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Bible Commentaries

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
Luke 4



Verse 3

And the devil said unto him; that is, during the time of his temptation.

Verse 4

Verse 6

The psalmist David thought differently in respect to the disposal of earthly power and honor. Promotion, he says, cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south; but God is the judge. He putteth down one, and setteth up another.

Verse 8

Get thee behind me, Satan; a strong expression of rejection--Away! Begone!

Verse 12

By comparing this passage with the one which our Savior quotes, (Deuteronomy 6:16,) which refers to the conduct of the Israelites at Massah or Meribah, (Exodus 17:2,7,) it seems that the expression tempt God is applied to the sin of presumptuously calling for or expecting miraculous interpositions from him.

Verse 13

There have been great disputes among the learned whether the sacred writers intended us to understand, in this case, that the spirit of evil appeared in a visible form, and with an audible voice, to lead Jesus astray, or whether the temptation was urged in the mode in which enticements to sin are ordinarily presented to the human mind,--by inward suggestions. The language seems to be, at first view, too direct and specific to admit of any but a literal interpretation; but, then, the mind inclines to adopt a view more in accordance with the ordinary course of divine providence in respect to temptation to sin. There are very serious difficulties attending the settlement of this question; but it is less important than might be supposed, as all the moral aspects and bearings of the case are the same on either supposition. In order to appreciate the nature and severity of this trial, we must remember that Jesus was strictly a man, and that he partook of all the natural feelings of the human heart; and now, as he was about to enter upon a very public career as a man, he found himself mysteriously partaking of the divine nature, and clothed with divine authority, and placed, moreover, in a position which opened before him prospects of the greatest magnificence and splendor, if he would take advantage of the circumstances in which he was placed, and wield the supernatural powers with which he was clothed, to protect himself from injury, to gratify his own desires, and to attain earthly dominion, instead of giving himself up to a life of sorrow and suffering, and to an agonizing death, for the redemption of man. These seem to have been the suggestions which struggled for the mastery over him in the dark season of his trial. The greatness and severity of them we have too indistinct ideas of the reality of his manhood fully to realize.

Verse 15

Glorified of all; highly commended and approved as a preacher. How long this period of his ministry continued, during which he regularly officiated in the synagogues on the Sabbath, enjoying a high degree of public approbation and favor, we are not informed. It was a very remarkable period of his life.

Verse 17

The book. The books in ancient times, as, in fact, they are now in Jewish synagogues, were rolls of parchment or vellum.

Verse 18

Anointing was the ancient form of induction to high and solemn offices. This passage is found in Isaiah 61:1,2.

Verse 20

The minister. The expression to minister, in the Scriptures, means to attend upon, to serve. A minister is an attendant, or a servant. Preachers of the gospel received the name of ministers from the idea that they are the servants of Christ and the church. The minister, in this case, was the attendant who had charge of the books.

Verse 21

That is, he addressed them in a discourse in which he showed the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Verse 22

It is not meant that they interrupted the exercises to say this aloud. The phraseology is only a pointed mode of representing that this was the prevailing impression upon their minds,--that is, surprise that the untaught son of their humble townsman Joseph should preach with such power.

Verse 25

According to the account here referred to, (1 Kings 17:8-18:1,) it was three years. The addition of the six months to the duration of the drought in this verse, and in James, (James 5:17,) is generally explained by including the ordinary dry season of those climates, which preceded the drought.

Verse 26

The meaning is, that he was not sent to any of the widows in Israel, but to a Zidonian widow, a Gentile.

Verse 27

Eliseus; Elisha. None of the lepers in Israel were cleansed, but a Syrian leper was cleansed. (See 2 Kings 5:1-27:)

Luke 4:28. They were highly pleased with the commencement of the discourse, but exceedingly irritated and angry at its close. They could not endure this calm but plain assertion of the absolute sovereignty of God, in dispensing and in withholding his favors, both in regard to Jew and Gentile, according to his own good pleasure.

Verse 31

Down to Capernaum. Nazareth was situated among the hills, back from the lake, while Capernaum was upon its shore.

Verse 38

Simon. This was Simon Peter, the apostle. Bethsaida was his original residence, and Capernaum the place where his wife's mother resided.

Verse 41

In speaking of the general phenomena of nature, the sacred writers, no doubt, often employed the modes of expression commonly in use in their day, without intending any inspired sanction of the philosophical opinions on which such expressions were based. On this principle, it has been maintained that the cases of demoniacal possession which are referred to in the New Testament, were simply cases of insanity, or of other natural disease, in speaking of which the evangelists used the language indicating a supernatural agency, either in a figurative sense, or else in accommodation to the ideas of their day; and one of the main grounds for this opinion is, that the symptoms detailed in the various cases which are recorded, correspond very precisely with the symptoms of certain natural diseases. Now, it is doubtless true that not only the symptoms detailed, but many expressions used in narrating the events connected with these cases, indicate clearly that the sacred writers regarded the demoniacs as diseased. In one instance, in fact, a sufferer is described by one evangelist (Matthew 17:15,16) as a lunatic, brought to be cured; and by another (Luke 9:38-40) as possessed with a devil. The question, therefore, is not, as it has sometimes been considered, whether the evangelists regarded the demoniacs as diseased, but whether they intended really to refer their evident mental and bodily maladies to the influence of infernal beings. And, in this view of the subject, it must be admitted that the sacred writers ascribe so distinct and positive a personality to the agencies producing these sufferings, and connect these agencies so directly with that invisible world in regard to which it would seem the special object of inspiration to instruct them, that we cannot safely deviate from a strict construction of their language.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 4:4". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 30th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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