Luke Series- Session 8- Luke 4:14-31

Introduction:

Connection:

In 1969, in Pass Christian, Mississippi, a group of people were preparing to have a “hurricane party” in the face of a storm named Camille. Were they ignorant of the dangers? Could they have been overconfident? Did they let their egos and pride influence their decision? We will never know.

What we do know is that the wind was howling outside the posh Richelieu Apartments when Police Chief Jerry Peralta pulled up sometime after dark. Facing the Beach less than 250 feet from the surf, the apartments were directly in the line of danger. A man with a drink in his hand came out to the second-floor balcony and waved. Peralta yelled up, “You all need to clear out of here as quickly as you can. The storm’s getting worse.” But as other joined the man on the balcony, they just laughed at Peralta’s order to leave. “This is my land,” one of them yelled back. “If you want me off, you’ll have to arrest me.”

Peralta did not arrest anyone, but he was not able to persuade them to leave either. He wrote down the names of the next of kin of the twenty or so people who gathered there to party through the storm. They laughed as he took their names. They had been warned, but they had no intention of leaving.

It was 10:15 p.m. when the front wall of the storm came ashore. Scientists clocked Camille’s wind speed at more than 205 miles-per-hour, the strongest on record. Raindrops hit with the force of bullets, and waves off the Gulf Coast crested between twenty-two and twenty-eight feet high.

News reports later showed that the worst damage came at the little settlement of motels, go-go bars, and gambling houses known as Pass Christian, Mississippi, where some twenty people were killed at a hurricane party in the Richelieu Apartments. Nothing was left of that three-story structure but the foundation; the only survivor was a five-year-old boy found clinging to a mattress the following day.

Christian Values Qs Quarterly, Spring/Summer 1994, Page 10.

Tension:

  • There is much potential danger in unheeded warnings.
  • If the Bible is to be taken at face value as true then we can see it as both a plan for salvation and a warning to those who do not believe.
  • The Old Testament reveals to us the nature, character and will of God, and our need for salvation.
  • The New Testament reveals the ministry of Jesus and God’s plan for salvation.
  • The most dangerous thing we can do is reject Jesus.
  • The most dangerous thing we can do is to not heed the warnings of coming judgement.
  • This is what the Gospel is about.
  • I saw a post on a friends Facebook account this week talking about our current political situation. A person said this:

“yeah the longer I’m a Christian the less I find necessary in terms of beliefs. I’m not arbitrator of who gets into heaven or not. Hell is barely mentioned in the Bible. We don’t really need to be spending our time on earth scared of eternal damnation.”

  • I read that and it bothered me for about a day before I responded.
  • I explained to this person in love that Jesus does care about what we believe.
  • He said in John 3 to Nicodemus:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:16-18

  • Jesus said in later in the conversation in verse 36

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
John 3:36

  • The truth is that Jesus taught more on hell than he did on heaven. He did mention it- a lot.

The story is told of a couple of soldiers that went to the chaplain with a question.  Is hell real?  Does the Bible teach about eternal separation from God?  Do people really go there?  This chaplain didn’t that hell was real, and so he told them that a loving God wouldn’t send anyone to hell.  There is no real place called hell.  The soldier looked perplexed and then began to walk away. “See you at the service later?”  “Probably not, sir.”, replied the young soldier.  Why?  “Because if hell isn’t real, I don’t need you.  If it is real, I don’t want you.”

  • Rejecting Jesus is dangerous because what you believe about Jesus Christ determines your eternity.
  • This is why the ministry of the Gospel is a ministry of warning the lost.

Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  (29)  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
Col 1:28-29 

And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Jude 1:23 

  • So, this message today is a warning about rejecting Jesus.
  • It is especially a warning for those of us who are familiar with Jesus.
  • Luke begins his recording of Jesus’ ministry in His hometown.  We know that Jesus had been ministering in Judea for more than a year before this encounter.
  • Luke is being selective in the passages he is teaching, starting in Galilee, and working towards Jerusalem and the crucifixion and resurrection.
  • He starts with this narrative and in so doing really gives us an incredible statement Jesus’s identity and mission.
  • And I hope that both those who know Christ as Savior and those who do not will be warned about missing what Jesus wants to do in our lives.

5 plot elements that walk us through this passage.

1.  The Messiah’s Ministry

(14) 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.  (15)  And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
Luke 4:14-15

  • Jesus had spent over a year down in Judea according to the book of John.
  • Luke begins talking about Jesus’ ministry by starting more than year in when he began to minister in Galilee.
  • Luke is not giving all these narratives completely chronologically but selects them specifically for a reason.
  • Luke begins in Jesus’ hometown, and tells this story because it really does introduce the ministry of Jesus.
  • Jesus’s ministry was a ministry of reaching, teaching, and ministering to people.
  • Some people accepted Him, and others rejected Him.
  • Nazareth was the town where Jesus was brought up.

“as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day”

  • Jesus had a habit to gathering with people at the synagogue.  This was mentioned in verse 15.
  • A “Synagogue” was a place for gathering for worship and the study of God’s word.  The word translated “synagogue” is found 5 times in this chapter. 
    • Synagogues are not found in the Old Testament.
    • In the time of the captivity, Jerusalem’s temple had been destroyed.  People began to gather to worship and study God’s Word.
    • By the time Jesus came on the scene there were synagogues all over the Mediterranean world.
    • Wherever there were 10 Jewish men they were able to have a synagogue.
    • They had a person, called a “ruler of the synagogue”, that oversaw choosing who would teach.
    • They had a person in charge of the buildings and the scrolls.
    • They were called “houses of instruction” and that is exactly what they were.
    • There were often educational opportunities through the week, and even the equivalent of an elementary school for kids, except they exclusively taught the torah to the children.
  • God, in His providence, had made all of these synagogues spring up.  When Jesus came, he had places to go around and preach and teach.
  • This is a similar custom to what the Apostle Paul adopted.  Paul would go to the synagogues because it was a concentrated gathering of people who already believed in the God of the Old Testament, and that revered the Old Testament scriptures.

5 plot elements that walk us through this passage.

1.  The Messiah’s Ministry

2.  The Messiah’s Mission

(16) 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.  

(17)  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,
Luke 4:16-17

  • “and stood up for to read”- This showed reverence for the scripture as the Word of God.
  • This would have been a scroll brought to Him.
  • He unrolls it and reads.
  • The scripture about to be read is found in Isaiah 61:1-2.

(18)  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,  (19)  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  (20)  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.

  • These were people that knew Jesus.
  • Many of them would have known of Him His whole life.  He had come to this synagogue throughout His entire life.
  • They also would have been in a culture looking for deliverance from Rome and a coming messiah.
  • So, they hear Jesus read a messianic passage that refers to:
    • the poor
    • the brokenhearted
    • the captives
    • the blind
    • and the bruised.
  • No doubt they may have felt this way as a nation.
  • No doubt they thought that when the Messiah was going to come, He would help bring a fix to all these problems- poverty, captivity, blindness, and the like.
  • But this text that Jesus read was not referring exclusively to physical poverty, emotional trauma, imprisonment, physical disability, and injury.
  • In this passage it gives metaphors about the state of the sinner and what salvation is like.
    • Sinners are poor, having nothing to offer God that will take away their sin debt on their own. 
    • Sinners are spiritually sick and in need of healing.
    • Sinners are held captive by their sin and in need of release.
    • Sinners are blind, unable to see themselves rightly.
  • They hear Jesus read this passage that also refers to this personal pronoun “me”.

“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
    • to preach
    • to recover
    • to set at liberty
  • Normally after the reading there would have been some exposition.
  • When it says that “he sat down”, this was the normal position of the person that gives the teaching after the reading.
  • Teachers in that day sat down.
  • The scripture says that all the eyes were “fastened” on Jesus after he read this.
    • What would he say about this scripture?
    • Did he have new insight into this scripture?
    • He has been teaching with authority through all of Capernaum.
    • There were stories about Him being “born of a virgin”. 
    • John the Baptist was His cousin and had said some big things about Him.
  • What is he going to say?

5 plot elements that walk us through this passage.

1.  The Messiah’s Ministry

2.  The Messiah’s Mission

3.  The Messiah’s Claim

(21)  And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

  • Jesus is clearly claiming that He is the fulfillment to this scripture.
  • Jesus did not say “one day this scripture is fulfilled in your ears”.
  • Jesus said, “this day”!
    • Sinners are poor, having nothing to offer God that will take away their sin debt on their own.
      • Jesus brings good news that in Him we can be spiritually rich. 
    • Sinners are spiritually sick and in need of healing.
      • Jesus is the Great Physician, giving spiritual health and life.
    • Sinners are held captive by their sin and in need of release.
      • Jesus has come to bring freedom from the bondage of sin!
    • Sinners are blind, unable to see themselves rightly.
      • Jesus helps us to see the way He sees as He indwells and brings us sight.

5 plot elements that walk us through this passage.

1.  The Messiah’s Ministry

2.  The Messiah’s Mission

3.  The Messiah’s Claim

4. The Messiah’s Rejection

  • They must have been wondering:
  • Is he claiming what I think He is claiming?
  • We know they were wondering because of what it says in verse 22.

(22)  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?  

  • There was a tendency to doubt.
  • There was a tendency to disregard.
  • And the reason seems to be that they were too familiar with Jesus.
  • They thought they knew His identity, and that it was not the Messiah.
  • “And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?”
  • Their conception of a Messiah that was coming to conquer Rome, release the captives, and bring sight to the blind did not include those that were poor themselves.
  • It did not include the possibility that someone that they knew, from their hometown, the son of a carpenter.

(23)  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.  

  • Jesus perceived that these folks wanted to see Jesus do and say some of the things that he had done in the surrounding areas here in His hometown.
  • I believe what Jesus is alluding to is their tendency to dismiss what He was claiming.
  • They were taking an “I’ll believe it when I see it” position.
  • It’s as if they were saying, “I’ve heard claims about you.  I am hearing your claims now.  Prove yourself.”
  • Notice Jesus said, “whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum” not “whatsoever you have done in Capernaum”. 
  • They did not believe. 
  • How else do I know they did not believe?
  • Mark 6:3-6 gives other details of the story:

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.  (4)  But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.  (5)  And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.  (6)  And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
Mark 6:3-6 

(24)  And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.  

  • He was warning that they were in danger of not believing his claims even if He did give them a sign.
  • Why?  Notice the next couple of two verses where Jesus gives two parallel statements about the ministry of the prophets:

(25)  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;  (26)  But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.  

(27)  And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
Luke 4:25-27

  • In verse 25 you many widows and in verse 26 you have many lepers.
  • In verse 25 you have Elijah and in verse 27 you have Elisha.
  • In verse 25 you have the gentile widow responding in faith and being provided for by the ministry of Elijah, and in verse 27 you have a gentile soldier Naaman demonstrating faith and being healed by God through the ministry of Elisha.
  • What point was Jesus making?
  • God is willing to heal, and save, and set free everyone that believes, not just the Jews.
  • His plan was never just to be the God of the Jews, but of everyone that believes.

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  (12)  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  (13)  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 10:11-13 

  • This is not in keeping with what these people believed about Jesus.
  • This is not in keeping with what these people believed about the Messiah.
  • Look how they responded:

(28)  And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,  (29)  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.  

  • It was not enough to just reject the message and leave.
  • They rejected the message and wanted to kill Him.
  • They believed that they were justified and righteous to do so.
  • The message that they were poor, and blind, and sick and captive was not palatable.
  • They thought they were ok.
  • And they thought that this claim to be God was blasphemous.
  • This is not a surprise for those who understand what the scripture says about the Messiah.

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  (3)  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isa 53:2-3 

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  (11)  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  (12)  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  (13)  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.- Joh 1:10-13 

5 plot elements that walk us through this passage.

1.  The Messiah’s Ministry

2.  The Messiah’s Mission

3.  The Messiah’s Claim

4. The Messiah’s Rejection

5.  The Messiah’s Miracle

(30)  But he passing through the midst of them went his way,  (31)  And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

  • Rejection did not stop him.
  • He came on a mission, and just because some people did not recognize him and believe in what He claimed, did not mean that He failed.  It did not mean that He stopped this mission.  He kept going.

Conclusion:

There are three attitudes exhibited by Jesus’ hometown that caused them to miss the Messiah.  We should be careful to examine our lives and reject these attitudes.

1. Familiarity

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?  

Luke 3:22

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

Mark 6:3

  • If we are not careful, we can become familiar with Jesus.
  • We can believe that because we know about Jesus that we have trusted in Jesus.
  • We can believe that because we are American that means we are Christian.
  • We can believe that because we do good things we are saved.
  • We can believe that because we go to church and sing the songs and got baptized, we know Jesus as our Savior.
  • If there was never a time where we confessed our need for a Savior to God and turned to Christ for salvation we are yet in our sins.
  • And even for those of us who know Christ as Savior, we can get in the routine and habit of religious practice and miss out on what God wants to do because of familiarity.
  • Every time we meet, we should ask, “God what do you want me to do today.  How should I respond to your word?  How do I need to change?”
  • We should come to church with expectation.  God, who is going to get saved today? What are you going to do today?

2. Apathy

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;  (15)  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  (16)  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Revelation 3:14-16

  • In Revelation Jesus tells John to write a letter to seven different churches.
  • The one written to the church of Laodicea encapsulates how they, as believers, were missing out on what God wanted to do in them and through them.
  • There was an apathy.
  • They were saved, but they were not continuing to grow in their relationship with Christ.
  • They were lukewarm, neither hot nor cold.
  • They were apathetic.
  • And Jesus said, in effect, you make me want to vomit!
  • The things of the Lord became so routine that they stopped being passionate about it.
  • Where are you at today?  Are you apathetic about the things of God?
  • Are you more excited about your job, your hobbies, your sports teams…than you are about Jesus?

3. Self-Deception

(17)  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:  

Revelation 3:17

  • Where are you at spiritually?  Is your evaluation of yourself the same as God’s?
  • Do you know Christ as Savior, truly?  Have you really repented of your sins and trusted Christ alone by faith for Salvation?
  • How is your relationship with God?

What is the solution?

Passionate repentance and belief in Jesus!

(18)  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  (19)  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  (20)  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:18-20

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