Jesus triumphed over Satan during the temptations that lasted forty days. Then He returned to Galilee, where He grew up, and began His public ministry. He taught in the synagogues from city to city and healed their sick. People were all amazed at His authority. But despite the great impact of His words and works on the people, Jesus already began to encounter intense rejection from the very start.
Did You Know...?
1. Synagogues (4:15): (Hellenistic Gk. sunag – og – e, “gathering of people,” “a congregation,” “a place of prayer,” Acts 16:13)… As only a small proportion of the people could become proficient in the study of the law under the scribes, and as it was desirable that all should have at least an elementary acquaintance therewith, the custom grew up in postexilic times of reading the Scriptures in the synagogue on the Sabbath day.
2. The year of the Lord’s favor (4:19): Not a calendar year, but the period when salvation would be proclaimed—the Messianic age. The quotation from Isa 61:1-2 alludes to the Year of Jubilee (Lev 25:8-55), when once every 50 years slaves were freed, debts were canceled and ancestral property was returned to the original family. [ref]
3. Sat down (4:20): it was customary to stand while reading Scripture (v. 16) but to sit while teaching (see Mt 5:1; 26:55; Jn 8:2; Ac 16:13). [ref]
4. Capernaum (4:23,31) is one of the territories assigned to the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali. It is located at the northern end of the Sea of Galilee.
5. Sidon (4:26): One of the oldest Phoenician cities, situated along the Mediterranean.
6. When the sun was setting (4:40): The Sabbath (v. 31) was over at sundown (about 6:00 P.M.). Until then, according to the tradition of the elders, Jews could not travel more than about twothirds of a mile or carry a burden. Only after sundown could they carry the sick to Jesus, and their eagerness is seen in the fact that they set out while the sun was still setting. [ref]
- Returning to Galilee and Preaching in Nazareth (4:14-30)
- Preaching in Capernaum (4:31-41)
- Preaching and healing the demon-possessed (4:31-37)
- Healing Simon’s mother-in-law (4:38-39)
- Healing the multitude (4:40-41)
- Preaching in Other Cities of Galilee (4:42-44)
Observe all the references to the effect of Jesus’ words and preaching.Hide Answer
See verses 18, 19, 22, 32, 35, 36, 39, 41, 43.
2. How was the messianic prophecy of Deut 18:18 fulfilled in Jesus in this narrative?Hide Answer
The emphasis on Jesus’ preaching ministry in this passage points out that He was the Prophet Moses had predicted. Jesus even stated explicitly that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, which stressed the prophetic role of the Messiah (Note that the words Spirit, anointing, sent, preach, proclaim, are familiar words describing the ministries of OT prophets).
What was the people’s initial response to Jesus’ message?Hide Answer
See verse 15.
Based on the words of Isaiah (18-19), explain the effect of Jesus’ ministry as well as our preaching.Hide Answer
That the gospel is preached to the poor means that the gospel will give spiritual abundance to those who humbly seek God (Mt 5:3,6). The gospel heals the brokenhearted because the Lord’s love and forgiveness restore those in despair and sorrow (Mt 12:20; Ps 51:17). The liberty that the gospel gives refers to freedom from the power of sin (Rom 8:1-4; 1Tim 1:15). Recovery of sight to the blind refers not only to physical healing but also restoration of spiritual sight (1Cor 2:10-16; 2Cor 4:4-6).
How have you experienced these effects of the gospel in your life?
What enables the preacher of the gospel to bring out the effect of the gospel?Hide Answer
Just as the priests and prophets were anointed before they carried out their mission, a preacher must receive the anointing of God’s Spirit to engage in proclaiming the gospel. God sends and empowers His workers by giving them the Holy Spirit so that their work may carry spiritual power and authority ( Acts 1:8). We can see such anointing in Jesus (Lk 4:14).
What was the people’s reaction after Jesus spoke from Isaiah’s prophecy? Why did they react this way?Hide Answer
Their amazement was probably twofold: 1. They were amazed that the son of a carpenter, whom they all knew so well, could speak such wise and powerful words. 2. They were amazed that Jesus, whom they thought was an ordinary man of their own town, claimed to be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s messianic prophecy.
If Jesus knew that the people of His own town would reject Him, why did He still preach to them?Hide Answer
As Simeon had prophesied many years before, Jesus would cause the fall and rising of many in Israel, and that He would be a sign which will be spoken against, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (Lk 2:34-35). On the one hand, the purpose of Jesus’ preaching was to save those who would accept Him. But on the other hand, it also served to reveal the stubbornness of unbelievers (cf. Jn 12:48).
What lesson can we learn here for our preaching?
What was Jesus saying through the proverb in 23?Hide Answer
The people of Nazareth, who had heard the miraculous deeds Jesus had done in Capernaum, would demand Him to prove Himself here in His own town. In other words, they did not believe that Jesus, the son of Joseph, could actually have done the great things they had heard about.
What is the point of Jesus’ words in 25-27?Hide Answer
God is under no obligation to show special favor to His chosen people, and He may freely choose to give His grace to the Gentiles. Likewise, the blessings of the gospel would be given to people other than those of Jesus’ own town because of their unbelief.
What was the people’s reaction to these words, and why did they react this way? What does this tell us about them?Hide Answer
Their rage was due to their indignation. Jesus’s words pointed out that while they thought they were rejecting Jesus, they were actually being rejected by God. Just as it was pride that prevented them from believing Jesus, it was also pride that incited them to kill Him now.
What miracle happened then?
What kind of authority did Jesus’ words have that astonished the people? (32)Hide Answer
Unlike the teachers of the law, who derived their authority from traditions of men and the opinions of their predecessors, Jesus, being the Son of God, was the authority behind His own words. For example, in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus repeatedly used the words, “but I say to you…” to contrast traditional teachings with the new principles He was laying down.
How did Jesus heal the demon-possessed man?
How does this story relate to the messianic prophecy in the previous section (18-19)?
What was the people’s reaction and the resulting effect of the healing?
Verse 38 mentions an important role Simon’s family played. What was it? What does this teach us?
What did Simon’s mother-in-law do after receiving healing? What can we learn from her?
How did Jesus heal the multitude? Is there something we can learn from His action?
Why do you think the people waited until sunset to bring the sick to Jesus?Hide Answer
The rabbinic regulations prohibited them from bringing the sick for healing on the Sabbath (cf. 13:14). This detailed description shows the desperate need of the multitude for healing and the irony of the prohibition to do good on the Sabbath.
What did Jesus do after the healings? Why?Hide Answer
Mark 1:35 tells us that Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to pray. Jesus needed to spend quiet time with the Heavenly Father so He might focus on His relationship with the Father and receive from Him the spiritual strength He needed.
How do you withdraw yourself in the midst of your busy schedule?
Why did the people try to keep Jesus from leaving them?Hide Answer
So they might always receive the blessings of Jesus’ ministry, perhaps in particular, His healing.
What is the significance of the words in 43? What can we learn about the priority of Jesus’ ministry?Hide Answer
The key words “I must” and “for this purpose I have been sent” indicate Jesus’ sense of mission. While healing was important, that wasn’t the main purpose of Jesus’ ministry. He must bring the gospel of the Kingdom to other cities also so that more people might believe Him and be saved.