From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Luke Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2015


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Verses 1-22




Books utilized codes at end of chapter




4:1                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led about by the Spirit in the Desert for forty days,

WEB:              Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness    

Young’s:         And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, turned back from the Jordan, and was brought in the Spirit to the wilderness,
Conte (RC):   And Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan. And he was urged by the Spirit into the wilderness


4:1                   And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost.  [“Full of the Holy Ghost”] as the result of that singular endowment which He had just received at the baptism; for this is to be understood, in Luke’s order, as following close upon that event.  That gift becomes the element, support, and moving power of His whole life henceforth (see verse 13).  [52]

                        Luke often calls special attention to the work of the Spirit, 3:22, 4:14; Acts 6:3, 7:55, 11:24.  The expression alludes to the outpouring of the Spirit upon Jesus at His baptism, John 3:34.  The narrative should be compared with Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12, 13.  John, who narrates mainly when he had himself seen, omits the temptation.  [56]

                        returned from Jordan.  The word “returned” was a favorite with Luke, who used it thirty-two times out of the thirty-five in which it occurs in all the New Testament.  It would, here, naturally lead us to the conclusion that Jesus returned to Galilee, from which he had come; and when we read instead, that “he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,” we are left in doubt whether this is related as an incident and interruption of the journey back, the account of which is then resumed in verse 14, with a repetition of “and Jesus returned,” etc., or whether the verb is here used in a different sense, of a separate movement “toward the wilderness,” equivalent to “turned away.”  The former is much more probable.  [52] 

                        and was led.  According to Mark 1:12, "immediately the Spirit driveth Him."  The meaning is, immediately after His baptism.  [33] 

                        A divine impulse led Him to face the hour of peril alone.  [56]

                        by the Spirit.  Rather, “in the Spirit,” compare 2:27.  The phrase emphasizes the “full of the Holy Ghost,” and has the same meaning as “in the power of the Spirit,” verse 14.  [56]

                        into the wilderness.  The scene of the temptation is supposed to be the mountain near Jericho, thence called Quarantania.  The tradition is not ancient, but the site is very probable, being rocky, bleak, and repellent—“A pathless desert, dusk with horrid shades” (Milton).  Scripture everywhere recognizes the need of solitude and meditation on the eve of great work for God (Exodus 24:2; 1 Kings 19:4; Galatians 1:17), and this would be necessary to the human nature of our Lord also.  [56]


                        In depth:  Was the Transfiguration a literal, physical event—or a vision or a parable of Jesus' internal conflicts [9]?  Some have undertaken to regard it is as a parabolic description of an actual event, others, as a train of thought, others as a vision or prophetic trance, others still as a myth.  But to all these views there are the following objections: 

1.  It is an established rule of interpretation, that in explaining the sacred writings we ought never, without the most apparent and indispensable necessity, allow ourselves the liberty of departing from the plain, obvious and literal meaning of the words.  And, evidently, no such necessity can be alleged in the present instance.  It is true there are in this narrative many difficulties, and many extraordinary, surprising and miraculous incidents; but the whole history of our Saviour is wonderful and miraculous from beginning to end, and if, whenever we meet with a difficulty or a miracle, we should have recourse to figure, metaphor, or vision, we should soon reduce a great part of the sacred writings to nothing else. 

2.  There is not, in any part of this narrative of the temptation, the slightest or most distant intimation that it is nothing more than a parable or a vision.  And it is certain that if any one had meant to describe a real transaction, he could not have selected any expressions better adapted to that purpose than those actually made use of by the three Evangelists in the record they have made of the temptation.

3.  The view that the temporal and earthly thought which constituted the temptations to which Christ was exposed, were the result of His own reflections, revolts us as an outrage against the Person of our Lord.  Had Jesus cherished such thoughts in the faintest degree, He had been Christ no longer.  We dare not suppose in Him a choice which, presupposing within Him a tendency for evil, would involve the necessity of His comparing the evil with the good, and deciding between them. 

4.  It should be a real and personal conflict between Christ and Satan.  This chief of the fallen angels has ever been an irreconcilable enemy of the human race.  From the very creation of man he has exercised toward him the most malignant art and subtlety, and, with what success in leading to acts of folly, stupidity and weakness, we all too well know and feel.  At the time of our Saviour's appearance, the tyranny of this diabolical spirit seems to have arrived at its utmost height, and to have extended to the bodies as well as the souls of men, of both of which he took absolute possession. 

It was, therefore, highly probable that our blessed Lord would think it a measure eminently proper, to begin His ministry with showing a decided superiority over the great adversary of man, whose empire He was going to abolish, with manifesting to mankind that the great Captain of their salvation was able to accomplish the important work He had undertaken, and with setting an example of virtuous firmness to His followers, which might encourage them to resist the most powerful temptations that the Prince of Darkness could throw in their way. 



4:2                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    tempted all the while by the Devil. During those days He ate nothing, and at the close of them He suffered from hunger.

WEB:              for forty days, being tempted by the devil. He ate nothing in those days. Afterward, when they were completed, he was hungry.           

Young’s:         forty days being tempted by the Devil, and he did not eat anything in those days, and they having been ended, he afterward hungered,
Conte (RC):   for forty days, and he was tested by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days. And when they were completed, he was hungry.


4:2                   Being forty days.  [Taken as the temptations lasting the entire period:]  So that St. Luke, as also St. Mark, implies that the temptation continued the whole forty days.  [15]

                        The present participle implies that the temptation was continuous throughout the forty days, though it reached its most awful climax at their close.  [56]

[The three temptations specifically mentioned refer to events toward the end of the forty days in contrast to other temptations that occurred:]  This should be joined with the preceding words, indicating the duration of His stay in the wilderness, not of His temptation, as A.V., "being forty days tempted."  Read as Rev., "in the wilderness during forty days."  [2]

                        Through forty days He was tried in various ways by the devil.  The temptations, however, which are recorded by Matthew and Luke did not take place until the forty days were finished.  [11]

                        [Historic connections of the duration:]  The number was connected in the Jewish mind with notions of seclusion, and revelation, and peril;--Moses on Sinai, Exodus 34:18; Elijah, 1 Kings 19:8; the wanderings of the Israelites, Numbers 14:34; Judges 13:1.  [56]

                        tempted.  This testing by temptation was also necessary if He was to come in close touch with man.  "For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted" (Heb. 2:18; 5:8).  There can be no real sympathy where there is no common experience; Jesus having entered into this common experience of temptation of every man is able to sympathize with all men.  Most men wage a battle with temptation for themselves.  Jesus was tempted not to succor Himself but to aid and save men.  [21] 

                        Joseph Addison Alexander says,  "Our Lord's susceptibility of temptation was no more inconsistent with His sinlessness than that of Adam, and is insisted on in Scripture as essential to His office, and especially as necessary to a real sympathy between Him and His tempted people" (Heb. ii. 18).  [9]

                        of the devil.  Variously described in Holy Scripture; each name sets forth some phase of character or work:

                        "a murderer" (John 8:44);

                        "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4);

                        "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2);

                        "wicked one" (1 John 2:14);

                        "roaring lion" (1 Peter 5:8);

                        "angel of light to deceive" (2 Corinthians 11:14);

                        "liar" (John 8:44);

                        "Beelzebub" (Matthew 12:24);

                        "Belial" (2 Corinthians 6:15);

                        "tormentor" (Matthew 18:34);

                        "accuser of our brethren" (Revelation 12:10);

                        "leviathan" (Isaiah 27:1);

                        "Apollyon" (Revelation 9:11);

                        "dragon and old serpent" (Revelation 12:9);

                        "lightning" (Luke 10:18);

                        "wolf" (John 10:12);

                        "fowler" (Psalm 91:3);

                        "dog" (Psalms 22:16);

                        "adder (Psalm 91:13); etc.  [7]


                        The Jews placed in the wilderness one of the mouths of Gehenna, and there evil spirits were supposed to have most power (Numbers 16:33; Matthew 12:43).  Mark uses the Hebrew form of the word—“Satan.”  Both words mean “the Accuser,” but the Greek Diabolos is far more definite than the Hebrew Satan, which is loosely applied to any opponent, or opposition, or evil influence in which the evil spirit may be supposed to work (1 Chronicles 21:1; 2 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:18).  This usage is far more apparent in the original, where the word rendered “adversary” is often Satan, Numbers 22:22; 1 Samuel 29:4; 1 Kings 11:14, etc.  On the other hand, the Greek word Diabolos is comparatively rare in the New Testament.  (The word rendered “devils” for the “evil spirits” of demoniac possession is daimonia.)  Matthew also calls Satan “the tempter.”  [56]

                        And in those days.  During this period of time.  [rw]

                        He did eat nothing.  In Acts xxvii. 33. Paul says, "this is the fourteenth day that you continue fasting, having taken nothing".  And the historian Appian (as quoted by Doddridge) speaks of an "army which for twenty days together had neither food nor sleep"--were without regular food and rest.  [34] 

                        Van Oosterzee thinks that it is shown by Matthew 11:18 that these words need mean only that he ate nothing outside the fasting diet, namely, of locusts and wild honey.  Yet we need not hesitate to accept the utmost latitude of their literal meaning.  [14]

                        In seasons of danger or general affliction it was customary among the Jews to abstain from food as a religious duty (Josh. vii. 6; Judg. xx. 26); and the same practice prevailed among individuals when the occasion was personal.  (Exod. xxiv. 18; 2 Sam. xii. 16; 1 Kings xix. 8.)  Fasts are evidently of Divine authority, and fasting at the present day may be regarded as one of the outward means which may be profitably employed to humble and chasten the soul, and train it anew to the love and pursuit of holy and spiritual joys.  There can be no doubt of its being sanctioned under the Gospel dispensation.  (Matt. vi. 18; ix. 15; Acts xiii. 3; 1 Cor. vii. 5.)  How far or how long a person should abstain from food depends on circumstances.  The great end to be kept in view is, humiliation for sin and abstinence from sin.  "If," says Marshall, "abstinence divert our minds, by reason of a gnawing appetite, then you had better eat sparingly, as Daniel in his greatest fast."  (Dan. x. 2-3.)  [9]

                        He afterward hungered.  Certainly the first [temptation] was based on His fasting of forty days and the resultant hunger.  [31]



4:3                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    Then the Devil said to Him, "If you are God's Son, tell this stone to become bread."

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

Young’s:         and the Devil said to him, 'If Son thou art of God, speak to this stone that it may become bread.'
Conte (RC):   Then the devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, speak to this stone, so that it may be made into bread."


4:3                   And the devil said unto Him.  Of course he spoke under no serpentine or bestial shape.  And as Ebrard says, "It was no cloven-footed caricature taken from German mythology."  It was in a form, to the utmost of his power, able to fascinate by his blandishments or subdue by menace and terror.  [14]

                        If thou be the Son of God.  In essence:  “Prove it!”  [rw]

                        Doubtless an allusion to the divine Voice at His baptism (3:22).  The words were tauntingly addressed to our Lord on the Cross (Matthew 27:40).  The Greek strictly means “Assuming that Thou art,” but in Hellenistic Greek words and phrases are not always used with their earlier delicate accuracy [= precision].  [56]

                        command this stone.  The Greek implies that the suggestion called direct attention to a particular stone.  In this desert there are loaf-shaped fossils known to early travelers as lapides judaici, and to geologists as septaria.  Some of these siliceous accretions assume the shape of fruit, and are known as “Elijah’s melons” (Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, page 154).  They were popularly regarded as petrified fruits of the Cities of the Plain.  Such deceptive semblances would intensify the pangs of hunger, and add to the temptation the additional torture of an excited imagination.  [56]

                        that it be made bread.  Rather, “that it may become a loaf.”  The subtle malignity of the temptation is indescribable.  It was a temptation to “the lust” (i.e. the desire) “of the flesh;” a temptation to gratify a natural and blameless appetite; an appeal to free-will and self-will, closely analogous to the devil’s first temptation of the race:  “You may; you can; it will be pleasant:  why not?”  (Genesis 3:1-15).  But it did not come in an undisguisedly sensuous form, but with the suggestive semblance of Scriptural sanctions (1 Kings 19:8; Deuteronomy 8:16; Psalms lxxviii. 19).  [56] 



4:4                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    "It is written," replied Jesus, "'It is not on bread alone that a man shall live.'"

WEB:              Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'"           

Young’s:         And Jesus answered him, saying, 'It hath been written, that, not on bread only shall man live, but on every saying of God.'
Conte (RC):   And Jesus answered him, "It is written: 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.' "


4:4                   And Jesus answered him, saying.  This early does He begin to indicate His intimacy with the Old Testament, His constant use of it, and sense of its value as the storehouse and arsenal for the nourishment and defense of [God’s people].  [52]

                        It is written.  But it is very important to notice here, that Jesus repelled every temptation of the wicked one, not by power called into play for the emergency, but simply by, "It is written."  Can you conceive higher authority placed upon God's holy Word than this?  [25]

                        The perfect gegraptai means “it has been written,” it standeth written as an eternal lesson.  Jesus foils the tempter as man for man.  He will not say “I am the Son of God,” and “does not consider equality with God a prize at which to grasp” (Philippians 2:6), but seizes “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).  [56]

That man shall not live by bread alone.  The quotation is from Deuteronomy 8:3, where Moses tells the people that God has suffered them to hunger, and fed them with manna, to show them the dependence of man on God, and the fact that life is something more than the mere living, and can only be sustained by diviner gifts than those which are sufficient for man’s lower nature.  Bread sustains the body; but, that we may live, the soul also, and the spirit must be kept alive.  Exodus 16:4, 15.  “They did all eat the same spiritual meat.”  1 Corinthians 10:3.  [56]  

                        but by every word of God.  These words, though implied, are probably added in this place from Matthew 4:4, since they are omitted by [several major manuscripts] and various versions.  “Word” is not in the original Hebrew.  The verse conveys a most deep truth, and by referring to it our Lord meant to say “God will support my needs in His own way, and the lower life is as nothing in comparison with the higher.”  There are many most valuable and instructive parallels; see John 4:32-34, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of . . .  My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.”  Job 23:13, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.  Jeremiah 15:16, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.”  Wisdom 16:6, “God’s word nourisheth man.”  The Jewish Rabbis had the remarkable expression, “The just eat of the glory of the Shechinah.”  [56]


4:5                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    The Devil next led Him up and caused Him to see at a glance all the kingdoms of the world.

WEB:              The devil, leading him up on a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 

Young’s:         And the Devil having brought him up to an high mountain, shewed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,
Conte (RC):   And the devil led him onto a high mountain, and he showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,


4:5                   And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain.  How the devil took Him up we are not told.  Scripture, to turn away our thoughts from the secondary to the essential, knows nothing of those journeys through the air which we find in Apocrypha and in the “Gospel of the Hebrews.” [56]

                        shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world.  Here we may almost certainly see that it is not intended we should understand a literal standing place, whether mountain or tower; or an act of physical vision.  The readers of the Gospel knew that there were no mountains in that part of the world to high to give human eyes a view of more than about two hundred miles diameter.  They were presented to the inward vision as if present to the outward view.  [52]

                        in a moment of time.  This circumstance is noted by Luke alone and it confirms the opinion that the whole was an illusion effected "by the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:1-2).  [20]             

                        Taking Jesus to “a high mountain” made what was about to occur that much more vivid and impressive than from the middle of a valley or low lying unused and unfarmable arid ground.  Jesus did not see all the world from the mountain—there is none that high!—but was “showed” them by Satan.  Since the mount wasn’t essential to do what Satan did, it follows that it was done as part of the psychological war to break Jesus’ resistance.  [rw]



4:6                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    And the Devil said to Him, "To you will I give all this authority and this splendour; for it has been handed over to me, and on whomsoever I will I bestow it.

WEB:              The devil said to him, "I will give you all this authority, and their glory, for it has been delivered to me; and I give it to whomever I want.

Young’s:         and the Devil said to him, 'To thee I will give all this authority, and their glory, because to me it hath been delivered, and to whomsoever I will, I do give it;
Conte (RC):   and he said to him: "To you, I will give all this power, and its glory. For they have been handed over to me, and I give them to whomever I wish.


4:6                   And the devil said unto Him, all this power I will give thee, and the glory of them.  "All this is mine, said Satan, speaking a half-truth which is often but a whole lie; for he was indeed the "prince of the power of the air," ruling, however, not in absolute kingship, but as a pretender, a usurper; "and I give it to whom I will."  [35]

                        He is called afterward by our Lord “the prince of this world,” or age; but that is said in view of the voluntary self-subjection of the moral world to him.  It may be that he can, and does, so instigate and direct wicked men that they prove more successful, temporarily, in the attainment of world advantages.  But we know of nothing to support what he here declares, that the power and glory of all of the earth have been given [to him].  [52]

                        for that is delivered unto me.  The original is even stronger, “has been entrusted to me.”  Hence the expressions, “the prince of this world,” John 12:31, 14:30; “the prince of the power of the air,” Ephesians 2:2.  Satan is in one sense “a world-ruler of this darkness” (Ephesians 6:12).  The Rabbis went even further, and called him “Lord of this age” and even “another God,” which is Manicheeism; whereas in this verse, by the very admission of Satan, all Manicheeism is excluded.  [56]

The tempter here confesses that he was not the world's Maker. Therefore it was not the highest order of worship, that he demanded for himself; and, that no inferior worship could possibly be paid to any creature, this Jesus shows; and, much less, paid to Satan. Rev. xix. 10.—Bengel. [36]

We may observe, that the devil was a liar from the beginning.  The dominion over the things of the world was not given to the angels, but to man.  Neither hath he any such power as he pretends to, being not able to do any thing against Job till he had obtained leave from God, nor to enter into the swine without license first obtained from Christ.  [51]

                        and to whomsoever I will I give it.  Compare Revelation 13:2, “the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”  Here however we note the exaggeration of the father of lies.  How different was the language of our Lord to His ambitious disciples (Matthew 20:23).  [56]



4:7                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    If therefore you do homage to me, it shall all be yours.'

WEB:              If you therefore will worship before me, it will all be yours."       

Young’s:         thou, then, if thou mayest bow before me -- all shall be thine.'
Conte (RC):   Therefore, if you will worship before me, all will be yours."


4:7                   If thou therefore.  [Alternate interpretation of the root appeal of the temptation to Jesus:]  The condition which he attaches to the surrender of his power into the hands of Jesus has often been presented as a snare far too coarse for it ever to have been laid by such a crafty spirit.  Would not, indeed, the lowest of the Israelites have rejected such a proposal with horror?  But there is a little word in the text to be taken into consideration--"therefore"--which puts this condition in logical connection with the preceding words.  It is not as an individual, it is as the representative of divine authority on this earth, that Satan here claims the homage of Jesus.  The act of prostration in the East [was] practiced toward every lawful superior, not in virtue of his personal character, but out of regard for the portion of divine power of which he is the depository.  The words "if thou wilt worship me" are not therefore an appeal to the ambition of Jesus:  they express the condition sine qua non laid down by the ancient Master of the world to the installation of Jesus in the Messianic sovereignty.  In speaking thus, Satan deceived himself only in one point:  this was that the kingdom which was about to commence was in any respect a continuation of his own or depended on a transmission of power from him.  [13] 

                        wilt worship me.  Now it appears that there is an important condition to the bestowment of that gift which has been offered so freely.  [52]

                        all shall be thine.  I will hold back nothing—not the least.  It all will be thine.  Not mentioned (but surely intended):  Of course since I gave it to you, that means you will be acting as my emissary and agent.  [rw] 


In depth:  What order did the temptations come in [14]?   Matthew, no doubt, follows the true historical order of the three temptations--Luke a doctrinal order.  Hence, while Matthew's connective phrases "then," "again," claims to affirm the true order, Luke cautiously has only "and."  Luke's order is (1)  the appeal to the appetite; (2)  the appeal to the desire for an earthly monarchy; (3) the appeal to the desire for a dashing supernatural exploitation, a showy triumph over the laws of nature.  In Matthew there is a climax of faculties, namely, the appetites, the tastes, and the ambition.  In Luke the climax is power over personal gratification, power over men, power over the laws of nature.           

                        Also [56]:  That the actual order is that of Matthew is probable because (1) he alone uses notes of sequence, “then,” “again;” (2) Christ closes the temptation by “Get thee behind me, Satan” (see on verse 8); (3) as an actual Apostle he is more likely to have heard the narrative from the lips of Christ Himself.  But in the chronology of spiritual crises there is little room for the accurate sequence of “before” and “after.”  They crowd eternity into an hour, and stretch an hour into eternity.  [56]



4:8                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'To the Lord thy God thou shalt do homage, and to Him alone shalt thou render worship.'"

WEB:              Jesus answered him, "Get behind me Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.'"

Young’s:         And Jesus answering him said, 'Get thee behind me, Adversary, for it hath been written, Thou shalt bow before the Lord thy God, and Him only thou shalt serve.'
Conte (RC):   And in response, Jesus said to him:  "It is written: 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him

alone.' "


4:8                   And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan.  In essence:  “Stop this foolishness!  You’ve said more than ever should have been said in the first place”—and proceeds to quote a scriptural text that proves it.  [rw]

                        for it is written.  This Scripture was evidently cited, not only as a defense to the Saviour, but a condemnation of Satan.  It may be noticed that the passage is quoted freely, according to its sense as bearing on the present case, not according to the letter.  [52]

Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.  The quotation is slightly altered from Deuteronomy 6:13, “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him.”  Matthew has the same variation, this being one of his cyclic quotations (i.e. those common to him with other Evangelists).  Since Satan had now revealed himself in his true character, there was no need for Jesus to tell him of another and a divine Kingdom over which he had no power.  It was sufficient to reprove his impious blasphemy.  [56]   



4:9                                                       Translations

Weymouth:    Then he brought Him to Jerusalem and caused Him to stand on the roof of the Temple, and said to Him, "If you are God's Son, throw yourself down from here; for it is written,

WEB:              He led him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down from here,  

Young’s:         And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, 'If the Son thou art of God, cast thyself down hence,
Conte (RC):   And he brought him to Jerusalem, and he set him on the parapet of the temple, and he said to him: "If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down from here.


4:9                   And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple.  [Not the literal “pinnacle” that we might initially think of:]  He then set Jesus on a "pinnacle of the temple."  This does not mean a small tapering spire; the temple was built upon a hill--the roof of the temple no person was allowed to touch; it was covered with plates of beaten gold, and surrounded by parapets and sharp spikes, so that no bird, even, might perch upon it for a single moment.  But it means that He was taken up to one of the porches, or the doors, that overlooked the valley that was below.  [25] 

                        [Taken literally and being possible due to the temptations being subjective and all within Jesus’ mind:]  In Luke's order there is substantially but one change of place--form the solitude of the wilderness to the Temple.  As we have said, the change was probably not one of the Lord's body, but only of the scenes flashed before His mind's eye.  'The pinnacle of the Temple'  may have been the summit that looked down into the deep valley where the enormous stones of the lofty wall still stand, and which must have been at a dizzy height above the narrow glen on the one side and the Temple courts on the other.  There is immense, suppressed rage and malignity in the recurrence of the sneer, 'If Thou art the Son of God,' and in the use of Christ's own weapon of defense, the quotation of Scripture.  [47]

                        [The two probable sites:]  [“A pinnacle:”]  Rather, “the pinnacle,” or “battlement.”  Some well-known pinnacle of the Temple, either that of the Royal Portico, which looked down from a dizzy height into the Valley of the Kidron (Josephus, Antiquities, xv. 11.5); or the Eastern Portico, from which tradition says that St. James was afterwards hurled (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, ii.23).  “Battlement” is used for the corresponding Hebrew word Canaph (literal “wing”) in Daniel 9:27.  [56]

                        [The “royal portico” as the most likely site:]  The part of the great building evidently referred to here was that magnificent southern wing of the Lord's house constructed by Herod the Great, which was known as the royal portico.  Josephus calls it "the most remarkable building under the sun" ('Ant.,'  xv. 11. 5).  One who stood on the roof of this portion of the temple would look from a dizzy height into the Valley of the Kidron.  Such a spectator, writes Josephus ('Ant.,' ii. 5), "would be giddy while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth."  To this spot, "whether in the body or out of the body" we cannot tell, Jesus was taken by the evil spirit.  [18]

                        And said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence.  This last temptation was in the sphere of intellectual curiosity.  It suggested to Jesus that He should see for Himself what would be the experience of one who should cast Himself from a great height and then, by angel hands, be kept from harm.  This is the temptation to place oneself needlessly in a situation of moral peril and then to expect to be delivered by God's miraculous    power.  This is not faith, but presumption.  [28] 

                        Or:  The first temptation had been to natural appetite and impulse; the second was to unhallowed ambition; the third is to rash confidence and spiritual pride.  It was based, with profound ingenuity, on the expression of absolute trust with which the first temptation had been rejected.  It asked as it were for a splendid proof of that trust, and appealed to perverted spiritual instincts.  It had none of the sensuous elements of the other temptations.  It was at the same time a confession of impotence.  “Cast thyself down.”  The devil may place the soul in peril and temptation, but can never make it sin.  “It is,” as St. Augustine says, “the devil’s part to suggest, it is ours not to consent.”  [56] 



4:10                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    He will give orders to His angels concerning thee, to guard thee safely;'

WEB:              for it is written, 'He will put his angels in charge of you, to guard you;'       

Young’s:         for it hath been written -- To His messengers He will give charge concerning thee, to guard over thee,
Conte (RC):   For it is written that he has given his Angels charge over you, so that they may guard you,


4:10                 For it is written.  The citation of scripture by Satan proves that a creative mind can find a veneer of endorsement within it for just about anything imaginable.  That does not mean however that the scripture is being rightly used.  [rw]

                        “In religion / What damned error but some sober brow / Will bless it and approve it with a text, / Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?”  --  Shakespeare.  [56]

He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee.  The intermediary agency would be angels.  Even God uses agents to accomplish His will.  If He didn’t, why would there even be a need for their existence?  [rw]

                        Or:  It is to be noted that the psalm which Satan quotes as if it applied to our Lord is not appropriate to Him, for it is only said of creatures that God shall give His angels charge over them.  [Deity] does not need the guardianship of angels.  It is an insinuation of the devil against the Master's divinity, perhaps to provoke Him to declare that He is God.  [30]



4:11                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    and 'On their hands they shall bear thee up, Lest at any moment thou shouldst strike thy foot against a stone.'"

WEB:              and, 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest perhaps you dash your foot against a stone.'

Young’s:         and -- On hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou mayest dash against a stone thy foot.'
Conte (RC):   and so that they may take you into their hands, lest perhaps you may hurt your foot against a stone."


4:11                 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.  A magnificient promise—incredibly wide in its scope—and one that the irresponsible could easily invoke for whatever idiocy they preferred.  It is one thing to rely upon Divine protection.  It is something entirely different to intentionally put oneself into such a situation that the only way out is Divine intervention.  The first is trusting in the Lord; the second is abusing the Lord’s trust.  [rw]   



4:12                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    The reply of Jesus was, "It is said, 'Thou shalt not put the Lord they God to the proof.'"

WEB:              Jesus answering, said to him, "It has been said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"

Young’s:         And Jesus answering said to him -- 'It hath been said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.'
Conte (RC):   And in response, Jesus said to him, "It is said: 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.' "


4:12                 And Jesus answering said unto him.  As in the other cases, He does not leave Satan unanswered.  He not only refuses and rejects each temptation, but He also gives a reason—a scriptural reason.  Hence showing that, to Jesus, the scriptures established Divine and absolute truth.  [rw]

                        It is said.  The reference is to Deuteronomy 6:16.  [52]

                        Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.  [Based upon the assumption that the temptations were subjective phenomena and all at one place in the desert:]   What was wrong in the act suggested?  There is no reference to the effect on the beholders, as has often been supposed; and if we are correct in supposing that the whole temptation was transacted in the desert, there could be none.  But plainly the point of it was the suggestion that Jesus should, of His own accord and needlessly, put Himself in danger, expecting God to deliver Him.  We trust God when we look to Him to deliver us in perils met in meek acceptance of His will.  We tempt Him when we expect Him to save us from those encountered on roads that we have picked out for ourselves.  [47]

                        tempt.  Tempt--to demand further evidence of what is already made sufficiently plain.  That this is the purport of the phrase, tempting God, is easy to be seen from comparing Ex. xcii. 2.7; Num. xiv. 22; Ps. lxxviii. 18, and cvi. 14.  If our Lord had cast Himself from the pinnacle of the temple, He would have demanded a needless miracle, publicly to prove Himself "the Son of God."  And would have put Himself in expectation of an interposition for which He had no warrant, and thus would have "tempted the Lord."  [9]


                        In depth:  Does Jesus hint at His deityship in the way He quotes the Old Testament passage [13]?  For the third time Jesus borrows the form of His reply from Scripture and, which is remarkable, again from Deuteronomy (6:16).  This book, which recorded the experience of Israel during the forty years' sojourn in the desert, had perhaps been the special subject of Jesus' meditations during His own sojourn in the wilderness.   The plural, "ye shall not tempt" in the Old Testament [text, Deuteronomy 6:16], is changed by Jesus into the singular, "thou shalt not tempt."  Did this change proceed from a double meaning which Jesus designedly introduced into this passage?  While applying it to Himself in His relation to God, He seems in fact, to apply it at the same time to Satan in relation to Himself:  as if He meant to say, Desist, therefore, now from tempting Me, thy God.    



4:13                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    So the Devil, having fully tried every kind of temptation on Him, left Him for a time.

WEB:              When the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until another time.               

Young’s:         And having ended all temptation, the Devil departed from him till a convenient season.
Conte (RC):   And when all the temptation was completed, the devil withdrew from him, until a time.


4:13                 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him.  Matthew adds, “And lo!  Angels came and began to minister unto Him.”  We do not again meet with angels in a visible form till the agony in Gethsemane.  It must not be imagined that our Lord was only tempted at this crisis.  He shared temptation with us, as the common lot of our humanity.  We may however infer from the Gospels that henceforth His temptations were rather the negative ones caused by suffering, than the positive ones caused by allurement.  See Matthew 27:40 (like the first temptation); John 7:3, 4 (analogous to the second in Matthew’s order); John 7:15 (like the third).  See too 22:3, 53; Matthew 16:22; John 14:30; 8:44.  [56]   

                        for a season.  For a season, literally, until an opportunant season, or a convenient time.  Such an occasion was furnished in the hour of darkness (chap. xxii. 53), when our Lord's "soul was sorrowful, even unto death."  (See Matt. xxvi. 38; John xiv. 30.)      [9]

                        Satan renewed his attacks by means of wicked men, who were his agents, and in the hour of our Lord's greatest trial again appeared in the person of Judas (ch. xxii. 3), and possibly otherwise.  John xiv. 30.  If Satan tempted Jesus, more surely will he tempt us, and we may learn from Him, how by constant resistance to subdue temptation.  Usually the temptations of the evil one are more severe at the beginning of a Christian life; if then resisted they become feebler.  No temptation can meet the believer, but he may conquer it by grace.  1 Cor. x. 13; 1 John iii. 8-9.  [4] 

                        The devil ceases to tempt us only for a season, in order to lull us asleep:  it is therefore a great folly not to watch continually.  He assaults with open force those whom he has not been able to overcome by his stratagems, or by the allurements of the world.  Thus he acted with respect to our blessed Lord in the latter part of His life.  [27]


                        In depth:  Could Jesus have yielded to the temptations [52]?  There are three views on the subject:   (1) Christ had no volitional power to obey temptation.  This the old Calvinistic view.   (2) The man Jesus had such volitional power.  This is the old Arminian view.  (3) The eternal Logos had the volitional power to sin, having concentrated and reduced Himself down to finite and human conditions.  This is a German view not yet fully brought [in the mid-nineteenth century] before the American Church.  [14]

                        The doubt, not infrequently expressed, “whether the Son of God was really capable of being tempted to evil,” is sufficiently answered by reference to Hebrews 4:15—“but was in all points tempted like we are.”  The fact is beyond question.  If the inquiry be, “how could this be true?” we have to admit there is a mystery no mere man can reasonably pretend to fully explain.  But any special difficulty in the thought of His liability to temptation seems to be obviated by the consideration that, whatever He was more, He was truly and completely a man.  As such is the power of choice between good and evil conduct.



4:14                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Then Jesus returned in the Spirit's power to Galilee; and His fame spread through all the adjacent districts.

WEB:              Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and news about him spread through all the surrounding area.    

Young’s:         And Jesus turned back in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a fame went forth through all the region round about concerning him,
Conte (RC):   And Jesus returned, in the power of the Spirit, into Galilee. And his fame spread throughout the entire region.


4:14                 Introduction:  In-depth—Events omitted by Luke that occur between verses 13 and 14 [18].  Between the events of the temptation and the preaching at Nazareth here related, some considerable time had intervened.  St. John, in his Gospel, gives a somewhat detailed account of this period whish St. Luke omits.  Shortly after the temptation took place the concluding incidents in the Baptist's career, which St. Luke summarized in his brief statement (ch. iii. 19, 20), when he tells us of the arrest and imprisonment of the fearless preacher by the Tetrarch Herod.  St. John tells how the Sanhedrin sent some special envoys to the Baptist, asking him formally "who he really was." 

After this questioning, John in his Gospel mentions the calling of Andrew, Simon, Philip, and Nathanael, and then records the first miracle of Jesus at Cana in Galilee, and how the Lord visited Capernaum.  He then proceeds to relate some of the circumstances which took place at the Passover at Jerusalem, and how the Lord drove out the men who profaned his Father's house.  He writes down, too, the particulars of Nicodemus the Pharisee's visit to Jesus by night. 

The Master then proceeded, as is here related by St. Luke, "in the power of the Spirit," who descended on him formally at his baptism, into Galilee, and on his journey thither tarried at Samaria, resting on the well there, and talking with the woman in those memorable words recorded by St. John at length in his fourth chapter (verses 4-42).  Rapidly the report of what he had done at Cana, the fame of his marvelous words at Jerusalem, Samaria, and other places, spread through all the central districts of the Holy Land.


                        And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit.  By the influence or direction of the Spirit.  [11]

                        into Galilee.  This district was the starting-point and main centre of our Lord’s ministry, Acts 10:37, “which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee.”  Luke 23:5, “He stirreth up the people beginning from Galilee.”  [56]

                        and there went out a fame [news, NKJV] of him through all the region round about.  Immediately, as it would seem, the popular mind began to be exercised about His teachings and acts, probably also by tidings of the testimony of John the Baptist to Him as the “one greater than he,” whom was to come after him (John 1:34).  The miracles, also, which He performed in the neighborhood (John 2:1ff; 4:46ff), and His extraordinary conduct at Jerusalem (John 2:15, 23), would be talked about.  [52]    



4:15                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And He proceeded to teach in their synagogues, winning praise from all.

WEB:              He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.          

Young’s:         and he was teaching in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
Conte (RC):   And he taught in their synagogues, and he was magnified by everyone.


4:15                 And He taught.  As a custom—expresses in one word what Mark expands into “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,” etc.  Matthew adds that He said, “Repent” (4:17).  Instruction and persuasion regarding the relations into which men are brought toward God by the coming of Christ, with the consequent privileges and obligations—this was the preaching of the gospel.  Luke says nothing of miracles wrought as yet; but from John 4:54, we may conclude that the healing of the centurion’s son took place before his first visit to Nazareth.  [52]   

                        The word “He” is emphatic.  “He Himself,” in contrast with the rumor about Him.  [56]

in their synagogues.  The synagogues, which rose among the Jews in answer to religious wants deeply felt, after the return from the exile, corresponded in many points to the churches of Christian times.  The word was indeed ambiguous, like “church,” denoting primarily the religious assembly, for whose use the house existed.  [52]

                        being glorified of all.  That is, admired and honoured.  [51]

Being praised by all His hearers, who listened to all His doctrines and saw His miracles.  [4]



4:16                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    He came to Nazareth also, where He had been brought up; and, as was His custom, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.

WEB:              He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.     

Young’s:         And he came to Nazareth, where he hath been brought up, and he went in, according to his custom, on the sabbath-day, to the synagogue, and stood up to read;
Conte (RC):   And he went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. And he entered into the synagogue, according to his custom, on the Sabbath day. And he rose up to read.


4:16                 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up.  Informing us that Nazareth was His hometown and that His family had been residents there since His childhood.  [rw]

and, as His custom was.  It is almost certain that this was the first public preaching of our Lord in Nazareth.  For although the Evangelist says "as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read," we may properly take the words, "as His custom was," to refer only to His attendance in the synagogue, Sabbath by Sabbath.  It opens up to us a picture of the devotion of our Lord all through those thirty years of His quiet life in Nazareth, that from the time  was old enough to go He regularly attended the Sabbath services.  [30]  

                        He went into the synagogue.  We hear of them after the return from the Captivity, and probably they existed long before.  Some think that in Ps. lxxiv. 8 there is a reference to them.  [18]

                        [“The:”]  The article shows that the little village only possessed a single synagogue.  [56] 

                        on the Sabbath day.  Observe the divine sanction thus given to the ordinance of weekly public worship.  [56]

                        and stood up for to read.   He stood up to read, to teach us reverence in reading and hearing the word of God.  When Ezra opened the book of the Law, "all the people stood up" (Nehemiah 8:5); so did Christ here, when He read in the book of the prophets.  [32]  

                        The custom was to read the Scripture standing.  There was no recognized or ordained ministry for the synagogues.  The functions of Priest and Levites were confined to the Temple, and the various officers of the synagogue were more like our churchwardens.  Hence it was the custom of the Ruler or Elders to invite any one to read or preach who was known to them as a distinguished or competent person (Acts 13:15).  [56]

                        This synagogue was far from perfect but Jesus was still a worshipper there:  And in the clause, He stood up for to read, there is more than every one observes.  He preached in other synagogues; but He read in none, but this ; for he, that read in the synagogue, was a member of the synagogue; and He, by reading, showed that He owned Himself, and was owned to be, one of this.  Now, what a kind of people the congregation of Nazareth was we may somewhat guess from that passage, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” [John 1:46] . . .  And yet did He keep Himself, till then, to that congregation, owned Himself a member of it, read in it, as a member of it; till His function called Him, and the fear of His life forced Him, thence.—Dr. Lightfoot.


                        In depth:  the first century synagogue [22].  (1)  Origin.  During the Captivity where no Temple Service was possible. 

(2)  Universality.  Wherever ten heads of families could be found, there a Synagogue would be established, in and outside of Palestine.  (Diaspora.)  In Jerusalem were 460, and every nationality had its own (Acts 6:9). 

(3)  Arrangement:  It contained (a)  An "arc"--a chest for the sacred rolls, placed in the end of the building toward Jerusalem.  (b)  Chief Seats, elevated, near and around the arc for the elders and leading men.  (c)  Platform and reading desk.  (d)  Places carefully graded according to rank.  Gentile visitors were allowed near the door.  (e)  Lattice gallery where women could worship without being seen. 

(4)  Officers:  (a) 3 rulers of the Synagogue (one of whom was the ruler) who conducted the worship and possessed limited judicial authority.  (b)  The servant (Luke 4:20), who united the functions of sexton, schoolmaster and constable, to pass judgment on offenders. 

(5)  Services:  Held on Saturday, Monday and Thursday.  They consisted of prayer, reading and remarks.  The selections were from the Law and the Prophets, according to an appointed order (Acts 15:21), called Parashim and Haphtharim, like our church pericopes. 


                        In depth:  How many times was Jesus rejected at Nazareth [14]?  Luke sees a true propriety in selecting the first manifestation of the Lord at Nazareth, as the opening of his history of the great ministry.  It was initial, ominous, typical.  Here, pre-eminently, "he came to his own, and his own received him not."

                        It is strenuously maintained by some commentators that there was but one visit and rejection at Nazareth.  This is argued from the fact that in both accounts the same proverb is adduced, and the same reference to Jesus' relatives is made.  But that a repetition of the unwelcome visit should awaken similar trains of thought and language is perfectly natural.  On the contrary, it seems scarcely probable that in Matthew and Mark the most exciting part of the affair, the attempt to hurl Jesus from the precipice, should be omitted. 



4:17                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And there was handed to Him the book of the Prophet Isaiah, and, opening the book, He found the place where it was written,

WEB:              The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written,  

Young’s:         and there was given over to him a roll of Isaiah the prophet, and having unfolded the roll, he found the place where it hath been written:
Conte (RC):   And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. And as he unrolled the book, he found the place where it was written:


4:17                 And there was delivered unto Him.  By the minister of the synagogue or the keeper of the sacred books.  They were kept in an ark or chest and the minister gave them to whomsoever he chose, to read them publicly.  [11]

                        Literally, “There was further handed to Him.”  The expression means that after He, or another, had read the Parashah, or First Lesson, which was always from the Pentateuch, the clerk handed to him the Roll of Isaiah, which contained the Haphtarah, or Second Lesson.  [56]

                        the book of the prophet Esias [Isaiah, NKJV].  There can be no doubt that the passage in Isaiah had a principal reference to the Messiah.  Our Savior directly applies it to Himself, and it is not easily applicable to any other prophet.  Its first application might have been to the restoration of the Jews from Babylon; but the language of prophecy is often applicable to two similar events, and the secondary event is often the most important.  In this case the prophet uses most striking poetic images to depict the return from Babylon; but the same images also describe the appropriate work of the Son of God.  [11]

                        and when He had opened the book.  Literally, when he had "unrolled" the book.  Books among the ancients were written on parchment or vellum--i.e., skins of beasts--and were rolled together on two rollers, beginning at each end; so that while reading they rolled off from one to the other.  When used, the reader unrolled the manuscript as far as the place which he wished to find, and kept before him just so much as he would read.  [11]

                        Opening consisted in unrolling the scroll, until the passage became visible.  There were other forms of books sometimes found, but this was the most common.  [4]

                        He found.  The word heure leaves it uncertain whether the “finding” was what man calls “accidental,” or whether it was the regular haphtarah of the day.  It is now the Second Lesson for the great day of Atonement; but according to Zunz (the highest Jewish authority on the subject) the present order of the Lessons in the Synagogue worship belongs to a later period than this.  [56]

                        Or:  Possibly they gave Him the book of Isaiah, on order to hear from Him something concerning His claim to be the Messiah, who was to fulfill its prophecies.  If so, Jesus rebukes that carnal ambition of their hearts, which thus early began to look for signs of temporal power, and teaches them that His kingdom is not of this world, nor confined to His relations after the flesh.  [4]

the place where it was written.  By revolving the roll so as to reach it.  No place could be more appropriate.  The passage is in Isaiah 61:1-2.  [14]

                        The passage, as here quoted, does not exactly accord either to the Hebrew or to the Septuagint, yet it does not vary materially from either.  [20]

                        Our Lord, according to the custom of the Synagogue, must have read the passage in Hebrew, and then—either by Himself, or by an interpreter (Methurgeman)—it must have been translated to the congregation in Aramaic or Greek, since Hebrew was at this time a dead and learned language.  The quotation is here freely taken by the Evangelist from the LXX, possibly from memory, and with reminiscences, intentional or otherwise, of other passages.  [56]  



4:18                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor; He has sent me to announce release to the prisoners of war and recovery of sight to the blind: to send away free those whom tyranny has crushed,

WEB:              "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed,       

Young’s:         The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because He did anoint me; To proclaim good news to the poor, Sent me to heal the broken of heart, To proclaim to captives deliverance, And to blind receiving of sight, To send away the bruised with deliverance,
Conte (RC):   "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because of this, he has anointed me. He has sent me to evangelize the poor, to heal the contrite of heart,


4:18                 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.  Or, I speak by Divine appointment; I am Divinely inspired to speak.  [11]

                        He thus asserts His designation to the prophetic office and His qualifications for it.  [8]

                        because.  In order to accomplish properly and fully the task of preaching set before Him.  [rw]            

He hath anointed me.  This is the meaning of the word "Christ" in the Greek and the word "Messiah" in the Hebrew.  Here He declares His claim to the official title, and that He was the Christ and the Messiah promised.  Not that He was literally anointed as were the kings and priests, who were the types of His office, but that He had what that anointing signified--a baptism and consecration of the Holy Ghost.  It was not only an act of consecration, but a symbol of the spiritual influence by which the recipient was qualified and designated for his work.  1 Samuel 10:1, 6; 16:3.  [8]

                        to preach the gospel.  The "gospel" means good news--the good news of salvation.  [11]

                        to the poor.  By the poor are meant all those who are destitute of the comforts of this life and who, therefore, may be more readily disposed to seek treasures in heaven; all those who are sensible of their sins or are poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).  The Pharisees and Sadducees despised the poor.  Ancient philosophers neglected them.  But the gospel seeks to bless them.  The poor feel their need of some sources of comfort that the world cannot give, and accordingly our Savior met with His greatest success among the poor.  [11]

Isaiah spake first to a nation of poor captive Jews, the figures of the wretched sons of want every where, who are led captive of Satan at his will.  The Savior preached to the poor, in both senses of the word.  See note, Matt. v. 3.  Many poor are not blessed because of pride and unbelief; and many are disposed to vaunt themselves upon their mere poverty, as if it commended them to God.  Let rich and poor remember that God looks to the heart and is not a respecter of persons.  [4]

                        He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted.  To console those who are deeply afflicted, or whose hearts are broken by external calamities or by a deep sense of their sinfulness.  [11]

                        to preach deliverance to the captives.  This is a figure originally applicable to those in captivity in Babylon.  They were miserable.  To grant deliverance to them and restore them to their country; to grant deliverance to those who are in prison, and restore them to their families; to give liberty to the slave, and restore him to freedom, was to confer the highest benefit and impart the richest favor:  So the gospel imparts favor.  It does not literally open the doors of prisons, but it releases the mind, captive under sin.  [11]

                        Relationship of such deliverance to the recovery of sight that is mentioned next:   It was common in the East to put out the eyes of prisoners.  Judges xvi. 21; 2 Kings xxvi. 7.  [4]

                        and recovering of sight.  The corresponding phrase in the Hebrew reads literally, "and to the bound, open opening"--i.e., of the eyes, or of the prison.  From the usage, however, the terms must refer rather to the opening of the eyes than of the prison, and so the phrase which is not clear in the Hebrew, is made plain by our Lord's use of it.  And this sense agrees entirely with the Old Testament sense of the terms, as referring to spiritual blindness and illumination.  [Isaiah] 42:7; 50:10.   [8]        

                        to the blind.  Jesus brings the most helpful form of revelation:  the capacity to see truth for themselves.  [26]

                        to set at liberty them that are bruised.  Though this clause does not occur in the [Hebrew Isaiah] passage with the rest, it is found in Isaiah 58:6, as rendered by the Greek version.  [8]

                        Another class among captives were those, who had been cruelly treated in hard labor or by severe punishments.  The Gospel comes to many such, to release them from the pressure of their burdens, and give them grace to bear the woes, which their own or others' sins have brought upon them.  [4]



4:19                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    to proclaim the year of acceptance with the Lord."

WEB:              and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." 

Young’s:         To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.'
Conte (RC):   to preach forgiveness to captives and sight to the blind, to release the broken into forgiveness, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of retribution."


4:19                 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  The time when God is willing to accept or receive sinners coming to Him.  [11]

A literal interpretation of the word year gave rise among some of the Christian fathers to the theory that our Lord's ministry lasted but a single year.  [2]

                        Or:  There is manifest allusion here to the year of Jubilee, which occurred every fiftieth year among the Jews [Leviticus 25:10], when slaves were set at liberty, and the possessions that were sold, reverted to their original owners.  [17]



4:20                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And rolling up the book, He returned it to the attendant, and sat down--to speak. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

WEB:              He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him.    

Young’s:         And having folded the roll, having given it back to the officer, he sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue were gazing on him.
Conte (RC):   And when he had rolled up the book, he returned it to the minister, and he sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him.


4:20                 And he closed the book.  Notice how the quotation stops when it comes to the fearful sentence, “and the day of vengeance of our God.”  John the Baptist would hardly have left it out.  [Furthermore] the section ordinarily read would be much longer than that here quoted.  Either the narrative is intended to show merely where the passage is found and how it begins, of which Jesus then read as much as He pleased, or (and this is the common view) that He stopped here of His own authority, having read as much as was necessary.  It is not at all unlikely that, in the course of His reading, or the following remarks, Jesus referred to other passages of Isaiah which, in the [lesson], became blended with the one first read.  [52]

                        and he gave it again to the minister [attendant, NKJV].  Hand copied manuscripts were inherently expensive and when one considers the length of the book of Isaiah, even more so in cases of such books.  Hence the appointment of someone to take care of the synagogue’s manuscripts.  [rw]

                        and sat down.  This did not mean that He had nothing to say, but it showed the contrary.  For the custom in the synagogue was to stand in reading the Scripture, and to sit down for explanation of it.  This led them to fix their eyes on Him in eager expectation.  He was to preach now from a text.  [8]

                        The Lord on other occasions taught sitting, e.g., Matt. 5:1, Mark 4:1, 13:3.  [25]  

                        And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him.  Were intently fixed on Him, waiting to see what explanation He would give of the words.  [11]

                        [“Fastened:”] A favorite word of Luke, who uses it eleven times; elsewhere it is only found in 2 Corinthians 3:7, 13.  [56]



4:21                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    Then He proceeded to say to them, "To-day is this Scripture fulfilled in your hearing."

WEB:              He began to tell them, "Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."         

Young’s:         And he began to say unto them -- 'To-day hath this writing been fulfilled in your ears;'
Conte (RC):   Then he began to say to them, "On this day, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."


4:21                 And He began to say unto them.  Implying that this is only a part or abstract of the discourse.  [8]

                        This day is this scripture fulfilled.  It is coming to pass; the thing originally intended by it is about to be accomplished.  [11]

                        Made good; shown to be true in their spiritual meaning.  [4]]

                        in your ears.  In your hearing; or you hear, in my preaching, the fulfillment of this prophecy.  [11]



4:22                                                     Translations

Weymouth:    And they all spoke well of Him, wondering at the sweet words of kindness which fell from His lips, while they asked one another, "Is not this Joseph's son?"

WEB:              All testified about him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, and they said, "Isn't this Joseph's son?"    

Young’s:         and all were bearing testimony to him, and were wondering at the gracious words that are coming forth out of his mouth, and they said, 'Is not this the son of Joseph?'
Conte (RC):   And everyone gave testimony to him. And they wondered at the words of grace that proceeded from his mouth. And they said, "Is this not the son of Joseph?"


4:22                 And all bare Him witness.  Their reason and conscience approved of it, and they were constrained to admit the force and propriety of it; and on this account they wondered.  [11]

                        Their meetings were not bound to silence on the part of the congregation, as are ours.  They, with one consent, gave, in their comments to each other, honorable testimony to the excellence of His discourse.  This implies and almost proves that He spoke at some length.  [52]

                        and wondered at the gracious words.  Rather, “words of grace.”  The word grace does not here mean mercy or favor, but beauty and attractiveness.  This verse and John 7:46 are the chief proofs that there was in our Lord’s utterance an irresistible majesty.  Compare Psalms xlv. 2 ; John 1:14.  [56]

which proceeded out of his mouth.  From someone else—someone who had a reputation as a public speaker—the effectiveness of the message would not be surprising.  What was surprising was both its effectiveness and how it came out of the mouth of one they would never have been suspected to have such a well developed teaching gift.  [rw]

                        And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?  In their mouths, this meant:  “How is it possible for a man of His birth and education to speak in this way, and to urge such claims for Himself?”  There was not merely wonder in their question, but a shade of unbelief and refusal.  What inference may we draw from their admiring surprise in regard to the change which Jesus had undergone through His baptism, the reception of the Spirit thereupon, and the disciple of the temptation?  It is almost certain that He had often taken part in their synagogue services before [but now He is so, so different!]  [52]   






Books Utilized

(with number code)



1          =          Adam Clarke.  The New Testament . . . with a Commentary and

Critical Notes.  Volume I:   Matthew to the Acts.   Reprint, Nashville,

Tennessee:  Abingdon Press.


2          =          Marvin R. Vincent.  Word Studies in the New Testament.  Volume I:

The Synoptic  Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles of Peter, James,

and Jude.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1887; 1911 printing.


3          =          J. S. Lamar.  Luke.  [Eugene S. Smith, Publisher; reprint, 1977 (?)]


4          =          Charles H. Hall.  Notes, Practical and Expository on the Gospels;

volume two:  Luke-John.  New York:  Hurd and Houghton, 1856,



5          =          John Kitto.  Daily Bible Illustrations.  Volume II:  Evening Series: 

The Life and Death of Our Lord.  New York:  Robert Carter and

Brothers, 1881.


6          =          Thomas M. Lindsay.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  Two

volumes.  New York:  Scribner & Welford, 1887.


7          =          W. H. van Doren.  A Suggestive Commentary on the New Testament: 

Saint Luke.  Two volumes.  New York:  D. Appleton and Company,



8          =          Melancthon W. Jacobus.  Notes on the Gospels, Critical and

Explanatory:  Luke and John.  New York:  Robert Carter &

Brothers, 1856; 1872 reprint.


9          =          Alfred Nevin.  Popular Expositor of the Gospels and Acts:  Luke. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:  Ziegler & McCurdy, 1872.


10        =          Alfred Nevin.  The Parables of Jesus.  Philadelphia:  Presbyterian

Board of Publication, 1881.


11        =          Albert Barnes.  "Luke."  In Barnes' Notes on the New Testament.

Reprint, Kregel Publications, 1980.


12        =          Alexander B. Bruce.  The Synoptic Gospels.  In The Expositor's

Greek Testament, edited by W. Robertson Nicoll.  Reprint, Grand

Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.   Eerdmans Publishing Company.


13        =          F. Godet.  A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke.  Translated

from the Second French Edition by E. W. Shalders and M. D. Cusin.

New York:  I. K. Funk & Company, 1881.


14        =          D. D. Whedon.  Commentary on the Gospels:  Luke-John.   New

York:  Carlton & Lanahan, 1866; 1870 reprint.   


15        =          Henry Alford.  The Greek Testament.  Volume I:  The Four Gospels.

Fifth Edition.  London:  Rivingtons, 1863.  


16        =          David Brown.   "Luke" in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and

David Brown,  A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the

Old and New Testaments.  Volume II:  New Testament.  Hartford:

S. S. Scranton Company, no date.


17        =          Dr. [no first name provided] MacEvilly.  An Exposition of the Gospel

of St. Luke.  New York:  Benziger Brothers, 1886.


18        =          H. D. M. Spence.  “Luke.”  In the Pulpit Commentary, edited by H. D.

M. Spence.  Reprinted by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,



19        =          John Calvin.  Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists,

Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Translated by William Pringle.  Reprint,

Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B.    Eerdmans Publishing Company.


20        =          Thomas Scott.  The Holy Bible . . . with Explanatory Notes (and)

Practical Observations.  Boston:  Crocker and Brewster.


21        =          Henry T. Sell.  Bible Studies in the Life of Christ:  Historical and

Constructive.  New York:  Fleming H. Revell Company, 1902.


22        =          Philip Vollmer.  The Modern Student's Life of Christ.  New York:

Fleming H. Revell Company, 1912.


23        =          Heinrich A. W. Meyer.  Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the

Gospels of Mark and Luke.  Translated from the Fifth German

Edition by Robert Ernest Wallis.  N. Y.:  Funk and Wagnalls,

1884; 1893 printing. 


24        =          John Albert Bengel. Gnomon of the New Testament.  A New

                        Translation by Charlton T. Lewis and Marvin R. Vincent. 

Volume One.  Philadelphia:  Perkinpine & Higgins, 1860.


25        =          John Cummings.  Sabbath Evening Readers on the New Testa-

ment:  St. Luke.  London:  Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co,1854.


26        =          Walter F. Adeney, editor.  The Century Bible:  A Modern  

Commentary--Luke.  New York:  H. Frowdey, 1901.  Title page

missing from copy.


27        =          Pasquier Quesnel.  The Gospels with Reflections on Each Verse.

Volumes I and II.  (Luke is in part of both).  New York:  Anson

D. F. Randolph, 1855; 1867 reprint. 


28        =          Charles R. Erdman.  The Gospel of Luke:  An Exposition.

Philadelphia:  Westminster   Press, 1921; 1936 reprint.


29        =          Elvira J. Slack.  Jesus:  The Man of Galilee.  New York:  National

Board of the Young Womens Christian Associations, 1911.


30        =          Arthur Ritchie.  Spiritual Studies in St. Luke's Gospel.  Milwaukee:

The Young Churchman Company, 1906.


31        =          Bernhard Weiss.  A Commentary on the New Testament.  Volume

Two:  Luke-The Acts.  New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company,1906.


32        =          Matthew Henry.  Commentary on the Whole Bible.  Volume V:

Matthew to John.  17--.  Reprint, New York:  Fleming H. Revell

Company, no date.


33        =          C. G. Barth.  The Bible Manual:  An Expository and Practical

Commentary on the Books of Scripture.  Second Edition.

London:  James Nisbet and Company, 1865.


34        =          Nathaniel S. Folsom.  The Four Gospels:  Translated . . . and with

Critical and Expository Notes.  Third Edition.  Boston:  Cupples,

Upham, and Company, 1871; 1885 reprint.


35        =          Henry Burton.  The Gospel according to Luke.  In the Expositor's

Bible series.  New York:  A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1895. 


36        =          [Anonymous].  Choice Notes on the Gospel of S. Luke, Drawn from

Old and New Sources.  London:  Macmillan & Company, 1869.


37        =          Marcus Dods.  The Parables of Our Lord.  New York:  Fleming H.

Revell Company, 18--. 


38        =          Alfred Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.  

Second Edition.  New York:  Anson D. F. Randolph and Company,



39        =          A. T. Robertson.  Luke the Historian in the Light of Research. 

New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920; 1930 reprint. 


40        =          James R. Gray.  Christian Workers' Commentary on the Old and

New Testaments.  Chicago:  Bible Institute Colportage Associat-

ion/Fleming H. Revell Company, 1915.


41        =          W. Sanday.  Outlines of the Life of Christ.  New York:  Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1905.


42        =          Halford E. Luccock.  Studies in the Parables of Jesus.  New York:

Methodist Book Concern, 1917.


43        =          George H. Hubbard.  The Teaching of Jesus in Parables.  New

York:  Pilgrim Press, 1907. 


44        =          Charles S. Robinson.  Studies in Luke's Gospel.  Second Series.

New York:American Tract Society, 1890.  


45        =          John Laidlaw.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:  Funk &

Wagnalls Company,   1892.


46        =          William M. Taylor.  The Miracles of Our Saviour.  Fifth Edition.

New York:  A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1890; 1903 reprint.


47        =          Alexander Maclaren.  Expositions of Holy Scripture:  St. Luke.

New York:  George H. Doran Company, [no date].


48        =          George MacDonald.  The Miracles of Our Lord.  New York:

George Routledge & Sons, 1878. 


49        =          Joseph Parker.  The People's Bibles:  Discourses upon Holy Scrip-

                        tureMark-Luke.    New York:  Funk & Wagnalls Company, 18--.


50        =          Daniel Whitby and Moses Lowman.  A Critical Commentary and

Paraphrase on the New Testament:  The Four Gospels and the Acts

of the Apostles.  Philadelphia:  Carey & Hart, 1846.


51        =          Matthew Poole.  Annotations on the Holy Bible.  1600s.



52        =          George R. Bliss.  Luke.  In An American Commentary on the New

Testament.  Philadelphia:  American Baptist Publication Society,



53        =          J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton.  The Fourfold Gospel. 

1914.  Computerized.


54        =          John Trapp.  Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.  1654.



55        =          Ernest D. Burton and Shailer Matthews.  The Life of Christ.

Chicago, Illinois:  University of Chicago Press, 1900; 5th reprint,



56        =          Frederic W. Farrar.  The Gospel According to St. Luke.  In “The

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges” series.  Cambridge:  At

the University Press, 1882.