Luke 4:14-30 “Which Jesus”

How many version of Jesus Christ are there?

(Show Picture)

We have the regular version that we see in our Sunday school books, I like to call this guy, “White republican Jesus”. This is the Jesus that teaches children to be nice, saves us from our sins, and takes us to heaven when we die. He is a favourite fo people who watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh.

If you have been exposed to a left leaning bible college professor, You might have met Political Revolutionary Jesus. These take a few texts, one that we will read today. And say that Jesus taught us that the poor will inherit the earth, so the poor should rise up and seize the property of the rich…

You might have heard of Buddy Jesus. Like American Jesus but this guy never judges anyone and takes everyone but Hitler and judgmental people to heaven. He is American Jesus for people who watch MSNBC and listen to public radio.

There is fundamentalist Jesus, He is like American Jesus except instead of taking everyone to heaven he sends everyone, except KJV only separatistic independent baptists to Hell.

There is also Genie Jesus. This is the Jesus that if you say the right prayers and have enough faith he will give you what you want. Usually money and health.

So much Jesus, So little of the actual guy that we meet in scripture. The universal truth about all these guys called “Jesus”, is that they often reflect the attitudes and values of the people who believe in said Jesus rather then the Truth Jesus Christ that we meet in the bible. And so as we start to read the gospel of Luke I want you to put these cultural ideals out of your mind and meet the Jesus who is far more complex than these simplistic projections of cultural ideal’s.

The truth is that God is foreign to us, and so Jesus who is God in the flesh is strange to how we think that people should act.


Point 1 – Jesus was a teacher in Church

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.

Luke 4:14-16

There is this idea out there that Jesus was not in church with the saints but out with the sinners and tax collectors. This, like so many idea’s about Jesus is partially true. Yes Jesus subverted all expectations for a religious leader and sat down with sinners and ate with them. But he also spent a whole bunch of time going to Synagogues, which were the Churches of the day. He not only went but he taught in the synagogues.

Notice in Verse 16, “As was his custom” he got up to read. Jesus went to Synagogues every Sabbath and participated in worship. As we are now separated by our current circumstances we mus remember that Christianity was never intended to be solitary religion, we were meant to be together. And I pray for the day when this can once again be our reality.

Luke wants us to see Jesus teaching ministry here. He introduces it before his miracles because teaching is more important than miracles. Eternal life in the Real Jesus Christ comes from the teaching that if you believe in Jesus Christ you will be saved, not from miracles, not from doing good works.

Jesus teaching ministry was well received… at first. In other gospels it talks about how people loved his teaching because he taught with authority and not as the scribes. He was empowered by the Holy Spirit he received at his baptism, the same spirit that rests on every Christian.

Point 1 – The real Jesus was a teacher in Churches


And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “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 proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4:17-21

Our picture of Jesus is often shaped by a vision of ourselves and we miss the most obvious fact that Jesus was of Jewish descent. He was a physical child of Abraham and as such is the fulfillment of the promises made to all the people in the Old Testament.

Jesus here quotes Isaiah 61. Isaiah 61, like much of the later part of Isaiah is dealing with How God is going to restore his people after the fall of the earthly Davidic kingdom. It not only talks about this great reversal where good news will come to the poor and liberty will be proclaimed to the captives. It also says

Isaiah 61:8 and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

Looking forward the New Covenant in Jesus Christ

And it looks forward to the universal scope of Jesus Mission. He came not just for the nation of Israel but for the whole world, something that we often take for granted but is going to be a very big deal

Isaiah 61:11 so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.

This great reversal of the poor and outcast is not only going to come upon Israel but the whole world.

What are we to make of the language that Jesus says that he is the fulfillment off.

Good news to the poor

liberty to the captives

sight to the blindness

freedom for oppressed

year of the Lord’s favour.

Jesus says that He, right there is fulfilling this right before the crowd.

Luke 4:21 Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

I talked about Jesus as the political revolutionary, Liberation theology in my opening and this is where it comes from. Is Jesus coming to release poor people of their credit card debts? Are we all bad people for being rich on a worldwide scale, are we damned for our cars and our houses?

Maybe, you cannot serve to masters. four things about these verses

1) We know that it is not talking about literal freedom for earthly captives, although that is how I think the audience understood it (They thought this was talking about Jesus kicking out the Romans!). Jesus in his life and death did not bring literal freedom to literal captives.

Galatians 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free;

Jesus brings freedom from the power and dominion of Sin. Jesus dies as a Ransom for many

Mark 10:45 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

So when we read this we are looking to the cross to see Jesus crowning and most important work, his dying on the cross for our sins. That is how he gives us spiritual sight, that is the good news to the poor, that is freedom for those oppressed by the devil.

2) We can see this in the example he uses very soon,

Luke 4:27 Naaman the Syrian.

Naaman was a commander, a man of wealth and status. But he humbled himself to be dipped in the Jordan river. He is the type of person that Jesus saved and still saves today. Everyone is welcome through the door of faith, but it’s a low door and you need to bow your head in humility to walk through.

3) It is the poor who find Jesus more often.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 1 Corinthians 1:26

This is still true today. Blessed are the poor who find Jesus.

4) Jesus will set all of us free from earthly chains when he returns.

Jesus did open blind eyes, the Church has literally freed people from slavery, and we should work toward Godly ends in all that we do. But all of these are mere hints at the complete freedom that Jesus will bring when he returns.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, in that he is bringing spiritual freedom from bondage to sin for all those who trust in His name.


Luke 4:22-24 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.

Jesus was Jewish. He fulfilled the Old Testament. But Jesus mission is not going to be what the people expected. They expect the messiah to be the conquering king. To come suddenly and lead the nation of Israel to throw of the chains of Roman oppression.

The people listening to Jesus want him to give into the temptation of Satan that we just saw earlier in the chapter. The people want Jesus to take control of the world, they want him to take the devil’s deal.

Luke 4:23 ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.”

The people want him to prove his Messiah-ship by doing great signs, like Satan tempts Jesus to do by throwing himself off the temple roof.

The people here are really speaking with the voice of Satan here, right after they spoke well of Jesus. It goes to show how we should think about the crowd. Not only was Satan himself tempting Jesus with political power and proving himself with signs, Satan was working through other people to the same ends.

Jesus Goes on with an important example of God’s goals in this world.

25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” Luke 4:25-27

Both of these examples are of Jewish prophets not helping their fellow countrymen but instead helping foreigners.

We know in our bibles that God’s plan was always to reach the whole world through Israel. God says to Abraham

Genesis 12:3 in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Jesus presents them the simple truth. God plan is not to exalt Ethnic Israel but to save the whole world.

This is foreshadowing something that is going to come to fruition at the end of Luke’s writing

Acts 28:28 28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”

When we ourselves listen to this we should be challenges as well that we cannot be satisfied to reach our friends an neighbours for Christ, but our Goal is to reach the whole world.


Luke 4:28-30 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.

The alternative pictures of Jesus that are put forward by our culture are too safe, to non-offensive.

The real Jesus made the crowd so upset that they, in a frenzy pick him up in a mob, and bring him to the edge of a cliff to throw him off. But then he just kind a walks through the middle of them and goes on his way. I have no idea how this may have looked!

Why were they this mad? They loved him just a moment ago and now they are attempting to murder him.

This is Palm Sunday, and the contrast between the welcoming crowds shouting Hosanna and the mob crying out Crucify is very stark. Here we get an even starker contrast, this crowd goes from slightly questioning Jesus as a local kid to wanting him dead right now.

The reason for this change, is so much like a new dating relationship, someone falls deeply in love, in about 5 minutes. Three weeks later they tell you how much they hate this person in every way. The fact is that person they fell for did not change, only their perception of them changed.

The crowds in the synagogue loved Jesus the political liberator. They loved the idea of Jesus they had in their head, but they did not actually love the real Jesus. They loved the Jesus that was going to give them what they wanted, but when that Jesus turned out to be a figment of their collective imaginations they turned on him quicker then a stranger with a cough.



Point 1 – Jesus was a teacher in Church




I have the weird plea for you today to walk away from Jesus, Not the real Jesus but if you have some sort of safe Jesus like substitute that you are believing in, stop believing in that.

What we need to believe in is the real Jesus, Who was a teacher in the Church, Who was the fulfillment of the Jewish Old Testment, but at the same time was the savior of the whole world.

And don’t buy into the Jesus that everyone liked myth. Jesus confronts a sinful world for there sin and he is often not like for it.

Jesus preached a hard message to those who are blind to their sin. But saving grace to sinners to come to him.


Add a Comment