led about by the spirit: The Greek word pneuʹma refers here to God’s spirit, which can act as a driving force, moving and impelling a person to do things in accord with God’s will.—Mr 1:12; see Glossary, “Spirit.”
Man must not live on bread alone: In recording Jesus’ quote from the Hebrew Scriptures, Luke cites a shorter portion of De 8:3 than Matthew does. Some ancient Greek manuscripts and translations, however, complete the quote and add “but by every word of God,” making Luke’s record similar to the parallel account at Mt 4:4. However, the shorter reading in Luke’s account has earlier manuscript support. Even so, it is worth noting that a number of translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J7, 8, 10, 13-15, 17 in App. C) that have the longer reading use the Tetragrammaton. They could be rendered “but by everything proceeding from Jehovah’s mouth.”
battlement of the temple: Or “highest point of the temple.” Lit., “wing of the temple.” The Greek word for “temple” can refer to the temple sanctuary or to the entire temple complex. Therefore, the expression could refer to the top of the wall surrounding the temple complex.
synagogues: See Glossary, “Synagogue.”
according to his custom on the Sabbath day: There is no evidence that the Jews gathered in synagogues to observe the Sabbath at any point before the Babylonian exile. However, likely from the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the custom of doing so developed. Fittingly, Jesus observed this spiritually beneficial custom. Throughout Jesus’ early life, his family was accustomed to going to the synagogue in Nazareth. In time, a similar practice of gathering for worship was instituted in the Christian congregation.
stood up to read: Scholars note that this is the earliest known description of a synagogue service. According to Jewish tradition, the service usually began with private prayers as the congregants entered the building, after which the words of De 6:4-9 and 11:13-21 were recited. Public prayers followed, after which a portion of the Pentateuch was read aloud according to a schedule. Ac 15:21 states that in the first century C.E., such reading was done “on every Sabbath.” The next portion of the service, which seems to be the focus of this verse, was a reading from the prophets along with a lesson based on the reading. The reader customarily stood, and he may have had some freedom to choose his prophetic passage.
the scroll of the prophet Isaiah: The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah is composed of 17 parchment strips attached one to another, making up a roll measuring 7.3 m (24 ft) in length with 54 columns. The scroll used in the synagogue in Nazareth may have been of similar length. Without the help of chapter and verse numbers, which did not exist in the first century, Jesus would have had to locate the passage he wanted to read. But the fact that he found the place where the prophetic words were written demonstrates his thorough familiarity with God’s Word.
he anointed: Luke here quotes from the Septuagint version of Isaiah’s prophecy, which reads “he anointed.” However, Jesus would have read from the Hebrew text of Isaiah’s prophecy (61:1, 2), where the verb for “anointed” is used along with the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH). A number of translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J7, 8, 10, 13-15 in App. C) use the divine name here and read “Jehovah anointed.”
to proclaim liberty to the captives: Here Jesus quotes Isaiah’s prophecy, which some Jews might have applied literally. (Isa 61:1) However, Jesus’ ministry focused on releasing people from spiritual bondage. Therefore, the liberation that Jesus announced was a spiritual one. This prophecy and Jesus’ application of it to his ministry are evidently allusions to the Jubilee, which was to be celebrated every 50th year. During the Jubilee year, liberty was to be proclaimed throughout the land.—Le 25:8-12.
Jehovah’s acceptable year: Or “the year of Jehovah’s favor.” Here Jesus quotes from Isa 61:1, 2. Luke’s Greek text uses “acceptable year,” which follows the Septuagint rendering of the Hebrew expression “year of . . . goodwill [or, “favor,” ftn.].” Jesus applied this verse to himself, indicating that his ministry of salvation marked the beginning of this “year” that was “acceptable” to Jehovah for showing his goodwill and accepting people. Jesus’ reading stopped short of Isaiah’s next words concerning God’s relatively short “day of vengeance,” apparently to keep the focus on that longer “acceptable year,” during which God would show favor to those turning to him for salvation.—Lu 19:9, 10; Joh 12:47.
he sat down: The custom among Jewish teachers, especially for formal teaching sessions.
and sat down: Jesus thereby signaled that he was about to speak. It was the custom in the synagogue that the one who read before the congregation did not go back to his former seat but sat down to teach where “all in the synagogue” could see him.—Compare study note on Mt 5:1.
illustrations: Or “parables.” The Greek word pa·ra·bo·leʹ, which literally means “a placing beside (together),” may be in the form of a parable, a proverb, or an illustration. Jesus often explains a thing by ‘placing it beside,’ or comparing it with, another similar thing. (Mr 4:30) His illustrations were short and usually fictitious narratives from which a moral or spiritual truth could be drawn.
saying: Or “proverb; parable; illustration.” The Greek word pa·ra·bo·leʹ, which literally means “a placing beside (together),” may refer to a parable, a proverb, a saying, or an illustration.—See study note on Mt 13:3.
for three years and six months: According to 1Ki 18:1, Elijah announced the end of the drought “in the third year.” Some have therefore claimed that Jesus contradicts the account in 1 Kings. However, the Hebrew Scripture account does not suggest that the drought lasted less than three years. The phrase “in the third year” evidently applies to the period that began when Elijah first announced the drought to Ahab. (1Ki 17:1) That announcement likely took place when the dry season—which typically lasts for up to six months but which may have lasted longer than usual—was already in progress. Further, the drought did not end immediately when Elijah again appeared before Ahab, “in the third year,” but only after the subsequent fire test on Mount Carmel. (1Ki 18:18-45) Hence, Jesus’ words recorded here, as well as the similar words of Christ’s half brother, recorded at Jas 5:17, harmonize well with the chronology suggested at 1Ki 18:1.
Zarephath: This Phoenician town was located on the Mediterranean Coast between the cities of Sidon and Tyre, that is, in non-Israelite territory. Its Greek name was Sarepta. The Hebrew name is mentioned at 1Ki 17:9, 10 and Ob 20. The name is preserved in that of Sarafand in modern-day Lebanon, located about 13 km (8 mi) SSW of Sidon, though the ancient site may have been a short distance away on the Mediterranean Coast.—See App. B10.
cleansed: Or “healed,” here referring to Naaman’s being cured of leprosy. (2Ki 5:3-10, 14) According to the Mosaic Law, this disease made a person ceremonially unclean. (Le 13:1-59) Thus, the Greek term is often used regarding the healing of lepers.—Mt 8:3; 10:8; Mr 1:40, 41.
in order to throw him down headlong: According to a Jewish tradition later recorded in the Talmud, a condemned man was sometimes thrown down from a precipice; then he was pelted with stones to ensure that he was dead. Whether the mob here in Nazareth had such a plan in mind or not, they certainly intended to kill Jesus.
Capernaum: From a Hebrew name meaning “Village of Nahum” or “Village of Comforting.” (Na 1:1, ftn.) A city of major importance in Jesus’ earthly ministry, it was located at the NW shore of the Sea of Galilee and was called “his own city” at Mt 9:1. Since Capernaum was over 200 m (650 ft) below sea level and Nazareth was located some 360 m (1,200 ft) above sea level, the account correctly says that Jesus went down to Capernaum.
with a spirit, an unclean demon: Or “with an unclean demon spirit.”—See Glossary, “Spirit.”
why is that of concern to me and to you?: When Mary told Jesus: “They have no wine” (Joh 2:3), she was no doubt suggesting that he do something about it. This is noteworthy, since Jesus had performed no miracles up to that point. The Semitic idiom used in response, which is literally “what to me and to you?” basically indicates some objection and must be understood according to context. While it sometimes expresses hostility and repulsion (Mt 8:29; Mr 1:24; 5:7; Lu 4:34; 8:28), it appears to be a gentle objection in this instance. (Examples of the milder use of this idiom can be found in the Hebrew Scriptures, such as at 2Sa 16:9, 10 and 1Ki 17:18, ftn.) Jesus’ following words indicate why he was hesitant: My hour has not yet come. Still, Jesus’ response to her suggestion must have indicated that he was not opposed to providing help, as Mary’s reaction in verse 5 shows.
What have we to do with you, . . . ?: Or “What is there in common between us and you?” Literally translated, this rhetorical question reads: “What to us and to you?” This Semitic idiom is found in the Hebrew Scriptures (Jos 22:24; Jg 11:12; 2Sa 16:10; 19:22; 1Ki 17:18; 2Ki 3:13; 2Ch 35:21; Ho 14:8), and a corresponding Greek phrase is used in the Christian Greek Scriptures (Mt 8:29; Mr 1:24; 5:7; Lu 4:34; 8:28; Joh 2:4). The exact meaning may vary, depending on context. In this verse, it expresses hostility and repulsion, and some have suggested a rendering such as: “Do not bother us!” or “Leave us alone!” In other contexts, it is used to express a difference in viewpoint or opinion or to refuse involvement in a suggested action, without indicating disdain, arrogance, or hostility.—See study note on Joh 2:4.
Simon, the one called Peter: Peter is named in five different ways in the Scriptures: (1) the Greek form “Symeon,” which closely reflects the Hebrew form of the name (Simeon); (2) the Greek “Simon” (both Symeon and Simon come from a Hebrew verb meaning “hear; listen”); (3) “Peter” (a Greek name that means “A Piece of Rock” and that he alone bears in the Scriptures); (4) “Cephas,” which is the Semitic equivalent of Peter (perhaps related to the Hebrew ke·phimʹ [rocks] used at Job 30:6; Jer 4:29); and (5) the combination “Simon Peter.”—Ac 15:14; Joh 1:42; Mt 16:16.
Simon’s mother-in-law: That is, the mother-in-law of Peter, also called Cephas. (Joh 1:42) This statement agrees with Paul’s words at 1Co 9:5, where Cephas is referred to as a married man. Peter’s mother-in-law evidently lived in his home, one he shared with his brother Andrew.—Mr 1:29-31; see study note on Mt 10:2, where the apostle’s different names are explained.
suffering with a high fever: Matthew and Mark describe Peter’s mother-in-law as “lying down and sick with fever.” (Mt 8:14; Mr 1:30) Only Luke, apparently because he was a physician, draws attention to the seriousness of her condition, classifying it as “a high fever.”—See “Introduction to Luke.”
In this barren region, John the Baptist began his ministry and Jesus was tempted by the Devil.
The original-language words rendered “wilderness” in the Bible (Hebrew, midh·barʹ and Greek, eʹre·mos) generally refer to a sparsely settled, uncultivated land, often steppelands with brush and grass, even pastures. Those words may also apply to waterless regions that could be called true deserts. In the Gospels, the wilderness generally referred to is the wilderness of Judea. This wilderness is where John lived and preached and where Jesus was tempted by the Devil.—Mr 1:12.
Satan may literally have stationed Jesus “on the battlement [or “highest point”] of the temple” and told him to throw himself down, but the specific location where Jesus might have stood is not known. Since the term for “temple” used here may refer to the entire temple complex, Jesus may have been standing on the southeastern corner (1) of the temple area. Or he may have stood on another corner of the temple complex. A fall from any of these locations would have resulted in certain death unless Jehovah had intervened.
Shown here is a portion of the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah (1QIsa) that is believed to date from 125 to 100 B.C.E. It was found in 1947 in a cave in Qumran, near the Dead Sea. The highlighted portion shows Isaiah 61:1, 2, the section Jesus read when he visited the synagogue in Nazareth. The individual sheets that make up this scroll were sewn together with linen thread. The scroll was made of 17 parchment strips averaging about 26.4 cm (10.3 in.) in height and varying in width from about 25.2 cm (nearly 10 in.) to about 62.8 cm (about 25 in.). The scroll is a total of 7.3 m (24 ft) in length in its present state of preservation. It was probably a scroll like this one that Jesus opened and then “found the place” where the prophetic words about the Messiah were written. (Lu 4:17) Also highlighted are the three places where the Tetragrammaton occurs in this passage.
The white limestone walls in this photograph are part of a synagogue built sometime between the late second and early fifth centuries C.E. Parts of the black basalt structure beneath the limestone are believed by some to be the remains of a first-century synagogue. If that is true, this is possibly one of the locations where Jesus taught and where he cured the demon-possessed man mentioned at Mr 1:23-27 and Lu 4:33-36.