Luke 4 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Luke 4)

Verse 4

[4] And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Deuteronomy 8:3.

Verse 6

[6] And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

I give it to whomsoever I will — Not so, Satan. It is God, not thou, that putteth down one, and setteth up another: although sometimes Satan, by God's permission, may occasion great revolutions in the world.

Verse 8

[8] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Deuteronomy 6:13.

Verse 10

[10] For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:

Psalms 91:11.

Verse 12

[12] And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Deuteronomy 6:16.

Verse 13

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

A convenient season — In the garden of Gethsemane, Luke 22:53.

Verse 14

[14] And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit — Being more abundantly strengthened after his conflict.

Verse 15

[15] And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.

Being glorified of all — So God usually gives strong cordials after strong temptations. But neither their approbation continued long, nor the outward calm which he now enjoyed.

Verse 16

[16] And 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 for to read.

He stood up — Showing thereby that he had a desire to read the Scripture to the congregation: on which the book was given to him. It was the Jewish custom to read standing, but to preach sitting. Mark 6:1.

Verse 17

[17] And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

He found — It seems, opening upon it, by the particular providence of God.

Verse 18

[18] 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,

He hath anointed me — With the Spirit. He hath by the power of his Spirit which dwelleth in me, set me apart for these offices.

To preach the Gospel to the poor — Literally and spiritually. How is the doctrine of the ever-blessed trinity interwoven, even in those scriptures where one would least expect it? How clear a declaration of the great Three-One is there in those very words, The Spirit - of the Lord is upon me! To proclaim deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised - Here is a beautiful gradation, in comparing the spiritual state of men to the miserable state of those captives, who are not only cast into prison, but, like Zedekiah, had their eyes put out, and were laden and bruised with chains of iron. Isaiah 61:1.

Verse 19

[19] To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

The acceptable year — Plainly alluding to the year of jubilee, when all, both debtors and servants, were set free.

Verse 21

[21] And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

To-day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears — By what you hear me speak.

Verse 22

[22] And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?

The gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth — A person of spiritual discernment may find in all the discourses of our Lord a peculiar sweetness, gravity, and becomingness, such as is not to be found in the same degree, not even in those of the apostles.

Verse 23

[23] 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.

Ye will surely say — That is, your approbation now outweighs your prejudices. But it will not be so long. You will soon ask, why my love does not begin at home? Why I do not work miracles here, rather than at Capernaum? It is because of your unbelief. Nor is it any new thing for me to be despised in my own country. So were both Elijah and Elisha, and thereby driven to work miracles among heathens, rather than in Israel.

Verse 24

[24] And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.

No prophet is acceptable in his own country — That is, in his own neighbourhood. It generally holds, that a teacher sent from God is not so acceptable to his neighbours as he is to strangers. The meanness of his family, or lowness of his circumstances, bring his office into contempt: nor can they suffer that he, who was before equal with, or below themselves, should now bear a superior character.

Verse 25

[25] But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;

When the heaven was shut up three years and six months — Such a proof had they that God had sent him. In 18:44.

Verse 27

[27] And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

2 Kings 5:14.

Verse 28

[28] And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,

And all in the synagogue were filled with fury — Perceiving the purport of his discourse, namely, that the blessing which they despised, would be offered to, and accepted by, the Gentiles. So changeable are the hearts of wicked men! So little are their starts of love to be depended on! So unable are they to bear the close application, even of a discourse which they most admire!

Verse 30

[30] But he passing through the midst of them went his way,

Passing through the midst of them — Perhaps invisibly; or perhaps they were overawed; so that though they saw, they could not touch him.

Verse 31

[31] And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

He came down to Capernaum — And dwelt there, entirely quitting his abode at Nazareth. Mark 1:21.

Verse 34

[34] Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.

What have we to do with thee — Thy present business is with men, not with devils.

I know thee who thou art — But surely he did not know a little before, that he was God over all, blessed for ever; or he would not have dared to tell him, All this power is delivered to me, and I give it to whomsoever I will.

The Holy One of God — Either this confession was extorted from him by terror, (for the devils believe and tremble,) or he made it with a design to render the character of Christ suspected. Possibly it was from hence the Pharisees took occasion to say, He casteth out devils by the prince of the devils.

Verse 38

[38] And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.

Mark 1:29.

Verse 40

[40] Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.

When the sun was set — And consequently the Sabbath ended, which they reckoned from sunset to sunset. Mark 1:32.

Verse 42

[42] And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.

Mark 1:35.