Outline of the Book:
I. Preface: The Method and Purpose of Writing, Luke 1:1-4.
II. The Identification of the Son of Man with Men, Luke 1:5-4:13.
A. The Temptation of the Son of Man, Luke 4:1-13.
III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
A. The Announcement of His Ministry, Luke 4:14-30.
B. The Authority of His Ministry, Luke 4:31-6:11.
1. Over demons, Luke 4:31-37.
2. Over disease, Luke 4:38-44.
3. Over the disciples, Luke 5:1-11.
4. Over defilement, (a leper healed), Luke 5:12-16.
5. Over defectiveness, (a paralytic healed), Luke 5:17-26.
6. Over the despised, (the call of Matthew and parables about new vs. old), Luke 5:27-39.
7. Over days, Luke 6:1-5.
8. Over deformity, Luke 6:6-11.
IV. The Associates of His Ministry, Luke 6:12-49.
1. The call of the disciples, Luke 6:12-16.
2. The characteristics of disciples, (The Great Sermon), Luke 6:17-49.
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A. The Announcement of His Ministry, Luke 4:14-30.
This is the only Gospel account that gives us this scene. But the introduction is common in the other Gospels.
Some think the first two verses are a better conclusion to vs. 1-13, than an introduction to vs. 16-30. Yet, they do act as a nice transition.
In these passages, we see the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. After being baptized by John, he went back to the region of Galilee, also “in the power of the Spirit,” EN HO DUNAMIS HO PNEUMA, equipped for ministry. He continued to be led by God the Holy Spirit, as He did throughout His entire life. The Spirit and power are often linked together in the Gospel of Luke, Luke 1:17, 35; 24:49.
The district of Galilee was in the northernmost part of Palestine where Herod Antipas was tetrarch, as we noted in Chapter 3. Galilee was fairly prosperous and heavily populated.
Josephus tells us there were over 200 towns and villages in that region during the time of Christ.
As He was ministering to the people, many were talking about Him and sharing what they had seen and learned with others. “News about Him,” uses the Noun PHEME, φήμη that means “report or news,” or the old English meaning of the same in the word “fame.”
The word occurs twice in the NT, Mat 9:26; Luke 4:14. In Mat 9:26, after the Lord raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, “the news spread throughout all that land.” It refers to the news about Jesus’ being able to raise the dead. The second occurrence is in our verse, when Jesus returned to Galilee from the temptation and “News of Him spread throughout the surrounding district,” Luke 4:14. In vs. 23, we see that “news” about Jesus spread throughout the region (neighborhood) of Capernaum too.
In Luke 4:15, “And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.” This is why people were later calling Him “teacher,” DIDASKALOS. The good news of the Kingdom, (Salvation), was the subject of His sermons, Mat 4:17; Mark 1:14, 15; Luke 4:16-30.
Interestingly, at the first they all “praised,” DOXAZO, Him, but the tide would soon turn. When Jesus went to His home town of Nazareth, cf. Luke 2:39, 51-52 with Luke 4:28-29. He went to the synagogue on Saturday, the Sabbath day, as was His custom.
In vs. 17, there He was given the “book,” BIBLION βιβλίον, “book, scroll, or written document,” (this is where we get our word “Bible” from), of Isaiah.
During the synagogue services, two portions of Scripture were read, one from the Law, (the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible), and the other from the Prophets that included Isaiah. The ruler of the synagogue, typically an elder in the community, must have recognized Jesus. According to custom, he gave Jesus the opportunity to read the Hebrew text and give a free translation in Aramaic, which was the common language of Galilee at that time. Jesus most likely read and translated the day’s portion from the Pentateuch before being given the scroll of Isaiah, HESAIAS, Ἡσαΐας. Once it was handed to Him, He “opened or unrolled,” ANAPTUSSO, ἀναπτύσσω, (only used here in the NT), the scroll and took it upon Himself to turn to Isa 61:1-2, as He read it in Luke 4:18-19.
Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed.”
This passage first speaks about the indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit upon our Lord Jesus Christ. This was a common expression regarding the prophets of old who had the temporary enduement of the Holy Spirit to empower their ministries or service. Therefore, Jesus is proclaiming first to be THE prophet of God. This also speaks to our Lord being the prototype of the unique spiritual life of the Church Age, where every believer has the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit from the day of their new birth, with the opportunity to have the filling of the Holy Spirit to enable and empower their spiritual walk.
We also see in the first part, a Trinitarian announcement; the identification of all three members of the Trinity: Spirit, Lord (Father), Me (The Son).
“Anointed,” is the Verb CHRIO, χρίω that means, “to anoint; to appoint.” In the LXX translation of the OT, it is used for the ritual anointing with oil to consecrate and appoint someone to a special office such as priest or king. As you know, Jesus is both. The figurative use of the verb also indicated any endowment of spiritual gifts or even the enduement of the Holy Spirit, as noted above. It is with this figurative meaning that CHRIO was most often used in reference to the prophets. They would describe themselves as “anointed” when they had received the Spirit of God and thereby been “appointed” to the office of prophet. Therefore, this was Jesus’ announcement that He was God’s chosen Prophet, Priest, and King.
“In the Old Testament men were anointed with oil for key offices in Israel: kings (1 Sam 10:1), priests (Exod 30:30), and prophets (1 Kgs 19:16). This was symbolic of the Holy Spirit’s power equipping them for their weighty tasks (David in 1 Sam 16:13)” (Christ-Centered Exposition)
In the NT, it is used 5 times; in our verse, Acts 4:27; 10:38; 2 Cor 1:21; Heb 1:9. Only in 2 Corinthians is it used for someone other than Jesus Christ. In all 5 usages, it is an act performed by God, with the figurative meaning “to assign a person to a task, with the implication of supernatural sanctions, blessing, and the indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit.”
This anointing refers to Luke 3:22, cf. Acts 10:38, and the Divine commissioning for Jesus’ ministry. This anointing was not just a prophetic anointing, Luke 4:24, but a Messianic one as well, Luke 3:22; Acts 4:26–27; 10:38, for Jesus is the bringer, not just the herald, of salvation.
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.”
As Jesus reads this passage, He is stating He is the fulfillment of the prophecy as He is the Messiah, the prophet who brings the announcement of God’s kingdom breaking into the world, as well as our High Priest who ministers on our behalf before God, and the King of Israel. Therefore, Isaiah 61 prophesies the coming Messiah who brings the salvation of God.
Isaiah says that the Messiah is anointed to do one thing primarily, “to preach” EUANGELIZO, εὐαγγελίζω. That is what a prophet does: he preaches the very words and the promises of God. In vs. 18 and 19, there are four objectives of His preaching:
1. “To preach good news to the poor.” Here “preach the good news,” is one word in the Greek EUANGELIZO”, that means, “preach the gospel.”
2. “To proclaim (KERUSSO) release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind.” In Luke, the term KĒRUSSO, κηρύσσω “to preach, proclaim aloud, publicly preach, herald, announce, tell, or declare,” is synonyms with EUANGELIZO regarding the preaching of the Gospel. In this “preaching” there are two directions that speak of salvation.
a. “Release to the captives,” which always refers to the forgiveness of sins elsewhere in Luke-Acts, Luke 1:77; 3:3; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18. The captives are those held under the bondage of sin and evil. Jesus came to proclaim that people could be “released” APHESIS, ἄφεσις that means, “release, forgiveness, deliverance, suspension of punishment, etc.” Jesus came to pay for our sins so that we would be released of their bondage through forgiveness of our sins by God.
b. “Recovery of sight for the blind.” Here Luke uses The Noun ANABLEPSIS, ἀνάβλεψις that means, “recovery of sight.” The verb form is used about 26 times in the Gospels and Acts to describe the activity of healing the blind or of simply looking up. This may be a reference to the blind, “TUPHLOS” that Jesus healed. Only one specific example is given in Luke 18:35–43, but others are clearly referred to in Luke 7:21–22. Yet, there is another sense in which “blind” refers metaphorically to those who are “spiritually blind,” and do not know the gospel of Jesus Christ. These will be given the “sight” or spiritual knowledge to know and believe upon Jesus as their Savior.
This is the literal understanding of Isa 61:1, “…freedom to prisoners,” where the Hebrew Noun for “freedom” is PEQACH-QOACH that means, “opening of the eyes,” and “prisoners” is the Verb ASAR that means, “to tie or bind.” The English translation has the noun and verb backwards. It should read, “open eyes for those that are bound,” meaning, “sight to those that cannot see: i.e., are blinded.”
Therefore, Jesus came to preach His gospel of salvation to: a) Released us of our bondage to sin through forgiveness of our sins by His Cross; b) Give us the spiritual sight / knowledge to know and believe upon Jesus as our Savior.
3. “To release or set free the oppressed/downtrodden.” This is taken from Isa 58:6d. “Release” is the Noun APHESIS once again and “oppressed/downtrodden” is the Verb THRAUO, θραύω that is only used here. It means, “broken in pieces, shattered, weakened, or bruised.” The word is common in the papyri where it refers to the “crushing power” of evil, (New American Commentary). Jesus came to crush sin so that sin would no longer crush us.
Luke 4:19, “To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
4. “To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” KERUSSO DEKTOS ENIAUTOS KURIOS.
This fourth objective is basically a synonym for the “good news (EUANGELIZO) of the kingdom of God,” as Luke 4:43 shows. Jesus proclaimed here that God’s kingdom had come. In fulfillment of the OT promises, salvation was now being offered to all.
“Favorable” is the Adjective DEKTOS, δεκτός that means, “acceptable, accept, or favorable.” It occurs 32 times in the LXX (Septuagint). Many times it describes a sacrifice or the person offering a sacrifice as “acceptable” to God, e.g., Lev 1:3-4; 19:5; 22:19-20; Isa 56:7; Mal 2:13.
God is the judge of what is acceptable, which stands in contrast to what God abhors (i.e., sin), Prov 10:24; 11:1; 12:22; 14:9. The idea in Isaiah seems to be a time of “favor” and “grace,” cf. Isa 49:8; Luke 4:19-22; 2 Cor 6:2, based on the acceptable sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the Cross.
Isa 49:8, “Thus says the LORD, ‘In a favorable time I have answered You, and in a day of salvation I have helped You; and I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, to restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages.”
2 Cor 6:2, “For He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to You, and on the day of salvation I helped You.’ Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’.”
This also relates to the propitiation of the Father through the completed work of His Son upon the Cross for the payment of the penalty for our sins that provides us the forgiveness of our sins for salvation first and then experiential sanctification.
This is also an allusion to the “Year of Jubilee,” cf. Lev 25:8-12. Every 7th year was a “Sabbatical year,” a “year of release,” when a Hebrew who had become a bond servant could go free, cf. Ex 21:1-11. It was also a time to let the land rest. Then, after seven times seven years, (49 years), there would be a special year, the 50th, which was a year of Jubilee.
In that time period, possessions which had been sold were returned to their original owners, and debts were canceled. It was a time of great festivity. Therefore, Jesus proclaimed a time of release / forgiveness from sin for the entire world.
This year of Jubilee was also related to the “kinsman redeemer,” Lev 25:23-28; cf. Ezek 46:17. A provision of the Law says that if a man is too poor to buy back his property, a relative could purchase it. And, if he had no relative, in the 50th year, it still reverted back to the original owner. Jesus is Israel’s and our Kinsman Redeemer, who bought back our souls from the bondage of sin.
This Jubilee is also related to entering into the rest of God; faithfully trusting in Him alone for your salvation and not your works, Heb 4:1-16, just as the 7th day was a day of rest, the 7th year was a year of rest, and the year after the 7 x 7 year was a Jubilee rest from bondage and time of celebration.
Therefore, this “Good News” anticipates a time when all the people’s spiritual brokenness, spiritual poverty, spiritual imprisonment, spiritual blindness, and spiritual oppression because of sin will be restored and reversed by God’s favor or grace, through the preaching of the Gospel, i.e., the opportunity for the Kingdom of God.
This release or freedom would be won upon the Cross when He paid for our sins and is now available to all of mankind to rest in. Those who accept Jesus as their Savior receive the “good news,” which means they have: 1) “freedom from sins bondage,” 2) “spiritual knowledge to know and believe upon Jesus,” 3) “freedom from the oppressor (sin and Satan),” because of 4) “God’s great grace,” for salvation, past, present, and future.
Interestingly, and purposefully, Jesus did not read the last part of Isaiah 61:2, which reads, “… and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.” The reason He did not read that portion is because it is a reference to His Second Advent at the end of the Tribulation. During His First Advent, He came to pay for the sins of the world, providing salvation to all who would believe in Him. He did not come to condemn the world, John 3:17; rather, He came to be a ransom for our sin, Heb 9:28; Mark 10:45. In His First Advent, by the grace of God, He was judged upon the Cross for our sins. During His Second Advent, He will come to judge the world of unbelievers, Rev 19:11-21.
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Next in vs. 20-30, we have a scene that in essence sums up the course of Jesus’ entire ministry culminating in Jerusalem and the Crucifixion. Though the people do not kill Him here, because it was not His day or hour, we see the progression from acceptance to rejection in His hometown that sums up the attitudes of Israel in general.
Following Jesus’ readings in Hebrew, a translation would be made into Aramaic, the common language of first-century Palestine. But when Jesus finished reading, He “rolled up,” PTUSSO, πτύσσω (only used here in the NT, cf. vs. 17), the scroll and handed it to the “attendant” in charge of the sacred Scriptures. The Greek name for this person is HUPERETES, ὑπηρέτης meaning, “a servant, attendant, minister, or officer.”
The phrase, “the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him,” can have either a positive or negative connotation based on the context of the passage. Here, it appears positive as they were intently concentrating on what Jesus was saying, and as vs. 22, tells us, “all were speaking well of Him and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips.” It is not until vs. 28, which may have been a different day as noted below, that they turned in anger towards Him. So, at this time, they were still impressed by Him.
After Jesus reads from Isaiah 61 and 58:6d, He declares that they are “fulfilled today.” As we noted above, this being associated with the year of Jubilee, would have been understood as a reference to a new age of release and forgiveness for the nation.
“Fulfilled,” is the Verb PLEROO, πληρόω that means here to “bring about, bring to completion, or fulfill.” “The term “fulfilled” is not as prominent in Luke as in Matthew. Usually it occurs with a unique Lukan meaning. Only here and in the Emmaus conversation (24:44) does Luke use the word in relation to the fulfillment of OT prophecy, and in both cases the Matthean formula “to fulfill what was spoken” is lacking. These two lone references to fulfillment stand out then at the beginning and end of Jesus’ public appearances, emphasizing the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose in the ministry of Christ.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary.)
Here the reference is the prophecies that have been spoken about the Messiah, cf. Luke 21:22; 24:44. As such, Jesus was bringing the prophesied salvation to the world by fulfilling God the Father’s plan for salvation.
Jesus was to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy exactly. As we noted above He would:
1. “Preach good news to the poor,” PTOCHOS, who were largely neglected by the religious leadership of His day. But more importantly, we are all poor wretched sinners, and Jesus brought salvation to us all.
2. “Proclaim deliverance to the captives,” KERUSSO APHESIS AICHMALOTOS, where the Adjective AICHMALOTOS is only used here in the NT. It is a military term which literally means, “one captured by a spear.” It is a person in desperate need of God’s deliverance. Jesus accepted His Messianic role of the preacher of freedom to the spiritual captives, those held under the bondage of sin, cf. Rom 7:23. Jesus demonstrated this upon His ascension in Eph 4:9, using the cognate verb and noun.
Eph 4:8, “Therefore it says, ‘when He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.” Cf. Psa 68:18.
3. “Bring sight to the blind,” the Adjective, TUPHLOS, τυφλός as He did for the blind beggar of Jerusalem, John 9; cf. Luke 7:21-22; 18:35-43. However, there was a spiritual significance also in the fulfillment of the prophecy. He would give spiritual sight so people could understand God’s plan of Salvation for them.
4. “To set free those who are oppressed,” The deliverance would be from the bondage of sin, Satan, and Satan’s cosmic system.
This would be more than one year of Jubilee, which a person could probably enjoy only once in a lifetime; it would be an unending era of joy and happiness for all eternity.
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?”
In vs. 22, they spoke well of Him at first, but then the doubt started to creep in. Satan was working on their thoughts and minds so that they would not accept Him. They first approved of Jesus’ marvelous teaching and miraculous works, but were at a loss to view Him as the Messiah because their extreme familiarity with His humanity. It made it hard for them to believe in His Divinity, by which alone His actions would be rightly explained. Just as Satan tempted Jesus by parlaying His Divinity against His Humanity, he used the same tactic to negatively influence the people of Nazareth.
Principle: Satan tries to get you to doubt the power of God and His Word in you by getting you to focus on your human limitations or lusts.
“Is this not Joseph’s son?”, gives us the first clue of doubt coming from their minds. Though they had received His works and words favorably, they could not look past His familiar humanity to see Him for truly what He was. Other similar gospel accounts go beyond this and include Mary, His brothers, and His sisters in the doubting questioning minds of the Nazarenes, Mat 13:55; Mark 6:3; John 6:42.
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’”.”
Jesus may have visited Nazareth at least twice, cf. Mat 4:12-13. Luke may have combined vs. 23-30 from His second visit to His first, cf. Mat 13:53-58; Mark 6:1-6.
“Quote this proverb,” does not mean this is a proverb from the book of Proverbs, but rather it was a common saying or expression of the day. We could also call this a parable, as parables compare natural objects with spiritual objects in order to teach a theological truth, and they can sometimes take the form of a proverb.
“Physician heal yourself,” was apparently a common idiom or proverb of the day. It came about due to the fact that a physician or medical doctor, who could heal others, would sometimes need to prove their talent to heal by healing themselves. In other words, it meant, “prove yourself to us,” or maybe they were from Missouri, the “show me state.”
In this case, the Nazarenes had heard of the many healings and miracles Jesus performed around the region of Galilee and Capernaum, but had not seen Him perform any in His “home town.”
Jesus performed healings and miracles for two reasons:
1. Compassion. He healed people to relieve them of their physical, mental, and spiritual burdens, simply because He loved them.
2. Authentication. He performed miracles to give the people proof that He was the Messiah and a tangible reason to believe His words.
Each healing or miracle was a supernatural validation of His identity, a “sign,” that he was the Messiah.
Since Jesus was a Nazarene, “healing Himself,” meant to perform healings in Nazareth. In other words, they wanted to see His healing and miraculous powers for themselves. That is noted in the second half of the proverb, “Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” Remember, “the Jews ask for signs,” 1 Cor 1:22.
The reason Jesus stated this as their argument was due to His perception of their unbelief that He was the Messiah. Jesus, who had grown up in Nazareth and spent more or less than 30 years there, was very familiar to the town’s people. They could not comprehend this boy that they knew to be the promised Messiah. And, as we know from Scripture, He never performed a miracle in His home town prior to beginning His ministry. Nevertheless, Jesus, upon beginning His ministry, performed many miracles in the Capernaum region providing more than enough evidence to the Nazarenes that He was the Messiah. Twice in the early part of His ministry He had been at Cana, within a few miles of Nazareth, and turning away from it had gone down to Capernaum. Therefore, He did not call upon His townsmen to believe in Him or His Divine mission until the evidences were so full that they could not deny them.
In addition, Jesus would perform several healing in Nazareth, as we will see, but they may have been more private incidences compared to the more public ones done in Capernaum.
Therefore, this was a challenge to Him to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy by doing miracles in the presence of those who heard Him. Throughout His ministry, Jesus would be challenged to do miraculous signs to prove His claims, e.g., Luke 11:16, 29.
This is also a precursor to one of His final challenges upon the Cross, “Save Yourself,” Mat 27:40; Mark 15:30; Luke 23:35, 37, 39.
Yet, Jesus was challenging their faith and the proverb, “blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe,” John 20:29.
Luke 4:24, “And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.” Cf. Mat 13:57; Mark 6:4; John 4:44.
Interestingly, the comment on how the prophet is “not welcome” in His own land used the word DEKTOS for “welcome” that we noted in vs. 19, for the “favorable / acceptable year of the Lord.” Jesus is using a play on this word, where in vs. 19, He proclaimed the Messiah was here by being the “acceptable year,” while in this verse, He recognized that the Messiah is NOT accepted. “The double use of this word in this context may be intended to show that though God desires to accept the people, they do not respond by accepting the prophet who tells them of God’s grace.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary.)
This also tells us that He recognizes His ministry is to be characterized by rejection. Despite the actualization of the promises of eschatological salvation, Israel fails to accept God’s messenger.
This is also the principle of familiarity that breeds contempt. Many times when we are familiar with a person and know their past history, we reject their present witness. This tells us two things, first for ourselves and then regarding others.
1. Regarding ourselves, we should understand that our actions have consequences on our ministry in proclaiming Jesus as Savior. If we live a life that dabbles with sin in the presence of others, it will in their mind nullify the words that come out of our mouths about Christ. We should never think that people should just accept the things we say about God and Jesus, just because they are about God and Jesus. No! We are His ambassadors of Christ and represent our Sovereign every day. In order for our words about Him to be accepted, we must demonstrate the life style of our King! We cannot live like the devil, and then think our words about the Christ will be accepted. Therefore, we are to live each day in the “Christ-like” nature, representing our Sovereign Messiah Jesus Christ, as if He were actually here, which He is!
2. As for our perspective of others, we should not hold grudges or pettiness towards others because of their past behavior. If we do, we will be missing out on what God has for us today. It is very hard for people to forget about someone’s past. But, if we believe in repentance, and we do, we recognize that someone can change their ways so as to be a vessel of honor to God that He can use to serve you.
Nevertheless, Jesus lived a sinless life, yet due to familiarity with His hometown people, they had a hard time accepting Him as The Prophet, The King, The Messiah, The Savior. They just saw the little boy they used to know, cf. Mat 13:53-58 and Mark 6:1-6.
In vs. 25-30, we see the rejection of the Messiah as anticipated by Jesus in using two OT examples during the ministries of Elijah and Elisha.
Anticipating their unbelief and unrighteous demands to perform miracles, He turned their objection around. He pointed to Israel’s long history of ignoring and even abusing God’s prophets and messengers, in the hopes that they would realize Israel’s past mistakes and change their ways, i.e., their viewpoint toward Him.
Principle, We need to recognize our past mistake of living like the devil and change our ways to living in the “Christ-like” nature.
This scene of the “days of Elijah” can be found in 1 Kings 17; 18:41-45; cf. James 5:17, when God had to discipline the people of Israel, due to their rejection of Him, via the rejection of the Prophet Elijah’s message.
James 5:17-18, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
This scene also shows God reaching out to and healing the Gentile peoples in the story of the widow Zarephath of Sidon, and in vs. 27, during the time of Elisha with the healing of the Gentile army general Naaman of Syria, 2 Kings 5:1-14.
Zarephath, (ZAIR-uh-fath), means “dyeing” or “refinement.” It was a small Phoenician town within the domain of Sidon that lies between Tyre and Sidon. It was conquered successively by Sennacherib and Esarhaddon of Assyria, and the latter awarded the city to Tyre. Elijah stayed with a widow and her son there, through the period of drought and famine. She took care of Elijah from her meager supplies, and her obedience was rewarded by a miraculous supply of meal and oil that was not depleted until the drought ended. While Elijah was staying with the widow, her son became ill and died. By the power of prayer, the child was restored to life and good health. In NT times, it was known by the Greek name, Sarepta. It was located on the coast of Palestine, about 8 miles south of Sidon. Cf. Obadiah 1:20.
In this account of Elijah, we see the ironic point that while he was rejected by a Jewish king, he was welcomed by a Gentile.
Elisha heals Naaman, 2 Kings 5:1-19: NAAMAN, (nay’ uh muhn), whose personal name means, “pleasantness,” was a Syrian general cured of leprosy under the direction of the prophet Elisha. “A Jewish tradition at least as old as the time of Josephus, and which may very well be a genuine one identifies him with the archer whose arrow, whether at random or not, struck Ahab with his mortal wound, and thus “gave deliverance to Syria.” The expression in 2 Kings 5:1, is remarkable—”because that by him Jehovah had given deliverance to Syria.” The most natural explanation perhaps is that Naaman in delivering his country, had killed one who was the enemy of Jehovah not less than he was of Syria. Whatever the particular exploit referred to was, it had given Naaman a great position at the court of Ben-hadad.” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary)
His healing came through the influence of a Hebrew slave-maid in his household, who persuaded Naaman’s wife that Elisha could heal her husband. The Assyrian king, (thought to be Ben-hadad II from Josephus, Ant. 8.15.5), sent his general to the Israelite ruler with instructions for Naaman to be healed. Naaman’s leprosy apparently was not contagious, nor was it seen as the result of some moral sin. The afflicted man was sent to Elisha in Samaria for healing, but the king of Israel, Joram, was filled with suspicion and alarm by the demands of the letter, and tore his clothes; but Elisha the prophet intervened, and sent word to Naaman that he must bathe himself seven times in the Jordan. Reluctant at first, Naaman finally obeyed and was cured of his affliction. Following his cleansing, he professed faith in Israel’s God and in gratitude the Syrian leader acknowledged the power of Israel’s God. “‘His memory is perpetuated by a leper hospital which occupies the traditional site of his house in Damascus, on the banks of the Abana.’ Schaff.” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary)
In 2 Kings 5:18, “The Aramean god Rimmon is an epithet for Baal Hadad, the Canaanite storm god (Cogan and Tadmor, AB, 65, suggest that “Rimmon” is derived from the Semitic root rmm, “to thunder”). The name “Rimmon” appears also in the personal name “Tabrimmon,” father of the Aramean king Ben-Hadad (“son of [the god] Hadad”) in 1 Kings 15:18.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
We also see in this narrative in vs. 20-27, the greed of the Jewish servant to Elisha named Gehazi. Therefore, as Jesus was using this example of the faithful gentile, they also understood the discipline to the greedy Jewish servant.
Using this Scripture, Jesus “is trying to show them that they, His own people, were apt to miss a great blessing because they would not accept who He was. They would be like the many widows and the many lepers of Israel who were not healed during the time of Elijah.” (Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee.)
Also notice that in both examples, the faithful Gentiles believed the word that they heard and acted upon it. They believed without seeing, which resulted in miraculous provisions and healings from God. They did not need to see the miracle to receive the miracle. They believed the Word and as a result received the miracle.
Likewise, in both examples we see the One true God, the God of Israel, being triumphant over the gods / Baal’s of the other nations. Jesus was the God/Man who came to bring salvation and deliverance over sin and Satan’s cosmic system to the entire world. Therefore, Jesus was reminding them that Israel’s God was also the God over the people of Sidon, Asyria, Syria, and every other nation of the world. He is the One True God of both Jew and Gentile, Cf. Amos 9:7; Joshua 4:24; Deut 32:39.
Amos 9:7, “Are you not as the sons of Ethiopia to Me, O sons of Israel?” declares the LORD. “Have I not brought up Israel from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?”
Joshua 4:24, “That all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”
Deut 32:39, “See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”
Our God has always been a God of love for any and all peoples.
Principle: God’s grace is available for everyone. Don’t be a hypocrite by loving grace for yourself but abhorring it for others.
Therefore, just as Elijah and Elisha were better received outside of Israel, so too would the gospel message be better received among the Gentiles. As such, the contrast between native and foreign land (Jews and Gentiles) in Luke 4:23-24, (i.e., Nazareth and Capernaum), is illustrated by the examples of Elijah and Elisha where the rejection of the Jews and the acceptance of the Gentiles is implied.
The mention of these two prophets in those scenarios caused the crowd to become quite angry with Jesus. Jesus said that the prophets healed Gentiles because of Israel’s unbelief. Jesus was warning them that rejecting Him was like the unfaithfulness of one of the worst periods in Israel’s history. These two events are mentioned together to highlight the consequences of Israel’s disobedience.
The people were all enamored with Jesus when He spoke about grace being given to them / Israel, but when He spoke about grace being given to the faithful Gentiles, and judgment upon unbelieving Israel, they were quick to kill Him.
The application to the congregation in Nazareth, (and us today), was obvious. If they wanted evidence that Jesus’ claims to the poor, the blind, the captives, and the oppressed were true, all they had to do was trust Him and there would be ample evidence. But they did not.
As the people were insulted by the widow’s story, the next example brought even greater anger. “The fine citizens of Nazareth had heard enough. It was bad enough to be told that they were poor and blind and captive and oppressed, but now to be told they were less spiritual and less wise than the Gentiles, both Naaman and the widow, was just too much!” (Preaching the Word.)
The Nazarenes were so enraged at Jesus’ last announcement that they wanted to throw Him off of a cliff, as Nazareth was built on a hillside. Seeing Him as a false prophet, their self-righteousness led them to want to kill Him. The little boy / young man that they knew was now an enemy of the state. “The rage of the people results from the obvious teaching that the Jews do not occupy an exclusive place in the blessings of God, but that God’s help comes to those who have faith, irrespective of class or race.” (The Believer’s Study Bible.)
As a result, Jesus allowed them to “drive Him out of the city,” which also was a prelude to His crucifixion days, John 19:17; Heb 13:12.
Heb 13:12, “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”
Finally, in vs. 30, Jesus eluded the crowd as He does several more times throughout His ministry, John 7:30; 8:59; 10:39. Whether these were supernatural evadings or not is not indicated in the texts. But, as I have stated above, it was also part of “not tempting the Lord your God,” as Jesus did not look for the Father to miraculously save Him at this time.
B. The Authority of His Ministry, Luke 4:31-6:11.
1. Over demons, Luke 4:31-37.
We now begin to see Jesus’ proof of His ministry, as He exercises demons and heals the sick. As we noted above, there are two reasons why Jesus performed miracles and healings:
1. Compassion. He healed people to relieve them of their physical, mental, and spiritual burdens, simply because He loved them.
2. Authentication. He performed miracles to give the people proof that He was the Messiah and a tangible reason to believe His words.
Here, we are noting the authentication of His ministry, as Luke begin His public ministry with exorcisms and healings in vs. 31-44.
In vs. 31, “going down to Capernaum” is used because Nazareth was built in the hills and Capernaum is near the Sea of Galilee, a literal decent. Nazareth is located about 1200 feet above sea level, Capernaum is situated by the Sea of Galilee which is 686 feet below sea level. Capernaum, Kapernaoum, Καπερναούμ is a city on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus made His home, Mat 4:13; Mark 2:1.
“They were amazed, (Imperfect, Passive, Indicative of the Verb EKPLESSO, ἐκπλήσσω “be amazed, overwhelmed, or strike with astonishment that denotes a profound reaction associated with shock), at His teaching, (DIDACHE), for His message (LOGOS) was with authority, (EXOUSIA, authority, right, power to rule).” Notice that in the parallel of Mark 1:22, it states, “… and not as the scribes.”
EXOUSIA means, “The power or authority to do a thing, freedom to action, right to act, power over, license in a thing, an office, magistracy, or place or body of authority.”
The Scribes would typically support their teaching by what others had previously stated. Jesus taught from the Bible and used the direct authority of the Word of God to support His teachings, not what someone else had said. In addition, Jesus’ teaching was the true Word of God rather than the corrupt self-righteous legalistic teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees.
Luke 4:33, “In the synagogue there was a man possessed, (ECHO, to have or hold, posses), by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice.”
It is interesting where we find this “demon possessed” man in the synagogue or as we would say today, the church. Not all who attend church are believers! “We do not have to go farther than the assembly of God’s people to find evidence of the enemy’s work. Satan loves to oppose Christ’s work right where the Lord is meant to be worshiped.” (Christ-Centered Exposition)
“The spirit of an unclean demon,” PNEUMA AKATHARTOS DIAMONION. DIAMONION is the more frequently used term for “demon” in the NT compared to DIAMON. It is a term for the fallen angels of Satan’s cosmic system. These are the angels that are behind all false gods throughout history, Psa 96:5; Ex 12:12; Isa 19:3.
Psa 96:5, “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.”
Ex 12:12, “For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD.”
These demons are superhuman beings, though inferior to God. They promote idolatry, 1 Cor 10:20, and they often cause mental illness and/or disease, Mat 12:22; 17:15, 18; Mark 9:18, though not all disease is a result of demon possession. Luke, a physician, distinguishes between demon possession, mental illness and disease as do the other Synoptic Gospels, Luke 4:40, 41; 7:21, 22; Mat 4:23, 24; 8:16; 10:8; Mark 6:13. Demon possession is listed with a variety of symptoms of other diseases including pain, epilepsy, and paralysis. The Gospel writers could distinguish between demon possession and these other diseases.
Demon possession is only possible for the unbeliever. The believer who is indwelt with all three members of the Trinity cannot be demon possessed, but in carnality or reversionism can be demonically influenced.
Demon Possession is the control of an individual’s personality so that actions are influenced by an evil demonic spirit. The signs of demon possession in the NT include: speechlessness, Mat 9:33; deafness, Mark 9:25; blindness, Mat 12:22; fierceness, Mat 8:28; unusual strength, Mark 5:4; convulsions, Mark 1:26; and foaming at the mouth, Luke 9:39. Most of the NT references to demon possession appear in the Gospels and represent the outburst of satanic opposition to God’s work in Christ.
The characteristics of demon-possession can be as varied as the activities of demons, ranging from mild to severe and even bizarre. A few specific symptoms of demon-possession are described in the Bible, which includes the following physical and mental abnormalities like:
a) Dumbness, blindness, and convulsions, Mat 9:32-33; 12:22; 17:15-18; Mark 1:26; 9:20; Luke 9:39.
b) Tendencies to self-destruction, Mat 17:15; Mark 5:5; Luke 9:42.
c) Abnormally violent, Mat 8:28.
d) Inflict suffering, illnesses and deformities, Mark 9:20; Luke 9:29; 13:11-17.
e) Insanity, Mark 5:5; Luke 8:26-35; John 10:20.
f) Nakedness in public, Luke 8:27.
g) Grinding the teeth, Mark 9:18.
h) Living among dead bodies, Mark 5:3.
i) Superhuman strength, Mark 5:3-4; Luke 8:29; Acts 19:15-16.
j) Occult powers, Acts 16:16-18.
The Bible clearly distinguishes demon-induced diseases from illnesses due to other more natural causes, Mat 4:24; Mark 1:32-42; Luke 7:21; 9:1; Acts 5:16.
Mat 4:24, “The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.”
Descriptions of the experience of demon possession do not separate the actions of the possessed person from the actions of the demon, Mark 1:23; Luke 8:28. The power of the demon dominates the personality of the possessed person. Such bizarre behavior as masochism, Mark 5:5, and an unnatural voice, Mark 5:7, stems from the demon’s control of the individual’s self-expression.
The cure for demon possession in the NT is always faith in the power of Christ. The NT never shows Jesus or the apostles using magical rites to deliver the afflicted from demon possession. Whenever Christ spoke the word, the demons were forced to obey Him, Mark 1:27; Luke 4:41. Jesus entrusted this same power of exorcism to His disciples as they went out on mission for Him, Mat 10:8.
“Cried out,” is the Verb ANAKRAZO, ἀνακράζω that means, “scream aloud, shriek, or cry out.” Interestingly, this word is for demons, “crying out to Jesus” so that He would not punish them, Mark 1:23; Luke 4:33; 8:28, and for the fearful apostles who thought Jesus was a ghost, Mark 6:49, and for the crowd that wanted to crucify Jesus. That has to tell you something about that crowd!!!
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!”
Notice that the demon uses the plural “we” and “us.” It means that there was more than one demon possessing this gentleman, as also noted in the parallel account in Mark 1:21-28. And when we compare Mat 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-12; Luke 8:26-32, we see a scenario of the “legion” of demons possessing this man who Jesus then exercises and sent into a heard of swine.
Interestingly, these are considered, “unclean spirits,” AKATHARTOS PNEUMA, in Luke 4:33 and elsewhere, and swine or pigs were one of the major “unclean” animals that God forbade to eat during the Age of the Law. So, our Lord’s humor was in view, as He sent unclean spirits into unclean animals who proceeded to kill themselves.
The demons plea was to “Let us alone!” They did not want to have anything to do with Jesus because they knew who He was, along with the power and authority He possessed.
“What business do we have with each other,” is an interesting statement and is in the Greek written as a Hebrew idiom, “What to us and to you.” This idiom was also used by the “legion” of demons in Mat 8:29. There we have a clue as to what the intent of this statement was as they stated, “have you come here to torment us before the time?” In Luke’s account this group of demons states, “Have you come to destroy us?”
“Destroy,” here and in Mark 1:24, is the Aorist, Active, Infinitive of the Verb APOLLUMI, ἀπόλλυμι that means, “destroy, ruin, kill, lose, be lost, perish, to put to death.” In the Septuagint APOLLUMI is used for at least 38 different Hebrew words; most often it equals AVADH, “to be lost, or to perish.” It usually refers to destruction in this life, but some texts suggest destruction in the hereafter. In the NT, it is used about 90 times and means, “eternal destruction and ruin.”
In Mat 8:29, Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28, the word used is BASANIZO that means, “torment or examine by torture.” Luke 8:31, also uses “the Abyss,” which is a temporary holding place for the criminal demonic angels, cf. Rev 9:1f, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3.
Luke 8:31, “They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.”
Therefore, it gives us a vivid view into the suffering of the Eternal Lake of Fire. The “fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (i.e., demons) will destroy their dominion, Mat 25:41, and God will condemn them to a punishment of eternal fire, Jude 6. This tells us that the demons all know that there is a coming Day of Judgment for them, when they would be thrown into the Lake of Fire forever. It is sad that all unbelievers of the human race do not know this.
Remember James 2:19, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”
Yet, this was not the time for this kind of Judgment; that will be upon His Second Advent. At this time, Jesus was expressing His compassion towards the afflicted in analogy to what He would do for the sins of the entire world, as well as demonstrate and thereby prove His claims of Messiahship, through the exercise of His preeminent power and authority as the Son of God.
Notice that these demons identify Him as “Jesus of Nazareth,” even though they were in Capernaum. The demons know full well of the life and times of Jesus during His First Advent. And not only that, they also know that He is the eternal 2nd Person of the Trinity as the “Son of God,” by stating, “I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”
“The Holy One of God,” is HO HAGIOS HO THEOS. This title is only used here and in Mark 1:24 and John 6:69. In John 6:69, we have Peter’s confession as to who Jesus was, “We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” In Mark 5:7 the demon used the phrase “Son of the Most High God,” cf. Mat 4:3
This is a phrase predominantly used by Isaiah of the OT to identify the One true God, the God of Israel, cf. Psa 71:22; 78:41; Isa 29:23; 30:15; 43:3; 47:17; 54:5. So, we see that this demon is identifying Jesus Christ as the One True God, the God of Israel who is now in their presence. Jesus Christ is God incarnate, the God of Israel.
Psa 71:22, “I will also praise You with a harp, even Your truth, O my God; To You I will sing praises with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.”
Isa 29:23, “But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will sanctify My name; Indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.”
Isa 30:15, “For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.’ But you were not willing.”
Isa 43:3, “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place.”
Isa 48:17, “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.”
Isa 54:5, “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.”
Those who should have known Him, those who should have recognized Him as having been sent by the Father, failed to understand who He was, yet a rebellious demon clearly knew who He was.
Also, notice that this demon now uses the first person singular of OIDA for “I know.” That gives us a clue into the hierarchy of the angelic realm, even the fallen angels. Even though there were many demons possessing this man, only one had the authority to speak, and to speak for all the others. This reminds us of Eph 6:11-12, where we are given a glimpse into the hierarchy of the angelic realm that Satan heads.
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.”
This was the first of Jesus’ miracles recorded in Luke’s Gospel. In the other Gospels we see the changing of water into wine at the wedding of Cana being His first recorded miracle, but in Luke’s this is it!
In authority Jesus “rebuked him,” the Aorist, Active, Indicative of the Verb EPITIMAO, ἐπιτιμάω, “rebuke, censure, warn, admonish.” This passage demonstrated the authority of Jesus over the angelic realm, specifically here the demonic angelic realm. Jesus was speaking directly to the leader of this legion of demons as He uses the first person singular personal Pronoun AUTOS in the command and rebuke. We will see Jesus also rebuking the fear and illnesses that gripped the people He healed, vs. 39, as well as the wind upon the sea in Mark 4:39.
When Jesus tells him to “be quiet,” the Aorist, Passive, Imperative of the Verb PHIMOO, φιμόω that means, “muzzle, tie shut, or silence,” he was using a command regarding animals. First from Deut 25:4 “ you shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,” Paul used it regarding the Pastor/Teacher who should not have to work outside of the church to provide for himself or his family, 1 Cor 9:9; 1 Tim 5:18. It is also used for Jesus silencing the Pharisees who were constantly trying to trap Him in His words, Mat 22:12, 34; cf. 1 Peter 2:15. Jesus also rebuked the wind of that great storm upon the sea where He came to the disciples, and it was silenced in Mark 4:39. And here, in Mark 1:25 Jesus rebuking the demons commanded them to be silent upon His exorcism of them. He did not need a false witness, though what he said was true! He did not want their acknowledgement of Him to mislead the people, as Jesus would later be accused of being in league with Beelzebul or Satan, Mat 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15.
Luke 4:36-37, “And amazement (THAMBOS) 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.” 37And the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district.”
“Amazement,” is the Noun THAMBOS, θάμβος, “amazement, astonishment, wonder.” It is only used by Luke here and 5:9 and Acts 3:10. It can be associated with fear, as well as amazement. It is a synonym of EXPLESSO of vs. 32 that denotes a profound reaction associated with shock. So the slight difference with THAMBOS is the association of fear that the people had here after they saw the exorcism.
Here, the people’s amazement was at the “authority, (EXOUSIA – power to rule) and power, (DUNAMIS inherent power),” that Jesus demonstrated in front of them. As a result, the people spoke about Him, “report about Him,” (ECHOS, “sound, noise, report, or rumor [cf. PHEME “news,” of vs. 14]), throughout the surrounding area, “PERICHOROS,” cf. vs 14. By this miracle Jesus demonstrated His actual possession of the authority which He had just assumed in His teaching.
Interestingly, in vs. 33, the word “possessed” is the Verb ECHO, and here in vs. 37, the word for “report” or “rumor” is the Noun ECHOS from the Verb ECHEO. Do you think Jesus and Luke were trying a “play on words” between the demon possessed and murmurers?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In this narrative, we see Jesus’ proof and authority of His claims and ministry by healing the sick and exercising more demons possessing men. The parallel passages are found in Mat 4:14-17; Mark 1:29-39.
Luke 4:38, “Then He got up (ANISTEMI) 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 (about) her.”
Jesus getting up uses the Word ANISTEMI that is also used throughout the NT for the literal action and more importantly, for the resurrection of believers. May this be a clue regarding a sublime meaning behind these actions?
Here, Jesus enters the home of Simon. This was a more personal encounter than an open / public one. The first person Luke tells us Jesus heals was the mother-in-law (PENTHERA) of Simon whose name Jesus would change to Peter. The parallel Gospel accounts give us that detail, cf. Mat 8:14-15; Mark 1:29-31. Mark gives essentially the same information as Luke, but Mark adds that it was “the house of Simon and Andrew,” who is Peter’s brother, and that James and John were with Jesus. Perhaps Luke does not mention James and John because he has not told of their call at this point in his Gospel, and as mentioned above, Luke does not give the details of the calling of the apostles, as the other Gospels do.
In any case, this is the first mention of one of the apostles in Luke’s account. From the other Gospels, we know that Jesus would go on to select the 12 disciples and give them the authority to exercise demons and heal the sick too, Mat 10:1, 5-8. This also tells us that Peter had a wife, cf. 1 Cor 9:5.
“Was suffering” uses the Greek Imperfect, Active, Indicative of the Verbs EIMI, “was,” and the Present, Passive, Participle of the Verb SUNECHO, συνέχω that means, “hold fast, restrain, enclose; constrain, compel, press, or pressure.” Its root ECHO means, “to have and to hold,” with the prefix SUN for “with.” Its basic sense is that of two things holding or pressing together, perhaps with something caught in the middle. So, it can range from holding two things together (coupling), to holding someone prisoner (restraining), to being gripped with an inner pressure (constraint). Figuratively, it is used for the sick who were in the grip of (captive to) their illnesses, Mat 4:24; Luke 4:38; Acts 28:8. Therefore, this correlates to Jesus’ proclamation in vs. 18, from Isa 61:1, “to release the captives.”
The thing that held this woman captive was “a fever,” PURETOS, πυρετός that is used here and vs. 39, and for this narrative in Mat 8:15; Mark 1:31. It is also used in John 4:52; Acts 28:8. From the word PUR, “fire,” it is a common word for fiery or burning heat and specifically a “fever.” Luke says the fever was MEGAS or “great,” meaning a very high fever. This might have been a fever due to having malaria that was common in Palestine in that day.
Because of her grave condition, Simon and others “asked,” EROTAO, “ask or requested,” Jesus to help her condition, knowing that He was able to heal. EROTAO is generally more conversational than other words for “asking” or “petitioning” someone, and at times may express a more intimate relation between the parties than its synonym AITEO does. In the NT, it is a word associated with the prayer life. And in fact, when Jesus prayed to God the Father, He always used EROTAO, cf. John 14:16, whereas the disciples used AITEO in their prayers to God. In this case, this was an intercessory petition, a request on behalf of someone else.
Asking for help is a demonstration of your faith in someone to fulfill your request. Therefore, when we ask God for things of need, we are demonstrating our faith in Him, just as Simon and the others demonstrated their faith in Jesus here.
Later, in Mark 9:14-29, when the disciples could not exercise a demon from possessing a boy, Jesus told them in vs. 29, that “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.” The lesson here was not primarily about prayer, but about having faith in God for all things that is demonstrated in your prayer life, cf. vs. 23, “All things are possible to him who believes.”
So, we see Simon / Peter and the others demonstrating positive volition faithfully towards God by petitioning Jesus to heal Simon’s mother-in-law.
Luke 4:39, “And standing (EPISTEMI) over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them.”
Here, Jesus “rebuked,” (EPITIMAO, cf. vs. 35, “rebuke, censure, warn, admonish.”), “the fever,” (PURETOS), of this woman, just as He “rebuked” the demons not to speak prior to their exorcism. He will also rebuke more possessing demons not to speak upon exorcism in vs. 41. Given that “rebuke,” EPITIMAO, is only used in association to persons, (i.e., human or evil spirits), except here towards an illness and in Luke 8:24, regarding the wind of the great storm, this may have been an illness brought on by a demon, maybe even demon possession, just as the storm may have been brought on by a demon, cf. Rev 7:1.
After Jesus admonished the fever, “it left her,” which uses the Verb APHIEMI ἀφίημι, that means, “let go, leave, to disregard, leave behind, dismiss, divorce, cancel, pardon, remit, forgive, or abandon.” Interestingly, this word is used for “forgiveness” throughout the NT.
As we have been noting, the scenes in this chapter are a microcosm of Jesus’ entire ministry culminating at the Cross, were the forgiveness of our sins was won. Therefore, in the exorcism of the demons and healing of the sick, we see the analogy of the forgiveness of our sins, the greater healing, that frees us from sin and Satan’s cosmic system.
The term “rebuke” demonstrates Jesus’ power and authority over things including, as here, illnesses and diseases. The Creator of the heavens and earth certainly has authority over all of His creation, including those bits that cause illnesses and sicknesses like germs, bacteria, etc.
That this was a miraculous healing is noted by the speed of her recovery and subsequent service, as we see the demonstration of a beautiful, faithful, and thankful Christian woman. “Immediately,” PARACHREMA, upon her healing, she “gets up,” ANISTEMI, (a word for resurrection), and begins to “wait on or serve,” DIAKONEO, (where we get the word “deacon” from), Jesus and the others.
Once again, notice the use of ANISTEMI here, and in our Lord’s “getting up,” in vs. 38. Well, this is the word that is also often used throughout the NT for “resurrection.” In both instances, this is a demonstration of the “resurrection life” we have been given post conversion / salvation, and should be living while here on earth.
This is a picture of what our spiritual life should be. Upon the forgiveness of our sins at the moment of our conversion / salvation, when we also receive the new unique resurrection life of the Church Age in Christ, our primary function should be serving God and others too.
Rom 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
Rom 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
1 John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”
Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Therefore, as Jesus removes this illness from Peter’s mother-in-law, it was a precursor to the removal of sin for the believer because of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The removal of sin then gives the believer a new life in Christ, which should be marked by service and worship towards God and service towards others as well. As Jesus “led captive a host of captives” in Eph 4:8, He also “gave gifts to men,” for the service and worship of God, and service towards others. He also was giving a precursor to the resurrection, ANISTEMI, which believers will receive upon His Second Coming. So, this was more than just a miracle of healing, it had great meaning regarding Jesus’ overall ministry culminating at the Cross, and for what our attitude and service should be post salvation.
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.”
The parallels to these verses are found in Mat 8:16-17; Mark 1:32-34.
“While the sun was setting,” indicates the end of the Sabbath day. The sick could not be carried on the Sabbath, so we see that the people waited until the Sabbath was over.
“Sick,” is Verb ASTHENEO, ἀσθενέω that means, “be sick, weak, unhealthy, or be in need,” and “diseases” is the Noun NOSOS νόσος that means, “illness, sickness, or disease.” The latter is where we get our English word “nausea” from.
NOSOS is used synonymously with the other general terms for sickness in passages that describe Jesus’ healing ministry such as, MALAKIA, MASTIX, ASTHENEIA, and the Verb ASTHENEŌ.
“In the OT, illness is almost always considered from a religious point of view. Primary interest is not on the physical causes of illness nor its diagnosis, but rather on the relationship existing between God—who is Master of illness and health, life and death—and the one who is ill. In Israelite thought, illness was an evil and contrary to nature, something out of place in God’s creation. But if sickness and weakness did affect human life, some believed it was because of sin. Mankind incurred God’s wrath because of sin, and consequently, is under the power of evil forces. Thus, suffering and illness were seen as ordinary conditions for a fallen and sinful mankind.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary.)
Yet, Jesus strongly opposed the teaching that sickness and disaster always occur as punishment for particular sins, cf. Luke 13:1ff. Regarding the man who had been born blind Jesus said in John 9:3, “Neither has this man sinned nor his parents.” This does not mean Jesus did not believe these people were sinners; rather, it emphasizes that this man’s blindness was not a direct result of any particular sin, which he or his parents may have committed.
None-the-less, regarding Hebrew thought of the day, the origin of illness can be traced back to the Fall. Death entered the world as a direct result of sin, and to the Hebrews illness merely signaled the beginning of death. So sin and death and sickness were closely related. Therefore, by healing those who were sick “due to sin,” Jesus demonstrated over and over again that He had the power to heal from sickness and sin, which spoke of His Cross.
“Perhaps the most significant use of nosos is in Matthew 8:17 where Isaiah 53:4 is quoted in a quite literal Greek translation of the Hebrew. Matthew was inspired to choose nosos and astheneia instead of the Septuagint’s “sin and hardships.” The message here is that Jesus is the Messiah who provides deliverance from sickness and all effects of the Fall by taking the root cause—the sin of the world—on himself. This and the other uses of nosos serve as a reminder that though Christians may suffer the common experience of disease in this fallen world, God has provided for healing in Christ’s atonement as one of the benefits of His many-faceted grace.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
Sickness is also related to resurrection. “Perfect health belongs to the realm of eternity and cannot be achieved in the present life. This is why the Scriptures state that at the return of Christ the bodies of the believers will be changed “so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21, NIV). At the resurrection the mortal will clothe itself with the immortal (1 Corinthians 15:53). In the eternal state there is no death, sorrow, or suffering (Revelation 21:4), and the leaves of the tree of life will be for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:2).” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
So, we see the links between sickness, sin, the Cross, and resurrection in Jesus’ healing ministry that demonstrated His power towards them all as the Messiah for our benefit. As a result, we should be gratefully serving and worship Him!
“Laying His hands,” shows us one of the many ways Jesus healed that sometimes included just speaking the word. The method was not the issue, but faith in God. Nevertheless, in this case, He laid His hands upon those who were diseased. This was His usual method, Mark 5:23; 6:5; Luke 5:13; 13:13. The significance of this was to symbolically show the removal of the illness from the person by transferring the disease into Jesus and the subsequent flow of Divine power from Jesus to the person for healing. This was significant to the Israelite, as their sacrifices for sin had a “laying on of hands” to indicate the transfer of sin from the human to the animal, where the animal would then give its life to pay for the sin. In addition, the human would receive forgiveness of sin. As we noted above, illness is the direct result of sin being in the world, so this shows how Jesus would take upon Himself the sins of the world and give His life for those sins. All those that believer upon Him would then be forgiven or healed from their sins and receive eternal resurrection life.
“He was healing them,” uses the same Verb as in vs. 23, for the mocking “Physician heal yourself,” which is THERAPEUO, θεραπεύω that can mean, “serve, care for, or heal.” Notice that this word has the notion of “serving” in it, as we noted the importance of serving God and others above.
In ancient Greek, ordinarily and originally it meant, “I serve.” Gradually the term suggested “to care” for someone, and finally it acquired the definition of “to heal” or “to render medical treatment.” And, the sense of “to serve,” could include serving a deity. In the NT, the Gospels emphasize the “healing” aspect, but in most instances it was in relation to serving God. Acts 17:25, uses it strictly for service. The Synoptic Gospels are responsible for 35 instances of THERAPEUO; 5 are found in Acts, 1 in John, and 2 in Revelation.
As such, we see that Jesus served all of mankind by taking on our sins and giving us healing/forgiveness of our sins.
In addition, Matthew’s Gospel mentions the fulfillment of prophecy as the purpose for Jesus’ healing campaign, cf. Mat 8:17; Isa 53:4, i.e., to take our infirmities.
Isa 53:4, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
Mat 8:17, “This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES’.”
The effects of Jesus’ and the disciples healing were not the results of medical treatment, but the supernatural power of God, cf. Luke 8:43. And, Jesus’ power to heal was a challenging confrontation of His Messiahship, cf. Luke 7:21 with Luke 4:18-19.
Luke 7:21, “At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind.” Cf. Luke 4:18.
Finally, it was a part of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ / the Kingdom of God, Luke 9:6; Mat 9:35. Jesus’ healings demonstrated that He had broken the power of sin and Satan, cf. Luke 10:17-18, and that the kingdom of God had arrived for all to receive, Luke 10:9; 11:20.
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.” Cf. Mat 8:16-17; Mark 1:34.
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.”
Mat 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. 17This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES’.”
As noted above, and in the Complete Biblical Library commentary on this passage, “Jesus refused to allow the demons to announce His true identity lest the people should become emotionally charged to the point of forcing a confrontation with imperial Rome. There were Zealots and revolutionaries who were more than ready to rally around a political messiah and champion his cause. Palestine was constantly in a state of unrest. Rebellion against the Romans seemed inevitable. Jesus did not come to run for political office; He came to alleviate human suffering and to atone for the sins of the world (cf. Matthew 8:4). Regardless of the demonic witness to His divinity, He was indeed the Christ. He prohibited their proclamations, but He never denied the truth of their statement. His desire was for private citizens to share this knowledge with their family and friends. Certainly one may ask if demons recognize Him, should not people possess the ability to discern His uniqueness?” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
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.”
After teaching, healing, and exercising demons throughout the night, a humanly exhausted, both physically and mentally, Jesus withdrew from the people to a “secluded place,” EREMOS, “desolate, abounded, desert, or solitary place,” cf. Luke 1:80; 3:2, 4; 4:1, to get a moments rest. Mark 1:35, tells us He also needed this for an opportunity to pray, cf., Luke 5:16.
When you are physically and mentally exhausted, pray to the Father and He will help you to “recharge your batteries” first spiritually, then mentally, then physically.
But, then we see the crowds would not give Him much rest, as they were “searching for Him,” EPIZETEO, ἐπιζητέω, “search for, seek after, desire to know.” With the prefix EPI added, this is the intensification of ZETEO, “seek, look for, wish for, desire, inquire into or about.” They were intently seeking Him out, because they had more to be healed.
This word, along with the action of “tried to keep Him from going away from them,” that employs KATECHO “to hold back, hinder, prevent, restrain, etc.” and the Verb POREUOMAI that means, “to go, depart, travel, etc.,” utilized common words from the LXX of the OT that speak to Israel not possessing what they were seeking, especially the “promised land.”
Therefore, Luke uses these words to indicate that these people were seeking for the wrong things from Jesus. Instead of seeking Him out for the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation, they were seeking Him to heal physically. Their looking for the wrong things, goes along with the reason Jesus commanded the demons not to speak, because their testimony would have led the people, in an even greater sense, to look to Jesus to rescue them from their Roman occupiers. Yet, Jesus came to rescue them from sin, which was the message behind all of the miracles He performed. That is why Jesus responded as such in the next two verses.
Luke 4:43-44, “But He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.’ 44So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.”
Here, Jesus states the main purpose of His mission, “to preach,” is the Verb EUANGELIZO once again and means, “bringing or announcing good news, proclaiming, or preaching (the gospel),” as compared to KERUSSON in vs. 44, that simply means, “proclaim, preach, or announce.” So, it is more than just preaching, it is the announcement that salvation has come in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It means, “the gospel” is taught. Jesus stated, “I must,” DEI that also means, “it is necessary.” This was His mission and purpose.
In preaching the gospel, Jesus announced that the “kingdom of God,” BASILEIA HO THEOS, was now available to all. As we noted above, the gospel message and announcement of the availability of the “kingdom of God” are synonymous. The latter was more appropriate for Hebrew ears and thought! The kingdom of God is both a present reality and a future event, Luke 11:20; 17:20, 21; 19:11; 21:31.
“For I was sent for this purpose,” uses APOSTELLO in the Aorist, Passive, Indicative to show that Jesus recognizes that God the Father commissioned Him to deliver this message to the people of Israel, “Judea,” IOUDAIA. Some later translations use “Galilee” here, but the earlier ones have IOUDAIA.
Even though He was currently in Galilee, He spoke of the greater territory that He was ordered to witness His Gospel to; throughout all of Israel, as the first map below shows the territory of Judea as a result of the Maccabee rebellion. Later, the Romans would carve out Judea as the area west of the Dead Sea; see map 2.
The incidents recorded next in Chapter 5 and beyond, took place not only in Capernaum but in other cities of Israel, as well.