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People's New Testament
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Chapter IV

The Beginning of Christ's Ministry

SummaryThe Temptation. Teaching in the Synagogues. Jesus at Nazareth. Rejected by the Nazarenes. Jesus at Capernaum. The Unclean Spirit Cast Out. The Healing of the Mother-in-Law of Peter.

1–13. The Temptation. See notes on Matt. 4:1–11. Compare Mark 1:12, 13.

14. Returned. After the Temptation. For the events before the return, see Matt. 4:12. In the power of the Spirit. Full of Divine strength since his victory over Satan. To conquer evil always lifts to a higher power.

15. Taught in their synagogues. See note on Matt. 4:23, for description of synagogues.

16. Entered … into the synagogue. The meetings were held every Sabbath in the synagogues, and Jesus was accustomed to attend, as were all religious Jews. Compare with Matt. 13:53–58 and Mark 6:1–5. Critics differ whether this is an account of the same visit as that of Matt. 13, or a different one. It seems probable that there were two visits. Stood up for to read. To indicate his readiness to read. It was allowed that any member of the synagogue might read the lesson, and this was the one in which he had been reared.

17. The book of … Isaiah. There were regular readings for each Sabbath, and that of this one was partly in Isaiah. The book was a roll of manuscript. He found. Isa. 61:1–3. A passage that refers to the Messiah. All will note how accurately it describes his work.

20. Closed the book. Rolled up the manuscript. Gave it to the minister. Not a rabbi, but an officer who had charge of the building and its furniture. And sat down. It was the custom of the synagogue to stand while reading, to sit while teaching. The eyes of all … in the synagogue. The man brought up among them was about to address them for the first time. The report from other places preceded this visit; the passage was remarkable, and doubtless there was something in the appearance of our Lord, especially under these circumstances, which would command unusual attention—Schaff. His mother, brethren and sisters were probably present.

21. This day is this Scripture fulfilled. By the preaching to which they were now about to listen.

22. Bare witness, and wondered. As he proceeded with his discourse. Is not this Joseph's son? They were astonished that Joseph's son, without rabbinical education, could speak with such power and knowledge.

23, 24. Physician, heal thyself. This seems to have been answered to their whispered words and the thoughts he read in their hearts. They had heard of his fame in Capernaum, but they knew him as a poor young man, and his family was poor. “If he has such power as fame reports, let him better his own condition.” He replied to their proverb with another, often verified, No prophet is acceptable in his own country.

25–27. Many widows were in Israel. He points out that Elijah saved a Sidonian widow, and Elisha healed a Syrian leper, passing by Hebrews and healing Gentiles, and thus he points to the salvation of Gentiles by Christ. Sarepta. The same as Zarephatha, a town between Tyre and Sidon. See 1 Kings 17:9, 10. Naaman. See 2 Kings 5:14.

28–30. Were filled with wrath. They were so filled with bigotry that the suggestion of the salvation of the Gentiles was intolerable, and in their rage they sought to slay him. See Acts 2:22, where a similar suggestion leads the Jews to seek Paul's death. Passing through the midst of them. With a majesty that overawed them.

31. Came down to Capernaum. Nazareth was on the hills; Capernaum in the deep depression of the Sea of Galilee.

33–37. In the synagogue was a man. See notes on Mark 1:21–27. Matthew omits this account.

38, 39. Simon's wife's mother. See notes on Matt. 8:14–17. Compare Mark 1:29–34.

43. I must preach … in other cities. See notes on Matt. 4:23–25 and Mark 1:35–39.

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