Gospel of Luke 4:16-30 Antique Commentary Quotes

John Calvin
Luke 4:16
16.And he came to Nazareth The Evangelists are very careful to show by what sort of proofs Christ became known, a striking instance of which is here related by Luke. By explaining a passage in Isaiah, and applying it to the instruction which was immediately required, he turned upon him the eyes of all. He entered, according to his custom, into the synagogue Hence we conclude, that not only did he address the people in the open streets and highways, but, as far as he had opportunity, observed the usual order of the church. We see also that, though the Jews were become very degenerate, though every thing was in a state of confusion, and the condition of the church was miserably corrupted, one good thing still remained: they read the Scriptures publicly, and took occasion from them to teach and admonish the people.

Hence also it is evident, what was the true and lawful method of keeping the Sabbath. When God commanded his people to abstain from working on that day, it was not that they might give themselves up to indolent repose, but, on the contrary, that they might exercise themselves in meditating on his works. Now, the minds of men are naturally blind to the consideration of his works, and must therefore be guided by the rule of Scripture. Though Paul includes the Sabbath in an enumeration of the shadows of the law, (Col_2:16,) yet, in this respect, our manner of observing it is the same with that of the Jews: the people must assemble to hear the word, to public prayers, and to the other exercises of religion. It was for this purpose that the Jewish Sabbath was succeeded by the Lord’s Day.

Now, if we make a comparison of dates, this passage will be sufficient to prove clearly, that the corruptions of the Papal Hierarchy, in our own time, are more shocking and detestable than those which existed among the Jews under the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas. For the reading of Scripture, which was then in use, has not only grown obsolete under the Pope, but is driven from the churches by fire and sword; with this exception, that such portions of it, as they think proper, are chanted by them in an unknown tongue. Christ rose up to read, not only that his voice might be better heard, but in token of reverence: for the majesty of Scripture deserves that its expounders should make it apparent, that they proceed to handle it with modesty and reverence.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
16. And he came to Nazareth] This is probably the visit related in unchronological order in Mat_13:53-58; Mar_6:1-6, since after so violent and decisive a rejection as St Luke narrates, it is unlikely that He should have preached at Nazareth again. If so, we learn from these

(1) that His disciples were with Him;

(2) that He healed a few of the sick, being prevented from further activity by their unbelief.

as his custom was] This seems to refer to what had been the habit of the life of Jesus while he had lived at Nazareth. Hitherto however He had been, in all probability, a silent worshipper.

into the synagogue] The article shews that the little village only possessed a single synagogue. Synagogues had sprung up throughout Judaea since the return from the exile. They were rooms of which the end pointed towards Jerusalem (the Kibleh, or consecrated direction, of Jewish worship (Dan_6:10), as Mecca is of Mohammedan). The men sat on one side; the veiled women behind a lattice on the other. The chief furniture was the Ark (tebhah) of painted wood, generally shrouded by a curtain, and containing the Thorah (Pentateuch), and rolls (megilloth) of the Prophets. On one side was a bema for the reader and preacher, and there were “chief seats” (Mar_12:39) for the Ruler of the Synagogue, and the elders (zekanim). The servants of the synagogue were the clerk (chazzan), verger (sheliach) and deacons (parnasim, ‘shepherds’).

on the sabbath day] Observe the divine sanction thus given to the ordinance of weekly public worship.

stood up for to read] The custom was to read the Scripture standing. There was no recognised or ordained ministry for the synagogues. The functions of Priest and Levites were confined to the Temple, and the various officers of the synagogue were more like our churchwardens. Hence it was the custom of the Ruler or Elders to invite any one to read or preach who was known to them as a distinguished or competent person (Act_13:15).

ICC:LK Plummer
16-30. The Visit to Nazareth. Comp. Mat_13:53-58; Mar_6:1-6. It remains doubtful whether Lk. here refers to the same visit as that recorded by Mt. and Mk. If it is the same, he perps has purposely transposed it to the opening of the ministry, as being typical of the issue of Christ’s ministry. He was rejected by His own people. Similarly the non-Galilean ministry opens with a rejection (9:51-56). In any case, the form of the narrative is peculiar to Lk., showing that he here has some special source. We we not to understand that the Galilean ministry began at Nazareth. More probably Christ waited until the reports of what He had said and done in other parts of Galilee prepared the way for His return to Nazareth as a teacher.

16. οὗ ἦν [ἀνα]τεθραμμένος. This tells us rather more than 2:51: it implies, moreover, that for some time past Nazareth had camed to be His home. But the addition of “where He had been brought up” explains what follows. It had been “His custom” during His early life at Nazareth to attend the synagogue every sabbath. It is best to confine κατὰ τὸ εἰωθός to the clause in which it is embedded, and not carry it on to ἀνέστη ἀναγνῶναι: it was possibly the first time that He had stood up to read at Nazareth. But the phrase may refer to what had been His custom elsewhere since He began His ministry; or it may be written from the Evangelist’s point of view of what was afterwards His custom. We may therefore choose between these explanations. 1. He had previously been in the habit of attending the synagogue at Nazareth, and on this occasion stood up to read. 2. He had previously been in the habit of readiing at Nazareth 3. He had lately been in the habit of reading elsewhere, and now does so at Nazareth. 4. This was an early example of what became His custom. In no case must the sermon be included in the custom. That fais was His first sermon at Nazareth is implied by the whole context.

In D both τεθραμμένος and αὐτῷ after εἰωθός are omitted, and the text runs, ἑλθὼν δὲ εἶς Ναζαρὲδ ὄπου ἦν κατὰ τὸ εἰωθὸς ἐν τῇ ᾑμέρα̣ τῶν σαββάτων εἰς τὴν συναγωγήν; but in the Latin the former word is restored, veniens autem in Nazared ubi erat nutricates introibit secundum consuetudinem in sabbato in synagogam. The omissions are perhaps due to Marcionite influence. According to Marcion, Christ came direct from heaven into the synagogue, de calo in synagogam (see p. 131); and therefore all trace of His previous life in Nazareth must be obliterated. He was not reared there, and was not accustomed to visit the synagogue there. Only a custom of attending the synagogue existed. See Rendel Harris, Study of Codex Bexes, p. 232, in Texts and Studies, 2:1. Comp. the insertions 9:54, 55, which may be due to the same influence.

The phrase κατὰ τὸ εἰωθός occurs in LXX Num_24:1; Sus. 13. It is characteristic of Lk. See on κατὰ τὸ ἔθος, 1:8. With the dat. κατὰ τὸ εἰωθός occurs only here and Act_17:2; and τῇ ήμέρᾳ τῶν σαββάτων occurs only here, Act_13:14, and 16:13: but comp. Luk_12:14, Luk_12:16 and 14:5. It is a periphrasis for ἐν τοις σαβ., or ἐν τῷ σαβ or τοῖς σαβ or τῷ σαβ.

ἀνέστη ἀναγνῶναι. Standing to read was the usual practice, excepting when the Book of Esther was read at the Feast of Purim: then the reader might sit. Christ’s standing up indicated that He had been asked to read, or was ready to do so. This is the only occasion on which we are told that Jesus read.

The lectern was close to the front seats, where those who were most likely to be called upon read commonly sat. A lesson from the Thorah or Law was read first, and then one from the Prophets. After the lesson had been made in Hebrew it was interpreted into Aramaic (Neh_8:8), or into Greek in places where Greek was commonly spoken. This was done verse by verse in the Law; but in the Prophets three verses might be taken at once, and in this case Jesus seems to have taken two verses. Then followed the exposition or sermon. The reader, interpreter, and preacher might be one, two, or three persons. Here Christ was both reader and preacher; and Possibly He interpreted as well.1 Although there were officers with fixed duties attached to each synagogue, yet there was no one specially appointed either to read, or interpret,or preach, or pray. Any member of the congregation might discharge these duties; and probably those who were competent discharged them in turn at the invitation of the ἀρξισυνάγωγος (Act_13:15. Comp. Philo in Eus. Præp Evang. viii. 7, p. 360 A, and Quod omnis probus liber 12.). Hence it was always easy for Jesus to address the congregation. When He became famous as a teacher He would often be invited to do so2 And during His early years He may have read without interpreting or expounding; for even those under age were sometimes allowed to read in the synagogues. We cannot infer from His being able to read that He Himself possessed the Scriptures. In N.T. ἀναγινώσκω is used in no other sense than that of reading; lit recognizing again the written characters; of reading aloud, Act_13:27, Act_13:15:21; 2Co_3:15; Col_4:16; 1Th_5:27.

Pulpit Commentary
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day. This had been for years his practice in the little synagogue of the village where was his carpenter”s shop. Children at the age of five years were admitted into the synagogue, and at thirteen attendance there was part of the legal life of the Jew. These synagogues were the regular places for religious gatherings every sabbath day, and also usually on Mondays and Tuesdays, besides on other special occasions. We hear of them after the return from the Captivity, and probably they existed long before. Some think that in Psa_74:8 there is a reference to them. And stood up for to read. The holy books were always read standing. The ruler or elder presided over and directed the synagogue service. The priest and Levite had no recognized position in the synagogue. Their functions were confined to the temple and to the duties prescribed in the Law. It was not unusual for the synagogue officials, if any stranger was present who was known to be competent, to ask him to read and to expound a passage in the Law or Prophets. Our Lord was well known in Nazareth, and of late had evidently gained a great reputation as a preacher. It was, therefore, most natural that he should be asked to take a prominent part in the sabbath services.

A.T. Robertson
Luke 4:16
Where he had been brought up (hou ēn tethrammenos). Past perfect passive periphrastic indicative, a state of completion in past time, from trephō, a common Greek verb. This visit is before that recorded in Mar_6:1-6; Mat_13:54-58 which was just before the third tour of Galilee. Here Jesus comes back after a year of public ministry elsewhere and with a wide reputation (Luk_4:15). Luke may have in mind Luk_2:51, but for some time now Nazareth had not been his home and that fact may be implied by the past perfect tense.

As his custom was (kata to eiōthos autōi). Second perfect active neuter singular participle of an old ethō (Homer), to be accustomed. Literally according to what was customary to him (autōi, dative case). This is one of the flashlights on the early life of Jesus. He had the habit of going to public worship in the synagogue as a boy, a habit that he kept up when a grown man. If the child does not form the habit of going to church, the man is almost certain not to have it. We have already had in Matthew and Mark frequent instances of the word synagogue which played such a large part in Jewish life after the restoration from Babylon.

Stood up (anestē). Second aorist active indicative and intransitive. Very common verb. It was the custom for the reader to stand except when the Book of Esther was read at the feast of Purim when he might sit. It is not here stated that Jesus had been in the habit of standing up to read here or elsewhere. It was his habit to go to the synagogue for worship. Since he entered upon his Messianic work his habit was to teach in the synagogues (Luk_4:15). This was apparently the first time that he had done so in Nazareth. He may have been asked to read as Paul was in Antioch in Pisidia (Act_13:15). The ruler of the synagogue for that day may have invited Jesus to read and speak because of his now great reputation as a teacher. Jesus could have stood up voluntarily and appropriately because of his interest in his home town.

To read (anagnōnai). Second aorist active infinitive of anaginōskō, to recognize again the written characters and so to read and then to read aloud. It appears first in Pindar in the sense of read and always so in the N.T. This public reading aloud with occasional comments may explain the parenthesis in Mat_24:15 (Let him that readeth understand).

John Calvin
Luke 4:17
17.He found the passage There is no doubt that Christ deliberately selected this passage. Some think that it was presented to him by God; but, as a liberty of choice was allowed him, I choose to say that, by his own judgment, he took this passage in preference to others. Isaiah there predicts that, after the Babylonish captivity, there will still be witnesses of the grace of God, who shall gather the people from destruction, and from the darkness of death, and restore, by a spiritual power, the Church, which has been overwhelmed by so many calamities. But as that redemption was to be proclaimed in the name and authority of Christ alone, he uses the singular number, and speaks in the name of Christ, that he may more powerfully awaken the minds of the godly to strong confidence. It is certain, that what is here related belongs properly to Christ alone, for two reasons: first, because he alone was endued with the fullness of the Spirit, (Joh_3:34,) to be the witness and ambassador of our reconciliation to God; (and, for this reason, Paul (Eph_2:17) assigns peculiarly to him, what belongs to all the ministers of the Gospel, namely, that he, “came and preached peace to them which were afar off, and to them that were nigh:”) secondly, because he alone, by the power of his Spirit, performs and grants all the benefits that are here promised.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
17. there was delivered unto him] Literally, “there was further handed to Him.” The expression means that after He, or another, had read the Parashah, or First Lesson, which was always from the Pentateuch, the clerk handed to him the Roll of Isaiah, which contained the Haphtarah, or Second Lesson.

when he had opened the book] If anaptuxas is the true reading, it means ‘unrolling.’ The Thorah, or Law, was written on a parchment between two rollers, and was always left unrolled at the column for the day’s lesson; but the Megilloth of the Prophets, &c., were on single rollers, and the right place had to be found by the reader (Maphtir).

he found] The word heure leaves it uncertain whether the ‘finding’ was what man calls ‘accidental,’ or whether it was the regular haphtarah of the day. It is now the Second Lesson for the great day of Atonement; but according to Zunz (the highest Jewish authority on the subject) the present order of the Lessons in the Synagogue worship belongs to a later period than this.

the place where it was written] Isa_61:1, Isa_61:2. Our Lord, according to the custom of the Synagogue, must have read the passage in Hebrew, and then—either by Himself, or by an interpreter (Methurgeman)—it must have been translated to the congregation in Aramaic or Greek, since Hebrew was at this time a dead and learned language. The quotation is here freely taken by the Evangelist from the LXX., possibly from memory, and with reminiscences, intentional or otherwise, of other passages.

ICC:LK Plummer
17. ἐπεδόθη. “Was handed” to Him, “was given over by handing”: comp. ἐπεζήτουν (ver. 42). It does not mean “was handed to Him in addition, ” implying that something else had been handed to Him previously. This meaning is not common, and is not found elsewhere in N.T. The reading of the Parascha, or section from the Law, had probably preceded, and had been read possibly by someone else. This was the Haphthara, or prophetic section (Act_13:15). That Isa_61:1, Isa_61:2 was the lesson appointed for the day is quite uncertain. We do not even know whether there was at that time any cycle of prophetical lessons, nor whether it would be strictly adhered to, if there was such. Apparently Isaiah was handed to Him without His asking for it; but that also is uncertain. The cycle of lessons now in use is of much later origin; and therefore to employ the Jewish lectionary in order to determine the day on which this took place is futile. On the other hand, there is no evidence that “Jesus takes the section which He lights upon as soon as it is unrolled”; for εὖρε quite as easily may mean the opposite;—that He intentionally found a passage which had been previously selected.

The more definite ἀναπτύξας (א D) is probably a correction of ἀνοίξαι (A B L and most versions). The former occurs nowhere in N.T., while the latter is very common: see esp. Rev_5:2, Rev_5:3, Rev_5:4, Rev_5:5, Rev_5:10:2, Rev_5:8, 20:12. Fond as Lk. is of analytical tenses, ἦν γεγραμμεινον occurs nowhere else in his writings: ἕστι γεγραμ. is common in Jn. (2:17, 6:31, 45, 10:34, 12:14, 16).

A.T. Robertson
Luke 4:17
Was delivered (epedothē). First aorist passive indicative of epididōmi, to give over to, a common verb. At the proper stage of the service “the attendant” or “minister” (hupēretēs, under rower) or “beadle” took out a roll of the law from the ark, unwrapped it, and gave it to some one to read. On sabbath days some seven persons were asked to read small portions of the law. This was the first lesson or Parashah. This was followed by a reading from the prophets and a discourse, the second lesson or Haphtarah. This last is what Jesus did.

The book of the prophet Isaiah (biblion tou prophētou Esaiou). Literally, “a roll of the prophet Isaiah.” Apparently Isaiah was handed to Jesus without his asking for it. But certainly Jesus cared more for the prophets than for the ceremonial law. It was a congenial service that he was asked to perform. Jesus used Deuteronomy in his temptations and now Isaiah for this sermon. The Syriac Sinaitic manuscript has it that Jesus stood up after the attendant handed him the roll.

Opened (anoixas). Really it was unrolled (anaptuxas) as Aleph D have it. But the more general term anoixas (from anoigō, common verb) is probably genuine. Anaptussō does not occur in the N.T. outside of this passage if genuine.

Found the place (heuren ton topon). Second aorist active indicative. He continued to unroll (rolling up the other side) till he found the passage desired. It may have been a fixed lesson for the day or it may have been his own choosing. At any rate it was a marvellously appropriate passage (Isa_61:1, Isa_61:2 with one clause omitted and some words from Isa_58:6). It is a free quotation from the Septuagint.
Where it was written (hou ēn gegrammenon). Periphrastic pluperfect passive again as in Luk_4:16.

Albert Barnes
Luke 4:17
And when he had opened the book – Αναπτυξας, When he had unrolled it. The Sacred Writings used to this day, in all the Jewish synagogues, are written on skins of basil, parchment, or vellum, sewed end to end, and rolled on two rollers, beginning at each end; so that, in reading from right to left, they roll off with the left, while they roll on with the right. Probably the place in the Prophet Isaiah, here referred to, was the lesson for that day; and Jesus unrolled the manuscript till he came to the place: then, after having read, he rolled it up again, and returned it to the officer, Luk_4:20, the ruler of the synagogue, or his servant, whose business it was to take care of it. The place that he opened was probably the section for the day. See the table at the end of Deuteronomy, and the note at the end of that table.

John Calvin
Luke 4:18
18.The Spirit of the Lord is upon me These words inform us that, both in his own person and in his ministers, Christ does not act by human authority, or in a private capacity, but has been sent by God to restore salvation to his Church. He does nothing by the suggestion or advice of men, but everything by the guidance of the Spirit of God; and this he declares, in order that the faith of the godly may be founded on the authority and power of God. The next clause, because he hath anointed me, is added by way of explanation. Many make a false boast, that they have the Spirit of God, while they are destitute of his gifts: but Christ proves by the anointing, as the effect, that he is endued with the Spirit of God. He then states the purpose for which the graces of the Spirit were bestowed upon him. It was, that he might preach the Gospel to the poor Hence we conclude, that those, who are sent by God to preach the Gospel, are previously furnished with necessary gifts, to qualify them for so important an office. It is, therefore, very ridiculous that, under the pretense of a divine calling, men totally unfit for discharging the office should take upon themselves the name of pastors. We have an instance of this in the Papacy, where mitred bishops, who are more ignorant than as many asses, proudly and openly vaunt, that they are Christ’s Vicars, and the only lawful prelates of the Church. We are expressly informed, that the Lord anoints his servants, because the true and efficacious preaching of the Gospel, as Paul says, does not lie “in the enticing words of man’s wisdom,” but in the heavenly power of the Spirit.

To the poor The prophet shows what would be the state of the Church before the manifestation of the Gospel, and what is the condition of all of us without Christ. Those persons to whom God promises restoration are called poor, and broken, and captives, and blind, and bruised The body of the people was oppressed by so many miseries, that these descriptions applied to every one of its members. Yet there were many who, amidst their poverty, blindness, slavery, and death, flattered themselves, or were insensible to their condition. The consequence was, that few were prepared to accept this grace.

And, first, we are here taught what is the design of the preaching of the Gospel, and what advantage it brings to us. We were altogether overwhelmed by every kind of evils: but there God cheers us by his life-giving light, to rescue us from the deep abyss of death, and to restore us to complete happiness. It tends, in no ordinary degree, to recommend the Gospel, that we obtain from it inestimable advantage. Secondly, we see who are invited by Christ, and made partakers of promised grace. They are persons, who are every way miserable, and destitute of all hope of salvation. But we are reminded, on the other hand, that we cannot enjoy those benefits which Christ bestows, in any other manner, than by being humbled under a deep conviction of our distresses, and by coming, as hungry souls, to seek him as our deliverer: for all who swell with pride, and do not groan under their captivity, nor are displeased with their blindness, lend a deaf ear to this prediction, and treat it with contempt.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
18. he hath anointed me] Rather, He anointed (aorist); the following verb is in the perfect. The word Mashach in the Hebrew would recall to the hearers the notion of the Messiah—“il m’a messianisé” (Salvador). “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power,” Act_10:38. In illustration of the verse generally, as indicating the work primarily of Isaiah, but in its fullest sense, of Christ, see Mat_11:5, Mat_11:5:3, &c.

the poor] i. e. the poor in spirit (Mat_11:28, Mat_5:3), as the Hebrew implies.

to heal the broken-hearted] Omitted in א, B, D, L.

recovering of sight to the blind] Here the LXX. differs from the Hebrew, which has “opening of prison to the bound.” Perhaps this is a reminiscence of Isa_42:7.

to set at liberty them that are bruised] This also is not in Isa_61:1, but is a free reminiscence of the LXX. in 58:6. Either the text of the Hebrew was then slightly variant, or the record introduces into the text a reminiscence of the discourse.

ICC:Lk Plummer
18. The quotation is given by the Evangelist somewhat freely from LXX, probably from memory and under the influence of other passages of Scripture. To argue that the Evangelist cannot be S. Luke, because S. Luke was a Gentile, and therefore would not know the LXX, is absurd. S. Luke was not only a constant companion of S. Paul, but a fellow-worker with him in dealing with both Jews and Gentiles. He could not have done this without becoming familiar with the LXX.

Down to ἀπέσταλκέν με inclusive the quotation agrees with LXX. After that the text of LXX runs thus: ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντε τριμένους τὴν καρδίαν, κηρύξαι αἰχαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνά βλεψιν, καλέσαι ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν. In many authorities the clause ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν has been, inserted into the test of Lk. in order to make the quotation more full and more in harmony with O.T. We have similar insertion Mat_15:8; Act_7:37; Rom_8:9; Heb_12:20, and perhaps 2:71. In the original the Prophet puts into the mouth of Jehovah’s ideal Servant a gracious message to those in captivity, promising them release and a return to the restored Jerusalem, the joy of which is compared to the joy of the year of jubilee. It is obvious that both figures, the return from exile and the release at the jubilee, admirably express Christ’s work of redemption.

Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἐπʼ ἐμέ. In applying these words to Himself the Christ looks back to His baptism. He is more than a Prophet; He is “the Son, the Beloved One,” of Jehovah (3:21, 22).

With ἐπʼ ἐμέ (ἐστι) comp ἦν ἐπʼ αὐτόν (2:25).—οὖ εἴνεκεν. Not “wherefore,” as in Act_19:32, which here would spoil the sense, but “because,”a meaning which οὔνεκεν often has in class. Grk. Vulg. has propter quod.Comp. Gen_18:5, Gen_18:14:8, Gen_18:22:16, 38:26; Num_10:31, Num_14:43, etc. The Ionic form εἴνεκεν is found 18:29; Act_28:20; 2Co_3:10: but ἔνεκεν is the commonest form (2Co_7:12), and ἔνεκα also occurs before consonants (6:22; Act_26:21).

ἔχρισέν με. The Christ was anointed with the Spirit, as Prophets and priests were anointed with oil (1Ki_19:16; Exo_28:41, Exo_30:30). Unlike πέης (2Co_9:9), πτωχός “always had a bad meaning until it was ennobled by the Gospels” (6:20, 7:22; 2Co_6:10; Jam_2:5). It suggests abject poverty (πτώσσω = “I crouch”). See Hatch, Bibl. Grk. pp. 76, 77.

ἀπέσταλκέν με. Change from aor. to perf. “He anointed Me (once for all); He hath sent Me (and I am here)”: comp 1Co_15:4. We have had ἀποστέλλω of the mission of Gabriel (1:19, 26); here and ver. 43 we have it of the mission of the Christ; 7:27 of the Forerunner; 9:2 of the Twelve. Whereas πέμπω is quite general and implies no special relation between sender and sent, ἀποστέλλω adds the idea of a delegated authority making the person sent to be the envoy or representative of the sender. But πέμπω also is used of the mission of the Christ (20:13), of Prophets (Ver. 26, 20:11, 12), and of the Apostles (Joh_13:20, Joh_20:21). Strictly speaking, αἰχμαλώτοις means “prisoners of war” (αἰχμή and ἀλωτός) freq. in class. Grk. but here only in N.T The cognate αἰχμαλωτίζω occurs 21:24; 2Co_10:5; 2Ti_3:6; αἰχμαλωσία, Eph_4:8. Neither this metaphor nor that of τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν harmonizes very well with the year of jubilee, to which Godet would restrict the whole passage. Both might apply to captives in exile, some of whom had been blinded by their captors, or by long confinement in a dungeon.

ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει. These words come from another part of Isaiah (58:6), and are perhaps inserted through a slip of memory. Jesus was reading, not quoting without book; and therefore we cannot suppose that He inserted the clause Lightfoot says that it was lawful to skip from one passage to an.other in reading the Prophets, but not in reading the Law (Hor. Heb. on Luk_4:17). That might explain the omission of a few verses, but not the going back three chapters. The insertion comes from the Evangelist, who is probably quoting from memory, and perhaps regards the unconsciously combined passages as a sort of “programme of the ministry.” The strong expression τεθραυσμένους is here applied to those who are shattered in fortune and broken in spirit.

For the pregnant construction, “send so as to be in,” comp. 1:17. The asyndeton throughout, first between ἔχρισεν and ἀπέσταλκεν and then between the three infinitives which depend upon ἀπέσταλκεν is impressive.

Pulpit Commentary
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. St. Luke here quotes, with a few important variations, from the LXX of Isa_61:1, Isa_61:2. The clause, “to set at liberty them that are bruised,” does not occur the present text of Isaiah. The bright, comforting words of the great prophet the Lord chose as giving a general summary of what he designed to carry out in his ministry. It could be no undesigned coincidence that the opening words of the passage contain a singularly clear mention of the three Persons of the blessed Trinity the Spirit, the Father, and the Anointed (Messiah). Because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, etc. The common interpretation referred this passage to the state of the people on the return from the Captivity. Nothing, however, that the people had yet experienced in any way satisfied the brilliant picture painted in the great prophecy. A remnant certainly had returned several centuries back from their distant exile, but the large majority of the chosen people were scattered abroad; their own land was crushed under what seemed a hopeless servitude; poverty, ignorance, universal discontent, reigned alike in Jerusalem, garrisoned with Roman legionaries, and in the most distant of the poor upland villages of Galilee. Only could deliverance come and a golden age of prosperity return with the promised Messiah. This was the interpretation which the choicest spirits in Israel applied to the great Isaiah prophecy read that sabbath day in the little synagogue of Nazareth. This was the meaning which Jesus at once gave to it, only he startled his hearers by telling them that in him they saw the promised long-looked-for Deliverer. We only possess, it is evident, the very barest abstract of the words of the Teacher Jesus on this occasion. They must have been singularly eloquent, winning, and powerful to have extorted the wonder and admiration alluded to in the twenty-second verse.

The poor and the gospel.
A most significant fact that the first work of the Messiah should be his “preaching the gospel to the poor.” What is the significance of it?

I BY THE POOR DIVINE TRUTH IS MOST NEEDED. Their life on earth is the hardest; it is often one of unremitting toil; often one of severe privation, almost destitute comfort and enjoyment; often one of serious and hard oppression, in which the strong will of another robs of all liberty of action. The past is sad, the present gloomy, the future dark. There are no pleasures in recollection, and there is no relief in hope. How precious, how necessary, to these are the joys which earth cannot give and cannot steal the treasures which enrich the heart, the hopes which reach beyond the grave!

II BY THE POOR, DIVINE TRUTH IS MOST APPRECIATED. “How hardly do they that have riches enter the kingdom of heaven!” Their time is occupied, their minds are filled, with pursuits and pleasures which are on an earthly plane, and things higher and worthier are hidden from view. The poor, though they have indeed their own temptations and their own errors and failings, are yet more likely to see the Divine hand beckoning to them, and to hear the heavenly voice calling them to wisdom and service and eternal joy. And, as a fact, they do. The common people still hear Christ gladly, while the wealthy and the strong and the famous are sitting at the feet of “the world,” to learn its wisdom and to seek its favor.

III TO THE POOR, DIVINE TRUTH IS CLEARLY AND MARKEDLY OFFERED. It was, in fact, a very great thing to say, “To the poor the gospel is preached.” It was one of the “watermarks” of Christianity that our Master made his appeal, not, as philosophy and theology had done before him, and as science in our day is doing, to human learning and influence, but to the unlettered and the lowly, to the multitude and the millions among men, to the common human heart. Other systems had tried to reach the lower levels by affecting the heights of society first. The gospel of Jesus Christ “moves upward from below.” It teaches, cleanses, raises the people; and so it purifies and exalts the nation. This is the Divine method, and must be ours. It is for the Church of Christ to follow its Divine Master, to see that the signs of truth are about its handiwork, and amongst them this leading sign, that “to the poor the gospel is preached.” If this feature should be absent, it will be time for the Church to be considering where it stands how near to or remote from its Master. C.

Healing the broken-hearted.
We have a supreme want, but we have a Divine remedy.

I THE BROKEN HUMAN HEART. There are two things which break hearts:

1. One is intolerable shame; the shame which comes from a crushing sense of sin; it may be of flagrant sin, such as commands the deep indignation and strong censure of our fellowmen, and involves the loss of our own self-respect; or it may be a sense of that common sin of which all the souls of men are guilty in the sight of God the keeping back from him of all that has been due to him, all the reverence and love of our hearts and all the service of our lives. Under a deep sense of sin, and therefore of condemnation, affected and afflicted with the consciousness of Divine disapproval and the fear of Divine punishment, the heart cries out for refuge.

2. The other is overwhelming sorrow; it may be some crushing disappointment, or it may be some wearing and trying sickness, or it may be some heavy and humiliating loss, or it may be some terrible bereavement and consequent loneliness of heart and life; under one or more of these overwhelming burdens the heart may be bowed down even to breaking.

II THE ONE DIVINE REFUGE. There is but one availing “Refuge of our soul” to whom we can flee with perfect assurance that in him we shall find what we need. Christ came “to heal the broken-hearted,” and he does so by:

1. Offering us the most tender sympathy. He is the High Priest who is “touched with a feeling of our infirmities, having been in all points tried even as we are,” and therefore able to enter perfectly into our griefs, whether of mind, body, or estate.

2. Ministering to us Divine comfort. By his Holy Spirit”s ministry he comes to us, and dwells within us, and acts powerfully though graciously upon our hearts; thus he lets the gentle dews of his comfort cool the heats of our fevered spirit, making himself known to us as the “God of all comfort,” as that “One who comforteth them that are cast down.

3. Granting us effectual help; enlightening our minds, energizing our spirits, making us capable of doing that which has to be done, animating and reviving us, fitting us to take our part and do our work. In proportion as we are reverent and pure of heart in the time of our prosperity and joy, may we look for his indwelling and outworking in the “day of desperate grief” and of heart-brokenness. C.
Spiritual bondage and Christian freedom.

Who does not pity the captive? Saddening to the sympathetic heart is the thought of the man who is confined within his lonely and dreary cell, shut in from the beauties and melodies of nature, excluded from the haunts of men, debarred from all the activities of busy life, unable to enter his own home, compelled to unwilling solitude and separation from those he loves! There is no prayer that we breathe with a finer or fuller feeling than the petition, “Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee.” Yet is there a bondage that is worse than any ever inflicted by stone walls and iron chains. It is

I THE BONDAGE OF SIN. Sin is at first a transgression, but it soon becomes a tyranny. It grows into a power; and it becomes a power which holds the soul in its grasp, so that it is practically enslaved; it attempts to rise, to move, to do that which befits it and for which it was created, but it finds that it cannot; it is held down; its way is barred. This is true of sin in all its forms, and it is true in a number of degrees, varying from an objectionable constraint down to an almost hopeless despotism. It applies to:

1. Error, which becomes an inveterate prejudice through which no light will break.

2. Folly, such as that of procrastination, which in no length of time weaves itself round the soul.

3. Vice, such as intemperance, or profanity, or impurity (more especially in some of its forms). There is no bondage more thoroughly deserving the name than this. The victim of vice is, indeed, “holden with the cords of his sins”; (Pro_5:22) they have him fast in the saddest and most degrading thraldom in which a human being can be held.

4. Vanity. How many a man is a wretched slave to the judgment of other men! The fear of their condemnation, or still oftener of their ridicule, impels him in a direction in which he knows he ought not to be going, ties him to a position from which he is longing to break away.

5. Rebellion against God; disloyalty, estrangement, the withholding of the heart and life from God”s service, so long maintained, that, when the soul thinks of repentance and return, it finds itself held to its wrong and sinful state.

II THE FREEDOM WHICH IS IN CHRIST. The gospel announces “deliverance to the captives.” And how does it effect this blessed emancipation?

1. By giving to the sinner a deep sense of his sin, and filling his soul with shame of himself and loathing of his iniquity. When men have come to hate sin they are well on the road toward its conquest.

2. By taking back the penitent to the favor and love of God. Through Christ sin is pardoned and the sinner is restored. As one that loves God, and seeks above all things to enjoy his favor, the man “cannot sin;” he has acquired a reason and motive for purity and integrity which gives him the victory over sin. How can he grieve his heavenly Father, his Divine Redeemer, the Holy Spirit of God?

3. By giving him access to a source of Divine power. God is ready to dwell effectually within, and to work mightily upon the soul that seeks his presence and asks his power. We can do “all things in Christ who strengtheneth us.” He makes us to know “the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe,” in snapping the bonds that bound us, and investing us with “the glorious liberty of the children of God. C.

Spiritual blindness.
“The recovering of sight to the blind.” We think of

I THE BADNESS OF BLINDNESS, and its degrees. “It must be very bad to be blind,” we say; probably we but faintly realize what it means.

1. It is bad to be physically blind to look on no scenery, to read no book, to behold no countenance, to recognize no love in a human face, to grope our way in the thick darkness.

2. It is worse to be mentally blind to see, and not to see; to open the eyes on the beauty and wonder and glory of the universe and to recognize nothing beautiful, wonderful, glorious, there; to be as lonely in a library as in a cell!

3. It is worse still to be morally blind blind of soul, so that a man can see nothing degraded in drunkenness, nothing shameful in vice, nothing revolting in obscenity and profanity, nothing repelling in selfishness; so that a man can see nothing noble in generosity, nothing beautiful in beneficence, nothing regal in righteousness and duty, nothing sacred in human love.

4. It is worst of all to be spiritually blind worst, because that is the root and source of all the others; blindness of spirit, a darkness in which the soul fails to see the Highest of all beings, the loftiest of all truths, the greatest of all facts; a darkness in which the soul fails to recognize the essential truth that in God we “live, and move, and have our being,” and that to him we are responsible for all we are and have; in which it is blind to our sorrowful state of guilt and condemnation in the sight of God.

II THE WORST FEATURE OF SPIRITUAL PRIVATION. That which is the best feature in physical is the worst in spiritual blindness. Under the merciful principle of accommodation, the blind became not only submissive, but contented and even cheerful in the darkness in which they dwell. They are able not only to speak of it, but to feel about it that it is “the shadow of God”s wing.” That is a very happy thing; but that is the very worst feature of spiritual blindness. It is spiritual insensibility that is the most deplorable the fact that men don”t know that they don”t see; that they suppose themselves to know everything when they know nothing; that they are not aware what a world of truth and blessedness is around them and is accessible to them. Who shall reveal this to them?

III CHRIST THE GREAT RESTORER of our spiritual vision. And how does he make us see that to which, but for him, we should have remained blind?

1. By making quite plain and certain that which would have remained shadowy and uncertain. Many truths of vital importance men would, in his absence, have speculated upon and discussed, but they would not have known them. Coming to us from God, the great Teacher has turned these uncertainties into living and sustaining truth. He tells us authoritatively and decisively that God is the one Divine Spirit, the righteous Ruler of all, the Father of souls, condemning them in their sin, pitying them in their estrangement, inviting them to return; that God has determined that when we die we shall live again, shall come forth to a resurrection of condemnation or of life.

2. By bringing the truth close home to the eye of the soul. When our Lord lived on earth he did this himself in his own Person; e.g. in the cases of the woman of Samaria, the rich young ruler, Nicodemus, he brought the truth of the kingdom home to the heart and the conscience. Those lips are closed to us now; Christ speaks not now as he spoke then. But his Spirit is with us still, speaking through his Word and through his faithful servants, and through his providence.

3. By more fully enlightening the minds of those who go in faith to seek and to serve him. Unto all seeking and trusting souls he manifests his truth in ever-enlarging fullness; them he leads “into all the truth” they need to know; and to them it becomes gloriously true that the Spirit of the Lord has anointed him, their Savior, for “the recovering of sight to the blind. C.

The bruised.
“To set at liberty them that are bruised.” And who may they be who are thus characterized? and in what way does Jesus Christ meet their especial need?

I BRUISED SOULS. We find these in:

1. Those who are chafed with the worries of life; whose disposition is such, or whose circumstances are such, that they are harassed and fretted by a multitude of minor conflicts with men and things; who are in danger of losing or have lost their mental equilibrium as the result of the perpetual strife.

2. Those who are perplexed with the problems of life; who want to be mentally satisfied and to see that their theories agree with the existing facts, and who, finding these two things in frequent antagonism, are troubled thereby in soul; such men are never fixed in their convictions, but always thinking that these require readjustment.

3. Those who are smitten by the persecutions of life; who are continually coming into collision with men. They may have a combative habit, or they may be placed in human surroundings unfavorable to peace; but, from whatever cause, they are always in conflict, and are perpetually finding themselves the object of attack, of the ribaldry and the scorn of men; they bear a bruised feeling about them.

4. Those that are worn with excessive toil.

5. Those that are wounded by the heavier sorrows of life; from whom health, or reputation, or position, or fortune, or the object of strong and deep affection has been suddenly taken away.

II THE REFUGE THEY HAVE IN CHRIST. Jesus Christ does not “set at liberty” bruised souls as a deliverer releases bruised prisoners; but he does emancipate them by taking from them their suffering, and giving to them a large measure of spiritual freedom. He blesses these bruised souls, and proves to them a Divine Refuge.

1. By his sympathy. In each one of their distresses they can feel sure of the tender sympathy of their High Priest, “touched with the feeling of their infirmities.

2. By his example. In all points he has been tempted, or tried, even as we are. We bear no cross which he has not carried before us, and his was heavier than ours.

3. By his aid. He is ready, at our appeal, to strengthen us by his indwelling Spirit, and to grant us such strong sustaining grace that, instead of groaning under our blows, we may even glory in them. (2Co_12:9)

4. By his promises; those “exceeding great and precious promises,” which not only cover the whole path of life, however long that may prove, but reach on beyond the horizon-line of death into the blessed and eternal future. C.

Albert Barnes
Luke 4:18
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me – Or, I speak by divine appointment. I am divinely inspired to speak. There can be no doubt that the passage in Isaiah had a principal reference to the Messiah. Our Saviour directly applies it to himself, and it is not easily applicable to any other prophet. Its first application might have been to the restoration of the Jews from Babylon; but the language of prophecy is often applicable to two similar events, and the secondary event is often the most important. In this case the prophet uses most striking poetic images to depict the return from Babylon, but the same images also describe the appropriate work of the Son of God.

Hath anointed me – Anciently kings and prophets and the high priest were set apart to their work by anointing with oil, 1Ki_19:15-16; Exo_29:7; 1Sa_9:16, etc. This oil or ointment was made of various substances, and it was forbidden to imitate it, Exo_30:34-38. Hence, those who were set apart to the work of God as king, prophet, or priest, were called the Lord’s anointed, 1Sa_16:6; Psa_84:9; Isa_45:1. Hence, the Son of God is called the “Messiah,” a Hebrew word signifying the “Anointed,” or the “Christ,” a Greek word signifying the same thing. And by his being “anointed” is not meant that he was literally anointed, for he was never set apart in that manner, but that “God had set him apart” for this work; that “he” had constituted or appointed him to be the prophet, priest, and king of his people. See the notes at Mat_1:1.

To preach the gospel to the poor – The English word “gospel” is derived from two words – “God” or “good,” and “spell,” an old Saxon word meaning “history, relation, narration, word, or speech,” and the word therefore means “a good communication” or “message.” This corresponds exactly with the meaning of the Greek word – “a good or joyful message – glad tidings.” By the “poor” are meant all those who are destitute of the comforts of this life, and who therefore may be more readily disposed to seek treasures in heaven; all those who are sensible of their sins, or are poor in spirit Mat_5:3; and all the “miserable” and the afflicted, Isa_58:7. Our Saviour gave it as one proof that he was the Messiah, or was from God, that he preached to “the poor,” Mat_11:5. The Pharisees and Sadducees despised the poor; ancient philosophers neglected them; but the gospel seeks to bless them – to give comfort where it is felt to be needed, and where it will be received with gratitude. Riches fill the mind with pride, with self-complacency, and with a feeling that the gospel is not needed. The poor “feel” their need of some sources of comfort that the world cannot give, and accordingly our Saviour met with his greatest success the gospel among the poor; and there also, “since,” the gospel has shed its richest blessings and its purest joys. It is also one proof that the gospel is true. If it had been of “men,” it would have sought the rich and mighty; but it pours contempt on all human greatness, and seeks, like God, to do good to those whom the world overlooks or despises. See the notes at 1Co_1:26.

To heal the brokenhearted – To console those who are deeply afflicted, or whose hearts are “broken” by external calamities or by a sense of their sinfulness.

Deliverance to the captives – This is a figure originally applicable to those who were in captivity in Babylon. They were miserable. To grant deliverance to “them” and restore them to their country – to grant deliverance to those who are in prison and restore them to their families – to give liberty to the slave and restore him to freedom, was to confer the highest benefit and impart the richest favor. In this manner the gospel imparts favor. It does not, indeed, “literally” open the doors of prisons, but it releases the mind captive under sin; it gives comfort to the prisoner, and it will finally open all prison doors and break off all the chains of slavery, and, by preventing “crime,” prevent also the sufferings that are the consequence of crime.

Sight to the blind – This was often literally fulfilled, Mat_11:5; Joh_9:11; Mat_9:30, etc.

To set at liberty them that are bruised – The word “bruised,” here, evidently has the same “general” signification as “brokenhearted” or the contrite. It means those who are “pressed down” by great calamity, or whose hearts are “pressed” or “bruised” by the consciousness of sin. To set them “at liberty” is the same as to free them from this pressure, or to give them consolation.

John Calvin
Luke 4:19
19.To preach the acceptable year of the Lord Many think that here the prophet makes an allusion to the Jubilee, and I have no objection to that view. But it is proper to observe, that he purposely anticipates a doubt, which might disturb and shake weak minds, while the Lord held them in suspense, by delaying so long the promised salvation. He therefore makes the time of redemption to depend on the purpose, or good pleasure, of God. “In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee.” Paul calls it the fullness of the time, (Gal_4:4,) that believers may learn not to indulge in excessive curiosity, but to acquiesce in the will of God, — and that we may rest satisfied with the conviction, that salvation was manifested in Christ, at the time which seemed good in the sight of God.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
19. the acceptable year] The primary allusion is to the year of Jubilee, Lev_25:8-10; but this was only a type of the true Jubilee of Christ’s kingdom. Many of the Fathers, with most mistaken literalness, inferred from this verse that our Lord’s ministry only lasted a year, and the notion acquired more credence from the extraordinary brightness of His first, or Galilaean, year of ministry. This view has been powerfully supported by Mr Browne in his Ordo Saeclorum, but is quite untenable (Joh_2:13, Joh_6:4, Joh_11:55).

ICC:Lk Plummer
19. ἐνιαυτὸν Κυρίου δεκτόν. The age of the Messiah, which is Jehovah’s time for bestowing great blessings on His people. Comp. καιρὸς δεκτός (2Co_6:2; Isa_49:8): δεκτός is not found in class. Grk. It is strange that Clement of Alexandria and Origen, who are commonly so ready to turn fact into figure, here turn an expression which is manifestly figurative into a literal statement of fact, and limit Christ’s ministry to a period of twelve months (comp. Clem. Hom. 17:19). Keim and other modern writers have made the same limit; but the three Passovers distinguished by S. John (2:13, 6:4, 11:55) are quite fatal to it.1 It is, however, an equally faulty exegesis to find the three years (i.e. two years and a fraction) of Christ’s ministry in the three years of Lk. 6-9 or the three days of 13:31-33. The first of these is obviously a parabolic saying not to be understood literally; and the other probably is such. The suggestion that the three servants sent to the wicked husbandmen mean the three years of the ministry is almost grotesque. See Nösgen, Gesch. Jesu Christi, Kap. 8., München, 1890.

John Calvin
Luke 4:20
20.The eyes of all who were in the synagogue God touched their hearts, I doubt not, with astonishment, which made them more attentive, and induced them to listen to Christ, while he was speaking. For they must have been withheld from opposing this discourse at the commencement, or breaking it off in the midst, when they were sufficiently disposed, as we shall see, to treat Christ with contempt.

Cambridge Bible:Lk
20. he closed the book] Rather, rolling up. Generally the Haphtarah consists of twenty-one verses, and is never less than three; but our Lord stopped short in the second verse, because this furnished sufficient text for His discourse, and because He wished these gracious words to rest last on their ears, rather than the following words, “the day of vengeance of our God.”

the minister] The Chazzan.

sat down] The ordinary Jewish attitude for the sermon (Mat_23:2).

fastened on him] A favourite word of St Luke, who uses it eleven times; elsewhere it is only found in 2Co_3:7, 2Co_3:13. The attitude of Jesus shewed that now for the first time He intended not only to read but to preach.

ICC:Lk Plummer
20. The vivid description of what followed the reading of the lesson Points to an eye-witness as the source of the narrative. But the “closed” of AV., and RV. gives a wrong impression of the first incident: it leads one to think of a modern book with leaves. The Rhemish has “folded”; but “rolled up” would be a better rendering of πτύξας. The long strip of parchment, or less probably papyrus (2Jn_1:12), would be wound upon a roller, or possibly upon two rollers, one at each end of the strip. Hence the name megillah (volumen),from gâlal, “to roll.” Such a book was in Greek sometimes called κεφαλὶς (Ezr_6:2; Eze_3:1-3) or κεφαλὶς βιβλίου (Heb_10:7; Psa_39:8; Eze_2:9): and it I said that κεφαλίς originally meant the knob (cornu or umbilicus) at the end of the roller; but no instance of this use of κεφαλίς appears to be known (Wsctt. on Heb_10:7).

ἀποδοὺς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ. The ἀπο- implies that it was the minister or chazzan who had handed Him the book who received it back again. The τῷ may have the same meaning, just as τὸ βιβλίον means the book which had been given to Him. But τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ more probably means the minister usually found in a synagogue. It was among the duties of the chazzan to take the Scriptures from the ark and put them away again (Surenhusius, Mishna, ii. 246, iii. 266). He taught the children to read, and inflicted the scourgings (Mat_10:17). A Roman epitaph to a Jew who held is office is quoted by Schürer, II. ii. p. 66—

φλαβιος Ιουλιανος υπηρετης

φλαβια Ιουλιανη θυγατηρ πατρι

Εν ειρηνη η κοιμησις σου.

The chazzan of the synagogue became the deacon or sub-deacon the Christian Church.

A ὑπηρέτης is lit. “an under-rower” (ἐρέσσω). The word may be used of almost any kind of attendant or servant (Act_5:22, Act_5:26, Act_5:13:5; Mat_26:58; Mar_14:54, Mar_14:65; Joh_7:32, Joh_7:45; 1Co_4:1). For the two participles, πτύξας … ἀποδούς, without καί, comp. Act_12:4, Act_12:25.

ἐκάθισεν. This was the usual attitude for expounding or preaching, and in the synagogues there was commonly a raised seat for the purpose. On other occasions we find Christ sitting to teach (5:3; Mat_5:1; Mar_4:1; [Joh_8:2]); and the disciples do the same (Act_16:13).

ἦσαν ἀτενίζοντες. “Were fixed intently.” Their intense interest was caused by His reputation as a teacher and as a worker of miracles, as well as by His having been brought up amongst them; perhaps also by His look and manner of reading. That lie had selected an unexpected passage, or had omitted the usual lesson from the Law, and that this surprised them, is pure conjecture. Comp. Act_6:15, where the same verb is used of the whole Sanhedrin riveting their eyes upon Stephen. It is a favourite word with Lk., who uses it a dozen times: elsewhere in N.T. only 2Co_3:7, 2Co_3:13. It occurs in LXX (1 Es. 6:28; Est_3 Mac. 2:26), in Aq. (Job_7:8), and in Jos. (B. J., v. 12, 3). The analytical tense marks the continuance of the action.

Pulpit Commentary
And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. This was the usual position adopted by a Jewish preacher. The chair of the preacher was placed near the spot where the lesson was read. These synagogues were built with the end pointed towards Jerusalem, in which direction the Jew ever loved to turn as he prayed. (Dan_6:10) The men sat on one side of the building, the women on the other. There was always at the end of the chamber an ark of wood, a memory of the sacred ark of the covenant, which once, with its golden mercy-seat, hallowed now and again with the presence of the visible glory, was the chief treasure of the temple ca Mount Zion. In the “ark” were kept the Law (the five books of Moses) and the rolls of the prophets.

John Calvin
Luke 4:21
21.Today is fulfilled Christ did not merely affirm in a few words, but proved by a reference to facts, that the time was now come, when it was the will of God to restore his ruined church. The object of his discourse was, to expound the prediction clearly to his hearers: just as expositors handle Scripture in a proper and orderly manner, when they apply it to the circumstances of those whom they address. He says that it was fulfilled in their ears, rather than in their eyes, because the bare sight of the fact was of little value, if doctrine had not held the chief place.

ICC:Lk Plummer
21. ἤρξατο δὲ λέγειν. The ἤρξατο is not pleonastic: it points to the solemnity of the moment when His words broke the silence of universal expectation: comp. 7:24, 11:29, 12:1, 14:18. What follows may be regarded as a summary of what was said. It gives us the main subject of His discourse. We are led to suppose that lie said much more; perhaps interpreting to them in detail the things concerning Himself (24:27). The conversation with Nicodemus is similarly condensed by S. John (3:1-21). Even without this narrative we should know from 7:22 and Mat_11:5 that Christ interpreted Isa_61:1 ff. of Himself. The whole of the O.T. was to Him a prophecy respecting His life and work And this applies not only to prophetic utterances, but also to rites and institutions, as well as to historical events, which were so ordered as to be a forecast of the salvation and judgment which He was to bring.1 This verse sums up His sermon.

ἡ γραφὴ αὔτη. “This passage of Scripture” (Mar_12:10; Joh_7:42, etc.) : for Scripture as a whole the plural is used (24:27, 32, 45; Mat_21:42, Mat_21:22:29, Mat_21:26:54, 56; Mar_12:24, etc.). His interpretation of the prophecy was at the same time a fulfilment of it; for the voice of Him of whom the Prophet wrote was sounding in their ears.Hence it is that he affirms πεπλήρωται ἐν τοῖς ὠσὶν ὑμῶν. As Renan says, Il ne prêchait passes opinions, il se prêchait luimême.

Luke 4:21
And he began to say (ērxato de legein). Aorist ingressive active indicative and present infinitive. He began speaking. The moment of hushed expectancy was passed. These may or may not be the first words uttered here by Jesus. Often the first sentence is the crucial one in winning an audience. Certainly this is an arresting opening sentence.

Hath been fulfilled (peplērōtai). Perfect passive indicative, stands fulfilled. “Today this scripture (Isa_61:1, Isa_61:2, just read) stands fulfilled in your ears.” It was a most amazing statement and the people of Nazareth were quick to see the Messianic claim involved. Jesus could only mean that the real year of Jubilee had come, that the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah had come true today, and that in him they saw the Messiah of prophecy. There are critics today who deny that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. To be able to do that, they must reject the Gospel of John and all such passages as this one. And it is no apocalyptic eschatological Messiah whom Jesus here sets forth, but the one who forgives sin and binds up the broken-hearted. The words were too good to be true and to be spoken here at Nazareth by one of their own townsmen!

John Calvin
Luke 4:22
22.And all gave testimony to him Here Luke draws our attention, first, to the truly divine grace, which breathed in the lips of Christ; and then presents a lively picture of the ingratitude of men. Using a Hebrew idiom, he calls them discourses of grace, — that is, discourses which manifested the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. The inhabitants of Nazareth are thus compelled to acknowledge and admire God speaking in Christ; and yet they voluntarily refuse to render to the heavenly doctrine of Christ the honor which it deserves. Is not this the son of Joseph? Instead of regarding this circumstance as an additional reason for glorifying God, they bring it forward as an objection, and wickedly make it a ground of offense, that they may have some plausible excuse for rejecting what is said by the son of Joseph. Thus we daily see many who, while they are convinced that what they hear is the word of God, seize on frivolous apologies for refusing to obey it. And certainly the only reason why we are not affected, as we ought to be, by the power of the Gospel, is, that we throw hinderances in our own way, and that our malice quenches that light, the power of which we are unwilling to acknowledge.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
22. gracious words] Rather, words of grace. The word grace does not here mean mercy or favour (Gnade), but beauty and attractiveness (Anmuth). This verse and Joh_7:46 are the chief proofs that there was in our Lord’s utterance an irresistible majesty and sweetness. Comp. Psa_45:2; Joh_1:14.

And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?] This points to a gradual change in the feeling of the listening Nazarenes. The Jews in their synagogues did not sit in silence, but were accustomed to give full expression to their feelings, and to discuss and make remarks aloud. Jealousy began to work among them, Mat_13:54; Joh_6:42. “The village beggarly pride of the Nazarenes cannot at all comprehend the humility of the Great One.” Stier.

ICC:Lk Plummer
22. ἐμαρτύρουν αὐτῷ. “They bore witness to Him,” not that what He said about Himself, but that what rumour had said respecting His power as a teacher, was true. They praised Him in an empty-hearted way. What they remembered of Him led them to think that the reports about Him were exaggerations; but they were willing to admit that this was not the case. Comp. 11:48. This “bearing witness” almost of necessity implies that Jesus had said a great deal more than is recorded here. What follows shows that they did not believe the teaching which so startled and impressed them, any more than those whose attention was riveted on Stephen, before he began to address them, were disposed to accept his teaching. The cases are very similar. Hence ἐθαύμαζον expresses amazement rather than admiration. For θαυμαιζειν ἐπί see small print on 2:33.

τοῖς λόγοις τῆς χάριτος. Characterizing genitive or genitive of quality; freq. in writings influenced by Hebrew, “which employs this construction, not merely through poverty in adjectives, but also through the vividness of phraseology which belongs to Oriental languages” (Win. 34:3. b, p. 297).Comp. οἰκονὸμος τῆς ἀδικίας (16:8); κριτὴς τῆς ἀδικίας (18:6); ἀκροατὴς ἐπιλησμονῆς (Jam_1:25); κριταὶ διαλογισμῶν πονηρῶν (Jam_2:4); and perhaps the difficult τροπῆς ἀποσκίασμα (Jam_1:17). The meaning here is “winning words.” The very first meaning of χαίρω (χαίρω is “comeliness, winsomeness” (Hom. Oba_1:8:175; Ecc_10:12; Psa_64:3; Ecclus. 21:16, 37:21; Col_4:6): and in all these passages it is the winsomeness of language that is specially signified. From this objective attractiveness it easily passes to subjective “favour, Kindness,goodwill,” esp. from a superior to an interior (Act_2:47; Gen_18:3, Gen_32:5, Gen_33:8, etc.); and hence, in particular, of finding “favour” with God (1:30; Act_7:46; Exo_33:12, Exo_33:13, Exo_33:16, etc).From the sense of God’s favour generally(2:30, 52; Joh_1:14, Joh_1:16) we come to the grace” (Act_14:3, Act_14:20:24, 32; and the pauline Epp. passim). Lastly, it sometimes means the “gratitude” which this favour produces in the recipient (6:32-34, 17:9; 1Co_10:30). The word does not occur in Mt. or Mk. See Sanday on Rom_1:5, and Blass on Act_2:47 and 4:33.

Origen evidently has this passage in his mind when he wrote: “For a proof that grace was poured on His lips (Psa_64:3, ἐξεχύθη ἡ χάρις ἐν χειλεσιν σου)is this, that although the period of His teaching was short,—for He taught somewhere about a year and a few months,—the world has been filled with His eaching” (De Prin. 4:1, 5). But the words so calculated to win did not win the congregation. They were “fulfilled in their ears,” but not in their hearts.1 A doubt at once acrose in their minds as to the congruity of such words with one whom they had known all His life as the “son of Joseph” the carpenter. Here οὖτος has a contemptuous turn, as often (5:21, 7:39, 49, 15:2, 22:56, 59, etc): yet the vulg. in none of these places has iste, but hic. “Is not this person Joseph’s son? What does he mean by using such language?” Just as a single sentence is given as a summary of His discourse, so a single question is given as a summary of their scepticism.

While the οὖτος and υἱός is in all three, the question as a whole differs. Mk. has Οὐχ οὖτός ἐστιν ὁ τέκτων, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς Μαρίας; (6:3). Mt. has Οὐχ οὖτός ἐστιν ὁ τοῦ τέκτονος υἱός; (13:55). Lk. Οὐχὶ υἱόσἐστιν Ἰωσὴφ οὖτος; And while the others mention Christ’s brothers and sisters in close connexion with His mother, Lk. mentions none of them. Lk. and Jn. seem to prefer the expression “son of Joseph” (Luk_3:23, Luk_3:4:22; Joh_1:45, Joh_6:42). Renan thinks that Marc ne connaît pas Joseph (V. de J. p.71). But it may be that, as he does not record the virgin birth of Christ, he avoids the expression “son of Joseph” or “the carpenter’s son,” which those who have recorded thre virgin birth could use without risk of being misunderstood.

Pulpit Commentary
And they said, Is not this Joseph”s Son? Quickly the preacher caught the mind and feeling of his audience. Surprise and admiration soon gave place to a spirit of unbelief. Is not this who speaks to us such words, bright and eloquent with hope, often with a ring of sure triumph and certain victory in them is it not the young Carpenter we have known so long in our village?

The graciousness of the words of Christ.
“The gracious words words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth.” The “words of the Lord Jesus” were “words of grace” indeed. They were so whether we consider

I THEIR SUBSTANCE. They were not, indeed, without seriousness, and at times not without severity. Christ did say, when the occasion required it, things which startled his hearers, things which are well fitted to make us pause and even tremble if we are obnoxious to their severity. He is, as a Divine Teacher and Revealer of God, as far as possible removed from the easy good-naturedness which would represent it as a matter of indifference what men hold and how they live, the “good God” will make it all right in the end. No man can listen attentively and reverently to Christ and settle down into comfortable unbelief or self-complacent sin. Yet were his words predominantly and pre-eminently “words of grace.” By the truths he preached he made known to mankind that:

1. God is accessible to all; the Approachable One, who is always willing to receive his children, and who welcomes back those who have wandered farthest away.

2. That a noble life is open to all; we may be in character and spirit, as well as in name and in position, the children of God; (Mat_5:45-48) we are to be “the light of the world,” “the salt of the earth.

3. That a glorious future is within the reach of all; “in the Father”s house are many mansions.

4. That salvation is very near to all; the Scripture is fulfilled; the Redeemer is come; the blind may see; the captives may be delivered; this is “the acceptable year,” “the accepted time;” “to-day is the day of salvation.” Or whether we consider

II THEIR FORM. There is about the gracious words of Christ:

1. An accent of persuasiveness. He does not angrily threaten, he cordially invites us; he says, winningly, “Come unto me… I am meek and lowly;” “Abide in me, and I will abide in you;” “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock,” etc.

2. A note of considerateness. “Come into a desert place, and rest awhile;” “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now;” “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

3. A touch of tenderness. “I will not leave you comfortless;” “Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

(1) It is perilous to abuse the grace of Christ. There is such a thing as “the wrath of the Lamb.

(2) It is perfectly safe to trust in his grace. He means everything he says; the worst may obtain his mercy, the most diffident may confide in his redemption of his word. C.

Luke 4:22
Bare him witness (emarturoun). Imperfect active, perhaps inchoative. They all began to bear witness that the rumours were not exaggerations (Luk_4:14) as they had supposed, but had foundation in fact if this discourse or its start was a fair sample of his teaching. The verb martureō is a very old and common one. It is frequent in Acts, Paul’s Epistles, and the Johannine books. The substantive martur is seen in our English martyr, one who witnesses even by his death to his faith in Christ.

And wondered (kai ethaumazon). Imperfect active also, perhaps inchoative also. They began to marvel as he proceeded with his address. This verb is an old one and common in the Gospels for the attitude of the people towards Jesus.

At the words of grace (epi tois logois tēs charitos). See note on Luk_1:30; and the note on Luk_2:52 for this wonderful word charis so full of meaning and so often in the N.T. The genitive case (case of genus or kind) here means that the words that came out of the mouth of Jesus in a steady stream (present tense, ekporeuomenois) were marked by fascination and charm. They were “winning words” as the context makes plain, though they were also “gracious” in the Pauline sense of “grace.” There is no necessary antithesis in the ideas of graceful and gracious in these words of Jesus.

Is not this Joseph’s son? (Ouchi huios estin Iōsēph houtos̱). Witness and wonder gave way to bewilderment as they began to explain to themselves the situation. The use of ouchi intensive form of ouk in a question expects the answer “yes.” Jesus passed in Nazareth as the son of Joseph as Luke presents him in Luk_3:23. He does not stop here to correct this misconception because the truth has been already amply presented in Luk_1:28-38; Luk_2:49. This popular conception of Jesus as the son of Joseph appears also in Joh_1:45. The puzzle of the people was due to their previous knowledge of Jesus as the carpenter (Mar_6:3; the carpenter’s son, Mat_13:55). For him now to appear as the Messiah in Nazareth where he had lived and laboured as the carpenter was a phenomenon impossible to credit on sober reflection. So the mood of wonder and praise quickly turned with whispers and nods and even scowls to doubt and hostility, a rapid and radical transformation of emotion in the audience.

John Calvin
Luke 4:23
23.Physician, heal thyself From the words of Christ it may be easily inferred, that he was treated with contempt by the inhabitants of Nazareth: for he states publicly those thoughts, which he knew to exist in their minds. He afterwards imputes to them the blame of his declining to work miracles among them, and charges them with malice, in bestowing no honor on a prophet of God. The objection, which he anticipates, is this: “There is no reason to wonder, if his countrymen hold him in little estimation, since he does not dignify his own country, as he does other places, by working miracles; and, consequently, it is but a just revenge, if his own countrymen, whom he treats with less respect than all others, are found to reject him.” Such is the meaning of the common proverb, that a physician ought to begin with himself, and those immediately connected with him, before he exhibits his skill in healing others. The amount of the objection is, that Christ acts improperly, in paying no respect to his own country, while he renders other cities of Galilee illustrious by his miracles. And this was regarded by the inhabitants of Nazareth as a fair excuse for rejecting him in their turn.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
23. this proverb] The Greek word is ‘parabolē,’ which is here used for the Hebrew mashal, and had a wider meaning than its English equivalent. Thus it is also used for a proverb (Beispiel), 1Sa_10:12, 1Sa_10:24:13; Eze_12:22; or a type, Heb_9:9, Heb_11:19. See on 8:5.
Physician, heal thyself] The same taunt was addressed to our Lord on the Cross. Here it seems to have more than one application,—meaning, ‘If you are the Messiah why are you so poor and humble?’ or, ‘Why do you not do something for us, here in your own home?’ (So Theophylact, Euthymius, &c.) It implies radical distrust, like Hic Rhodos, hic salta. There seems to be no exact Hebrew equivalent of the proverb, but something like it (a physician who needs healing) is found in Plut. De Discern. Adul. 32.

whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum] St Luke has not before mentioned Capernaum, and this is one of the many indications found in his writings that silence respecting any event is no proof that he was unaware of it. Nor has any other Evangelist mentioned any previous miracle at Capernaum, unless we suppose that the healing of the courtier’s son (Joh_4:46-54) had preceded this visit to Nazareth. Jesus had, however, performed the first miracle at Cana, and may well have wrought others during the stay of “not many days” mentioned in Joh_2:12. Capernaum was so completely the head-quarters of His ministry as to be known as “His own city.” (Mat_4:12-16, Mat_11:23.)

ICC:Lk Plummer
23. Πάντως ἐρεῖτέ μοι τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην. “At all events, assuredly, ye will say,” etc: πάτως is used in strong affirmations (Act_21:22, Act_21:28:4, 1Co_9:10). Excepting Heb_9:9 and 11:19, παραβολή occurs only in the Synoptic Gospels: in Joh_10:6 and 16:25, 29 as in 2Pe_2:22, the word used in παροιμία. It nedd not be doubted that the notion of placing beside for the sake of comparison, rather than that of merely putting forth, lied at the root of παραβολή. From the notion of (1) “throwing beside” come the further notions of (2) “exposing” and (3) “comparing,” all three of which are common meanings of παραβάλλειν. While the adj. παράβολος represents the derived notion on the one side, the subst. παραβολή represents that on the other side. A παραβολή therefore is “an utterance which invloves a comparison.” Hence varoius meanings: 1. a complete parable or allegory (8:4, 13:6, etc.); 2. a single figurative saying, proverb, or illustration (here; 5:36, 6:39); 3 a saying of deeper meaning, which becomes intelligible through comparison, in which sense it is sometimes joined with σκοτεινὸς λόγος (Pro_1:6), πρόβλημα (Psa_59:5, Psa_78:2), and the like. In the teaching of Christ παραβολή is commonly in the first sense, and is a means of making known the mysteries of the kingdom in a mixed audience; for it conceals from the unworthy what it reveals to the worthy (8:9, 10). See Crem. Lex. pp. 124, 657; Hatch, Bibl. Grk., p. 70; Hase, Gesch. Jesu, § 63, p. 535, ed. 1891; Didon, Jésus Christ, ch. vi. p. 391, ed. 1891; Latham, Pastor Pastorum, ch. x.

Ἰατρέ, θεράπευσον σεαυτόν. “Heal thine own lameness” is the Hebrew form of the proverb. Similar sayings exist in other literatures: eg. a fragment of Euripides, ἄλλων ἰατρός, αὐτὸς ἕλκεσι βρύων; Ser. Sulpicius to Cicero, Neque imitare males medicos, qui in alienis morhis pro, fitentur tenere se medicines sdendam, ipsi se curare non passunt (Cic, Epp. ad diversos, 4:5). Hobart quotes from Galen, ἐχρῆν οὖν αὐτὸν ἐαυτοῦ ἐαυτοῦ πρῶτον ἰᾶσθαι τὸ σύμπτωμα καὶ οὕτως ἐπιχειρεῖν ἑτέρους θεραπεύειν. Comp. Aesch. P. V. 469; Ov.Metam 7:561; and the other examples, Lightfoot and Wetst. It is remarkable that this saying of Christ is preserved only by the beloved physician. Its meaning is disputed. Some take the words which follow to be the explanation of it: “Heal the ills of thine own town.” Thus Cornà Lap., “Cure Thine own people and Thins own country, which should be as dear to Thee as Thyself.” Similarly Beng. Alf. Sadler and others. It is thus made to mean much the same as “Charity begins at home.” But ἰατρέ and σεαυτόν ought to be interpreted of the same person or group; not one of a person and the other of his neighbours. “Prophet, heal Thins own countrymen” is not parallel to “Physician, heal Thyself” The saying plainly refers to the passage just read from Isaiah; and although Lk. omits the words “to heal the brokenearted,” yet Christ must have read them, and He had probably explained them. He professed to be the fulfilment of them, and to be healing the miseries of mankind. The people are supposed to tell Him to better His own condition before bettering that of others. He must make His own position more secure, and give evidence of His high mission before asserting it. He must make His own position more secure and give evidence of His high mission before asserting it. He must work convincing miracles, such as He is said ot have worked elsewhere. Comp. σῶσον σεαυτὸν καὶ ἡμᾶς (23:39). Comp. also Logion 6:3

ὅσα ἠκούσαμεν. They do not say ὅσα ἐποίησας wishing to leave it open whether the report may not be untrue. We learn from Joh_2:12 that after the miracle at Cana, Jesus was at Capernaum for a short time; and we know also that there were many unrecorded miracles. It is probably to reports of some of these that reference is here made. For the constr. comp. Act_7:12 and 24:10

εἰς τὴν καφαρναούμ. See on ver. 31.The readings vary between εἰς τὴν Καφ. (א B), εἰς Καφ. (D L), ἐν τῇ Καφ.(X), and ἐν καφ (AK), The substitution of ἐν for εἰς, and the omission of the article between a preposition and a proper name, are obvious corrections by a later hand. The εἰς is not “put for ἐν” It maybe doubted whether these two prepositions are ever interchanged. Rather εἰς is used because of the idea of motion contained in “come to pass.” It is scarcely possible that εἰς contains the notion of “to the advantage of,” and indicates the petty jealousy of the people of Nazareth. We have the same constr. 1:44; Act_28:6 (comp. Luk_11:7); and in no case is there any idea of advantage. That the jealousy was a fact, and that the people of Nazareth were inclined to discount or discredit all that seemed to tell in favour of prosperous Capernaum, is probable; but there is no hint of this in the εἰς. What is said to have happened to Capernaum ought to happen here. Comp. the Cornish use of “to” for “at.” In N.T. ὦδε is never “thus,” but either “hither” (9:41, 14:21, 14:27) or “here” (9:33, 22:38). The ἐν τῇ πατρίδι σου is epexegetic of ὦδε, and means “Thy native town,” not the whole of Israel: comp. Mar_6:5; Mat_13:58.

Pulpit Commentary
Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself. “There is something interesting in our finding this proverb in the Gospel of the beloved physician. May we think of him as hearing the proverb casually, tracking out its application, and so coming on this history? It was, probably, so far as is known, a common Jewish proverb; but there is no trace of it in Greek writers, and it was therefore likely to attract his notice” (Dean Plumptre). Whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. Now, up to this time in Jesus” public career no miracles are recorded as having been done in Capernaum. After the miracle at Cana we know that the Lord resided for some time in Capernaum; (Joh_2:12) the miracles to which these men of Nazarath alluded were no doubt worked then. “The memory of these early miracles, as Godet well observes, would have been effaced by more remarkable later events, as that at Cana would have been had not John, who required it in the plan of his Gospel, rescued it from oblivion. The Jews of Nazareth, after the first moment of surprise and admiration at Jesus” words, evidently looked at him with scorn and unbelief. That poor Carpenter their glorious expected Messiah! As for the marvellous deeds reported to have been done in Capernaum, they did not believe in them; at least why did he not here, in the neighborhood of his own home, something of the same kind? If they could see with their eyes marvels worked by him, then perhaps they might accept him as Messiah.

A.T. Robertson
Luke 4:23
Doubtless (pantōs). Adverb. Literally, at any rate, certainly, assuredly. Cf. Act_21:22; Act_28:4.

This parable (tēn parabolēn tautēn). See discussion on Matthew 13. Here the word has a special application to a crisp proverb which involves a comparison. The word physician is the point of comparison. Luke the physician alone gives this saying of Jesus. The proverb means that the physician was expected to take his own medicine and to heal himself. The word parabolē in the N.T. is confined to the Synoptic Gospels except Heb_9:9; Heb_11:19. This use for a proverb occurs also in Luk_5:36; Luk_6:39. This proverb in various forms appears not only among the Jews, but in Euripides and Aeschylus among the Greeks, and in Cicero’s Letters. Hobart quotes the same idea from Galen, and the Chinese used to demand it of their physicians. The point of the parable seems to be that the people were expecting him to make good his claim to the Messiahship by doing here in Nazareth what they had heard of his doing in Capernaum and elsewhere. “Establish your claims by direct evidence” (Easton). This same appeal (Vincent) was addressed to Christ on the Cross (Mat_27:40, Mat_27:42). There is a tone of sarcasm towards Jesus in both cases.

Heard done (ēkousamen genomena). The use of this second aorist middle participle genomena after ēkousamen is a neat Greek idiom. It is punctiliar action in indirect discourse after this verb of sensation or emotion (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1040-42, 1122-24).

Do also here (poiēson kai hōde). Ingressive aorist active imperative. Do it here in thy own country and town and do it now. Jesus applies the proverb to himself as an interpretation of their real attitude towards himself.

John Calvin
Luke 4:24
24.Verily, I say to you He reproaches them with the blame of preventing him from exerting his power among them as he did in other places, by working miracles: for the unbelief of men presents an obstruction to God, and hinders him from working, as might be desired, for their salvation, (Mat_13:58; Mar_6:5.) Christ could not perform any miracle among them, because “they did not believe on him,” (Joh_12:37.) Not that it is in the power of men to bind the hands of God, but that he withholds the advantage of his works from those who are rendered unworthy of them by their infidelity. The answer given by Christ amounts to this: “If you wish to have a share in miracles, why do you not give place to God? or rather, why do you proudly reject the minister of his power? You receive, therefore, a just reward for your contempt, when I pass by you, and give a preference to other places, for proving by miracles, that I am the Messiah of God, who have been appointed to restore the church.”

And, certainly, it was intolerable ingratitude that, when God was pleased to have his Son brought up in their city, such a person, who had been among them from his infancy, was despised. Justly, therefore, did he withdraw his hand, that it might not be exposed to the derision of those wicked despisers. Hence we learn what value the Lord puts on his word, when, in order to punish for the contempt of it, he takes from the midst of us those favors, which are the testimonies of his presence. With respect to that saying, no prophet is acceptable in his own country, the reader may consult what I have said on a saying of the same import, recorded by the Evangelist John: “A prophet hath no honor in his own country,” (Joh_4:44.)

ICC:Lk Plummer
24. Εἶπεν δέ. When these words occur between two utterances of Christ, they seem to indicate that there is an interval between what precedes and what follows. The report of what was said on this occasion is evidently very condensed. Comp. 6:39, 12:16, 15:11, 17:1, 22, 18:9, and see on 1:8. The δέ is “but” (Cov.) rather than“and”(all other English Version); ait autem (Vulg.). “But, instead of gratifying them, Hesaid” There are various proverbial sayings which declare that those who are close to what is great do not appreciate the greatness. Jesus declares that He is no exception to this rule, and implies that He will work no miracles to free Himself from its operation. In the wilderness He had resisted a similar suggestion that He should work a miracle of display, a mere τέρας (vv. 9-11). In this matter Nazareth is a type of the whole nation, which rejected Him because He did not conform to their own ideas of the Messiah. Their test resembles that of the hierarchy, “He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe on Him” (Mat_27:42). For εἶπεν δέ see p. 68.

John Calvin
Luke 4:25
25.There were many widows After throwing back upon themselves the blame of their being deprived of miracles, he produces two examples to prove, that they ought not to think it strange, if God prefers strangers to the inhabitants of the country, and that they ought not to find fault with him for obeying the call of God, as was formerly done by Elijah and Elisha. He throws out an indirect hint as to their vanity and presumption, in entertaining a dislike of him, because he had been brought up among them. When there was a great famine for three years and a half, there were many widows in Israel, whose want of food Elijah was not commanded to relieve, but he was sent to a woman, who belonged to a foreign nation, Zidon, (1Kg_17:9.) In like manner, Elisha healed no lepers among his countrymen, but he healed Naaman, a Syrian, (2Kg_5:10.)

Though his reproofs strike the inhabitants of Nazareth with peculiar severity, yet he charges the whole nation with ingratitude, because, for a long period, almost all of them had proceeded to more shameful contempt of the Lord, in proportion as he had approached nearer to them. For how did it come about, that a woman, who was a foreigner, was preferred by God to all the Israelites, but because the prophet had been rejected by them, and compelled to seek refuge in a heathen land? And why did God choose that Naaman, a Syrian, should be healed by Elisha, but to put a disgrace on the nation of Israel? The meaning, therefore, is, that the same thing happens now as in former times, when God sends his power to a great distance among foreigners, because he is rejected by the inhabitants of the country.

Meanwhile, Christ intimates that, though he is despised by his countrymen, his glory is in no degree diminished: because God will still be able, to their shame and confusion, to dignify and exalt his Son, as he formerly gave honor to his prophets in the midst of the Gentiles. In this way the foolish glorying in the flesh is repressed, when we see the Lord rain, not only where and when he pleases, but in distant corners, to the neglect of that country which he had chosen for his residence. Hence, also, may be collected the general doctrine that we have no right to prescribe any rule to God in disposing his benefits, so as to prevent him from rejecting those who hold the highest rank, and conferring honor on the lowest and most contemptible; and that we are not at liberty to oppose him, when he entirely subverts that order, which would have approved itself to our judgment. Our attention is, no doubt, drawn to a contrast between Israel and the heathen nations: but still we ought to hold, that none are chosen, in preference to others, for their own excellence, but that it proceeds rather from the wonderful purpose of God, the height and depth of which, though the reason may be hidden from us, we are bound to acknowledge and adore.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
25. many widows were in Israel] So far from trying to flatter them, He tells them that His work is not to be for their special benefit or glorification, but that He had now passed far beyond the limitations of earthly relationships.

three years and six months] Such was the Jewish tradition, as we see also in Jam_5:17 (comp. Dan_12:7; Rev_11:2, Rev_11:3, Rev_11:13:5). The book of Kings only mentions three years (1 K. 17:1, 8, 9, 18:1, 2), but in the “many days” it seems to imply more.

Adam Clarke
Luke 4:25
In the days of Elias – See this history, 1Ki_17:1-9, compared with 1 Kings 18:1-45. This was evidently a miraculous interference, as no rain fell for three years and six months, even in the rainy seasons. There were two of these in Judea, called the first and the latter rains; the first fell in October, the latter in April: the first prepared the ground for the seed, the latter ripened the harvest. As both these rains were withheld, consequently there was a great famine throughout all the land.

ICC:Lk Plummer
25. “But I am like the Prophets, not only in the treatment which I receive from My own people, but also in My principles of action. For they also bestowed their miraculous benefits upon outsiders, although there were many of their own people who would have been very glad of such blessings.” Christ is here appealing to their knowledge of Scripture, not to any facts outside the O.T. Testatur hoc Dominus ex luce omniscientiæ suæ is not a legitimate inference. Arguments drawn from what was Known to Him, but not known to them, would not be likely to influence His audience, Note ὡς= “when.”

ἐπʼ ἀληθείας. “On a basis of truth”: comp. Mar_12:14. We have similar adverbial expressions in ἐπʼ ίσης (sc. μοίρας), ἐπὶ σχολῆς, ἐπὶ ἐπʼ ἀδείας.

ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ. Jesus, like His brother James (Jam_5:17), follows Jewish tradition as to the duration of the famine. In 1Ki_18:1 we are told that the rain came in the third year, which would make the drought about two years and a half But ever since the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes, three and a half (=42 months =1260 days) had become the duration of times of great calamity (Dan_7:25, Dan_7:7:7; Rev_11:2, Rev_11:3, Rev_11:12:6, Rev_11:14, Rev_11:13:5). The Jews would regard “in the year” as covering three years, and would argue that the famine must have continued for some time after the rain came.

For ἐπί c.acc. of duration of time (“over,” i.e. “during”), comp. Act_13:31, Act_13:19:10; Hdt 3:59:2, 6:101:3; Thuc. 2:25, 4.Heb_11:30. is different. In accordance with common usage λιμβς is here masc; but in 15:14 and Act_11:28 it is fem. acc. to what is called Doric usage, as in the Megarean of Aristoph. Acharn. 743. But this usage occurs elsewhere in late Greek. It perhaps passed from the Doric into the Κοινὴ Διάλεκτος: for examples see Wetst, and L. and S. Lex. In LXX perhaps only 1Ki_18:2.

ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν. Here, as in Jam_5:17, only the land of Israel need be understood; but it is possible that in each case we have a popular hyperbole, and that the whole world is meant. Luk_21:23 and Rom_9:28 are not quite parallel, for there the context Plainly limits the meaning. Luk_23:44 is another doubtful case, and there AV. has “earth” and RV. “Land.” Both have “land” here.

Albert Barnes
Luke 4:26
Save unto Sarepta – Sarepta was a town between Tyre and Sidon, near the Mediterranean Sea. It was not a “Jewish” city, but a Sidonian, and therefore a “Gentile” town. The word “save” in this verse does not express the meaning of the original. It would seem to imply that the city was Jewish. The meaning of the verse is this: “He was sent to none of the widows in Israel. He was not sent except to Sarepta, to a woman that was a “Sidonian.” Dr. Thomson (“The Land and the Book,” vol. i. p. 232-236) regards Sarepta as the modern Sarafend. He says that the ruins have been frequently dug over for stone to build the barracks at Beirut, and that the broken columns, marble slabs, sarcophagi, and other ruins indicate that it was once a flourishing city. A large town was built there in the time of the Crusades.

Adam Clarke
Luke 4:27
None of them was cleansed – This verse is to be understood as the 26th; for Naaman, being a Syrian, was no leper in Israel. The meaning of these verses is, God dispenses his benefits when, where, and to whom he pleases. No person can complain of his conduct in these respects, because no person deserves any good from his hand. God never punishes any but those who deserve it; but he blesses incessantly those who deserve it not. The reason is evident: justice depends on certain rules; but beneficence is free. Beneficence can bless both the good and the evil; justice can punish the latter only. Those who do not make this distinction must have a very confused notion of the conduct of Divine Providence among men.

John Calvin
Luke 4:28
28.Were filled with wrath They perceived that the object of those two examples, which Christ had produced, was to show, that the grace of God would be removed from them to others: and therefore they considered that he had spoken to their dishonor. But, instead of having their consciences stung to the quick, and seeking a remedy for their vices by correcting them, they are only driven to madness. Thus ungodly men not only resist, with obstinacy, the judgments of God, but rise into cruelty against his servants. Hence it is evident, how forcible are the reproofs which proceed from the Spirit of God: for the minds of those who would willingly evade them, are inflamed with rage. Again, when we see that the minds of men are so envenomed, that they become mad against God, whenever they are treated with some degree of roughness, we ought to implore the Spirit of meekness, (Gal_5:23,) that we may not be driven, by the same fury, into such a destructive war.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
28. were filled with wrath] The aorist implies a sudden outburst. Perhaps they were already offended by knowing that Jesus had spent two days at Sychar among the hated Samaritans; and now He whom they wished to treat as “the carpenter” and their equal, was as it were asserting the superior claims of Gentiles and lepers. “Truth embitters those whom it does not enlighten.” “The word of God,” said Luther, “is a sword, is a war, is a poison, is a scandal, is a stumbling-block, is a ruin”—viz. to those who resist it (Mat_10:34; 1Pe_2:8).

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
29. the brow of the hill whereon their city was built] The ‘whereon’ refers to the hill not to the brow. Nazareth nestles under the southern slopes of the hill. The cliff down which they wished to hurl Him (because this was regarded as a form of ‘stoning,’ the legal punishment for blasphemy) was certainly not the so-called ‘Mount of Precipitation’ which is two miles distant, and therefore more than a sabbath day’s journey, but one of the rocky escarpments of the hill, and possibly that above the Maronite Church, which is about 40 feet high. This form of punishment is only mentioned in 2Ch_25:12; but in Phocis it was the punishment for sacrilege. (Philo.)

ICC:Lk Plummer
29. ἔως ὀφρύος τοῦ ὄρους. Tradition makes the scene of this attempt to be a precipice, varying from 80 to 300 feet in height, which exists some distance off to the S.E. of the town; and we read that “they cast Him out of the town and led Him as far as the brow,” etc. But modern writers think that a much smaller precipice close at hand is the spot. Van der Velde conjectures that it has crumbled away; Conder, that it is hidden under some of the houses. Stanley says that Nazareth “is built ‘upon,’ that is, on the side of, ‘a mountain’; but the ‘brow’ is not beneath, but over the town, and such a cliff as is here implied is to be found, as all modern travellers describe, in the abrupt face of the limestone rock, about 30 or 40 feet high, overhanging the Maronite Convent at the S.W. corner of the town” (Sin. & Pal. p. 367). So also Robinson (Res. in Psa_2. PP. 325, 330), Hacket (D.B. ii. P. 470), and Schulz in Herzog Pro_2:10. P. 447). The ἐφʼ οὖ, of course, refers to τοῦ ὄρους not to ὀφρύος Both AV. and RV., have “the brow of the hill whereon,” which might easily be misunderstood. The town is on the hill, but not on the brow of it: the brow is above the modern village. Nowhere else in N.T. does ὀφρύς occur. Comp. Hom. il xx. 151; and ὀφρυόεις, Il. xxii. 411, and Hdt. v. 92. 10, with other instances in Wetst. Supercilium is similarly used: Virg. Georg. i. 108; Liv. xxvii. 18, xxxiv. 29.

ὤστε κατακρημνίσαι. The ὤστε is not needed (1:22; Mat_2:2, Mat_2:22:28; Act_5:31); but it expresses more clearly the result which was intended. Comp. 20:20, where, as here, ὤστε has been altered in some texts into the simpler εἰς τό, a Constr. which Lk. does not employ elsewhere. In 9:52 the true reading is perhaps ὡς; but in Mat_10:1, Mat_23:24, Mat_27:1 there is no doubt about the ὥστε. For κατακρημνίζω (here only in N.T.) comp. 2Ch_25:12; 2Ch_2 Mac. 12:15, 14:43; 4 Mac. 4:25; Jos. Ant. vi. 6, 2, ix. 9, 1.

The whole attempt to put Jesus to death was perhaps an instance of the form of punishment which the Jews called the “rebel’s beating,” which was somewhat analogous to Lynch Law. The “rebel’s beating” was administered by the people, without trial and on the spot, when anyone was caught in what seemed to be a flagrant violation of some law or tradition. Comp. the attempts to stone Jesus (Joh_8:59, Joh_10:31). We have a similar attempt upon S. Paul’s life (Act_21:31, Act_21:32). In S. Stephen’s case a formal trial seems to have ended in the “rebel’s beating” (Edersh. The Temple, p. 43).

Pulpit Commentary
And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. The place now shown as the scene of the act of violence of the fanatics of Nazareth, known as the Mount of Precipitation, is some two miles from the town. It must be remembered that this happened on a sabbath day; this would therefore be beyond the limits of a sabbath day”s journey. There is, however, close to Nazareth a cliff about forty feet high.

Cambridge Bible:Lk Farrar
30. passing through the midst of them] This is rather a mirabile than a miraculum, since no miracle is asserted or necessarily implied. The inherent majesty and dignity of our Lord’s calm ascendency, seem to have been sufficient on several occasions to overawe and cow His enemies; Joh_7:30, Joh_7:46, Joh_7:8:59, Joh_7:10:39, Joh_7:40, Joh_7:18:6 (see Psa_18:29, Psa_37:33).

went his way] Probably never to return again. Nazareth lies in a secluded valley out of the ordinary route between Gennesareth and Jerusalem. If after thirty sinless years among them they could reject Him, clearly they had not known the day of their visitation. It is the most striking illustration of St John’s sad comment, “He came unto His own possessions (τὰ ἴδια) and His own people (οἱ ἴδιοι) received Him not” (Joh_1:11).

Pulpit Commentary
But he passing through the midst of them went his way. Not necessarily a miracle. There is nothing hinted here that our Lord rendered himself invisible, or that he smote his enemies with a temporary blindness. He probably quietly overawed these angry men with his calm self-possession, so that they forbore their cruel purpose, and thus he passed through their midst, and left Nazareth as far as we know forever. The foregoing is probably the same visit very briefly alluded to by St. Matthew (Mat_13:54-58) and by St. Mark, (Mar_6:1-6) in both Gospels related in unchronological order. Most likely they were aware of the incident, but ignorant of the exact place it held among the early events of the Master”s life. St. Luke, who gives it with far greater detail, inserts it evidently in its right place. Is it not at least probable that St. Luke derived his accurate knowledge of this Nazareth incident from Mary, or from some of her intimate circle, from whom he procured the information which he embodied in the earlier chapters of his Gospel? She, and others of her friends, would be likely to have preserved some accurate memories of this painful visit of Jesus to his old home.

ICC:Lk Plummer
30. αὐτὸς δὲ διελθὼν διὰ μέσου αὐτῶν ἐπορεύετο. “But He (in contrast to this attempt), after passing through the midst of them, went His way.” The addition of διὰ μέσου is for emphasis, and seems to imply that there was something miraculous in His passing through the very midst of those who were intending to slay Him, and seemed to have Him entirely in their power. They had asked for a miracle, and this was the miracle granted to them. Those who think that it was His determined look or personal majesty which saved Him, have to explain why this did not prevent them from casting Him out of the synagogue.1 It seems better with Mever and ancient commentators to understand a miracle dependent on the will of Jesus: comp. Joh_18:6; Dan_6:22; In. Joh_8:59 is different: then Jesus hid Himself before escaping. For διελθών see on 2:15.

ἐπορεύετο. Here used in its common signification of going on towards a goal: “He went His way” to Capernaum. And, so far as we know, He did not return to Nazareth. It had become a typical example of “His own people receiving Him not” (Joh_1:11); and apparently it had no other opportunity (but see Edersh. L. & T. 1. ch. xxvii.). If Mar_6:1-6 and Mat_13:53-58 refer to a different occasion, it probably preceded this. After the attempt on His life He would not be likely to return; and, if He did return, they could hardly, after this experience of Him, ask, “Whence has this man this wisdom?” or be astonished at His teaching.

Meyer (on Mat_13:53), Wieseler (Chron. Syn, iii. 2, Eng. tr. p. 258), Godet (l.c., Eng. tr. i. p. 240), Tischendorf (Synop. Evan. §§29, 54), and others distinguish the two occasions. If with Caspari (Chron. Int. § 100) we identify them, then Lk. is the more full and vivid, for the others omit the text of the discourse and the attempt to kill Him. In this case Strauss maybe right mi sup)sing that Lk. has placed the incident at the beginning of the ministry, although it took place later, because he saw how typical it was of the ministry as a whole (Leben Jesu, p. 121, 1864). That it was this attempt on His life which made Christ change His abode from Nazareth to Capernaurm is contradicted by ver. 16. “Where He had been brought up” implies that He had ceased to reside there: and from ver. 23 we infer that Capernaurn had already become His headquarters. Thither His Mother and brethren had also moved, while His sisters remained at Nazareth (Mat_13:56; Mar_6:3), very probably because they had married there.


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