Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Luke Chapter 4

The chapter begins with the last of the “preparations” that began in chapter 3. The Temptations of Jesus by Satan in vv. 1-13 highlight for us several things. First, Jesus is in direct opposition to the Evil One.  Secondly, the temptations of the Evil One are designed to distract Jesus away from his true Identity. This is a classic tactic of the Evil One and one that he uses even with us: distort our understanding of who we are, and then he can make us do just about anything. Thirdly, the fact that Jesus was tempted and succeeds in resisting temptation reminds us that Jesus is united to us on many levels and we go unite ourselves with him as we face the temptation that Satan sends our way.

After this pericope, the Galilean ministry of Jesus begins (v. 14). The ministry includes teaching (v. 15) and healings, which will be prominent throughout Luke’s Gospel.

Ironically, Jesus’s ministry begins with him being rejected in his hometown of Nazareth (vv. 16-30). His rejection in his hometown provides the impetus for his ministry throughout the whole of Galilee. His rejection by his own race, the Jews, will stand in contrast to his acceptance by the non-Jews he will cure and save.  We also see, by the end of this passage, that Jesus’s ministry will be one of healing. Chapter 4 recounts three healing episodes in a row (vv. 31-41).  This healing ministry of Jesus forms the foundation of a theology that emphasizes Jesus as the Divine Physician.  The many ways in which Jesus heals, whether it be through miraculous healings, the forgiveness of sins, or through his teachings, shows that Jesus is a compassionate and generous person, with divine origins, who seeks to make His Father’s presence known through acknowledging and restoring those who are sick and suffering, in pain, or lonely.

The chapter ends with Jesus leaving the region of Capernaum (vv. 42-44), which was sort of his ‘neighborhood.’ This is symbolic in that it shows Jesus leaving his own land and his own people to preach the Gospel to a larger group of people: Jews and non-Jews alike.  From here on out, Jesus is tuned into the Father’s Mission of preaching the Gospel to all people and bringing His forgiveness and healing to all.

Point for Prayer
“My Jesus, you were faced with temptations and rejection just like me and all the people I know. You resisted temptation and did not fear to tell the truth even when you might be rejected. I pray that you give me that gift of spiritual character that will enable me to resist temptation and courageously witness my beliefs. Amen” (51). 

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