Sermon #23                                                          Luke Sermons


          Title:            A RIOT IN THE SYNAGOGUE

          Text:            Luke 4:14-32

          Subject:       Christ’s Preaching at Nazareth

          Date:            Sunday Evening – February 6, 1999

          Tape #         V-68b

          Readings:     Office: Gary Baker Auditorium: Ron Wood



Luke 4:14-32


          When a small town boy grows up, goes out and makes a name for himself, and comes back home, all the old men extol him, the women admire him, and the children idolize him. He becomes the talk of the town. The local weekly, or bi-weekly news paper runs a front page story about him, with huge pictures. The boy no one knew or gave much attention has become the town hero, and the town looks for a stage, so that they can show him off to the world. The poorer and more despised the town, the greater the hero.


          That is just the picture we have before us in Luke 4:14. The Lord Jesus grew up in Nazareth. The common saying was, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” But here was a home town boy, a native son who had proved everybody wrong, in so far as Nazareth was concerned. In Luke 4:14-15, we read…


14. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

15. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.


          In a very brief time, the Master’s doctrine and preaching had made him a very famous man. His miracles were talked about everywhere. And now he had come home. Let’s look at his home coming for a little while. As we read these verses, I want to direct your attention to five things in them.


I.     The Son’s Worship (vv. 16-17)


          Though the Lord Jesus Christ was and is the Object of all true worship, while he lived in this world as a man, as a child of God, our Master faithfully worshipped God in public and in private.


16. 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.

17. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written --


Our Savior set before us an example to follow. In all things, he is the pattern we are to copy. Remember, now, he needed nothing that others might gain from divine worship. He came to the house of God for the glory of God and for the benefit of others, not for himself.


A.  He forsook not the assembly of the saints. At all appointed times the Lord Jesus was found in the house of God, worshipping with the people of God.


(Matthew 18:20)  "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."


(Hebrews 10:23-26)  "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.,"


B.  Even in their most degenerate times, the Jews retained and showed great reverence for the Word of God. Great emphasis was given to the reading of Holy Scripture.


II.  The Savior’s Work (vv. 18-19)


          The portion of Scripture which our Savior read on this occasion was Isaiah 61, one of the many passages describing the work of the Messiah, the salvation he would accomplish. Our Lord probably read the entire passage; but Luke simply refers to verses 1 and two. First, let’s read Luke’


18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

19. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.


          Now look at Isaiah’s prophecy.


(Isaiah 61:1-2)  "The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.”


          This is what God declared the work of his Son would be, when he came to save his people from their sins. This is what Christ came to do. And this is what he has done and is doing.


          Our Master was, as a man, a preacher, anointed for the work by his Father and prepared for the work by the special gift of his Spirit. Preaching, true preaching requires these three things.


·        The Spirit of God.

·        The Anointing of God.

·        The Message of God.


          But our Master was more than a preacher. He is our Savior. We preach what he did. He preached what he himself performed!


A.  He preached the gospel, good tidings, good news, to the poor, the meek. – Not Materially Poor – Not Spiritually Poor – But the Poor in Spirit!


B.  The Lord Jesus Christ heals, binds up, the brokenhearted, makes blind eyes to see, and gives comfort and liberty to bruised souls.


C.  The Son of God opens prison doors and sets the captive free.


D.  All this grace he pours out to sinners upon the basis of justice satisfied by blood atonement, proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord, the day God’s righteous vengeance and justice was satisfied at Calvary.


III. The Sovereign’s Word (vv. 20-27)


20. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

21. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.


          Christ is the message of Holy Scripture! He was the fulfillment of this passage (Isa. 61), but more, -- He was and is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament Scriptures.


·        All the Law

·        All the Prophets

·        All the Types


(Luke 24:27)  "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."


(Luke 24:44-45)  "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,"


          This is not an invention or conclusion drawn from current, theological understanding. The saints of God in ancient times knew that the Scriptures spoke of their coming Redeemer.


It is a great mistake to underestimate the faith and knowledge of God’s saints in the Old Testament. God's elect were saved in the Old Testament in exactly the same way they are today. God has only one way of saving sinners. That way, as you know is Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone. Christ was the Object of all true faith in the Old Testament, just as he is today.


What amount of knowledge those Old Testament believers had, I cannot tell. It is not clearly revealed. Those earliest saints were not morons, either mentally or spiritually. We know that they understood and believed the gospel.


·        Eve understood the promise that the Redeemer would be a man of the woman's seed (Gen. 3:15).

·        Abel knew about blood atonement (Gen. 4).

·        Abraham knew that the Redeemer would be God incarnate (Gen. 22:8).

·        David clearly understood that forgiveness is sure through the blood atonement of a crucified Substitute (Ps. 22; 32, 51).

·        Enoch even spoke plainly about the Lord's second advent (Jude 14).

·        Even Job, probably the first book written in the Inspired Volume, describes Christ as our Redeemer and speaks of the resurrection at the last day (Job 19:25-27).

·        Isaiah understood that the sinner's Substitute is both God and man in one person, whose work of redemption and grace must be effectual to the salvation of chosen sinners (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-9; 52:13-53:1-12).


Numerous other references could be given. These are, truly, only a few; and they were randomly selected. Yet, they will suffice to make my point irrefutable. Old Testament saints knew and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their effectual, almighty, crucified, risen, reigning Savior.


It is also clear, to even a casual reader of Holy Scripture, that the saints of the Mosaic era clearly understood and rejoiced in the doctrines of God's free and sovereign grace in Christ. –


·        Divine Sovereignty (Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Dan. 4:35-37; Isa. 46:9-11)

·        Total Depravity (Ps. 14)

·        Unconditional Election (Ps. 65:4; 2 Sam. 23:5)

·        Limited Atonement (Isa. 53:8-11)

·        Irresistible Grace (Ps. 65:4; 110:3)

·        Perseverance of the Saints (Ps. 23:6)


In a word, God gave those saints in the Old Testament faith just as he gives us faith, by supernatural revelation, by revealing Christ to and in chosen sinners. Obviously, the Revelation of God in Scripture was not as full in Job's day as it was in Moses', or in Moses' day as it was in Malachi's, or in Malachi's day as it was in John the Baptist's, or in John the Baptist's day as it was in Paul's. But the Revelation was clear; and the faith of God’s saints was exemplary (Heb. 11).


I must personally acknowledge that I have never begun to experience the quality of faith that Noah exhibited in building the ark, Abraham exhibited on Mt. Moriah, or Moses exhibited in dealing with Pharaoh and Israel.  Those men believed God. They knew, worshipped, and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the Scriptures of the Old Testament speak.


(John 5:39)  "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."


          The Book of God is all about the Son of God and the redemption he accomplished by his blood.


Read on. Everyone who heard him was greatly impressed by his preaching. As we shall see, they were not impressed with what he preached but with the way he preached it. What a danger! -- “Take heed therefore how ye hear” (Lk. 8:18).


22. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?


          They heard with pleasure, but not with profit. They nodded their heads, but did not bow their hearts.


          These fine, church going, Bible thumping, hymn singing folks were expecting the Son of God to entertain them with his wonders. Read verse 23.


23. And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.

24. And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.


          In verses 25-27, the Lord Jesus declared to these proud Jews that God almighty is always sovereign in the exercise of his mercy, love, and grace. In other words, he said, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.”


25. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;

26. But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. (See 1 Kings 17)

27. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. (See 2 Kings 5)


          This message of divine sovereignty was too much for them to endure!


IV. The Synagogue’s Wrath (vv. 28-29)


28. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,

29. And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.


          What did our Master say to enrage these people so? He used no obscenities. He did not ridicule them, belittle them, or call them names. All he did was assert that…


·        Salvation is of the Lord.

·        God is totally sovereign in the affair of salvation.

·        God almighty is no man’s debtor.

·        You do not deserve God’s grace!


V. The Servant’s Way (vv. 30-32)


          Sow did our Master react to the enraged mob? He just went right on about his business as the servant of God. He was not their servant, but God’s. What an example!


30. But he passing through the midst of them went his way.

31. And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

32. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.


A.  The gospel we preach is a savor of life to some and of death to others.

B.  We must not look for or labor for the approval of men. – Labor with your eye toward eternity.

C.  There is a time to dig and a time to reap, a time to sow the seed and a time to gather the harvest, a time to tear down and a time to build. – God alone determines the time! Our business is to serve him, with persevering faithfulness!