Luke 4

* The temptation of Christ. (1-13) Christ in the synagogue of

Nazareth. (14-30) He casts out an unclean spirit and heals the

sick. (31-44)

1-13 Christ's being led into the wilderness gave an advantage

to the tempter; for there he was alone, none were with him by

whose prayers and advice he might be helped in the hour of

temptation. He who knew his own strength might give Satan

advantage; but we may not, who know our own weakness. Being in

all things made like unto his brethren, Jesus would, like the

other children of God, live in dependence upon the Divine

Providence and promise. The word of God is our sword, and faith

in that word is our shield. God has many ways of providing for

his people, and therefore is at all times to be depended upon in

the way of duty. All Satan's promises are deceitful; and if he

is permitted to have any influence in disposing of the kingdoms

of the world and the glory of them, he uses them as baits to

insnare men to destruction. We should reject at once and with

abhorrence, every opportunity of sinful gain or advancement, as

a price offered for our souls; we should seek riches, honours,

and happiness in the worship and service of God only. Christ

will not worship Satan; nor, when he has the kingdoms of the

world delivered to him by his Father, will he suffer any remains

of the worship of the devil to continue in them. Satan also

tempted Jesus to be his own murderer, by unfitting confidence in

his Father's protection, such as he had no warrant for. Let not

any abuse of Scripture by Satan or by men abate our esteem, or

cause us to abandon its use; but let us study it still, seek to

know it, and seek our defence from it in all kinds of assaults.

Let this word dwell richly in us, for it is our life. Our

victorious Redeemer conquered, not for himself only, but for us

also. The devil ended all the temptation. Christ let him try all

his force, and defeated him. Satan saw it was to no purpose to

attack Christ, who had nothing in him for his fiery darts to

fasten upon. And if we resist the devil, he will flee from us.

Yet he departed but till the season when he was again to be let

loose upon Jesus, not as a tempter, to draw him to sin, and so

to strike at his head, at which he now aimed and was wholly

defeated in; but as a persecutor, to bring Christ to suffer, and

so to bruise his heel, which it was told him, he should have to

do, and would do, though it would be the breaking of his own

head, #Ge 3:15|. Though Satan depart for a season, we shall

never be out of his reach till removed from this present evil

14-30 Christ taught in their synagogues, their places of public

worship, where they met to read, expound, and apply the word, to

pray and praise. All the gifts and graces of the Spirit were

upon him and on him, without measure. By Christ, sinners may be

loosed from the bonds of guilt, and by his Spirit and grace from

the bondage of corruption. He came by the word of his gospel, to

bring light to those that sat in the dark, and by the power of

his grace, to give sight to those that were blind. And he

preached the acceptable year of the Lord. Let sinners attend to

the Saviour's invitation when liberty is thus proclaimed.

Christ's name was Wonderful; in nothing was he more so than in

the word of his grace, and the power that went along with it. We

may well wonder that he should speak such words of grace to such

graceless wretches as mankind. Some prejudice often furnishes an

objection against the humbling doctrine of the cross; and while

it is the word of God that stirs up men's enmity, they will

blame the conduct or manner of the speaker. The doctrine of

God's sovereignty, his right to do his will, provokes proud men.

They will not seek his favour in his own way; and are angry when

others have the favours they neglect. Still is Jesus rejected by

multitudes who hear the same message from his words. While they

crucify him afresh by their sins, may we honour him as the Son

of God, the Saviour of men, and seek to show we do so by our

31-44 Christ's preaching much affected the people; and a

working power went with it to the consciences of men. These

miracles showed Christ to be a controller and conqueror of

Satan, a healer of diseases. Where Christ gives a new life, in

recovery from sickness, it should be a new life, spent more than

ever in his service, to his glory. Our business should be to

spread abroad Christ's fame in every place, to beseech him in

behalf of those diseased in body or mind, and to use our

influence in bringing sinners to him, that his hands may be laid

upon them for their healing. He cast the devils out of many who

were possessed. We were not sent into this world to live to

ourselves only, but to glorify God, and to do good in our

generation. The people sought him, and came unto him. A desert

is no desert, if we are with Christ there. He will continue with

us, by his word and Spirit, and extend the same blessings to

other nations, till, throughout the earth, the servants and

worshippers of Satan are brought to acknowledge him as the

Christ, the Son of God, and to find redemption through his

blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
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