Day 4

Jesus’s Early Ministry

from the Luke reading plan


Luke 4:1-44, Deuteronomy 9:6-11, Psalm 91:1-16

BY Andrea Lucado

To begin His public ministry, Jesus returns to His hometown of Nazareth and preaches in the synagogue. His homecoming message is so controversial, the townspeople—the people He had known since He was a child—“drove him out of town, and brought him to the edge of the hill… intending to hurl him over the cliff” (Luke 4:29).

The crowd is with Him for the first part of His message, when He quotes the prophet Isaiah, saying He had come to preach the good news and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (vv.18–19). But when He mentions the widow in Sidon whom the prophet Elijah helped, and Naaman, the Syrian whom Elisha healed, the crowd gets upset. These are stories of Gentiles who were shown favor above Israelites.

The crowd would have been familiar with these stories, and they would have known their meaning. This good news Jesus was preaching was for everyone, not just the Israelites but the Gentiles also—not a popular opinion among God’s chosen people, as we can see from their response.

Now, I’ve had some difficult homecomings. I’ve had disagreements with friends and family from time to time, but none of them has ever been so displeased with me that they attempted to hurl me off a cliff.

In this passage and elsewhere in Scripture, we see a common response to Jesus: People wanted His miracles, but not His message.

The crowd is amazed when He casts out a demon in Capernaum. They bring their sick to Him to be healed. They follow Him around, hoping to see Him perform other miracles. But when Jesus preaches the truth in the synagogue? They want to kill Him.

Jesus’s miracles were amazing, yes, but His message was convicting. People like to be amazed. They don’t like to feel convicted.

I know, in my own privilege, I often prefer the turns-water-into-wine Jesus over the seeks-justice-for-all Jesus. If Jesus is just a miracle worker, I can sit back and enjoy the show. But if Jesus is first and foremost a justice-seeker, I have to get in the ring and be about His work.

Jesus’s message in the synagogue proves His priority was not to amaze us with His power, but to redeem us—Jews and Gentiles alike—with His blood.

I can see myself in the Galilean crowd that tried to keep Jesus from leaving so they could witness more healings. I need the reminder Jesus turned and gave them: “It is necessary for me to proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose” (v.43).

This is our purpose too. May we seek after Christ because we want to do as He did, not watch from the stands. May we remember that Jesus is our Redeemer, not a performer. And while we can stand in awe of His power to heal and cast out demons, may we be most amazed by His power to save.

Post Comments (77)

77 thoughts on "Jesus’s Early Ministry"

  1. Rachel James says:

    I love the reminder about miracles and the message. Such a powerful and succinct comparison of the “versions” of Jesus that some find comfort with. I was particularly moved by Jesus going right to the synagogue. He didn’t shy away from telling even the leaders hard truths. Yet the verses also speak to how pleasant it was to listen to him. I think that’s a beautiful balance. Speaking truth instead of ranting and raving, and being bold and brave enough to speak it to those who may not yet have ears to hear.

  2. Christina Samper says:

    I don’t know the Bible too well yet, but can anyone shed some light on the Deuteronomy verses that go with this scripture? I loved the devotional message for this day!

    1. Cassandra Vandenberg says:

      This scripture specifically reminds us of the many times Gods people failed after they were rescued from Egypt. Even after he saved them, with many miracles, they were rebellious people. I think this passage is reminder that our salvation is not from anything we have done or deserved but because God abounds in love, grave and mercy.

    2. Brooke Dahl says:

      Hi Christina! Amen to what Cassandra said! I did a little context research for you, so maybe this can help too :)

      Basically, this is right before the Israelites are going to cross over the Jordan River into the promised land after waiting in the wilderness for 40 years. So, it was a big moment for them, but Moses made sure they weren’t prideful about it by reminding them of their sin that got them into their mess in the first place.

      And that sin occurred right after God has delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and they’d crossed the Red Sea. It’s in Exodus 32-34. Moses went up on the mountain to talk to God, where He received the Ten Commandments. While he was there, the Israelites got tired of waiting and forgetful and, led by Aaron their priest who had helped Moses lead them out of Egypt, created a golden calf to worship (so crazy!)

      So God was super angry with them and no longer wanted to bring them forward to the promised land, but Moses pleaded on their behalf and God relented from His wrath. And God told them that only their children would cross into the promised land, which is why they had to wait 40 years. This part is really hard for me, to be honest! But we just have to trust that God is still good and faithful, even when we can’t understand why He almost turned from His people. If anything, it just shows that we really needed to be saved because our sin was so incompatible with God. Exodus 34:1-9 helps explain God’s heart through all of that.

      SheReadsTruth actually has a whole study on Exodus that they recommend doing before Easter! I did it last year and it really helped me understand that part of the Bible so much more! :)

  3. Elyse Murphy says:

    Jesus has been working in me the thought that in our culture today we are all about what HE can do for us, many times praising Him for all the great things He has done. But this is easily shaken in times when God seems still or quiet. HE has been challenging me instead to praise Him for who he is, because those attributes never change!
    Love how the thoughts today align with that!

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