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The Fourfold Gospel

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4:1  And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan1, and was led in the Spirit in the wilderness2

    JESUS TEMPTED IN THE WILDERNESS. Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12,13; Luke 4:1-13

  1. And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan. See Mark 1:12.

  2. And was led in the Spirit in the wilderness. That is, under the power of the Spirit.

4:2  during forty days1, being tempted of the devil2. And he did eat nothing in those days: and when they were completed3, he hungered.

  1. During forty days. See Mark 1:13.

  2. Being tempted of the devil. See Mark 1:13. One of the tenets of modern infidelity is the denial of the personality of the devil. It is asserted that the idea of a devil was not known to the early Hebrews, but was borrow from Persian dualism. The Persians held that there were two contending deities--a good one and a bad one; and the Hebrews, according to these critics, learned this doctrine from the Persians during the days of their Babylonian captivity, and modified it so that the god of evil became the devil. But such a theory is based upon the absurd notion that all the books of the Old Testament were written after the return of the Jews from Babylon. Their theory requires this notion, for the books of Genesis and Job, which were written centuries before the captivity, both show a knowledge of this being, and the first connects him and his work with the very beginning of human history. Those who believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures must also believe in the personality of the devil, for they plainly teach it. The devil is a fallen angel (Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4). This doctrine need startle no one, for as there are good and bad spirits in the body, so there are good and bad spirits out of the body. Since God permits sinful spirits in the body, why should he not also permit them out of the body? If there can be a Herod, a Nero, a Judas, among men, why may there not be a Satan among evil spirits? Being but an angel, Satan is neither omnipresent, omniscient, nor omnipotent. He is only a tolerated rebel, as we are tolerated rebels. He was the first sinner (1 John 3:8), and was the originator of sin (John 8:44). He is the perpetual tempter of mankind (Revelation 20:2,8), but he shall be conquered by the Redeemer (John 12:31; Revelation 12:9), and may be conquered by us also through the grace of Christ (1 Peter 5:8,9; James 4:7); but is, nevertheless, dangerous (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:9). Jesus, therefore, teaches us to pray for deliverance from him (Matthew 6:13, R.V.). Jesus will destroy the works of Satan (1 John 3:8), and Satan himself shall suffer eternal punishment (Revelation 20:10). There is but one devil in the spirit world. The word which our Authorized Version translates "devils" should be translated "demons". The word "devil" means "false accuser" or "slanderer", and the word in the plural is twice applied, metaphorically, to men and women (2 Timothy 3:3; 1 Timothy 3:11). The devil is called slanderer because he speaks against men. (Revelation 12:10-12) and against God (Genesis 3:1-5). The word "devil" is Greek. The word "Satan" is Hebrew, and means "adversary" (Job 2:1). Satan is referred to under many other terms, such as Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24); serpent (Revelation 12:9); prince of the powers of the air (Ephesians 2:2); Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollyon (Greek), meaning "destroyer" (Revelation 9:11); Belial, meaning "good for nothing" (2 Corinthians 6:15); murderer and liar (John 8:44); prince of this world (John 12:31); god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4); and the dragon (Revelation 12:7). These terms are always used in the Bible to designate an actual person; they are never used merely to personify evil. The devil may have appeared to Jesus in bodily form, or he may have come insensibly as he does to us. Our Lord's temptation makes the personality of the tempter essential, else Christ's own heart must have suggested evil to him, which is incompatible with his perfect holiness.

  3. And he did eat nothing in those days: and when they were completed,
  4. he hungered. See Matthew 4:2.

4:3  And the devil said unto him, if thou art the Son of God, command this stone that it become bread1.

  1. And the devil said unto him, if thou art the Son of God, command this stone that it become bread. The devil's "if" strikes at the faith of Christ, and faith is the bond of union and accord between man and God. The main sin of this temptation was therefore distrust, though it had other sinful phases. The Father's voice had just declared the Sonship of Jesus, and Satan here boldly questions the truth of God's words, just as he did in the beginning (Genesis 3:3-5). The temptation smacks of curiosity, and curiosity is the mother of many sins. Though Satan so glibly questioned the divinity of Christ, his kingdom soon began to feel the power of that divinity (Luke 4:34-41), and shall continue to feel it until his kingdom is destroyed (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8). See Matthew 4:3.

4:4  And Jesus answered unto him, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone.

  1. And Jesus answered him, etc. See Matthew 4:4.

4:5  And he led him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world1 in a moment of time2.

  1. And he led him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world. See Matthew 4:8.

  2. In a moment of time. These words strongly indicate that the prospect must have been supernaturally presented. The suddenness of the vision added greatly to the power of the temptation.

4:6  And the devil said unto him, To thee will I give all this authority, and the glory of them: for it hath been delivered unto me2; and to whomsoever I will3 I give it4.

  1. To thee will I give all this authority and the glory of them. See Matthew 4:9.

  2. For it hath been delivered unto me. Satan does not claim an absolute but a derivative right, and his claim is not wholly unfounded (John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11). But the kingdom has been delivered unto him by men rather than by God (Ephesians 2:2). How much more quickly Jesus would have obtained power, had he received it from men by consenting to cooperate with them in their sinful practices as does Satan.

  3. And to whomsoever I will. Not so Jesus. His giving is according to the Father's will (Matthew 9:23).

  4. I give it. The Emperor Tiberius then held it in the fullest sense ambition ever realized. Yet he was the most miserable and degraded of men. Satan knows how to take full toll for all that he gives.

4:7  If thou therefore wilt worship before me, it shall all be thine1.

  1. If thou therefore wilt worship before me, it shall all be thine. See Matthew 4:9.

4:8  And Jesus answered and said unto him, It is written1, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

  1. It is written, etc. See Matthew 4:10.

4:9  And he led him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple1, and said unto him, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence2:

  1. And he led him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple. See Matthew 4:5.

  2. And said unto him, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence. See Matthew 4:6.

4:10  for it is written1, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, to guard thee:

  1. For it is written, etc. See Matthew 4:6.

4:11  and, On their hands they shall bear thee up, Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone.

  1. And on their hands they shall bear thee up. See Matthew 4:6.

4:12  And Jesus answering said unto him1, It is said, Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God.

  1. And Jesus answering said unto him. See Matthew 4:7.

4:13  And when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him for a season1.

  1. He departed from him for a season. See Matthew 4:11.

4:14  And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee1: and a fame went out concerning him through all the region round about2.

    GENERAL ACCOUNT OF JESUS' TEACHING. Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:14,15; Luke 4:14,15

  1. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. "Power of the Spirit" here means its manifest "use" to perform miracles, rather than its presence, influence, or direction. Jesus was always under the influence and direction of the Spirit, but did not previously perform miracles.

  2. And a fame went out concerning him through all the region round about. The miracles of Jesus and the manner in which he taught caused the people to glorify his name.

    ( 154,

4:15  And he taught in their synagogues1, being glorified of all.

  1. And he taught in their synagogues. If we may trust later tradition (and the New Testament corroborates it), synagogues were very plentiful in that day, there being at least one in each town. In the synagogue the people met on Sabbath and feast days. The temple at Jerusalem was used for ceremonial worship, but the services in the synagogue were of far different order, the study and application of the Scripture being the principal feature. Also see Mark 1:39 on the synagogue.

4:16  And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up1: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read2.

    JESUS VISITS NAZARETH AND IS REJECTED. Matthew 13:54-58; Mark 6:1-6; Luke 4:16-31

  1. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As to this city, see Luke 1:26, see "Lu. As to the early years of Jesus at Nazareth, see Luke 2:51.

  2. And he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. This does not mean that it had been the custom of Jesus when he was a young man in Nazareth to read in the synagogue. It means that after he entered his public ministry it was his custom to use the synagogue as his place of teaching on the sabbath day (Mark 1:39; Mark 3:1,2). For comment on this usage of the synagogue, see Mark 1:39.

4:17  And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place where it was written1,

  1. And found the place where it was written. See Isaiah 61:1,2; but the quotation embraces other lines from Isaiah.

4:18  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor1: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised,

  1. Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor. Anointing was the method by which prophets, priests, and kings were consecrated or set apart to their several offices. This prophecy says that the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus because he was appointed to do a work of divine helpfulness.

4:19  To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord1.

  1. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. The prophecy set forth in physical terms what Jesus should perform in both the physical and spiritual realms. The prophecy closes with a reference to the jubilee year, which, being a time of liberation, forgiveness, and fresh starts (Leviticus 25:10), was a type of Christ's ministry and kingdom.

4:20  And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant1, and sat down2: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him3.

  1. And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant. This officer corresponded to our sexton. Part of this duty was to take charge of the synagogue rolls.

  2. And sat down. Reader and congregation both stood during the reading; then, usually, both sat down to hear the passage explained. They stood out of reverence for God's word.

  3. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. They had heard of his miracles, and were curious to see what he would say and do. On the synagogue, see Mark 1:39.

4:22  And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth1: and they said, Is not this Joseph's son2?

  1. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth. The word "gracious" refers rather to the manner than to the matter. The speech of Jesus flowed easily, and gracefully.

  2. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son? See Mark 6:3.

4:23  And he said unto them, Doubtless ye will say unto me this parable, Physician, heal thyself1: whatsoever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in thine own country2.

  1. Doubtless ye will say unto me this parable, Physician, heal thyself. Jesus quoted a familiar proverb, the meaning of which is this: he was part of Nazareth, and hence the claims of Nazareth upon him were superior to those of Capernaum, and therefore Nazareth should have been blessed by his healing.

  2. Whatsoever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in thine own country. But the expression was evidently used contemptuously, as if they said, "You can do big things at Capernaum, but you cannot do them here. You cannot deceive us; we know you".

4:25  But of a truth I say unto you1, There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months2, when there came a great famine over all the land3;

  1. But of a truth I say unto you. Jesus now proceeds to make two close applications of the proverb.

  2. There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months. See 1 Kings 17:1; 1 Kings 18:1,2

  3. When there came a great famine over all the land. Palestine was filled with poor people even in times of plenty, so there must have been large numbers of hungry people during the long-continued period of famine.

4:26  and unto none of them was Elijah sent, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon1, unto a woman that was a widow2.

  1. And unto none of them was Elijah sent, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon. See 1 Kings 17:8-16.

  2. Unto a woman that was a widow. A Gentile.

4:27  And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet1; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian2.

  1. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet. There had always been a large number of lepers in the land, and surely if any disease ought to prompt a man to lay aside his prejudices that he might obtain healing it was leprosy.

  2. And none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. Naaman also was a Gentile. See 2 Kings 5:1-14. As Nazareth was now rejecting Jesus, so their ancestors had despised the two mighty prophets. Not one of all the hungry would have received bread from Elijah by an act of faith, nor did one of all the lepers ask healing from Elisha.

4:28  And they were all filled with wrath1 in the synagogue2, as they heard these things;

  1. And they were all filled with wrath. The Nazarenes were jealous enough of the claims of Jesus when put in their most modest dress; but when Jesus placed himself alongside Elijah and Elisha, and likened his hearers to widows for want, and lepers for uncleanness, they were ready to dash him to pieces.

  2. In the synagogue. See Mark 1:39.

4:29  and they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built1, that they might throw him down headlong2.

  1. And they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built. They evidently had hold of him.

  2. That they might throw him down headlong. Near the eastern end of Nazareth there is a cavern in the rock which forms a precipice down which, if a man were hurled, he would be killed. At the western end there is a perpendicular cliff about forty feet high, with a naked floor of flat rock at the bottom. To which place they led Jesus we cannot decide.

4:30  But he passing through the midst of them went his way1.

  1. But he passing through the midst of them went his way. A simple statement of a marvelous fact. Miracles are not explained in the Bible.

4:31  And he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee.21 And he was teaching them on the sabbath day:

  1. And he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee.. We have followed the chronology of Mark, according to which Jesus had already been living in Capernaum for some time. Luke tells of the rejection early in his narrative, and adds this line to show that from the earlier days of his ministry Jesus made Capernaum his headquarters.

    HEALING A DEMONIAC IN A SYNAGOGUE. (At Capernaum.) Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37

  2. And he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee.. Luke had just spoken of Nazareth, and he uses the expression "down to" because Capernaum was on the lake shore while Nazareth was up in the mountains.

    ( 166,

4:32  and they were astonished at his teaching; for his word was with authority1.

  1. And they were astonished at his teaching; for his word was with authority. See Mark 1:22.

4:33  And in the synagogue1 there was a man, that had a spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice2,

  1. And in the synagogue. See Mark 1:39.

  2. There was a man, that had a spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice. See Mark 1:23.

4:34  Ah! what have we to do with thee1, Jesus thou Nazarene? art thou come to destroy us2? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

  1. What have we to do with thee? On this phrase, see John 2:4.

  2. Art thou come to destroy us? etc. See Mark 1:24.

4:35  And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him1. And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him2, having done him no hurt.

  1. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. See Mark 1:25.

  2. And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him. See Mark 1:26.

4:36  And amazement came upon all1, and they spake together, one with another, saying, What is this word? for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits2, and they come out.

  1. And amazement came upon all, etc. See Mark 1:27.

  2. The unclean spirits. See Mark 1:23.

4:37  And there went forth a rumor concerning him into every place of the region round about1.

  1. And there went forth a rumor concerning him into every place of the region round about. See Mark 1:28.

4:38  And he rose up from the synagogue1, and entered into the house of Simon2. And Simon's wife's mother was holden with a great fever3; and they besought him for her4.

    HEALING PETER'S MOTHER-IN-LAW AND MANY OTHERS. (At Capernaum.) Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41

  1. And he rose up from the synagogue. See Mark 1:39.

  2. And entered into the house of Simon. See Mark 1:29.

  3. And Simon's wife's mother was holden with a great fever. Luke speaks as a physician; for Galen, the father of medicine, divided fevers into little and great.

  4. And they besought him for her. Their interest in her shows the spirit of love and kindness which pervaded the home.

4:39  And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her1: and immediately she rose up and ministered unto them2.

  1. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her. Though it was an inanimate force, it was still subject to rebuke, as were the winds and waves of Galilee (Matthew 8:26).

  2. And immediately she rose up and ministered unto them. See Mark 1:31.

4:40  And when the sun was setting1, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.

  1. And when the sun was setting, etc. See Mark 1:32.

4:41  And demons also came out from many, crying out, and saying, Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them, he suffered them not to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ1.

  1. And rebuking them, he suffered them not to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. See Mark 1:34.

4:42  And when it was day1, he came out and went into a desert place: and the multitudes sought after him2, and came unto him, and would have stayed him, that he should not go from them.

    JESUS MAKES A PREACHING TOUR THROUGH GALILEE. Matthew 4:23-25; Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44

  1. And when it was day. Luke has in mind the hour when Jesus faced and spoke to the multitude, so he says, "When it was day". Compare and see Mark 1:35.

  2. And the multitudes sought after him, etc. They would have selfishly kept his blessed ministries for their own exclusive enjoyment.

    ( 172,

4:43  But he said unto them, I must preach the good tidings of the kingdom of God to the other cities also1: for therefore was I sent.

  1. I must preach the good tidings of the kingdom of God to the other cities also. Jesus sought to arouse the entire nation. That which the disciples regarded as a large work in Capernaum was consequently in his sight a very small one. Those who understand that it is God's will and wish to save every man that lives upon the earth will not be overelated by a successful revival in some small corner of the great field of labor.

4:44  And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee1.

  1. In the synagogues of Galilee. See Mark 1:39.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 4". "The Fourfold Gospel". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/tfg/view.cgi?book=lu&chapter=004>. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.  

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