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First Apologetic Discourse of Jesus to the Hostile Jews (Possibly Sanhedrin)


Return to Nazareth and Rejection
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was,
he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.  Luke 4:16
Not in this book
Not in this book
Not in this book


C: 3rd Sunday After Epiphany


Quotes & Notes on:     Luke 4:16   

  • John Wesley's Notes:
    He stood up-Showing thereby that he had a desire to read the Scripture to the congregation: on which the book was given to him. It was the Jewish custom to read standing, but to preach sitting. Mt 13:54; Mr 6:1.

  • Treasury of Scripture Knowledge:

     * to. Lu 1:26; 2:39,51; Mt 2:23; 13:54; Mr 6:1
    * as. Lu 4:15; 2:42; Joh 18:20; Ac 17:2
    * and stood. Ac 13:14-16

  • Adam Clarke's Commentary:

      To Nazareth, where he had been brought up] It is likely that our Lord lived principally in this city till the 30th year of his age; but, after he entered on his public ministry, his usual place of residence was at the house of Peter, in Capernaum.

    As his custom was] Our Lord regularly attended the public worship of God in the synagogues; for there the Scriptures were read: other parts of the worship were very corrupt; but it was the best at that time to be found in the land. To worship God publicly is the duty of every man, and no man can be guiltless who neglects it. If a person cannot get such public worship as he likes, let him frequent such as he can get. Better to attend the most indifferent than to stay at home, especially on the Lord's day. The place and the time are set apart for the worship of the true God: if others do not conduct themselves well in it, that is not your fault, and need not be any hinderance to you. You come to worship GOD-do not forget your errand-and God will supply the lack in the service by the teachings of his Spirit. Hear the saying of old Mr. Herbert:-

    "The worst speak something good: should all want sense,
    God takes the text, and preacheth p-a-t-i-e-n-c-e."

    A man may always profit where the word of God is read.

    Stood up for to read.] The Jews, in general, sat while they taught or commented on the Sacred Writings, or the traditions of the elders; but when they read either the law or the prophets they invariably stood up: it was not lawful for them even to lean against any thing while employed in reading.

  • Family Bible Notes:

    To read; portions of the Old Testament were read in the synagogues each Sabbath. Followers of Christ, by imitating his example in habitually attending the public worship of God on the Sabbath, will find his promises to believers fulfilled in themselves; and that while worshipping in the way of his appointment on earth, they are preparing to worship him for ever in heaven.

  • 1599 Geneva Bible Notes:
     Who Christ is and for what reason he came he shows from the prophet Isaiah.

  • People's New Testament Commentary:

       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 Mt 13:53-58 and Mr 6:1-5. Critics differ whether this is an account of the same visit as that of Matthew 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.

  • Robertson's Word Pictures:
         Where he had been brought up (hou ŕn tethrammenos). Past perfect passive periphrastic indicative, a state of completion in past time, from treph˘, a common Greek verb. This visit is before that recorded in Mr 6:1-6; Mt 13:54-58 which was just before the third tour of Galilee. Here Jesus comes back after a year of public ministry elsewhere and with a wide reputation (Lu 4:15). Luke may have in mind Lu 2:51, but for some time now Nazareth had not been his home and that fact may be implied by the past perfect tense. As his custom was (kata to ei˘thos aut˘i). Second perfect active neuter singular participle of an old eth˘ (Homer), to be accustomed. Literally according to what was customary to him (aut˘i, dative case). This is one of the flashlights on the early life of Jesus. He had the habit of going to public worship in the synagogue as a boy, a habit that he kept up when a grown man. If the child does not form the habit of going to church, the man is almost certain not to have it. We have already had in Matthew and Mark frequent instances of the word synagogue which played such a large part in Jewish life after the restoration from Babylon. Stood up (anestŕ). Second aorist active indicative and intransitive. Very common verb. It was the custom for the reader to stand except when the Book of Esther was read at the feast of Purim when he might sit. It is not here stated that Jesus had been in the habit of standing up to read here or elsewhere. It was his habit to go to the synagogue for worship. Since he entered upon his Messianic work his habit was to teach in the synagogues (Lu 4:15). This was apparently the first time that he had done so in Nazareth. He may have been asked to read as Paul was in Antioch in Pisidia (Ac 13:15). The ruler of the synagogue for that day may have invited Jesus to read and speak because of his now great reputation as a teacher. Jesus could have stood up voluntarily and appropriately because of his interest in his home town. To read (anagn˘nai). Second aorist active infinitive of anagin˘sk˘, to recognize again the written characters and so to read and then to read aloud. It appears first in Pindar in the sense of read and always so in the N.T. This public reading aloud with occasional comments may explain the parenthesis in Mt 24:15 (Let him that readeth understand).

  • Albert Barnes' Commentary:

      And, as his custom was, he went {l}, &c. From this it appears that the Saviour regularly attended the service of the synagogue. In that service the Scriptures of the Old Testament were read, prayers were offered, and the Word of God was explained. See Barnes for Mt 4:23.

    There was great corruption in doctrine and practice at that time, but Christ did not on that account keep away from the place of public worship. From this we may learn--

    1st. That it is our duty regularly to attend public worship.

    2nd. That it is better to attend a place of worship which is not entirely pure, or where just such doctrines are not delivered as we would wish, than not attend at all. It is of vast importance that the public worship of God should be maintained; and it is our duty to assist in maintaining it, to show by our example that we love it, and to win others also to love it. See Heb 10:25. At the same time, this remark should not be construed as enjoining it as our duty to attend where the true God is not worshipped, or where he is worshipped by pagan rites and pagan prayers. If, therefore, the Unitarian does not worship the true God, and if the Roman Catholic worships God in a manner forbidden, and offers homage to the creatures of God, thus being guilty of idolatry, it cannot be a duty to attend on such a place of worship.

    The synagogue. See Mt 4:23.

    Stood up for to read. The books of Moses were so divided that they could be read through in the synagogues once in a year. To these were added portions out of the prophets, so that no small part of them was read also once a year. It is not known whether our Saviour read the lesson which was the regular one for that day, though it might seem probable that he would not depart from the usual custom. Yet, as the eyes of all were fixed on him; as he deliberately looked out a place; and as the people were evidently surprised at what he did, it seems to be intimated that he selected a lesson which was not the regular one for that day. The same ceremonies in regard to conducting public worship which are here described are observed at Jerusalem by the Jews at the present time. Professor Hackett (Illustrations of Scripture, p. 232) says:

    "I attended the Jewish worship at Jerusalem, and was struck with the accordance of the ceremonies with those mentioned in the New Testament. The sacred roll was brought from the chest or closet where it was kept; it was handed by an attendant to the reader; a portion of it was rehearsed; the congregation rose and stood while it was read, whereas the speaker, as well as the others present, sat during the delivery of the address which formed a part of the service."

    {k} "Nazareth" Mt 2:23
    {l} Mt 13:54; Joh 18:20; Ac 13:14; 17:2

  • Jamieson-Faussett Brown:

     as his custom was--Compare Ac 17:2.

    stood up for to read--Others besides rabbins were allowed to address the congregation. (See Ac 13:15.)

  • Spurgeon Devotional Commentary:

    Synagogue worship was not all that could be wished, but it was better than none; and our Lord therefore set the example of attendance upon it, as the recognized way of reverencing the Sabbath and of praising God. Never should we forsake the assembling of ourselves together, even if we be but two or three.


  • Spurgeon Commentary on Matthew:
    (No comment on this verse).


  • William Burkitt's Notes:

    (No comment on this verse).

  • Matthew Henry's  Commentary:

      (No comment on this verse).


  • Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:

     (No comment on this verse).

  • The Fourfold Gospel:

         And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As to this city, see TFG for Lu 1:26, see TFG for Lu 2:39. As to the early years of Jesus at Nazareth, see TFG for Lu 2:51.

    And he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. This does not mean that it had been the custom of Jesus when he was a young man in Nazareth to read in the synagogue. It means that after he entered his public ministry it was his custom to use the synagogue as his place of teaching on the sabbath day (Mr 1:39; 3:1,2). For comment on this usage of the synagogue see TFG for Mr 1:39.


Additional Related Quotes


  • Although accepted by others, Jesus is rejected by his own..

  • - William Baird, Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary, p. 680
  • Jesus understands his own mission as fulfilling the ancient prophecy.

  • - William Baird, Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary, p. 680
  • No prophet is acceptable in his village;  no physician heals those who know him.

  • - Gospel of Thomas, as cited in Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary, p. 680
  • He is the great preacher who preaches to himself.

  • - Joseph Parker, People's Bible, Vol. 21, p. 225
  • The more obvious application today is that while the Church is losing ground in America and Western Europe, it is making spectacular gains in some other parts of the world.

  • Reginald H. Fuller, Preaching the Lectionary, p. 459
  • Though grace be the theme, and Jesus be the preacher, there is a power in a wicked human will and perverse human passions that can defeat all the appliances that God, within the laws of his wise government, can bring to bear upon them.

  • D.D. Whedon, Commentary on the Gospels, Vol. Luke-John, p. 60
  • The works of God are the accomplishment no only of his secret word, but of his word revealed;  and it will help us to understand both the scriptures and the providences of God to compare them one with another.

  • Matthew Henry, Commentary, Vol. 5, p. 625
  • Why should He show such grace and make such claims?

  • J. McNicol, New Bible Commentary (1954), p. 848
  • The point in his reference to Elijah and Elisha is that they were sent to Gentiles, not Israelites -- a hint of his own mission.

  • Henry H. Halley, Halley's Bible Handbook, p. 498
  • Fulfillment in your hearing does not guarantee acceptance.

  • Wayne A. Meeks, HarperCollins Study Bible, p. 1963
  • Here is a beautiful gradation, in comparing the spiritual state of men to the miserable state of those captives who were not only cast into prison, but, like Zedekiah, had their eyes put out, and were laden and bruised with chains of iron.

  • John Wesley, Notes Upon the New Testament, Vol. 1, on vs. 18
  • A person of spiritual discernment may find in all the discourses of our Lord a peculiar sweetness, gravity, and becomingness, such as is not to be found in the same degree, not even in those of the apostles.

  • John Wesley, Notes Upon the New Testament, Vol. 1, on vs. 22



The Fulfillment of Scripture
"And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
Luke 4:21
  • Scripture is meant to be fulfilled.
    • Reading
    • Preaching
    • Response
  • What is your response to the ministry of Christ in your life?


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