Luke 3-4
(Launch of Ministry for All Towns)
October 22nd

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

He left the next day for open country. But the crowds went looking and, when they found him, clung to him so he couldn’t go on. He told them, “Don’t you realize that there are yet other villages where I have to tell the Message of God’s kingdom, that this is the work God sent me to do?” Meanwhile he continued preaching in the meeting places of Galilee.

- Luke 3:42-44 (MSG)

Summary of Chapters

In chapter 3, Luke establishes the authenticity of Jesus with the baptism of Jesus and a listing of his genealogy. Chapter 4 establishes Jesus’ dominion over sin as he resists the temptation of the devil and records the beginning of his ministry of teaching and healing. He began in the region of Galilee, where everyone praised him.

When he went to his own town of Nazareth, he attended the synagogue on the Sabbath and caused a bit of a controversy by speaking the truth, as recorded in chapter 4:

    He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

       “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
       because he has anointed me
       to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
       and recovery of sight for the blind,
    to set the oppressed free,
       to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Isaiah 61:1-2 - NIV)"

    Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

    - Luke 4:16-21 (NIV)

The people of the synagogue had respected him enough to invite him to speak, but once they heard what he had to say, no one believed him. They were so angry that they attempted to throw him off a cliff, but he slipped through their grasp.

Jesus then went to Capernaum, where even the demons that he cast out recognized who he was. The people there asked him to stay, but he declared that “ ‘I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent’ (Luke 4:43 - NIV).”

Reflection and Application

The temptation of Jesus in the desert reveals several spiritual themes (1):

  • We find out how Jesus plans to use is power – would he give in to the temptation to exercise nonproductive demonstrations of might or would he reserve his ability for specific purposes to save, heal, or restore people. For example, turning a rock to bread doesn’t help anybody when Jesus is alone in the desert, but feeding 5,000 people from a few loaves would benefit people

  • We can learn how Jesus distinguished between voices from the Father and voices working against God’s will. When Satan suggested Jesus turn a rock into stone or worship him instead of God, or throw himself from the pinnacle of the temple, Jesus considered how these actions would fit into God’s will – but it didn’t

  • Jesus modeled the use of Scripture as a tool to resist temptation, for example, when the devil asked for Jesus to worship him in return for the whole world, Jesus quoted from the Ten Commandments by saying “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only (Deut 6:13 - NIV).’(Luke 4:8 - NIV)”

  • We might win a battle against temptation, but the devil waits for another opportunity, as noted in 4:13, “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him (Jesus) until an opportune time.”

Note that Jesus attended the synagogue according to his own custom, not because of cultural pressure. One would think that he could make himself exempt from the fourth commandment, but he did not. Instead, he provides a good role model for us. When we follow the same custom on Sundays we have an opportunity to celebrate with other Christians all around the world. We are encouraged and influenced by our leaders and others in the pew through their prayers, greetings, and words of wisdom. Let us re-commit ourselves today to this discipline and do it with glad hearts:

    I rejoiced with those who said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
    - Psalm 122:1 (NIV)

Why did Jesus save himself from being thrown off the cliff but did not save himself from the pain of crucifixion? Because it was not yet time. He had other towns yet to go to and needed time to train his disciples. The Father would chose the time and place, and this was not it.

We may also ask at times about God’s timing in our own lives: Why did he allow some of our loved ones to suffer in such a way, but not others. We may not be able to answer, but we have to make good use of our time and accept his will, as Jesus did.

Consider how humbly John the Baptist conducted his ministry and think about how his approach applies to our plans for ministry. We recommend a sermon essay that explores this comparison which is found on the Till He Comes website. You can see it and read it at the following link "Luke 3:15-22 – Preparing for Ministry"

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What have been your experiences making fresh bread or eating freshly baked bread?
    2. How is that Nazareth rejected Jesus but the demons knew who he was?
    3. What scriptures do you find useful as a tool to resist temptation?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father, we know that you sent your son to fulfill the scriptures. Help us to recognize him.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns


    (1) Morris, Leon The Gospel According to St. Luke, Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England, 1974, p. 102-104

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Luke 5-6 (Blessed are the Fishers of Men)

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