According to Luke 4:1-44

4  Then Jesus, full of holy spirit, turned away from the Jordan, and he was led about by the spirit in the wilderness+  for 40 days, being tempted by the Devil.+ And he ate nothing in those days, so when they had ended, he felt hungry.  At this the Devil said to him: “If you are a son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”  But Jesus answered him: “It is written, ‘Man must not live on bread alone.’”+  So he brought him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth in an instant of time.+  Then the Devil said to him: “I will give you all this authority and their glory, because it has been handed over to me,+ and I give it to whomever I wish.+  If you, therefore, do an act of worship before me, it will all be yours.”  In reply Jesus said to him: “It is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’”*+  He then led him into Jerusalem and stationed him on the battlement of the temple and said to him: “If you are a son of God, throw yourself down from here,+ 10  for it is written, ‘He will give his angels a command concerning you, to preserve you,’ 11  and, ‘They will carry you on their hands, so that you may not strike your foot against a stone.’”+ 12  In answer Jesus said to him: “It is said, ‘You must not put Jehovah your God to the test.’”+ 13  So the Devil, having finished all the temptation, departed from him until another convenient time.+ 14  Now Jesus returned in the power of the spirit* into Galʹi·lee.+ And good reports about him spread throughout all the surrounding country. 15  Also, he began to teach in their synagogues, and he was held in honor by all. 16  He then went to Nazʹa·reth,+ where he had been brought up, and according to his custom on the Sabbath day, he entered the synagogue+ and stood up to read. 17  So the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him, and he opened the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18  “Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor. He sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away free,+ 19  to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.”+ 20  With that he rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were intently fixed on him. 21  Then he began to say to them: “Today this scripture that you just heard* is fulfilled.”+ 22  And they all began to give favorable witness about him and to be amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth,+ and they were saying: “This is a son of Joseph, is it not?”+ 23  At this he said to them: “No doubt you will apply this saying to me, ‘Physician, cure yourself. Do also here in your home territory the things we have heard were done in Ca·perʹna·um.’”+ 24  So he said: “Truly I tell you that no prophet is accepted in his home territory.+ 25  For instance, I tell you in truth: There were many widows in Israel in the days of E·liʹjah when heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and a great famine came on all the land.+ 26  Yet E·liʹjah was sent to none of those women, but only to a widow in Zarʹe·phath in the land of Siʹdon.+ 27  Also, there were many lepers in Israel in the time of E·liʹsha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, only Naʹa·man the Syrian.”+ 28  Now all those hearing these things in the synagogue became filled with anger,+ 29  and they rose up and rushed him outside the city, and they led him to the brow of the mountain* on which their city had been built, in order to throw him down headlong. 30  But he went right through their midst and continued on his way.+ 31  He then went down to Ca·perʹna·um, a city of Galʹi·lee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath,+ 32  and they were astounded at his way of teaching,+ because he spoke with authority. 33  Now in the synagogue there was a man with a spirit, an unclean demon, and he shouted with a loud voice:+ 34  “Ah! What have we to do with you, Jesus the Naz·a·reneʹ?+ Did you come to destroy us? I know exactly who you are, the Holy One of God.”+ 35  But Jesus rebuked it, saying: “Be silent, and come out of him.” So after throwing the man down in their midst, the demon came out of him without hurting him. 36  At this they were all astonished and began to say to one another: “What kind of speech is this? For with authority and power he orders the unclean spirits, and out they come!” 37  So the news about him kept spreading into every corner of the surrounding country.+ 38  After leaving the synagogue, he entered into Simon’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering with a high fever, and they asked him to help her.+ 39  So he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Instantly she got up and began ministering to them. 40  But when the sun was setting, all those who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. By laying his hands on each one of them, he cured them.+ 41  Demons also came out of many, crying out and saying: “You are the Son of God.”+ But rebuking them, he would not permit them to speak,+ for they knew him to be the Christ.+ 42  However, at daybreak he departed and went to an isolated place.+ But the crowds began searching* for him and came to where he was, and they tried to keep him from going away from them. 43  But he said to them: “I must also declare the good news of the Kingdom of God to other cities, because for this I was sent.”+ 44  So he went on preaching in the synagogues of Ju·deʹa.


Or “and you must serve only him.”
Or “filled with the power of the spirit.”
Lit., “this scripture in your ears.”
Or “hill.”
Or “hunting.”

Study Notes

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.”

Devil: From the Greek word di·aʹbo·los, meaning “slanderer.” (Joh 6:70; 2Ti 3:3) The related verb di·a·balʹlo means “to accuse; bring charges against” and is rendered “was accused” at Lu 16:1.

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, 14, 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.”

in logical order: Or “in an orderly sequence.” The Greek expression ka·the·xesʹ, rendered “in logical order,” can refer to sequence of time, topic, or logic, but it does not necessarily denote strict chronological order. That Luke did not always record the events in chronological sequence is evident from Lu 3:18-21. Therefore, all four Gospel accounts need to be examined to establish the order of events during Jesus’ life and ministry. Luke generally related events in chronological order, but he evidently allowed other factors to influence his systematic presentation of events and topics.

showed him: The ruler of the demons apparently caused Jesus to see a vision that appeared to be real.

kingdoms: Refers in a general sense to any or all human governments.

So he brought him up: The parallel account at Mt 4:8 adds the detail that the Devil took Jesus to “an unusually high mountain.” Luke here records the temptations in an order different from that of Matthew, but in this case, the order of events presented by Matthew is likely the correct one. (Mt 4:1-11) It seems reasonable to assume that Satan introduced the first two temptations with the subtle phrase “if you are a son of God” and then concluded with a blatant temptation to break the first of the Ten Commandments. (Ex 20:2, 3) It also seems fitting that Jesus would say: “Go away, Satan!” when replying to the last of the three tests. (Mt 4:10) And while the evidence is not conclusive, scholars have also noted that Mt 4:5 introduces the second temptation with a Greek word rendered “then.” Therefore, the wording of Matthew’s account may be slightly more specific as to time sequence than the Greek word rendered “so” here at Lu 4:5. While it is true that Luke followed a “logical order,” it was not necessarily a strict chronological order.​—See study note on Lu 1:3.

showed him: See study note on Mt 4:8.

kingdoms: See study note on Mt 4:8.

do an act of worship: The Greek verb that can be rendered “to worship” is here in the aorist tense, which indicates a momentary action. Rendering it “do an act of worship” shows that the Devil did not ask Jesus to do constant or continuous worship to him; it was a single “act of worship.”

do an act of worship: See study note on Mt 4:9.

Jehovah: In this quote from De 6:13, the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text.​—See App. C.

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.

battlement of the temple: See study note on Mt 4:5.

Jehovah: In this quote from De 6:16, the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text.​—See App. C.

synagogues: See Glossary, “Synagogue.”

the public reading of the Law and the Prophets: In the first century C.E., this public reading was done “on every Sabbath.” (Ac 15:21) One feature of synagogue worship was the reciting of the Shema, or what amounted to the Jewish confession of faith. (De 6:4-9; 11:13-21) The Shema received its name from the first word of the first scripture used, “Listen [Shemaʽʹ], O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.” (De 6:4) The most important part of the service was the reading of the Torah, or Pentateuch. In many synagogues, the entire Law was scheduled to be read in the course of one year; in others, the program took three years. Portions of the Prophets were also read and explained. At the conclusion of the public reading, a discourse was given. It was after the public reading in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch that Paul was invited to speak words of encouragement to those assembled.​—See study note on Lu 4:16.

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.​—See study note on Ac 13:15.

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.

Jehovah’s: In this quote from Isa 61:1, the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text.​—See App. C.

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, 14, 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: In this quote from Isa 61:2, the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text.​—See App. C.

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.

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.

he sat down: The custom among Jewish teachers, especially for formal teaching sessions.

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.

your home territory: Lit., “your father’s place,” that is, Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus. In this context, the Greek word rendered “home territory” (pa·trisʹ) apparently refers to a relatively restricted area​—the hometown of Jesus and his immediate family. However, this term may also be used of a larger geographical area, such as one’s native land, or country. In the context of Joh 4:43, 44, this Greek word apparently refers to all of Galilee, so it is rendered “homeland.”

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.

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.”

What have we to do with you, . . . ?: See study note on Mt 8:29.

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.”

this good news: The Greek word eu·ag·geʹli·on is derived from the words eu, meaning “good; well” and agʹge·los, “one who brings news; one who proclaims (announces).” (See Glossary.) It is rendered “gospel” in some English Bibles. The related expression rendered “evangelizer” (Greek, eu·ag·ge·li·stesʹ) means “a proclaimer of good news.”​—Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11, ftn.; 2Ti 4:5, ftn.

declare the good news: The Greek verb used here, eu·ag·ge·liʹzo·mai (“to declare good news”), appears 54 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. It is frequently found in Luke’s writings. (Lu 1:19; 2:10; 3:18; 4:18; 8:1; 9:6; 20:1; Ac 5:42; 8:4; 10:36; 11:20; 13:32; 14:15, 21; 15:35; 16:10; 17:18) There is a difference between the term ke·rysʹso, “to preach; to proclaim” (Mt 3:1; 4:17; 24:14; Lu 4:18, 19; 8:1, 39; 9:2; 24:47; Ac 8:5; 28:31; Re 5:2), and eu·ag·ge·liʹzo·mai, “to declare good news.” The former stresses the manner of the proclamation, that it is a public, authorized pronouncement. The latter stresses the content thereof, the declaring or bringing of “the good news.” The related noun eu·ag·geʹli·on (“good news”) appears 76 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures.​—See study notes on Mt 4:23; 24:14 and Glossary, “Good news, the.”

the Kingdom of God: Throughout the Christian Greek Scriptures, the good news is closely linked with God’s Kingdom, the theme of Jesus’ preaching and teaching. The expression “the Kingdom of God” appears 32 times in Luke’s Gospel, 14 times in Mark’s Gospel, and 4 times in Matthew’s Gospel. However, Matthew used the synonymous expression “the Kingdom of the heavens” some 30 times.​—See study notes on Mt 3:2; 24:14; Mr 1:15.

Kingdom: First occurrence of the Greek word ba·si·leiʹa, which refers to a royal government as well as to the territory and peoples under the rule of a king. Of the 162 occurrences of this Greek word in the Christian Greek Scriptures, 55 can be found in Matthew’s account and most of them refer to God’s heavenly rule. Matthew uses the term so frequently that his Gospel might be called the Kingdom Gospel.​—See Glossary, “God’s Kingdom.”

Kingdom of the heavens: This expression occurs some 30 times and only in the Gospel of Matthew. In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, the parallel phrase “the Kingdom of God” is used, indicating that “the Kingdom of God” is based in and rules from the spiritual heavens.​—Mt 21:43; Mr 1:15; Lu 4:43; Da 2:44; 2Ti 4:18.

the good news: First occurrence of the Greek word eu·ag·geʹli·on, rendered “gospel” in some English Bibles. A related Greek expression eu·ag·ge·li·stesʹ, rendered “evangelizer,” means “a proclaimer of good news.”​—Ac 21:8; Eph 4:11, ftn.; 2Ti 4:5, ftn.

the Kingdom: That is, God’s Kingdom. Throughout the Christian Greek Scriptures, the “good news” (see preceding study note on this good news in this verse) is closely linked with God’s Kingdom, the theme of Jesus’ preaching and teaching work.​—See study notes on Mt 3:2; 4:23; Lu 4:43.

the Kingdom of God: This expression occurs 14 times in the Gospel of Mark. Matthew uses this phrase only four times (Mt 12:28; 19:24; 21:31; 21:43), but he uses the parallel phrase, “the Kingdom of the heavens,” some 30 times. (Compare Mr 10:23 with Mt 19:23, 24.) Jesus made the Kingdom the theme of his preaching. (Lu 4:43) There are over 100 references to the Kingdom in the four Gospels, most of them in statements made by Jesus.​—See study notes on Mt 3:2; 4:17; 25:34.


The Wilderness
The Wilderness

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.

The Wilderness of Judea, West of the Jordan River
The Wilderness of Judea, West of the Jordan River

In this barren region, John the Baptist began his ministry and Jesus was tempted by the Devil.

Battlement of the Temple
Battlement of the Temple

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.

The Great Isaiah Scroll
The Great Isaiah Scroll

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.

Synagogue in Capernaum
Synagogue in Capernaum

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.