Exegesis - Luke 4 - Get the Context

I want you to download the slides I used so you can follow.
- Go to Google...
- Search "Al Baker church history 101"
- Click on the hamburger menu
- find "exegesis luke 4"

This gives you a set of slides.
Please DO NOT scroll ahead - I will tell you when you scroll.

*** First Exegesis Principle for Today ***
What is the meta-message for Luke?

Bibleproject, did not get the meta-message exactly right.

What is Luke's meta-message?
Ehrman gets it right on p.277
Luke is a Gentile....he is a Roman.
His meta-message is that Jesus came not just for the Jews - but Jesus came for Gentiles.

He came for everyone.

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 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,
17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 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,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

20 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.

21 He began by saying to them,
Today...in your hearing...the scripture is fulfilled.

The people of Nazareth initially seem to love Him.

Then look what Jesus says,
v23 Jesus said to them, Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself!' And you will tell me, 'Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'

THEN He says,
v24 "no prophet is accepted in his hometown."

Why is Jesus getting in their face?
Luke says they seem to be happy Jesus.

*** 2. Exegesis Principle for Today ***
When dealing with a text in one of the synoptic gospels, take a look at the other versions to see if they cover the same passage.

If you look in Matthew 13 and in Mark 6 you get this same story...

Except...it's different.

Basically, several people become critical of Jesus right off the bat.
And as a whole, they do not accept His teaching.

This is an example of Luke, who probably has a copy of Mark in front of him but does NOT stick to Mark's account...Matthew does.

Most scholars who take a [text-critical view]
Textual Criticism
says that Luke has another source in front of him.

[Look at p.8 in your slides/notes] [Slide] - 8 min
Luke tells us in his introduction,
"Many have attempted to write an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us,
2 just as they were handed down to us by those who were the first eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
3 With this in mind, since I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I decided to write an orderly account as well.

Luke tells us that he has other sources in front of him.
There are numerous passages where Luke and Mark are almost identical.

[Slide - p.10]
I use FF Bruce a lot. I have 5-6 of his books.
This is information from this Bruce book:

Matthew uses almost ALL of Mark's content - 50% of Matthew's gospel is close to identical with Mark.

Only around 33% of Luke's gospel is directly borrowed from Mark.

He says "many others have written these things down..."
There are many passages in Matthew and Luke that are NOT in Mark.

When that happens Matthew and Luke are almost identical.
That is partly why I think Luke may have Matthew in front of him.

We cannot KNOW where/how Luke has this additional information,
BUT it begs certain questions:
- when Luke adds material or records different information in a certain story...WHY does he do it?

THIS text is a great example of this dilemma.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Well, what did Jesus just do?
He is claiming to be the Messiah promised by Isaiah.
OR at least the promised Son of Man figure.

They do not accept His teaching...
This leads Jesus to make the famous statement,
v24 Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown.

Luke records this Jesus saying differently from Matthew and Mark.

Luke then adds to this story from Mark/Matthew's accounts:
Jesus making some comments basically telling the people of Nazareth that God picks and chooses who He will minister to.

Now, I already knew that the people of Nazareth rejected Jesus.
But I never knew WHY.

So...as I was reading, the thought crossed my mind...
that MAYBE the locals in Nazareth were a bit jealous or even irritated that Jesus was spending so much of His time in the "bigger cities"....
like.... Capernaum, for one.

[Slide - p.12]
If you look at this map of Judea - with a red dot representing a story of Jesus from ALL four gospels...

Quickly you will see that around 45% of his ministry occurs around the Sea of Galilee and Capernaum.

This seems to be where most of His time was spent during His first year.

Then another 40% of His time was spent in and around Jerusalem.
This seems to be mostly in His third year, including the passion week when He is arrested and crucified.

Around 10% of His time is out and about in the countryside...
like being in Nazareth.

- the dots represent texts from the gospels of the activity recorded of Jesus...
- if the same incident is in more than one gospel, just one dot is used
- also notice the black vertical line - this represents 60 miles, roughly the distance from Nazareth to Jerusalem "as the crow flies."

It is important to remember that the entire life of Jesus happened in a 60 mile radius.

What's happening here?

[Slide - p.13]
This next map is focused on the texts where Jesus is in Galilee.
You can see that many of His actions and teaching happens in and around Capernaum.

Many scholars think Jesus and His family lived in Capernaum because so many things happen in that area.

...the people in the small town of Nazareth were kind of irritated - because their "home town boy" rarely came to see them,

By this time Jesus was already attracting crowds.

HE is known as...Jesus of Nazareth.
All of this is what led me to look up a map online too see where Jesus spent His time.

23 Jesus said to them,
'Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum'."

I read right past this for years when I studied this text.

And that is what we all do.
We read past things because we are looking for that spiritual nugget.

But if you are exegeting a text to teach...
You need to be questioning the text to get behind the words...

You need to start reading in between the lines.

I had read the text 2-3 times...
that verse just went right by me.
But asking questions....
THAT is what allowed me to FINALLY....SEE the statement of Jesus about Capernaum.

THAT led me to look up a map.

[23 min]
Do you see HOW it works?
It all starts by questioning the text.

NOW I'm beginning to get into the text...
That makes me question "WHY does Luke add these examples that Jesus gives about Elijah and Elisha?

In v25-27 Jesus mentions how Elijah was only sent to help a single old woman during a drought...

He caused her meal and oil to last as long as the drought.

and then Jesus says that Elisha was sent to heal only one single leper when there were many lepers in that moment.

Why does Jesus say this?
Why does Luke add this....when it is NOT in Matthew or Mark?
Luke includes Jesus kind of scolding the people in Nazareth?

See, I always thought, "Well, the people just do not like what Jesus is doing."

Now I'm starting to see that they have this jealousy...
And NOW I'm seeing that Jesus is kind of scolding them!
Right in their own synogogue.

No wonder they wanted to throw Him off the cliff!?!?!

Both of these people Jesus references from OT stories were Gentiles.

The woman was a Phoenician in Sidon.
The leper was a Syrian.

Anytime you are studying the scriptures, especially the NT,
You need to find out what is the "meta-message" of the writer?

Each biblical writer usually has an over-arching REASON for writing the letter or gospel.

Once you find out what that REASON is...
You read every passage through that lens.

It may not have a HUGE impact on any particular passage,
but it might.


This is an example of Luke's meta-message...
Jesus is letting the folks in His hometown know that God has sent Him,
not just to reach the Jews...but to reach the Roman world.

Luke is a Gentile...and a Roman.
He is in the orbit of the apostle Paul...the apostle to the Gentile world.

Luke's gospel is specifically focused on reaching the Gentile world.

So Luke has Jesus explaining to the people of Nazareth that He has come for EVERYONE.

Not just the Jews.

Once I started seeing ALL of these things...
I thought...I need to read Matthew's version again.

Matthew's version of this story in is chapter 13 and follows a fairly lengthy narrative with several parables.

I decided to look at Matthew's context for the story in Nazareth.

Matthew ends what we call chapter 12 [prior to the parables that lead up to story of Jesus being in the synagogue of Nazareth]...

with the story that Mary and the brothers of Jesus came to see Him and He seems to dismiss His family.

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers...[came to see Him].
47 Someone told Him, Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.

48 He replied, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?"
49 Pointing to his disciples, he said,
"Here are my mother and my brothers.
50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

You need to know at this point that Jesus appears to be in Capernaum when His family comes to see Him.

"HOW do you know that?"
Well, Chapter 13 begins with...
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.
2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat...

And Jesus preaches, using several parables.
Then in v53 the text reads,
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.
54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue...

Then Matthew gives his version of Jesus speaking in the synagogue of Nazareth.

Let's get back to Jesus seemingly dismissing His family.
Some would argue...well, Jesus is not saying that He doesn't care about His family...

He is making the point that His followers are His family as well.

It reminds you of His saying that to follow Him one must "hate" his father and his mother.

But while that saying does appear to be hyperbole,
there just might be something more going on here.

Nazareth was a tiny village, probably of only around 400 people, so when they gather in the synagogue 30-40% could be extended family to Jesus....second cousins and such.

So it is interesting that in Matthew's version this story of Jesus apparently dismissing His family comes just a bit before the story of what He says in Nazareth.

[34 min]
There are several incidental verses in the gospels that, when combined, make it appear that the siblings of Jesus were not accepting of His ministry.

The one we just read,
- "a prophet is not accepted in his own country." [Mt,Mk and Lk]

- None of his siblings actively follow Him in the gospels

- Jesus appears to dismiss His family in Mt 12

- it seems like none of His siblings are with His mother Mary at the crucifixion

- James appears in Acts as prominent AFTER the resurrection
But he is only mentioned once during the ministry of Jesus...and only as the writer lists the names of his brothers.

So something happens in between.

[1 Cor 15 tells us Jesus appeared to James in a vision...after the resurrection]

- we have early traditions,
[in fragments of Papias and in Heggesipius] that ALL of the siblings of Jesus were treated with great respect AFTER the resurrection...
[this gives weight to the theory that they were NOT accepting of Jesus prior to the empty tomb...but came to faith later]

This is the end of my exegesis:
Could it be that the family of Jesus came to urge Him to go and visit Nazareth?
That is the context of Matthew's version of the story.

Or...I think it's quite possible that Jesus fully knows His brother James [known to be a strict follower of the Law of Moses]...that Jesus knows James is NOT happy with His ministry.

Perhaps this leads Jesus to go down to Nazareth...
where He confronts His extended family with their jealousy?

In Matthew's version the text states,
"[the people]...took offense at him."

Then v58,
"[Jesus] did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith."

In Luke's version of the story they wanted to throw Jesus off a cliff.


[see Bauckham: https://www.google.com/books/edition/Jude_and_the_Relatives_of_Jesus_in_the_E/oCOdBQAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1]


Why do I bring this up?

Well, many of us find that our families or friends we grew up with are not quick to listen to our story of faith.

I think this was the case with Jesus,
so we should not be surprised when it happens to us.

I know I was VERY aggressive with my family and friends after I was first saved.

It would have been better for me to simply LIVE out my faith rather than being perhaps overly aggressive with speaking about my faith.

Sometimes we have to "Earn the right" to be heard.

I led many people to faith early on...many of them, had never known me.

But many of my close friends and family did not want to hear it from me.

Some of them have since come to faith, but I suspect I could have been more effective if I had been less talk and more action.

"A prophet is honored everywhere except in His hometown."

James, the brother of Jesus...
from what we know outside the biblical text,
was a strict observer of the Law.

Jesus did not seem to worry as much about the oral traditions of the Law, but could easily quote the scriptures to show an angle that was being missed.

James probably did not appreciate HOW Jesus was going about His business.

But then Jesus revealed Himself to His brother after the resurrection.

THIS is what we need to pray for...

That God would reveal Himself to those who do not seem to listen to our story.

Earn the right to speak...

And wait for the moment when God has brought people to a crossroads.

- a death in the family...
- losing a good job...
- a close call with death [like a bad car accident]
- or a diagnosis of cancer

Sometimes this is what it takes for God to get our attention.

We also need to be ready to speak to people we have never met...
Those are often divine appointments - they will usually listen.

With our closest family and friends who are not where we want them to be,
we hand them over to God...AND we just trust in His ability to reach them.

We ask Him to bring strangers into their life who will speak God's truth.

Let's PRAY.

+ + + +
+ + + +

All Rights Reserved.
Troy Community Church
Christian Fellowship
1300 Henderson Highway
Troy, AL 36079