Study Guide

Gospel of Luke Chapter 4:14-30

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Chapter 4:14-30

Jesus Gets Busy

  • Jesus returns to Galilee souped-up with V-12 Spirit-power. He's forced the retreat of the strongest demon, and now he's a kind of spiritual Lamborghini.
  • Jesus teaches in local synagogues, and everyone gives him props.
  • In Nazareth, where he grew up, he enters a synagogue on the sabbath and volunteers to read the scripture.
  • Jesus unrolls the scroll to Isaiah 61:1-2.
  • Heads up: Jesus is about to give a preview of his whole career. Every word is important. Ready? Set. Jesus.
  • The Spirit of the Lord is upon him.
  • He's destined to bring the poor good news, proclaim release to prisoners, grant sight to the blind, send the oppressed off in freedom, and proclaim "the acceptable year of the Lord" (4:19 KJV). The end.
  • Jesus rolls the scroll back up, hands it to the attendant, and takes his seat, while everyone gawks at him.
  • Jesus tells them that this scripture has come true today in their very presence. In other words, Isaiah is talking about yours truly.
  • Everyone is on his side. After all, this is Joseph's boy. Evidently, they are unaware of everything that happened in chapters 1-2.
  • Despite their initially positive response, Jesus picks a fight. It's your job to wonder why.
  • Jesus argues that no prophet is accepted "in his own country" (4:24 KJV) or "in the prophet's hometown" (4:24 NRSV). The two translations reflect that Jesus is talking about Nazareth (his hometown) and Israel in general. Two birds, one Greek word.
  • Jesus gives two examples as proof.
  • Example #1: Although the prophet Elijah visited none of the widows in Israel during a devastating famine, he was sent by God to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon, a non-Israelite city. Fact check Jesus by reading his source in 1 Kings 17:1, 8-24.
  • Example #2: Of all of those sick with leprosy in Israel, Elisha only healed Naaman, who was Syrian, not Israelite. Fact check Jesus again by reading 2 Kings 5:1-18.
  • Sit back, prop your feet up, and try to tease out the logic. How do these examples support Jesus's thesis that a prophet's not accepted at home?
  • Now everyone gets really mad at Jesus, and they behave exactly as Jesus said they would.
  • They even try to force him off a cliff, but he gets away by miraculously walking straight through their midst.
  • Let's dwell for a minute. This story picks up on Simeon's statement in Chapter 2 that Jesus will provoke conflict and it anticipates the rejection and opposition Jesus will face from his fellow countrymen.
  • Yes, Isaiah is talking about Jesus as the one who will bring release, freedom, and good news, but it won't be easy.

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