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Wednesday, November 29th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 4

Gray's Concise Bible CommentaryGray's Concise Commentary

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Verses 1-15



John the Baptist’s ministry is the first event here (Luke 3:1-22 ). Also he quotes more fully from Isaiah 40:0 than the preceding evangelists, and for the purpose of giving the words, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” The quotation is from the Septuagint, and is in harmony with Luke’s objective towards the verses, as he distinctively shows that the grace of God in Christ is for all people who will accept it, and not for Israel only. We have met with John’s preaching in the other evangelists, but not with the allusion to the different classes (Luke 3:10-14 ). The baptism of Jesus by Luke and its significance, have been spoken of in Matthew 3:0 , but Luke alone tells us that the Lord was “praying” as heaven was opened unto Him (Luke 3:21 ). Was He supplicating His Father with reference to Isaiah 62:0 , now about to be fulfilled?

GENEALOGY OF MARY (Luke 3:23-38 )

We say “Mary” because that is the generally accepted view of the differences between this list of names and that in Matthew. The latter gives us the genealogy of Joseph saying, “Jacob begat” him (Matthew 1:16 ). In what sense, therefore, can Luke call him “the son of Heli” (Luke 3:23 )? The answer of some is, that inasmuch as the latter does not say Heli begat Joseph the inference is that he was as husband of Mary the son-in-law of Heli, who was, like himself, a descendant of David. That he should in such a case be called “of Heli” is in accordance with Jewish usage (1 Samuel 24:16 ).

THE TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (Luke 4:1-13 ) is dealt with in Matthew as the supreme testing through which He, as man, must pass in preparation for His great work. The moral order of the temptations as Luke presents them is observable, “corresponding to those by which Eve was seduced” (Genesis 3:6 ), and which, according to

1 John 2:16 , is a kind of general principle with Satan in dealing with humanity. Christ resisted the temptations in obedience to the Word of God. Our first parents knew the Word of God and quoted it, but did not obey it. What a contrast! “Had they kept the Word it would have kept them” (Psalms 17:4 ).

Stuart referring to the moral order of the temptations as Luke gives them, calls attention to the fact that it was not the actual order in which Satan presented them and which is given by Matthew, who says the temptation on the pinnacle was the second and not the third. Of course there was a Divine reason for these differing records, and we have here evidence of the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the writing of the four Gospels. Stuart also suggests that the temptation illustrates how much may go on in the world without man’s knowledge. Who saw our Lord on the pinnacle of the temple, and Satan with Him, and yet how momentous to the world was the event!

RETURN TO GALILEE (Luke 4:14-15 ) is notable from the fact that he did so “in the power of the Spirit.” The reference is to the Holy Spirit of which He was “full,” and by Whom, as we see in the next lesson, He was now anointed. It is instructive that all Jesus is said to have done after this anointing, was done not in the power of His natural spirit, but the Holy Spirit. What a lesson for His disciples! If he were anointed, may not we, and if He required it for service, how much more we?


1. What are the leading events in this lesson?

2. What is the significance of Luke’s quotation from Isaiah?

3. What special feature is mentioned by Luke in connection with the baptism of Jesus?

4. How is the genealogy in Luke explained in comparison with Matthew?

5. What distinction is mentioned as to the order of the temptations in Matthew and Luke?

6. Can you quote Psalms 17:4 from memory?

7. What practical truth is taught in the closing verses of this lesson?

Verses 16-44


AT NAZARETH (Luke 4:16-30 )

It was the custom for visitors to be granted the privilege of reading the Scriptures on such occasions (Luke 4:16-17 ), and Jesus read from Isaiah 61:0 . Perhaps it was not the appointed portion for that day, which may explain the last sentence of Luke 4:20 . However, when He began to apply the prophecy to Himself (Luke 4:21 ), there was astonishment indeed, for nothing like that had ever been heard. Luke 4:23 indicates the state of mind and heart of His hearers. He knew the rejection before Him was such as had been meted out to Elijah and Elisha, and as God had worked by them among the Gentiles so would He do again. This aroused enmity, with the result of Luke 4:29-30 . A comparison of Isaiah 61:2 , affords an instance of “the exquisite accuracy of Scripture,” since Jesus stopped midway in the verse. The first half is connected with His first Advent and the present dispensation of grace, and the second, with His second Advent and the judgments to follow.

AT CAPERNAUM (Luke 4:31-44 )

The leading events here are the casting out of the demon (Luke 4:33-35 ), and the healing of Peter’s wife’s mother (Luke 4:38-39 ), both of which are referred to in Mark 1:0 , the second also in Matthew 8:0 . Matthew 4:0 tells us that Christ made His home at this time at Capernaum, while Luke (Luke 4:23 ) tells us why. Note in the case of the demon: (1) that demons know their ultimate fate; (2) that Jesus will not receive their testimony to Himself though it be true; and (3) that there is a distinction between them and the persons they inhabit and control. But why were the people amazed (Luke 4:36 )? To cast out demons was not new (Matthew 12:27 ), but the way and the power by which Jesus cast them out was altogether new. Compare the testimony of Nicodemus (John 3:2 ). Notice Luke 4:40 , “He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them,” and also Luke 4:43 . What labor it represents!

AT GENNESARET (Luke 5:1-11 )

The great draught of fishes is original with Luke, but calls for little comment. But note Peter’s confession of sin in Luke 5:8 . Sin, not sins. It is his state of which he speaks, and not particular transgressions. What he is, not what he has done, utterly unfits him for the divine presence, and he can find no comfort in that presence until his old nature has been taken away and a new put in its place. Nor is Luke 5:11 less remarkable. “They forsook all and followed Him” because one who could do what they had just seen done, was able to meet all their needs hence forth including those of their families.

IN A CERTAIN CITY (Luke 5:12-13 )

With the exception of Miriam (Numbers 12:0 ), this is the first illustration of the healing of leprosy in Israel, where the law of Leviticus 14:0 could have been acted upon. No wonder the fame of Jesus spread abroad (Luke 5:15 )! Who could work this miracle by his own power save the God of Israel?


1. Name the geographical divisions of this lesson.

2. Have you examined a map in its study?

3. Can you quote Isaiah 61:1-3 ?

4. Give in your own words the Old Testament incidents referred to in Luke 4:26-27 .

5. What is noticeable about Jesus’ quotation of Isaiah 61:2 ?

6. Why did Jesus change His residence from Nazareth to Capernaum?

7. What three things do we learn about demons?

8. Quote John 3:2 .

9. What is most noticeable in the story of the great draught of fishes?

10. How does the cleansing of the leper prove the deity of Christ?

Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on Luke 4". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jgc/luke-4.html. 1897-1910.
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