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Bible Discussion — Luke 4 : Bweinh!

Bible Discussion — Luke 4

January 16, 2008, 12:00 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Chloe, Connie, David, Josh J, MC-B, Steve  | No Comments

This week, Bweinh.com looks at the next chapter of Luke, Luke 4.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38

John lists three things that drive the flesh: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Eve exhibited all three in man’s fall, finding the fruit good for food, pleasant to look upon, and desired to make one wise.

Jesus too faced all three in the wilderness: hunger, the glimmering apparition of all the world’s glory, and a challenge to his pride that began with, “If you really are the son of God:” Our fall is completely reversed in what Jesus faces to start off this chapter.

In this whirlwind passage, Jesus meets the Devil, becomes famous, heals the sick, and declares Himself to be the fulfillment of the prophesies of the Old Testament.

I missed Jesus’ explanation of how no prophet is accepted in His hometown, probably because when I’ve heard this chapter covered in the past, the focus has been on Jesus’ reading from Isaiah.

How much deliverance Jesus did at the start of His ministry. Initially it just mentions that He teaches, but when it comes to hands-on ministry, he deals the most with deliverance — because tormented people cannot listen/hear.

I’d never paid much attention to the story of Jesus in the synagogue. I just imagine what it would be like today for someone to stroll into my church, pick up a Bible and read it aloud, then basically say, “Yep, that’s me.”

I never really thought about how Jesus escaped from the crowd who wanted to kill Him in verse 30. Wouldn’t it be interesting if He just snuck out somehow, hiding behind some fat guy or something? I know that He could have transported Himself elsewhere, blinded His foes, or jumped off the cliff and flown away, but wouldn’t it be more in fitting with His character to just humbly sneak away?

David: Brokenhearted
Steve: High Fever
Josh: Hometown Prophets, Screamin’ Demons
MC-B: Highest Point
Connie: Simon’s Mother-in-Law

I can’t help but think of Keith Green’s lyrics — “Prophets don’t grow up from little boys, do they?”

While I was in London, I went to the Speaker’s Corner, a place where anyone can literally stand on a soap box and start shouting other people down. There was one man there, a Messianic Jew, who condemned everyone from the Muslim to the atheists to the man with a horn on his head claiming to be Satan.

The kicker was that he even condemned the Christians. Only Jews could be saved, according to him. He challenged the Christians to show him a passage from the gospels that proved him wrong. I know it wouldn’t have done any good to point out Luke 4:14-30 since he was irrational, but I still wish I had, just to prove to everyone else he was wrong.

I love what Jesus does in Nazareth. All the people are exclaiming over His brilliance, and then He slaps them in the face with Elijah and Elisha being sent to the Gentiles, not the Jews. So they try to throw them off a cliff. Way to go with the PR, Jesus!

But the verses Jesus reads in the synagogue are very similar to the songs of Mary, Zechariah, and Simeon — it’s the year of the Lord’s favor, and the Jews are going to be redeemed. But Jesus follows that up with, “You aren’t the only poor, prisoners, or oppressed. The prophets have gone to the Gentiles, and they will go again.”

The beginning of Christ’s ministry was purposefully not focused on his divinity, because He knew that the Jewish conception of the Messiah was not in keeping with the purposes of His time on earth. So while He did not hide from the implications of His call (for example, the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies), He focused the people on what that would mean on a practical level: freedom, healing and good news for all people, regardless of their bloodlines. And when pesky demons came along, trying to distract the people from the Message, He shut ’em up and threw ’em out.

Along with reversing our failure as a man living in the flesh, Jesus announced His mission in 4:18-19 — preach to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, bring liberty to captives and sight for the blind, free the oppressed. How do we get multi-million dollar prosperity preaching ministries out of this?

I love passages like vv 28-30, because they reinforce that Jesus’ death was His choice, that He laid down His life willingly. People were mad enough to try and take it before it was time, but they could not. No one could take His life from Him unless He allowed it to happen.

The demon-possessed man in the synagogue said, “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!” I wonder if he was only trying to sow fear among potential believers, or if he was also legitimately afraid that Jesus had come to destroy demons.

“So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.”

What a woman!

Jesus sure seems to tick off the natives right off the bat. At first they are amazed at His teachings, but when He starts refining and defining his ministry, He gets them biting mad.

Jesus’ perfect answer to an impertinent offer by the devil means that most Christians know at least part of a verse from Deuteronomy.

I wish I could’ve seen the way Jesus walked through the crowd. Was it like a magic trick, or were they scared of Him and didn’t want to touch Him, or what?

Peter’s mother-in-law didn’t get any love at all. “You sick? There, now you’re healed. Could you make us some coffee?”

4:4 — “But Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ‘ ”

4:36 — “Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, ‘What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.’ ”

4:10-11 — “For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,’ and, ‘ In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

4:42-44 — “Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.’ And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.”

David, Steve:
4:18-19 — ” ‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.’ ”

I guess I wonder why He was so blunt with the initial crowds. Not anything I’d bother Him with in heaven actually, I just wonder.

What were the demons thinking when they declared Jesus God? Were they unable to stop themselves? Were they mocking Him? Were they trying to incite the Pharisees to kill Him prematurely?

Jesus was tempted by the Devil for forty days, but we only see three examples of how he was tempted here. Were there other temptations Jesus faced, or were these it? If there were more, why don’t we get to know what they were?

I’d like to know what Jesus was preaching about in those other Galilean synagogues that made “everyone praise Him” in verses 14 and 15. Did He start with solid teaching, the likes of which the people had been craving, in order to ensure that “news about Him spread through the entire countryside,” as buildup to the drastic surprise in Nazareth?

Jesus never played favorites, and ended His first sermon by pointing out that although there were lots of needy Jews during Elijah’s and Elisha’s days, God poured out His blessings on gentiles like Naaman and the widow. The Jews got a little hot about that.

James 4:7 tells us to “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Through the example of Christ and the power of Scripture, we see this to be true (v. 13).

Now that Jesus’ power is available to all believers, all of the things in this chapter are things that anyone who believes in Christ can do and may be expected to do, including resisting temptation, dealing with persecution, healing the sick, and casting out demons.

Sometimes, people need deliverance in order to be able to hear or understand the Gospel. I wish more people understood that it’s not like The Exorcist, it’s just simple recognition of authority and position.

Even Jesus needed time alone with God, in a solitary place away from the pressures of ministry and human interaction. We need that all the more — not as a selfish way to avoid others’ needs, but as a way to commune with God and speak to Him.

“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble!” (James 2:19)

This passage identifies several instances where demons identify Jesus as the Christ. Many people say they “believe in Jesus.” But ultimately we will be judged by the change in our hearts and the fruit this change necessarily produces.

Jesus would prove again and again that no prophet is accepted in His hometown — or even, at times, by His family. The powerful call of God rarely invites us to remain comfortable and happy, surrounded by the trappings of our old lives. This may be why so few are willing to listen for it.

This is a wonderful chapter for setting ministry priorities, based on how Jesus started His ministry.

Jesus stayed focused on His goals — to bring the Gospel to everyone, whether Jew or Gentile, friend or foe. May we remain focused on the things that are truly important, rather than the acclaim of man — or even those things which, like the demonic proclamations of Jesus as Christ, may be right, but are not right for now.


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