Luke 4 – Jesus’ Temptation and First Galilean Ministry
A. The temptation of Jesus.
1. (1-2a) Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness.
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.
a. Being filled with the Holy Spirit: In Luke 3:21-22 we read of how the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus in an unusual way at His baptism. We should not infer that He was not filled with the Holy Spirit before, only that He was now filled with the Holy Spirit in an unusual and public way.
i. We can say – certainly for the most part, and perhaps entirely – that Jesus lived His life and performed His ministry as a Spirit-filled man, choosing not to rely on the resources of His divine nature, but willingly limiting Himself to what could be done by the guidance of God the Father and the empowering of God the Holy Spirit.
b. Was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted: After identifying with sinners in baptism (Luke 3:21-22), He then identified with them in temptation. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
i. We sometimes think that Jesus’ temptations were not real because they were not exactly like ours. There was never a sinful pull or a sinful memory inside of Jesus, like in us. But in many ways, Jesus’ temptations were more real and more severe. For us, often times the pressure of temptation only relents when we give in – and Jesus never did. He had to withstand a much greater pressure of temptation than you or I ever will.
ii. The word or idea of temptation is used in three different senses in the Bible.
· Satan, working through our own lusts, tempts us to perform evil acts – a solicitation or enticement to evil (1 Corinthians 7:5 and James 1:13-14).
· We may tempt God in the sense of wrongly putting Him to the test (Acts 5:9 and 1 Corinthians 10:9).
· God may test us, but never with a solicitation or enticement to evil (Hebrews 11:17).
iii. “This is the most sacred of stories, for it can have come from no other source than his own lips. At some time he must have himself told his disciples about this most intimate experience of his soul.” (Barclay)
c. Filled with the Holy Spirit… led by the Spirit into the wilderness: Walking in the Spirit, Jesus was still led into the wilderness where He was tempted. The Holy Spirit leads us into seasons of wilderness as well as seasons of green pastures.
i. There are parallels with the way that Jesus was tested and the way that Adam was tested; but Adam faced his temptation in the most favorable circumstances imaginable, and Jesus faced His temptations in bad and severe circumstances.
d. Being tempted for forty days: Jesus was tempted for the entire forty days. What follows are highlights of that season of temptation.
2. (2b-4) The first temptation: transform stone into bread for personal needs.
And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’“
a. He ate nothing… He was hungry: To tempt a man with food, who had fasted for forty days seems almost unfair; yet the Father allowed it because He knew Jesus could endure it. God will never allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist (1 Corinthians 10:13).
i. The fact that Luke the physician noted that afterward… He was hungry is important. After such a long fast, renewed hunger often points to a critical need for food. Jesus was beginning to starve to death.
ii. Jesus was hungry, but full of the Spirit. We are sometimes just the opposite – full stomachs and empty spirits.
b. And the devil said to Him: The Bible clearly teaches the existence and activity of a evil being of great power and cunning, who sets himself against God and God’s people. This one is sometimes called the devil, sometimes Satan (Luke 4:8), and many other names or titles.
c. If You are the Son of God: This could be more accurately translated since You are the Son of God. Satan didn’t suggest doubt about Jesus’ identity. Instead, He challenged Jesus to display His identity.
i. The temptation was basically this: “Since You’re the Messiah, why are You so deprived? Do a little something for Yourself.” The same temptation comes to us: “If you’re a child of God, why are things so tough? Do a little something for yourself.”
d. Command this stone to become bread: Satan enticed Jesus to use the power of God for selfish purposes. The temptation to eat something inappropriate worked well with the first sinless man (Genesis 3:6), so the devil thought to try it on the second sinless man.
i. “This wilderness was not a wilderness of sand. It was covered by little bits of limestone exactly like loaves.” (Barclay)
ii. By this, we also see how temptation often works. Often, this is the pattern of temptation:
· Satan appealed to a legitimate desire within Jesus (the desire to eat and survive).
· Satan suggested that Jesus fulfill this legitimate desire in an illegitimate way.
e. But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” Jesus countered Satan’s suggestion with Scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3). What Satan said made sense – “Why starve yourself to death?” But what is written makes even more sense. Jesus reminded Satan of Biblical truth, that every word of God is more important than the very bread we eat.
i. Jesus used Scripture to battle Satan’s temptation, not some elaborate spiritual power inaccessible to us. Jesus fought this battle as a Spirit-filled, Word-of-God-filled man. He drew on no divine resources that are unavailable to us.
ii. We effectively resist temptation in the same way Jesus did: filled with the Holy Spirit, we answer Satan’s seductive lies by shining the light of God’s truth upon them. If we are ignorant of God’s truth, we are poorly armed in the fight against temptation.
3. (5-8) The second temptation: all the kingdoms of this world in exchange for a moment of worship.
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” 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.’”
a. Taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time: It seems best to understand this as a mental or spiritual vision. The experience and the temptation were real, but there doesn’t seem to be a mountain high enough to literally see all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
b. All the kingdoms of the world… All this authority I will give to You, and their glory: The devil knew Jesus had come to win the kingdoms of the world. This was an invitation to win back the world without going to the cross. Satan would simply give it to Jesus if Jesus would worship before the devil.
i. For this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish: Satan claimed that authority over the earth’s kingdoms was delivered to him, and Jesus never challenged the statement. We might say that Adam and all of his collective descendants delivered to Satan when God gave man dominion over the earth, and Adam and his descendants forfeited it to Satan (Genesis 1).
ii. Satan is the ruler of this world (John 12:31) and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) by the popular election of mankind since the days of Adam.
iii. Since Satan possesses the glory of the kingdoms of this world, and can give it to whomever I wish, it should not surprise us to see the ungodly in positions of power and prestige.
c. If You will worship before me, all will be Yours: The Father’s plan for Jesus was for Him to suffer first, then enter His glory (Luke 24:25-26). Satan offered Jesus a way out of the suffering.
i. One day, it will be said that The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15). Satan offered this to Jesus now, before the agony of the cross.
ii. If Jesus accepted this, our salvation would be impossible. He might have gained some sort of authority to rule, delegated from Satan, but He could not redeem individual sinners through His sacrifice.
d. And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan!” Satan brought a powerful temptation to Jesus, and Jesus resisted the influence of Satan, first by saying, “Get behind Me, Satan!” In this, Jesus fulfilled the exhortation later expressed in James 4:7: Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
e. For it is written, “You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.” For the second time, Jesus countered Satan’s deception with Biblical truth, quoting from Deuteronomy 6:13. There might have seemed to be an advantage in Jesus avoiding the cross, but Jesus affirmed to Himself and reminded Satan that the command to worship the Lord your God and serve Him only is far above any supposed advantage in bowing to Satan.
i. Again, Jesus answered Satan with the same resource available to every believer: The Word of God used by a Spirit-filled believer. In resisting these temptations as a man, Jesus proved that Adam did not have to sin; there was not something faulty in his make-up. Jesus faced worse than Adam did, and Jesus never sinned.
4. (9-13) The third temptation: testing God through signs and wonders.
Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’“ Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
a. Set Him on the pinnacle of the temple: Satan took Jesus to a prominent, high place. From this wall surrounding the temple mount, it was hundreds of feet to the rocky valley floor below. If Jesus followed Satan’s request to throw Yourself down from here, it would be a spectacular event.
i. According to Geldenhuys, the ancient Jewish writing Pesiqta Rabbati (162a) records a traditional belief that the Messiah would show Himself to Israel standing on the roof of the temple. If Jesus did what Satan suggested, it would fulfill the Messianic expectation of His day.
b. Throw Yourself down from here: Satan could not himself throw Jesus off the pinnacle of the temple. He could do no more than suggest, so he had to ask Jesus to throw Himself down.
c. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you”: This time, the Devil knew and quoted Scripture in his temptation (Psalm 91:11-12). “Go ahead, Jesus; if You do this, then the Bible promises angels will rescue You, and it will be spectacular self-promotion.”
i. When Satan says, “For it is written,” it reminds us that Satan is a Bible expert and knows how to twist Bible passages out of their context. Sadly, many people will accept anyone who quotes a Bible verse as if they taught God’s truth, but the mere use of Bible words does not necessarily convey the will of God.
ii. Some suggest that Satan is such a Bible expert because he has spent centuries looking for loopholes.
d. And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” Jesus answered Satan’s misuse of Scripture with the proper use of the Bible, quoting from Deuteronomy 6:16. As Jesus rejected Satan’s twisting of Scripture, He rightly divided the word of truth, understanding it in its context.
i. Jesus understood from His knowledge of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) that Satan twisted this passage from Psalm 91. Jesus knew how to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
ii. Jesus understood that Satan enticed Him to take a step of “faith” that would actually test (tempt) God in an ungodly way. “The temptation may have been to perform a spectacular, but pointless miracle in order to compel wonder and belief of a kind.” (Morris)
e. Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time: When Satan saw that he couldn’t get anywhere, he left for a while. The devil will always seek to come back at an opportune time, so we should never give him the opportunity.
i. “Evil had nothing more to suggest. The thoroughness of the temptation was the completeness of the victory.” (Morgan)
ii. 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.
iii. Jesus resisted these temptations because He walked in the Word and in the Spirit; these two are the resources for Christian living. 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.
B. Jesus is rejected at Nazareth.
1. (14-15) The early Galilean ministry.
Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
a. Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit: 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.
i. “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)
b. To Galilee… the surrounding region: The region of Galilee was a fertile, progressive, highly populated region. According to figures from the Jewish historian Josephus, there were some 3 million people populating Galilee, an area smaller than the state of Connecticut. Even allowing for some exaggeration from Josephus, it indicates a highly populated area.
i. Josephus – who was at one time a governor of Galilee – wrote that there were 240 villages and cities in Galilee (Life 235), each with a population of at least 15,000 people.
c. He taught in their synagogues: Jesus’ focus in ministry was teaching, and at this early point in His ministry He had no organized opposition (being glorified by all).
2. (16-17) Jesus comes to His own synagogue in Nazareth.
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
a. He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: Since this was early in the ministry of Jesus, it was not long from the time when He lived and worked in Nazareth. The people of that village knew Him, and He had probably done work as a carpenter or builder for many of them.
i. Shortly before this Jesus moved from Nazareth to Capernaum, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:12-13).
b. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day: Jesus made it His custom to get together with God’s people for worship and the Word of God. If anyone didn’t need to go to church (so to speak), it was Jesus – yet, it was His custom to do so.
c. And stood up to read: The usual order of service in a synagogue began with an opening prayer and praise; then a reading from the Law; then a reading from the prophets and then a sermon, perhaps from a learned visitor. On this occasion Jesus was the learned visitor. Since this synagogue was in Nazareth, Jesus would have attended it often before, and now He would read and teach in His hometown synagogue.
3. (18-19) Jesus reads from Isaiah 61:1-2.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
a. The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me: The one speaking in this Isaiah passage is the Anointed One; the Messiah, the Christ.
i. Anointed Me: The word “anoint” means to rub or sprinkle on; apply an unguent, ointment, or oily liquid to. Persons in the Old Testament were often literally anointed with oil. For example, priests were anointed for their special service to the LORD (Exodus 28:41). Literal oil was applied, but as a sign of the Holy Spirit upon their life and service. The oil on the head was only the outward representation of the real, spiritual work going on inside them.
b. He has anointed Me to…: In this prophecy, the Messiah announced that He came to heal the fivefold damage that sin brings. Sin does great damage, so there must be a great work of redemption.
· To preach the gospel to the poor: Sin impoverishes, and the Messiah brings good news to the poor.
· To heal the brokenhearted: Sin breaks hearts, and the Messiah has good news for the brokenhearted.
· To proclaim liberty to the captives: Sin makes people captive and enslaves them, and the Messiah comes to set them free.
· Recovery of sight to the blind: Sin blinds us, and the Messiah comes to heal our spiritual and moral blindness.
· To set at liberty those who are oppressed: Sin oppresses its victims, and the Messiah comes to bring liberty to the oppressed.
i. Thankfully, Jesus didn’t come to only preach deliverance or even to only bring deliverance. Jesus came to be deliverance for us. “Christ was the great enemy of bonds. He was the lover and the light of liberty.” (Morrison)
c. To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD: This seems to describe the Old Testament concept of the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:9-15 and following). In the year of Jubilee slaves were set free, debts cancelled, and things set to a new start.
i. “Jesus came to preach the Lord’s acceptable year, a reference to the year of Jubilee. It is just possible that the reason Jesus returned to His hometown was because it was Jubilee year.” (Pate)
ii. Where Jesus stopped reading from Isaiah helps show us the nature of prophecy and its relation to time. The Isaiah passage goes on to describe what Jesus would do at His second coming (and the day of vengeance of our God, Isaiah 61:2). This is a 2,000-year-old comma between the two phrases.
4. (20-22) Jesus teaches on Isaiah 61:1-2.
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
a. And sat down: As Jesus sat, He prepared to teach instead of returning to His seat among the congregation. Everyone wondered how He would explain what He had just read.
b. Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing: With these words Jesus answered two questions.
· “Whom did Isaiah write of?” Jesus answered, “Isaiah wrote of Me.”
· “When will this come to pass?” Jesus answered, “Isaiah wrote of now.”
c. Marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth: This seems to mean that Jesus continued to speak on the theme just mentioned, and He did it with words that were literally full of grace. They sensed the goodness and grace of God in the announcement that the ministry of the Messiah was now present.
d. Is this not Joseph’s son? The response of Jesus following shows that this was not an impartial comment. After their initial amazement, they then began to resent that someone so familiar (Joseph’s son) could speak with such grace and claim to be the fulfillment of such remarkable prophecies.
5. (23-27) Jesus answers their objections.
He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’” Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
a. Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country: Luke doesn’t directly tell us that the people said this; perhaps they did and Jesus quoted their words back to them. Or, it is just as likely that Jesus understood and explained their objection. They wanted Jesus to prove His claims with miraculous signs.
i. Apparently, Jesus had already done miracles in Capernaum, not recorded in Luke (but in places like John 1-4). The people of Nazareth wanted to see the same kind of thing, demanding the miraculous as a show or a sign.
ii. “They no doubt argued, ‘He is a Nazareth man, and of course he is in duty bound to help Nazareth’. They considered themselves as being in a sort his proprietors, who could command his powers at their own discretion.” (Spurgeon)
b. No prophet is accepted in his own country: Jesus understood that it is easy to doubt the power and work of God among those most familiar to us. It was easier for those in Nazareth to doubt or reject Jesus because He seemed so normal and familiar to them.
i. “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 labors 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!” (Spurgeon)
c. To none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon… none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian: Jesus’ audience wanted special favors because He was in His hometown. Jesus pointed out that this doesn’t matter to God, using God’s work among the Gentiles in the days of Elijah and Elisha as examples.
i. Jesus made at least two points. First, the fact that they did not receive Jesus had nothing to do with Jesus, but everything to do with them. He was truly from God, but they would not receive Him. Their rejection said more about them than it did about Jesus.
ii. Second, it showed that God’s miraculous power operates in unexpected and sovereign ways. People that we often consider undeserving and perhaps strange are many times recipients of God’s miraculous power.
iii. Spurgeon points out that it was true that Naaman’s healing was an example of sovereign grace and election at work; but it could also be turned around to say, “Every foreign, heathen leper who came to Elisha and did what he said to do in seeking the Lord was healed and received a blessing.” This was also true, and can be set alongside the first aspect.
iv. Naaman was healed by sovereign grace but note how it happened. First, he heard a word that he could be healed. He then responded to that word in faith that connected with action (the act of travelling to Israel). Next, Naaman obeyed the word of the prophet to wash in the Jordan seven times, and he obeyed with humility, surrendering his pride to the word of God through the prophet.
6. (28-30) Jesus walks away from a murderous mob.
So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.
a. When they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city: This was quite a response to a sermon. They were angry to be told that there was something wrong with them, that their request for a miracle was denied, and that Jesus implied that God also loved the Gentiles.
i. Jesus didn’t primarily seek to please His audience and He didn’t use their approval as the measure of His success.
b. That they might throw Him down over the cliff: Pushing someone off a small cliff was often the first step in the process of stoning. Once the victim fell down, they were pelted with rocks until dead.
i. Luke set the tone for the whole story of Jesus’ life here in Luke 4. Jesus came, sinless and doing nothing but good for all – and they wanted to kill Him.
c. Passing through the midst of them: They wanted a miracle, and Jesus did an unexpected one right in front of them, escaping miraculously.
i. In this situation, Jesus could have backed off the cliff and been rescued by angels – as Satan suggested in the third temptation. Instead, Jesus chose a more normal miracle, if there is such a thing. “Like a second Samson; his own arm saved him. This might have convinced his adversaries, but that they were mad with malice.” (Trapp)
C. Further ministry in Galilee.
1. (31-37) Jesus rebukes an unclean spirit in the Capernaum synagogue.
Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths. And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority. Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are; the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And the report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
a. And was teaching them on the Sabbaths… they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority: Jesus pursed His primary calling as a teacher, taking advantage of the courtesy of the synagogue. We are not told what Jesus taught, but we are told of the effect the teaching had on His audience. They were astonished. They had never heard anyone teach quite like this before.
i. The authority of Jesus was not only evident as He taught, but also in His life. This would be demonstrated in the encounter with the demon-possessed man.
b. There was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon: The terms unclean spirit, evil spirit, and demon all seem to be the same, referring to evil powers of darkness who are the enemies of God and man. These powers are organized (Ephesians 6:12) and led by Satan himself.
c. What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? It is ironic that the demons knew who Jesus was, but the chosen people – those from His own city – did not appreciate who Jesus was.
i. Did You come to destroy us? This question “reflects the belief that the advent of the kingdom of God would spell the demise of demonic control over the world.” (Pate)
d. I know who You are; the Holy One of God! The demon himself testified that Jesus was holy and pure. The demons admitted that their wilderness temptations failed to corrupt Jesus.
e. But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” The manner of Jesus’ dealings with the demon in this passage is a clear demonstration of His power and authority over the spirit realm. People were amazed at the authority of His word in both teaching and in spiritual living.
i. “This may have distinguished Jesus from the ‘ordinary’ exorcist’s fanfare of incantations, charms, and superstitions.” (Pate)
2. (38-39) Peter’s mother-in-law is healed of a fever.
Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.
a. Entered Simon’s house: Jesus did a rather public miracle in the synagogue. Now He would display His power in a private setting. Jesus was not a mere performer for the crowds.
b. Simon’s wife’s mother: Simon will later be identified as Peter, the leader among the disciples of Jesus. This shows that Simon Peter was married. Clement of Alexandria, an early Christian writer, said that Peter’s wife helped him in ministry by meeting the needs of other women.
c. He stood over her and rebuked the fever: In this situation, Jesus saw the fever itself as something to be rebuked. Perhaps He perceived that there was some spiritual dynamic behind this seemingly natural illness.
i. Barclay on the phrase, sick with a high fever, “every word is a medical word…the medical Greek for someone definitely laid up with an illness…Luke knew just how to describe this illness.”
d. And it left her…immediately she arose and served them: This was not only the healing of a disease, but also the immediate granting of strength. One doesn’t normally go from a high fever to serving others.
i. “He who healed her of the fever did not need her to minister to him; he who had power to heal diseases had certainly power to subsist without human ministry. If Christ could raise her up he must be omnipotent and divine, what need then had he of a womanly service?” (Spurgeon)
3. (40-41) Jesus heals many who are sick and demon possessed.
When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ.
a. When the sun was setting: This marked the start of a new day, the day after the Sabbath (Luke 4:31). Freed from the Sabbath restrictions on travel and activity, the people come to Him freely to be healed.
b. He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them: Jesus worked very hard to serve the needs of others and put their needs before His.
c. Did not allow them to speak: Jesus restrained the demons from speaking about Him because He did not want their testimony to be relied upon.
i. Because the Biblical accounts of the ministry of Jesus are compressed, stressing the important and exceptional events, it is easy to think that Jesus encountered demon-possessed people more than He actually did. In fact, Scripture records fewer than ten specific individuals delivered from demon possession in Jesus’ ministry, plus two general occasions where it describes people being delivered. This doesn’t seem abnormally high over a period of three years, among a dense, pre-Christian population.
4. (42-44) Jesus continues His preaching ministry in Galilee.
Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.
a. Went into a deserted place: Jesus knew the value of solitude with God the Father. He spent most of His time ministering among the people but needed such times in a deserted place.
i. The great work that Jesus did in His ministry did not draw on the resource of His divine nature, but on His constant communion with God the Father and His empowering by God the Holy Spirit. The time in a deserted place was essential for that.
b. I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also: He taught about the kingdom of God, in the sense that He announced the presence of the King and corrected people’s misconceptions about the kingdom.
c. For this purpose I have been sent: Jesus saw His main ministry, at this point, to be preaching the kingdom. Miracles were a part of that work, but not His main focus.
d. And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee: This was the clear emphasis of Jesus’ work before the great work of atonement on the cross – he was a teacher and a preacher, both in the open air and in houses of worship. His work of miracles and healings was impressive, but it was never His emphasis.
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission