New American Bible (Revised Edition)
16 He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom[a] into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read 17 and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,[b]
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.(A)
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
20 Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. 21 He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”[c] 22 And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”(B) 23 He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”[d] 24 And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. 25 [e]Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land.(C) 26 [f]It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath(D) in the land of Sidon. 27 Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”(E) 28 When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. 29 They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. 30 But he passed through the midst of them and went away.Read full chapter
- 4:16 According to his custom: Jesus’ practice of regularly attending synagogue is carried on by the early Christians’ practice of meeting in the temple (Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:12).
- 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me: see note on Lk 3:21–22. As this incident develops, Jesus is portrayed as a prophet whose ministry is compared to that of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. Prophetic anointings are known in first-century Palestinian Judaism from the Qumran literature that speaks of prophets as God’s anointed ones. To bring glad tidings to the poor: more than any other gospel writer Luke is concerned with Jesus’ attitude toward the economically and socially poor (see Lk 6:20, 24; 12:16–21; 14:12–14; 16:19–26; 19:8). At times, the poor in Luke’s gospel are associated with the downtrodden, the oppressed and afflicted, the forgotten and the neglected (Lk 4:18; 6:20–22; 7:22; 14:12–14), and it is they who accept Jesus’ message of salvation.
- 4:21 Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing: this sermon inaugurates the time of fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Luke presents the ministry of Jesus as fulfilling Old Testament hopes and expectations (Lk 7:22); for Luke, even Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection are done in fulfillment of the scriptures (Lk 24:25–27, 44–46; Acts 3:18).
- 4:23 The things that we heard were done in Capernaum: Luke’s source for this incident reveals an awareness of an earlier ministry of Jesus in Capernaum that Luke has not yet made use of because of his transposition of this Nazareth episode to the beginning of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. It is possible that by use of the future tense you will quote me…, Jesus is being portrayed as a prophet.
- 4:25–26 The references to Elijah and Elisha serve several purposes in this episode: they emphasize Luke’s portrait of Jesus as a prophet like Elijah and Elisha; they help to explain why the initial admiration of the people turns to rejection; and they provide the scriptural justification for the future Christian mission to the Gentiles.
- 4:26 A widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon: like Naaman the Syrian in Lk 4:27, a non-Israelite becomes the object of the prophet’s ministry.