Luke 4:14-30 Ministry In the Power Of The Spirit.

Jesus was not alone in His ministry, it was a Trinitarian work (v. 14 Cf. Jn. 3:34). Whatever He did before and immediately after returning to Galilee, “news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.” (v. 14) As John was put in prison, Jesus began His public ministry in the synagogues, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and initially at least, He was “glorified by all.” (v. 15 Cf. Mt. 4:12; Mk. 1:14; Jn. 18:20; Acts 10:37) Furthermore, He began in His hometown of Nazareth, and also entered the synagogue there and announced the beginning of His public ministry (v. 16 Cf. Mt. 2:23; 13:54; Mk. 6:1). He was handed the book of Isaiah, and found the place where the prophet spoke of Jesus ministry (v. 17). Some suggest it may have simply come to that place in the order of reading and providence.

The fact that the Spirit came upon Him begins the fulfillment of this prophetic word (vv. 14, 18). Jesus was thus anointed, which is the meaning of the word Messiah or Christ. He was anointed to preach the gospel, which is a message of good news for the spiritually poor or brokenhearted, and it heals. It is a message of liberty to those held captive by sin, and sight for those who are blind in it, and to its reality (v. 18; Is. 61:1-2 Cf. Is. 49:8-9; Mt. 11:5; 12:18). This began the “acceptable year of the LORD,” that is, the covenant making and covenant keeping LORD (v. 19). Jesus made clear to his hearers and to all who follow, that this passage began to find its fulfillment in Him (vv. 20-21 Cf. Dan. 9:24; Acts 13:29-30). Initially His own people marvelled at “the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.”(v. 22 Cf. 2:47; Ps. 45:2)

However, any acceptance he had among His own people was short lived, but the Galileans received Him (vv. 23-24 Cf. Mt. 4:13-16 (Is. 9:1-2); Jn. 4:43-45). Jesus reference to two examples from the OT of the prophetic word being taken to the nations, instead of Israel, was enough to turn the people against him (vv. 25-28 Cf. I Kgs. 17:9; II Kgs. 5:1-14). From proclaiming that He had gracious words, to being filled with wrath. In fact, like Satan, they wanted to throw Jesus over the cliff (v. 29 Cf. 6:11; 17:25; Jn. 8:37; 10:31). But Jesus had more work to do and a different death to die, and so He passed through them and went His own way (v. 30 Cf. Jn. 8:59; 10:39). Clearly it did not take long to turn to the Gentiles, for “no prophet is accepted in His own country.” (v. 24 Cf. Is. 9:1; Mt. 4:13; Mk. 1:21)

From the outset we thus see several key aspects of Jesus ministry which Luke highlights. Firstly, His ministry of the word first came to Israel, and the majority, especially her leadership, rejected Him. Secondly, and in no small part a cause of the first, Jesus immediately took His message of salvation to the Gentiles. Thirdly, many scriptural proofs, including by Jesus Himself, were appealed to in order to bear witness to Him being the promised anointed One. Fourth, Jesus’ ministry was from the very beginning a Trinitarian one. Fifth, by Jesus own testimony, He came as both a physician and a prophet (vv. 23-24), and His prophetic word was intended to bring healing (v. 18). Finally, Jesus in the gospel message, has defined for us true liberty-from sin and death.

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