THE BEGINNING OF JESUS' MINISTRY
"Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread throughout the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised Him. He went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was His custom. And He stood up to read.
The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written:
'The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.' Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to theattendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him..........
[Our Lord had stopped right in the middle of a familiar messianic passage, (Isa 61:1-2), and purposely omitted reading the last part]:
.......and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn.
[The congregation in the synagogue inevitably took notice and stared at Jesus]
and He began by saying to them, 'Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'
[I.E., today the Messiah is within your hearing - that is that Jesus is that Messiah - as He begins to fulfill that part of Isaiah's prophecy which the Lord just read - namely that the Spirit of God has indwelt Him Who is the Messiah, (Jn 1:32-34) and He has already begun preaching the good news of the kingdom of God is at hand to the poor in spirit and to the prisoners of this world - both spiritual and physical, (Mk 1:14-15); and He has already begun proclaiming and actually restoring the sight to many of the blind, among many other miraculous healings, (earlier in Capernaum, Lk 4:23). Note that the last part of Isa 61:2 which deals with the vengeance of our Lord will not take place for at least another 2000 years at His Second Coming - after the the church age and 7 year tribulation period. That is the reason why our Lord stopped before reading the whole passage in Isaiah and then said that within everyone's hearing has what He read begun to be fulfilled.]
"All spoke well of Him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips.
[i.e., the kind and wise manner of His speech or of what He said about the grace of God]
'Isn't this Joseph's son?' They asked. Jesus said to them, 'Surely you will quote this proverb to Me: Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'"
[i.e., Jesus is saying, 'I have claimed that I fulfill the role of Messiah so shouldn't you now ask Me to demonstrate what you have already inevitably heard that I have done in Capernaum?' Here in this verse our Lord is saying that He has already begun fulfilling the role of Messiah in Capernaum]
" 'I tell you the truth' He continued, 'no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed - only Naaman the Syrian.' "
[By saying this our Lord is reading the Nazarenes' minds - they were challenging Him in their own minds inspite of whatever they had heard and experienced before - and out of an unwillingness to believe no matter what - to fulfill Isaiah's prophecy by doing miracles in the presence of those who heard Him].
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove Him out of the town, and took Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But He walked through the crowd and went on His way."
This passage Luke 4:14-30 may very well be author Luke, the historian's statement, of the announcement of and the historical beginning of our Lord's active ministry leading to His death and resurrection. For it is when our Lord truly makes public Who He is - that what He says and does is to point to Himself as Messiah - that's when the people begin to take notice of Who He is and then they have to decide whether they will believe or not.
Author Luke relates the account of our Lord's temptation in the wilderness and then the next, (not necessarily chronological), event Luke records is Jesus' return to Galilee, the news spreading of Him throughout the local countryside and His teaching in the synagogues around the Galilean area. At this point "everyone praised Him.". (Lk 4:1-15).
Then in Luke 4:16-31 the author tells of our Lord's public announcement of His own ministry to the people in the synagogue of His hometown Nazareth; which ended in the people attempting to drive Jesus off the top of a hill and to His death. This not suceeding, our Lord escaping miraculously by "[walking] through the crowd and [He] went on His way.
Then He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people." (Lk 4:31).
There in Capernaum our Lord establishes the headquarters of His 3+ year ministry.
Author John in the Gospel he wrote speaks of our Lord's baptism and indwelling of the Holy Spirit by John the Baptist in the area of the Bethany which is on the Jordan River north of the Dead Sea, (Jn 1:15-34). (There is another Bethany located just east of Jerusalem - not on the Jordan River). Then John recounts on "the next day,"
[notice: "the next day" = John is deliberately historical here]
the gathering by Jesus of His first discples in the same Jordan River area that John the Baptist was preaching, (Jn 1:35-42).
[Then, author John begins "The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee." (This is day # two in author John's account in this particular passage]
On the second day,
[no particular significance to the numbering of the days except as a way of giving the reader a clear and true historical perspective of what happened at the beginning of our Lord's ministry), Jesus gathered Philip and Nathanael and most likely His other disciples that He had commanded to follow Him before and took off from the Dead Sea area north for the area of Galilee, (Jn 1:43-51).
Then, author John carefully and historically states: "On the third day.."
And on the third day we have author John's account of our Lord's first miracle, (Jn 2:11), in Cana, which is in Galilee, (Jn 2:1-11).
Then, "After this..."
(a phrase which does not indicate that author John is not skipping any historical events, i.e. this term allows for other events which John has not chosen to include in his gospel),
"After this.." Jesus goes with His mother and brothers, (notice that Jesus actually had brothers - half brothers who were sons of His human stepfather Joseph),
from Cana going a few miles northeast to nearby Capernaum which is on the north side of Lake Galilee a bit west of the Jordon River connection at the top the Lake; where He stayed for a few days.
Evidently it is in Capernaum is where our Lord continued preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God is at hand INCLUDING RESTORING THE SIGHT TO THE BLIND AND THE PERFORMING OF OTHER MIRACULOUS HEALINGS.
However, it is apparent from other Scripture, (Luke 4:16-31), that our Lord had not yet formally and publicly announced the fulfillment of the Messiahship in Himself.
Then John skips the rest of the events of Jesus' ministry following this and moves his gospel directly to the first of the two recorded times when Jesus purged the temple in Jerusalem of money changers, (etc), (Jn 2:13-22). Jerusalem being located to the south of Galilee, author John moves past, (skips over), a detailed account of any further events in our Lord's ministry until the first purging of the temple in Jerusalem.
Author Matthew similarily indicates that our Lord's ministry began in the Galilean area: "When Jesus heard that John [the Baptist] had been put in prison, He returned to Galilee. [It will be a while before John is killed, Mt 14:1-14]
[Our Lord now is in the Roman Province of Galilee....]
[This phrase does not historically demand that Jesus did not go to other places until He left Nazareth. It only indicates that after an indeterminate period of time, long or short, Jesus was situated in Nazareth then left to establish Himself in Capernaum].
He went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali - to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 'Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea,, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles - the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.'
[this passage from Isaiah 9:1-2 indicates that the light - Who will be the Messiah Jesus Christ will shine on the Gentiles - for the area around Zebulun and Naphtali which is on Lake Galilee is an area which included many Gentiles - and much spiritual darkness.]
From that time on Jesus began to preach, 'Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.'"...." (Mt 4:12-17).
Let us not confuse a similar account in Matthew which is our Lord's last visit to Nazareth, (Mt 13:53-58):
"When Jesus had finished these parables, He moved on from there.
[He had been explaining His parables on the kingdom of heaven to His disciples in His house near Lake Galilee in Capernaum - vv. 13:1-3, 36-52. This occurs later on toward the end of our Lord's ministry when the Pharisees and other Jewish rulers had already begun to plot how they were going to kill our Lord, (Mt 12:14)].
Coming to His hometown, He began teaching the people in their sunagogue, [at least for the second time] and they were amazed. 'Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?' they asked. 'Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren't all His sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?' And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, 'Only in His hometown and in His own house [immediate family] is a prophet without honor.' And He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith." (Mt 13:53-58).
D.A. Carson, ("Matthew", in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, p.335), states:
"If there were two incidents, [in Nazareth], the one recorded by the first two evangelists, [Luke 4:16-31 and Mark 6:1-6], may reflect an abating of instinctive rage as the village's most famous son has grown in reputation in the area."