lk 4:14 and Lk 4:31 clearly state He was in the area of Galilee (and Capernaum)? First note that in the parallel passages in Mark 1:39 and Mt 4:23 we see He was ministering in Galilee. John MacArthur explains that Judea in this context "is a generic term for the entire nation of Israel including Galilee, not merely the southern part."

Darrell Bock adds that "Some critics have charged Luke with a geographical error in speaking of Judea while Jesus is in the North. However, Luke is using the term in its broadest sense, referring to all of Israel, so there is no error. This use was not unique to Luke (as it appears in the Iudea capta on coins of the Roman ruler, Vespasian; EDNT 2:191-92). Luke uses it this way sometimes (1:5; 6:17; 7:17; 23:5; Acts 10:37; 12:19) and more narrowly of just the South in other places (Luke 1:39, 65; 2:4; 3:1; 5:17; 21:21). (The Bible Knowledge Key Word Study: The Gospels)

John MacArthur on the meaning of Jesus' miracles in the context of His proclamation of the Gospel - He doesn't rebuke their interest in the miracles. He wanted them to be interested in the miracles....They were essential proofs of His power and His deity and they needed to be seen and understood.  They were parabolic.  They showed His power to give new life to the body, to give a new mind. They showed that and that was what He wanted to show.  But importantly He had also to preach the kingdom of God: That you didn't have to stay in the domain of darkness.  You didn't have to stay in the kingdom of Satan.  You didn't have to be headed to the Lake of Fire prepared for the devil and his angels and all who follow him.  You could come to the kingdom of God.  You come... You could come into the sphere of blessing, the realm of salvation.  You could come from where you were in the midst of the darkness of sin into the light of the glorious gospel of Christ.  You could be delivered from hell and taken to heaven.  That was the message that a believing sinner could be delivered from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God, from the, as it were, domain of hell into the domain of heaven. The kingdom of God simply refers to the realm of salvation...This is the Messiah, folks. This is the singular Deliverer. This is the Redeemer of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, able to break the bondage, to shatter the hold of death and demons and the devil's domain.  And Luke amasses this summary material at the end of the chapter to fix it in our minds. And we'll see those three categories dealt with throughout the ministry of Jesus as He deals with disease and death, as He deals with demons, as He deals with the domain of darkness.This is a mighty Savior, is He not, Who can save His people from their sins and all of its effects. (Sermon)