Hello everybody and welcome in to episode 183 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Luke 4 today and our focus is on that time that Jesus confronted a crowd about their racism, and the crowd literally tried to kill Him! We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in  Thanks for listening!  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

Luke 4 is loaded, absolutely LOADED with amazingness. Let’s highlight a few of the episodes here before we get to our main topic.

First, the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. I see 3 important truths here:

#1 Satan has great earthly authority. Notice that Jesus neither scoffs nor contradicts or corrects Satan when he says, “I will give you their splendor and all this authority, because it has been given over to me, and I can give it to anyone I want. If you, then, will worship me, all will be yours.” Satan’s authority is most certainly subservient to God’s authority, and yet it is clear that Satan still has great authority on earth. 

#2 Satan will use Scripture, twisted Scripture and things that sound like Scripture in an attempt to mislead, manipulate and misguide you. Note how Jesus dealt with that: He used God’s Word, rightly quoted and rightly applied. The only way to fight spiritual warfare the way Jesus did is to make use of the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and the only way to make use of that sword is to know the Word daily.

#3 Jesus went into the wilderness full of the Spirit, but came out of the wilderness full of the POWER of the Spirit. (compare Luke 4:1 “Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit” with Luke 4:14, “14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit”  Sometimes God takes us through the spiritual wilderness, or desert wilds (as other translations call it.) This might seem like a very difficult time of trial, tribulation and lack…but it is often in those desert times that God is building His power and presence in us in ways that we don’t fully understand at the time.

One other point: We see several deliverances or exorcisms in this passage. One thing that somewhat rarely comes up in most people’s conversation about Jesus is how much of His ministry involved casting out demons/evil spirits. We see Jesus confronting these beings over and over again all throughout the gospels, and the apostles have a similar ministry. One wonders where this sort of ministry has gone to in most churches. Consider verses 40-41:

40 When the sun was setting, all those who had anyone sick with various diseases brought them to him. As he laid his hands on each one of them, he healed them. 41 Also, demons were coming out of many, shouting and saying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. Luke 4:40-41

And now, let us read our main passage, paying close attention to what exactly infuriated the crowd that tries to kill Jesus.

First, before we talk about what instigated the crowd, did you catch the escape of Jesus? It’s fascinating, because Luke basically tells us nothing about how it happened:

29 They got up, drove him out of town, and brought him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl him over the cliff. 30 But he passed right through the crowd and went on his way. Luke 4:29-30

LUKE, my man – HOW did Jesus pass right through the crowd?! This sounds like a very interesting and amazing miracle, and Luke explains it in the most mundane way possible. Once again, we see here evidence of the fact that the Gospel writers rarely, if ever, exaggerated – if anything, they tend to downplay what we would have been blown away by. Of more importance to our conversation today is the simple fact that this enraged crowd, knowing Jesus and knowing His family, TRIED TO KILL HIM IN COLD BLOOD without the approval of any authorities!! What got them so infuriated and worked up? I asked my family that tonight after reading through Luke 4, and they didn’t quite catch it – they missed the reason for the crowd’s murderous intent. Did you miss it? If so, here it is:

24 He also said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them except a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 And in the prophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had leprosy, and yet not one of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” Luke 4:24-27

Does that remind you of any passage we’ve read so far this year? How about Acts 22:

21 “He said to me, ‘Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’22 They listened to him up to this point. Then they raised their voices, shouting, “Wipe this man off the face of the earth! He should not be allowed to live!” 23 As they were yelling and flinging aside their garments and throwing dust into the air, Acts 22:21-23

In this passage, Paul is explaining to a Jewish crowd that God had sent Him to share the good news with those who weren’t Jewish. And this made the crowd fly into a murderous rage – think: toddler hissy fit with violent intent – and they lost their minds…just like the crowd that Jesus was addressing in Luke 4. WHY were these crowds infuriated? They were angry because of any mention of God’s love or God’s Word being offered to the non-Jewish people. THEY were God’s special people, and God cared more for them than those other heathen Gentiles. Is this racism? Xenophobia? Pride? Jealousy? Probably a combination of all four, and more besides. I maintain that it is this attitude that many of the Jews held towards those of other countries and other races that led to the great persecution that broke out against the Jerusalem church, which in turn led to the Jerusalem church scattering all across the known world. Prior to that, the Jerusalem church had the Great Commission of Jesus – His call to take the good news of Jesus to every corner of the earth – but the Jerusalem church wasn’t advancing the Gospel outside of the borders of Israel very much at all – so God made a way for that to happen, and I am sure grateful that He did!

We would all do well to remember John 3:16: FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD! Not just our corner of the world, or our ethnicity, or our type of people, or our country  – but the WORLD.

Bible Memory verses for the month of July: 47I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48

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