LUKE CHAPTER 4
Jesus precludes His initial visit to Galilee with a period of temptation from Satan in the wilderness – and during this time, He was filled with the Spirit. This must have rivaled the intensity of the moments before Jesus’ conviction and eventual crucifixion. The man was led by God to spend forty days without food. Luke points out that the man was hungry (v. 2). This demonstrates the humanity of Jesus as well as the overwhelming difficulty of being obedient in the first round of temptation, involving Satan suggesting turning a piece of stone into.
There is truth to be gleaned from Satan’s scripture quotation: whenever we hear the Bible being referenced, we should always check who the speaker is, what his intentions are, and the context. At face value, Satan’s reading appears legit, but His intentions don’t measure up to the standards of righteousness.
Jesus first entered the synagogues to teach (v. 15). He understood that He must address His contemporaries first, because He had not yet gained any reputation among the Gentiles. Preachers, first address the flock before you– then, as you begin to equip others to relay the gospel message, others will be drawn in, and the attention can begin to fan outward.
Jesus returns to His hometown thereafter to make Himself known as the Messiah the Jews had been awaiting. He enters the synagogue to proclaim this word, using Scripture to back it up. Certainly many others had come declaring they were the true Messiah, but none had done so in such a self-assured fashion. In verse 22, witnesses murmured among themselves, doubting: they had known the man as the son of Joseph, a mere carpenter.
When Jesus recognizes the lack of support from His own people (v. 24), He clarifies that former well-known prophets had been in the midst of a ripe harvest of people to minister unto, but Elijah and Elisha only addressed the needs of a foreign Gentile widow and another Gentile, a ceremonially unclean leper. The leaders in the synagogue are filled with wrath because Jesus had stated His ministry would, like these prophets had, be without discrimination between Jew and Gentile. Enraged, the men go to push Him off a cliff, but Jesus does a magic trick and escapes unharmed: His time had not yet come.
The remainder of the chapter illustrates Jesus’ legacy being built – an exorcism, a healing, and further teaching. People would begin bringing their sick to Jesus to see them healed – and while Jesus didn’t mind the attention, He made it clear that His ministry wasn’t to promote Himself, but to perpetuate the kingdom of God abroad (v. 43).