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Luke 4:16-30

Context
Rejection at Nazareth

4:16 Now 1  Jesus 2  came to Nazareth, 3  where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue 4  on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. 5  He 6  stood up to read, 7  4:17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He 8  unrolled 9  the scroll and found the place where it was written,

4:18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed 10  me to proclaim good news 11  to the poor. 12 

He has sent me 13  to proclaim release 14  to the captives

and the regaining of sight 15  to the blind,

to set free 16  those who are oppressed, 17 

4:19 to proclaim the year 18  of the Lords favor. 19 

4:20 Then 20  he rolled up 21  the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on 22  him. 4:21 Then 23  he began to tell them, “Today 24  this scripture has been fulfilled even as you heard it being read.” 25  4:22 All 26  were speaking well of him, and were amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth. They 27  said, “Isn’t this 28  Joseph’s son?” 4:23 Jesus 29  said to them, “No doubt you will quote to me the proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ 30  and say, ‘What we have heard that you did in Capernaum, 31  do here in your hometown too.’” 4:24 And he added, 32  “I tell you the truth, 33  no prophet is acceptable 34  in his hometown. 4:25 But in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, 35  when the sky 36  was shut up three and a half years, and 37  there was a great famine over all the land. 4:26 Yet 38  Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to a woman who was a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 39  4:27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, 40  yet 41  none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” 42  4:28 When they heard this, all the people 43  in the synagogue were filled with rage. 4:29 They got up, forced 44  him out of the town, 45  and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that 46  they could throw him down the cliff. 47  4:30 But he passed through the crowd 48  and went on his way. 49 

1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

2 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 sn Nazareth was Jesus’ hometown (which is why he is known as Jesus of Nazareth) about 20 miles (30 km) southwest from Capernaum.

map For location see Map1 D3; Map2 C2; Map3 D5; Map4 C1; Map5 G3.

4 sn See the note on synagogues in 4:15.

5 tn Grk “according to his custom.”

6 tn Grk “And he.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

7 sn In normative Judaism of the period, the OT scripture was read and discussed in the synagogue by the men who were present. See the Mishnah, m. Megillah 3-4; m. Berakhot 2. First came the law, then the prophets, then someone was asked to speak on the texts. Normally one stood up to read out of respect for the scriptures, and then sat down (v. 20) to expound them.

8 tn Grk “And unrolling the scroll he found.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. Instead a new sentence has been started in the translation.

9 tn Grk “opening,” but a scroll of this period would have to be unrolled. The participle ἀναπτύξας (anaptuxa") has been translated as a finite verb due to the requirements of contemporary English style.

10 sn The phrase he has anointed me is an allusion back to Jesus’ baptism in Luke 3:21-22.

11 tn Grk “to evangelize,” “to preach the gospel.”

12 sn The poor is a key term in Luke. It refers to the pious poor and indicates Jesus’ desire to reach out to those the world tends to forget or mistreat. It is like 1:52 in force and also will be echoed in 6:20 (also 1 Pet 2:11-25). Jesus is commissioned to do this.

13 tc The majority of mss, especially the later Byzantines, include the phrase “to heal the brokenhearted” at this point (A Θ Ψ 0102 Ë1 Ï). The phrase is lacking in several weighty mss (א B D L W Ξ Ë13 33 579 700 892* pc lat sys co), including representatives from both the Alexandrian and Western texttypes. From the standpoint of external evidence, the omission of the phrase is more likely original. When internal evidence is considered, the shorter reading becomes almost certain. Scribes would be much more prone to add the phrase here to align the text with Isa 61:1, the source of the quotation, than to remove it from the original.

14 sn The release in view here is comprehensive, both at a physical level and a spiritual one, as the entire ministry of Jesus makes clear (Luke 1:77-79; 7:47; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 5:31; 10:43).

15 sn Again, as with the previous phrase, regaining of sight may well mean more than simply miraculously restoring physical sight, which itself pictures a deeper reality (Luke 1:77-79; 18:35-43).

16 sn The essence of Jesus’ messianic work is expressed in the phrase to set free. This line from Isa 58 says that Jesus will do what the nation had failed to do. It makes the proclamation messianic, not merely prophetic, because Jesus doesn’t just proclaim the message – he brings the deliverance. The word translated set free is the same Greek word (ἄφεσις, afesi") translated release earlier in the verse.

17 sn Again, as with the previous phrases, oppressed may well mean more than simply political or economic oppression, but a deeper reality of oppression by sin (Luke 1:77-79; 18:35-43).

18 sn The year of the Lords favor (Grk “the acceptable year of the Lord”) is a description of the year of Jubilee (Lev 25:10). The year of the total forgiveness of debt is now turned into a metaphor for salvation. Jesus had come to proclaim that God was ready to forgive sin totally.

19 sn A quotation from Isa 61:1-2a. Within the citation is a line from Isa 58:6, with its reference to setting the oppressed free.

20 tn Grk “And closing.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

21 tn Grk “closing,” but a scroll of this period would have to be rolled up. The participle πτύξας (ptuxas) has been translated as a finite verb due to the requirements of contemporary English style.

22 tn Or “gazing at,” “staring at.”

23 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

24 sn See the note on today in 2:11.

25 tn Grk “in your hearing.”

26 tn Grk “And all.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

27 tn Grk “And they.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

28 sn The form of the question assumes a positive reply. It really amounts to an objection, as Jesus’ response in the next verses shows. Jesus spoke smoothly and impressively. He made a wonderful declaration, but could a local carpenter’s son make such an offer? That was their real question.

29 tn Grk “And he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.

30 sn The proverb Physician, heal yourself! means that Jesus should prove his claims. It is a “Prove it to us!” mentality that Jesus says the people have.

31 sn The remark “What we have heard that you did at Capernaum” makes many suspect that Luke has moved this event forward in sequence to typify what Jesus’ ministry was like, since the ministry in Capernaum follows in vv. 31-44. The location of this event in the parallel of Mark 6:1-6 also suggests this transposition.

map For location see Map1 D2; Map2 C3; Map3 B2.

32 tn Grk “said,” but since this is a continuation of previous remarks, “added” is used here.

33 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

34 sn Jesus argues that he will get no respect in his own hometown. There is a wordplay here on the word acceptable (δεκτός, dektos), which also occurs in v. 19: Jesus has declared the “acceptable” year of the Lord (here translated year of the Lord’s favor), but he is not “accepted” by the people of his own hometown.

35 sn Elijahs days. Jesus, by discussing Elijah and Elisha, pictures one of the lowest periods in Israel’s history. These examples, along with v. 24, also show that Jesus is making prophetic claims as well as messianic ones. See 1 Kgs 17-18.

36 tn Or “the heaven”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context. Since the context here refers to a drought (which produced the famine), “sky” is preferable.

37 tn Grk “as.” The particle ὡς can also function temporally (see BDAG 1105-6 s.v. 8).

38 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast.

39 sn Zarephath in Sidon was Gentile territory (see 1 Kgs 17:9-24). Jesus’ point was that he would be forced to minister elsewhere, and the implication is that this ministry would ultimately extend (through the work of his followers) to those outside the nation.

map For location see Map1 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

40 sn On Elisha see 2 Kgs 5:1-14.

41 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “yet” to indicate the contrast.

42 sn The reference to Naaman the Syrian (see 2 Kgs 5:1-24) is another example where an outsider and Gentile was blessed. The stress in the example is the missed opportunity of the people to experience God’s work, but it will still go on without them.

43 tn The words “the people” are not in the Greek text but have been supplied.

44 tn Grk “cast.”

45 tn Or “city.”

46 tn The Greek conjunction ὥστε (Jwste) here indicates their purpose.

47 sn The attempt to throw him down the cliff looks like “lynch law,” but it may really be an indication that Jesus was regarded as a false prophet who was worthy of death (Deut 13:5). Such a sentence meant being thrown into a pit and then stoned.

48 tn Grk “their midst.”

49 tn The verb πορεύομαι (poreuomai) in Luke often suggests divine direction, “to go in a led direction” (4:42; 7:6, 11; 9:51, 52, 56, 57; 13:33; 17:11; 22:22, 29; 24:28). It could suggest that Jesus is on a journey, a theme that definitely is present later in Luke 9-19.



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