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Luke 4:14-21

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 26, 2015


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

Luke was a doctor and a travelling companion of the apostle Paul.

He wrote this book while Paul was in prison.

In writing his book, Luke made use of other older documents like the Gospel of Mark, as well as extensive eyewitness accounts.

We’ve read about the birth of Jesus, the ministry of John the Baptist, and Jesus being led into the desert not only to be tempted by Satan, but to be victorious in His temptations.

4:14-15 Back to Galilee

:14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.

:15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

:14 Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit

Jesus had an active relationship with the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit came upon Him (Luke 3:22).
When Jesus went into the desert to fast and be tested, He was full of the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit (Luke 4:1)
Now we see Jesus walking in the power of the Spirit.

Even though Jesus is the Son of God, God in human flesh, He lived His life being dependent upon the Holy Spirit.

Do you think we need the Holy Spirit?

Paul wrote,

(Ephesians 5:18 NKJV) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
We are commanded to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.  We need Him!

:15 He taught in their synagogues

We’ve been to a few of the synagogues dating back to Jesus’ day that have been excavated in the Galilee area.

One of the places we know He had already been to was Capernaum (Luke 4:23)

We’ll look more at the synagogue at Capernaum next week.

Another place He went to was Chorazin.

Video:  Chorazin map clip
Capernaum was on the north beach of the Sea of Galilee.
Chorazin was a little farther north up in the hills from Capernaum.
Video:  Chorazin Synagogue
A typical synagogue was smaller than the room we are meeting in.
There were bench seats along the outside of the room for the wealthy people, and the rest of us would sit on mats on the floor.
In the front by the entrance was a cabinet where the scrolls would be kept. When the Scriptures were read, everyone would stand.
On the other side of the entrance was the “Moses seat”, where the teacher would sit while teaching.

You’d better not be late to synagogue or everyone would see you coming in the front of the room.  J

:15 being glorified by all

Luke doesn’t give us a record of what Jesus taught or did in the synagogues in Galilee in these early days.

John tells us (John 1:19 – 4:45)…
Jesus had performed His first public miracle at Cana, turning water into wine at a wedding.
He had talked to Nicodemus about being born again.
John’s ministry was decreasing while Jesus’ was increasing.
We think these brief two verses may have covered up to a year in length.

What Luke does tell us is that the people loved what Jesus was saying and what He was doing.  For the moment.

Josephus records that there were 204 cities in the Galilee at this time that had 10,000 people or more living in them.  That would make the population (if Josephus is correct) somewhere around 3 million living in the Galilee area.

4:16-21 Nazareth Synagogue

:16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.

:16 He came to Nazareth

The most recent archaeology seems to indicate that Nazareth in Jesus’ day was one of the smaller towns.

There may have been as few as 100 people living there at the time.

:16 as His custom was

It was Jesus’ custom to go to synagogue every Saturday.

As He has been travelling the Galilee area, his custom was to go into a synagogue and teach.

:16 into the synagogue … stood up to read

It’s possible that the synagogue may have been smaller than the one at Chorazin.

As was customary and in reverence to the Scriptures, Jesus stands as He reads.

:17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

:17 handed the book of the prophet Isaiah

He will read from Isaiah 61:1-2.

This was a passage understood to be a description of the Messiah, the Savior.

It was common practice in a synagogue service to allow a guest of honor or visiting rabbi to read part of the Scripture reading.

The typical synagogue service opened with a prayer for God’s blessing, and the recitation of the Hebrew confession of faith (the Shema, Deut. 6:4-9).

This was followed by prayer and the prescribed readings from the Law and the prophets.

It was a common practice to let a guest of honor read the final portion.

Teaching would follow the reading, and the teacher would sit up front in the seat of Moses.

From where He read in Isaiah, according to the prescribed reading calendar, we know what time of year it was.

This particular passage is read the fourth Sabbath before the Jewish New Year, sometime around the first of September.

:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

:19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me

Luke has already made it clear that Jesus operated under the power of the Holy Spirit, the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit.

:18 anointed … To preach the gospel to the poor


Good news

“preaching the gospel” means to give someone good news.
Video:  Coca Cola Life

Some people might not think that finding out they are pregnant is good news.

All they might think of is the pain and trouble a baby brings.

But believe me, it’s great news.

The gospel that we preach is about giving people good news.
It’s not pain free, just like being a parent.

There is some bad news too, like the fact that you have to recognize you are a sinner and that God wants you to turn from your destructive sinful habits.

But it’s mostly really, really good news.

God has made a way for you to be saved from the penalty of your sins.

He has made it possible for you to break free from the grip of sin.

He has made it possible for you to go to heaven.

God actually loves you.

Jesus didn’t come to preach the gospel to people who think they have all the answers.  He came to reach out to those who are smart enough to realize they need God, they are “poor” without God.

:18 He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted


Healing Broken Hearts

brokensuntribo – to break in pieces; to tread down; crush
There are several things that can result in broken hearts.
Broken relationships

Someone you have valued has rejected you, and sometimes very painfully.

It might be a parent that has rejected you.

It might be a friend who has rejected.

It might be a spouse who has rejected you.

Failed expectations

(Proverbs 13:12 NKJV) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

Sometimes it’s that job you hoped for, but didn’t come through.

It might be that college you wanted to get into, but you were not accepted.

Is your heart broken?
Jesus came to heal your heart.

:18 To proclaim liberty to the captives

I would imagine that the Jews in Jesus day were hoping that the Messiah would free them from their Roman overlords.

But Jesus came to free us from another kind of slavery.


Freedom from sin

Jesus didn’t just come to give us a ticket to heaven.
He came to free us from the power of sin in our lives.
Paul wrote,
(Romans 8:2 NKJV) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
This freedom from sin is something that we have an active role in.  We have to make correct choices.
(Romans 6:16–18 NKJV) —16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Jesus gives us the power to stop that sin that can hold us in bondage.

Other people have a role in our lives concerning this as well.
(2 Timothy 2:24–26 NKJV) —24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Sometimes we are those the ones who get caught in sin.

We need to be around people who are going to teach us healthy ways of living.

We need to be around people who will humbly and gently teach us the truth about our lives.

:18 recovery of sight to the blind


Real understanding

Jesus healed quite a few blind people during His ministry. This is from John 9
Video:  Gospel of John – Healing the blind man.
He also came to give sight to another kind of blindness, one that affects far more people than physical blindness.
It’s blindness to the truth about God.
Even very religious people can be “blind” to the truth about God.
(John 9:39–40 NKJV) —39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” 40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”

The Pharisees claimed to know everything about God, but they were for the most part blind to what God was doing.

Who Jesus is
One aspect of blindness is in understanding who Jesus is.

(John 12:46 NKJV) I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

Jesus died to save you.  Do you understand that?

Who we are
Part of our blindness is in understanding who we are.

(1 John 1:5–10 NKJV) —5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Being blind is like being in “darkness” because you don’t see anything around you.

If you are walking in the light, you will see what’s going on around you, including who you are and what you need to do.

If you deny that you have sin in your life, you must be in darkness because the truth is we are all sinners.

If you learn to confess your sins, and turn from your sins, it shows you are in the light, your eyes have been opened.

Hearing and seeing are similar in some ways.  Here are some deaf people who have had cochlear implants and are hearing for the first time.
Video:  Deaf People Hearing

I found it interesting that these folks not only were surprised to hear the voices of others, but hearing their own voice for the first time.

Having your eyes open is not just about understanding God and others, it’s about understanding yourself.

:18 To set at liberty those who are oppressed

oppressedthrauo – break in pieces, shatter, smite through

libertyaphesis – release from bondage or imprisonment; forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed)



There are more kinds of “oppression” than being under the rule of a cruel dictator.
Bitterness and unforgiveness can be a cruel dictator.
You might think you need to hold on to the bitterness you feel towards someone because of the great crime they committed against you.
But it’s breaking you in pieces like a cruel dictator.
Video:  Brene Brown Blame
Brene made the point that blame has an inverse relationship to accountability.

If someone does something that hurts you, you speak up and say something like, “When you did such and such, it made me feel…”

But what she didn’t say was that you need to respond with letting it go, releasing it, forgiving.

You can hold people accountable, but never forgive them, and you will still have the rage inside of you.

We learn how to forgive by learning how God forgives us.
Jesus told a story about a man who was forgiven a debt of 10 million dollars, only to turn around and send someone to prison who owed him 10 bucks. (Mat. 18)

The story was meant to illustrate that since we’ve been forgiven so much by God, we ought to forgive others.

Paul wrote,

(Ephesians 4:32 NKJV) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Video:  Power of Forgiveness
Jesus came to forgive us, and teach us how to forgive others.

:19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord

Isaiah is referring to the “year of Jubilee” (Lev. 25), when slaves were freed, and debts were cancelled.

Every seventh year was supposed to be a “Sabbatical” year, when the land would be rested and crops would not be planted.
Every seventh sabbatical year was a “year of Jubilee”.
The year of Jubilee was all about bringing balance into the economic system.

Slaves were set free and returned to their families.

Property that had been sold reverted to the original owners.

All debts were cancelled.

The land rested and the people rested.


God is for you

The word translated “acceptable” in Isaiah’s original text means “pleasure, delight, favor”.
Jesus came to proclaim the year of God’s favor.
To be honest, Jesus didn’t finish the reading from Isaiah.
If we would look in Isaiah 61:2, Jesus actually stopped reading at a “comma”.
Isaiah 61:2 reads:
(Isaiah 61:2 NKJV) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God…

Jesus didn’t read the part about the day of vengeance of God because that part of the prophecy wouldn’t be fulfilled until Jesus comes back the second time.

There is a gap of 2,000 years between the first phrase and the second phrase.

We are still in the time of God’s favor.
God is still showing grace and mercy to all who will turn to Him.

There will be a time when God will judge this world and everyone will pay for their sin, but that time hasn’t come … yet.

This is the time to turn to God.
When you turn to God, you will find what Paul writes about:
(Romans 8:31–32 NKJV) —31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

:20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

:20 He closed the book

bookbiblion – a small book, a scroll, a written document

It was more likely a scroll, not what we think of as a book.

One of the great finds among the Dead Sea Scrolls was the great Isaiah Scroll.

It is 734 centimeters in length, or a little over 24 feet long.

:20 and sat down

I don’t think Jesus went back to sit with the other members of the synagogue.

This is the moment when the teacher of the synagogue sits in the Moses seat and teaches on what was just read.

What He is about to say is going to explain the passage.

:21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

:21 Today this Scripture is fulfilled

fulfilledpleroo – to make full; of sayings, promises, prophecies, to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish

Jesus is claiming to be the one described in the Scripture.

Jesus is claiming to be the long awaited Messiah.

Isaiah wrote over seven hundred years before Jesus.

Can you imagine how blown away these simple people sitting in the Nazareth synagogue must have been to have been listening to Jesus read the familiar passage about the coming Messiah, and then he says that it has been fulfilled right there in front of them?


Today is the day

The Bible says that “today is the day of salvation” (2Cor. 6:2)
(2 Corinthians 6:2 NKJV) —2 For He says: In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
God is giving you a chance today to turn to Him.
He’s giving you a chance to start “seeing” for the first time.
He’s offering to you forgiveness.
He’s offering you power to turn from sin.