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Bible Commentaries
Luke 4

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-7

19 Compare Mat_14:3-5 ; Mar_6:17-18 .

19 Herod's treatment of John is here inserted ahead of time to close the account of John's ministry before opening that of his Master's.

21-22 Compare Mat_3:13-17 ; Mar_1:9-11 ; Joh_1:32-34 .

23 Maturity and sonship, as distinguished from nativity and minority, were not attained at birth, but waited until the thirtieth year. The genealogy here given does not deal with birth or begettal, but with sonship. Hence it is not introduced until He arrives at His full manhood, and God Himself claims Him as His Son. The following pedigree is hardly intended to prove Him a descendant of Adam, but rather to show that this line, through which He came as to flesh, was absolutely incapable of producing the Sinless One, apart from His divine paternity.

23 This genealogy gives us the "Seed of the woman " ( Gen_3:15 ) Who shall crush the serpent's head. Unlike Matthew's pedigree, it does not trace the physical male ancestry, but the legal line, through Mary back to Adam. Christ is first proclaimed as the Son of God. Then He is shown to be the legal (not physical) son of Joseph. Joseph, also, is not the offspring of Heli, whose son he is said to be, for in Matthew we read that he was begotten by Jacob. He was, therefore, the son-in-law of Heli, by his marriage with Mary, Heli's daughter. As Heli had no son of his own his allotment passed to his daughter's husband ( Num_27:8 ) and so Joseph is the legal son of Heli and the physical son of Jacob.

27 The lines meet in Zerubbabel and Salathiel ( Mat_1:12 ) , just after the captivity, because the line of Nathan died out in Neri, so that Jechoniah's son Salathiel was also the legal son and heir of Neri. From thence it is traced back to the second surviving son of Bathsheba the wife of David. From David back to Abraham this corresponds with Matthew's genealogy. When Eve bore Cain she supposed that he was the promised Seed, so she said "I have acquired a man, Jehovah", and she names him "Cain", that is "Acquired". But before his brother Abel was born she realized her mistake, and called him "Abel," Vanity. The Seed was not to be the seed of Adam, but the Seed of the woman. This lesson is emphasized again when the male line dies out in Neri, and the allotment passes through a woman to a legal son, and this is repeated when Joseph becomes the son of Heli through his wife Mary. Not a single man in the whole list was capable of generating the One Who was to bruise the serpent's head. It is a broken, sinful pedigree. Hence the absolute necessity that He should be begotten, not of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God, and that a virgin should bring forth Emmanuel.

36 As this Cainan is not found in the Hebrew text and seems to have been unknown to some of the early fathers, some are inclined to regard it as a very early corruption of the text. But, if we retain it we have the notable number, seventy-seven, as the full total, and, when all names found also in Matthew's genealogy are omitted, we discover three groups of exactly twenty names each.

1-13 Compare Mat_4:1-11 ; Mar_1:12-13 .

2 The Slanderer is the suzerain of the kingdoms of the earth. Before proclaiming the Kingdom it was necessary that he should be met and overcome. He took the dominion away from mankind through his deception in the garden ( 1Ti_2:14 ). Adam was in no need of food, yet he sinned. Christ was famished from a forty-day fast, yet He withstood the temptation to provide Himself with food. Adam was in a beautiful garden, the head of all creatures on earth, yet he yielded to Satan. Christ was in a wilderness among the wild beasts, yet He refused to do homage even though it should give Him the headship which was rightfully His. Adam questioned God's goodness and offended Him by seeking that which He withheld. Our Lord refused to doubt His love, though every token of it seemed to have vanished. He would not put it to a test. On every point in which the first man failed, the second Man, though tempted many times more searchingly, stood the test triumphantly. No mere son of Adam could have stood. Had He not been the Son of God the stress would have been too great.

Verses 8-30

8 "It is written" is the sword of the spirit, that destroys the insinuations of the Slanderer. And if he counters with a passage (for error is best supported by an appeal to Holy Writ) , the only defense is another stroke of "It is "written!"

9 A wing of the sanctuary overhangs the steep and deep declivity looking down into the vale of Kedron. This dizzy depth, rather than an eminence on the temple building is intended. The "sanctuary", including the whole temple area, must always be distinguished from the temple proper.

14-15 Compare Mat_4:12 ; Mar_1:14-15 .

14 At this point Luke, Matthew and Mark entirely omit any mention of events covering about one year, including the miracle at Cana of Galilee, the meeting with the Samaritan woman and the healing of the nobleman's son, which are recorded in John's account. Most of this time was spent in Capernaum, which became His own city during His ministry after His expulsion from Nazareth.

16 The greatest Prophet of all did not receive recognition in His own city. It seems to be human nature to find God only in that which is far off and dim. When He returned to the people with whom He had lived and toiled most of His life, He seems to have had no expectation of a hearing from them and spoke accordingly. But their terrible treatment of Him on this occasion did not deter Him from visiting them again a year or so later ( Mat_13:53-58 ; Mar_6:1-6 ). Then He was able to heal a few of the sick, but could do no mighty deeds because of their unbelief and hardness of heart. All that His adopted city gave Him was a despised name. He was the only good that ever came out of it.

18 What more blessed or precious portion could the Lord have read than the passage from

Isaiah? Perhaps nowhere else is such a delightful portrayal of His mission ( Isa_61:1-2 ). No wonder they marveled at the gracious words which came from Him! But even more marvelous is the message conveyed by His silence. Had He read another sentence, He would have plunged them into "The day of vengeance of our God". The two are closely allied-much closer than appears, except in the prophecy. God's vengeance will be visited on His enemies when He redeems His people. But Christ's ministry was confined to the proclamation of the acceptable year. Let us note the contrast between the acceptable year and the day of vengeance. God is swift in judgment, but delights to delay in blessing. He might have used the last two thousand years for vengeance, for the prophet gives no hint of aught else before His glorious appearing. Instead, He fills it with transcendent manifestations of His grace.

23 The fame of Christ's miracles in Capernaum had reached His own neighbors. They were jealous in their unbelief. With marvelous skill He touches the sore spot and shows holy thoroughly in accord with their own Scriptures His ministry is. Even in the prophets blessing broke forth to outsiders when those within the covenant were in want. Sidon and Syria had no claim on Jehovah's mercy. Yet Elijah and Elisha, at a time of great need in Israel, are sent to convey God's mercies to the despised aliens. No doubt His language implied that there was a famine in Nazareth just as there was in Israel in Elijah's day (1 Ki.17) , only that then heaven was locked three years and six months and physical sustenance failed, yet now heaven is opened for a like period (for Christ's ministry seems to have been about this length) and they famish in the midst of plenty. So, too, His words hinted that there were lepers in Nazareth as in Israel in Elisha's day (2Ki.5), yet they are not cured, though a greater than Elisha is in their midst. How pitiful is their prejudice and impotent rage! He does not flee from them, but fearlessly wends His way through their very midst.

Verses 31-44

31-32 Compare Mat_4:13-17 ; Mar_1:21-22 .

31 His rejection in "His own country" led to His making Capernaum "His own city". From this as a base, He circled about on His evangelistic tours, returning thither at their end. Much of His work was done in it, for it was on some of the main highways of traffic.

33-35 Compare Mar_1:23-26 .

33 Since the serpent deceived Eve in Eden, man has been subject, to some extent, to the spirits of the unseen world. One of the most marked features of the millennial eon is the absence of the evil influences which now actuate mankind from without. Satan will then be bound. Subordinate spirits will not be able to prey on humanity. To inaugurate this kingdom Messiah must be able to cope with demons and destroy their power over its subjects. Hence, every time that He cast out demons by His word, it was a sign that the kingdom of God was near, and that the King was present to dispossess the evil powers that opposed Him.

34 It is a sad commentary on the darkness of the human heart, when the demons show an intelligence far superior to the people who possessed the special revelation which was given to identify the Messiah. They wondered and questioned, but the demons knew Him and dared not disobey His word. Peter needed a special revelation from God to teach Him who Christ was, yet these wicked spirits knew and acknowledged that He was the Christ, the Son of God. So far is spirit superior to flesh that these demons readily recognized His divine Sonship, while few of His professed followers fully entered Into His messIanic glories.

38-39 Compare Mat_8:14-15 ; Mar_1:29-31 .

38 A fever usually runs its course. Indeed, it is dangerous to stop it. So the ills of mankind will never be cured of a sudden until the great Physician speaks the word. When He appears again Israel will be in the most awful pressure, but will be relieved the moment He arrives. Then they will serve Him as never before. Not only will bodily ills be healed, but the social and political diseases that mar man's day will disappear when He is on the scene.

40-41 Compare Mat_8:16-17 ; Mar_1:32-34 .

42-44 Compare Mar_1:35-39 .

44 No one who attentively reads the accounts of our Lord's ministry will fail to wonder why He confined Himself to Galilee and never evangelized the cities of Judea. Except for His seven visits to Jerusalem and journeys to Bethany beyond Jordan, it appears as if He absolutely ignored the most important section of the nation in His heralding. On His journeys to and from Jerusalem He taught and healed, but, in accepted texts and versions, we have no account whatever of any proclamation in the synagogues of Judea. The solution of this lies in the reading we have followed in this passage. Both of our best manuscripts read Judea here instead of Galilee. The fact that Matthew and Mark speak of a journey through Galilee at about this time is no clear proof that He did not visit Judea also. These so-called parallel passages explain why some manuscripts have the reading Galilee. It Is an attempt to "harmonize" what appears to be a discrepancy. It is not at all likely that it would be changed to Judea when the other accounts read Galilee. The editor has personally checked the reading in the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus MSS. That these two great manuscripts should have this reading unchallenged by correctors or editors seems to be proof sufficient to sustain it. It is a relief to know that He did not absolutely ignore that part of the country which, in some respects, had the greatest claim on His ministry. Our Lord sprang from the tribe of Judah, and could hardly complete His course without proclaiming to His own tribe.

1-3 Compare Mat_4:18 ; Mar_1:16 .

4 See Joh_21:1-8 .

4 There are three principal methods of fishing spoken of in the Scriptures. There was the hook and line ( Mat_17:27 ) with which Peter caught the fish that had the poll-tax money in its mouth. There was the seine, or drag net Mat_13:47 ), which was played out from a boat and dragged to the shore. Then there were other, smaller nets, operated from boats. These had to be used at night. It was considered foolish to even attempt to net fish in the day time. Hence Peter's mild remonhttp: strance. If they could not catch any fish at night, why even try in broad daylight? But Peter is impressed by the One who spoke as no man ever spoke, and did as he was bid, without the least expectation. It would be difficult to imagine his awe and consternation at the enormous catch. To fill two boats with a single catch would be almost a miracle at night. It certainly demonstrated that the Man Who bade them do it was the most remarkable Fisherman they had ever seen! And this was the purpose of the miracle: to portray Him as the great Fisher of men, and to set forth His ministry. The fish represent the disciples that He caught during His proclamation of the kingdom. The broken net pathetically pictures His sufferings for their sakes. Even the action of Peter and John in salvaging the fish and the submergence of the ships are significant of their ministries in the eras that followed His death.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Luke 4". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/luke-4.html. 1968.
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