The Gospel According to St Luke: Luke Chapter Four: Read here:
Jesus Fasts Forty Days to Begin Ministry: Luke 4:1-15:
‘And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, And after forty days, the devil came unto him, to tempt him. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered (vs. 1-2; JST in italics).
Devil Tempts Jesus at the End of His Fast: Luke 4:3-13;
‘And the devil said unto him,
“If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.”
‘And Jesus answered him, saying,
“It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”
‘And the Spirit taketh him up into a high mountain, and he beheld all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time (JST in italics).
‘And the devil said unto him,
“All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”
‘And Jesus answered and said unto him,
“Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
‘And the Spirit brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple. And the devil came unto him, and said unto him,
“If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” (JST in italics).
‘And Jesus answering said unto him,
“It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
‘And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season’ (vs. 3-13).
The devil will not leave us alone long, especially when we are striving to do right and he knows that we have a great mission to perform.
‘And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all’ (vs. 14 and 15).
After He was baptized, Jesus returned from Jordan and began His ministry in the wilderness with a forty day fast. He then returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.
How can fasting strengthen us for our own life’s mission? How can fasting strengthen us for our jobs and our daily work? Have you felt the power that fasting can bring in your own life?
In verses 14 and 15, we read about the beginning of Jesus Christ’s ministry. He was blessed with priesthood power and his fame preceded him wherever He went.
Jesus Taught in Nazareth, Declaring His Divine Sonship, and Was Rejected: Luke 4:16-30:
‘And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
‘And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them,
“This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
‘And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said,
“Is not this Joseph’s son?”
‘And he said unto them,
“Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.”
‘And he said,
“Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country”’ (vs. 16-24).
They were ‘gracious’ words, yet they thought they already knew Jesus and who he was. They had trouble believing that Jesus could be the Son of God. Wasn’t he Joseph’s son? They might very well hear of the miracles that he did in surrounding areas of Galilee, but few miracles would be performed in Nazareth because of their unbelief.
He went on to explain how few miracles were wrought among different Israelite people because of unbelief; yet, there were miracles wrought among those who were not Israelites who did believe. They took great offense at these examples.
‘“But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
“And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
‘And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
‘But he passing through the midst of them went his way’ (vs. 25-30).
They were like their fathers who had killed the prophets.
Jesus Teaches and Heals Many in Capernaum: Luke 4: 31-40:
‘And [He] came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power’ (vs. 31-32).
Jesus Cast Out an Unclean Spirit: Luke 4: 33-36:
‘And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, Saying,
“Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.”
‘And Jesus rebuked him, saying,
“Hold thy peace, and come out of him.”
‘And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.
‘And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying,
“What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.”
‘And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about’ (vs. 37).
Peter’s Mother-in-law was Healed: Luke 4: 38-39:
‘And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.’
How quickly can those who believe be healed!
When Sabbath Ended, Jesus Healed Many: Luke 4: 40-41:
‘Now when the sun was setting, 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. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying,
“Thou art Christ the Son of God.”
‘And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.’
Many people were waiting for the sun to set, observing the Sabbath in this way, before they came with their sick and afflicted for Jesus to heal them all. These were people of faith who also adhered to the law Moses had delivered to them. Now we know that we can approach Jesus at any time to be healed.
The next day, the people begged Jesus to stay with them, but it was necessary for Him to not tarry, but to preach the kingdom of God to the people in the surrounding cities.
Jesus Began His Day with Prayer and Continued His Ministry: Luke 4:42-44:
‘And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.
‘And he said unto them,
“I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.”
‘And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.’