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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 4


1 Filled with the holy Spirit, 2 Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert


for forty days, 3 to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry.


The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."


Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone.'"


Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant.


The devil said to him, "I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish.


All this will be yours, if you worship me."


Jesus said to him in reply, "It is written: 'You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.'"


4 Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,


for it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,'


and: 'With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'"


Jesus said to him in reply, "It also says, 'You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'"


5 When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.


Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread 6 throughout the whole region.


He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.


7 He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom 8 into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read


and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:


"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 9 because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,


and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."


Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.


He said to them, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." 10


And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, "Isn't this the son of Joseph?"


He said to them, "Surely you will quote me this proverb, 'Physician, cure yourself,' and say, 'Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'" 11


And he said, "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.


12 Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land.


13 It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.


Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."


When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury.


They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.


But he passed through the midst of them and went away.


14 Jesus then went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath,


and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority.


In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice,


"Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? 15 I know who you are - the Holy One of God!"


Jesus rebuked him and said, "Be quiet! Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm.


They were all amazed and said to one another, "What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out."


And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.


After he left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. 16 Simon's mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her.


He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them.


At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.


17 And demons also came out from many, shouting, "You are the Son of God." But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Messiah.


18 At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place. The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them.


But he said to them, "To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent."


And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. 19



1 [1-13] See the note on Matthew 4:1-11.

2 [1] Filled with the holy Spirit: as a result of the descent of the Spirit upon him at his baptism ( Luke 3:21-22), Jesus is now equipped to overcome the devil. Just as the Spirit is prominent at this early stage of Jesus' ministry ( Luke 4:1, 14, 18), so too it will be at the beginning of the period of the church in Acts ( Acts 1:4; 2:4, 17).

3 [2] For forty days: the mention of forty days recalls the forty years of the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites during the Exodus ( Deut 8:2).

4 [9] To Jerusalem: the Lucan order of the temptations concludes on the parapet of the temple in Jerusalem, the city of destiny in Luke-Acts. It is in Jerusalem that Jesus will ultimately face his destiny ( Luke 9:51; 13:33).

5 [13] For a time: the devil's opportune time will occur before the passion and death of Jesus ( Luke 22:3, 31-32, 53).

6 [14] News of him spread: a Lucan theme; see Luke 4:37; 5:15; 7:17.

7 [16-30] Luke has transposed to the beginning of Jesus' ministry an incident from his Marcan source, which situated it near the end of the Galilean ministry ( Mark 6:1-6a). In doing so, Luke turns the initial admiration ( Luke 4:22) and subsequent rejection of Jesus ( Luke 4:28-29) into a foreshadowing of the whole future ministry of Jesus. Moreover, the rejection of Jesus in his own hometown hints at the greater rejection of him by Israel ( Acts 13:46).

8 [16] According to his custom: Jesus' practice of regularly attending synagogue is carried on by the early Christians' practice of meeting in the temple ( Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:12).

9 [18] The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me: see the note on Luke 3:21-22. As this incident develops, Jesus is portrayed as a prophet whose ministry is compared to that of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. Prophetic anointings are known in first-century Palestinian Judaism from the Qumran literature that speaks of prophets as God's anointed ones. To bring glad tidings to the poor: more than any other gospel writer Luke is concerned with Jesus' attitude toward the economically and socially poor (see Luke 6:20, 24; 12:16-21; 14:12-14; 16:19-26; 19:8). At times, the poor in Luke's gospel are associated with the downtrodden, the oppressed and afflicted, the forgotten and the neglected ( Luke 4:18; 6:20-22; 7:22; 14:12-14), and it is they who accept Jesus' message of salvation.

10 [21] Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing: this sermon inaugurates the time of fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Luke presents the ministry of Jesus as fulfilling Old Testament hopes and expectations ( Luke 7:22); for Luke, even Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection are done in fulfillment of the scriptures ( Luke 24:25-27, 44-46; Acts 3:18).

11 [23] The things that we heard were done in Capernaum: Luke's source for this incident reveals an awareness of an earlier ministry of Jesus in Capernaum that Luke has not yet made use of because of his transposition of this Nazareth episode to the beginning of Jesus' Galilean ministry. It is possible that by use of the future tense you will quote me . . . , Jesus is being portrayed as a prophet.

12 [25-26] The references to Elijah and Elisha serve several purposes in this episode: they emphasize Luke's portrait of Jesus as a prophet like Elijah and Elisha; they help to explain why the initial admiration of the people turns to rejection; and they provide the scriptural justification for the future Christian mission to the Gentiles.

13 [26] A widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon: like Naaman the Syrian in Luke 4:27, a non-Israelite becomes the object of the prophet's ministry.

14 [31-44] The next several incidents in Jesus' ministry take place in Capernaum and are based on Luke's source, Mark 1:21-39. To the previous portrait of Jesus as prophet ( Luke 4:16-30) they now add a presentation of him as teacher ( Luke 4:31-32), exorcist ( Luke 4:32-37, 41), healer ( Luke 4:38-40), and proclaimer of God's kingdom ( Luke 4:43).

15 [34] What have you to do with us?: see the note on John 2:4. Have you come to destroy us?: the question reflects the current belief that before the day of the Lord control over humanity would be wrested from the evil spirits, evil destroyed, and God's authority over humanity reestablished. The synoptic gospel tradition presents Jesus carrying out this task.

16 [38] The house of Simon: because of Luke's arrangement of material, the reader has not yet been introduced to Simon (cf Mark 1:16-18, 29-31). Situated as it is before the call of Simon ( Luke 5:1-11), it helps the reader to understand Simon's eagerness to do what Jesus says ( Luke 5:5) and to follow him ( Luke 5:11).

17 [41] They knew that he was the Messiah: that is, the Christ (see the note on Luke 2:11).

18 [42] They tried to prevent him from leaving them: the reaction of these strangers in Capernaum is presented in contrast to the reactions of those in his hometown who rejected him ( Luke 4:28-30).

19 [44] In the synagogues of Judea: instead of Judea, which is the best reading of the manuscript tradition, the Byzantine text tradition and other manuscripts read "Galilee," a reading that harmonizes Luke with Matthew 4:23 and Mark 1:39. Up to this point Luke has spoken only of a ministry of Jesus in Galilee. Luke may be using Judea to refer to the land of Israel, the territory of the Jews, and not to a specific portion of it.

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