(1-13) Being full of the Holy Ghost.—See Notes on Matthew 4:1-11. The words used by St. Luke describe the same fact as those used by St. Matthew and St. Mark, and agree with the Spirit given “not by measure” of John 3:34
In a moment of time.—The concentration of what seems an almost endless succession of images into the consciousness of a moment is eminently characteristic of the activity of the human soul in the state of ecstasy or vision.
For a season.—Till a [convenient] season—i.e., till the close of the great work, the time of the power of darkness (Luke 22:53), when the prince of this world again came (John 14:30), and, trying then the power of suffering, as he had before tried the allurement of the world, found that he was foiled in the latter temptation as he had been in the earlier.
Again, as in St. Matthew, the reader must be reminded that the narrative of John 2-5 comes in between the Temptation and the commencement of the Galilean ministry.
As his custom was.—This, then, had been His wont before He entered on His work. Children were admitted to the synagogue at the age of five. At thirteen attendance was obligatory. It was open to any man of reputed knowledge and piety, with the sanction of the ruler of the synagogue, to read the lessons (one from the Law and one from the Prophets), and our Lord’s previous life had doubtless gained the respect of that officer. Up to this time, it would seem, He had confined Himself to reading. Now He came to preach, after an absence possibly of some months, with the new power that had already made Him famous. The work of preaching also was open to any person of adequate culture, who had a “word of exhortation” to address to the worshippers. (Comp. Acts 13:15.) The constitution of the synagogue in thus admitting the teaching functions of qualified laymen, was distinctly opposed to the root-idea of sacerdotalism.
When he had opened the book.—Better, when He had unrolled.
Recovering of sight to the blind.—The English version of Isaiah rightly follows the Hebrew in giving “the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” The blindness is that of those who have been imprisoned in the darkness.
And sat down.—This conveys to us the idea of falling back to a place of comparative obscurity among the congregation. To the Jew it implied just the opposite. The chair near the place from which the lesson was read was the pulpit of the Rabbi, and to sit down in that chair (as in Matthew 5:1; Matthew 23:2) was an assumption by our Lord, apparently for the first time in that synagogue, of the preacher’s function. This led to the eager, fixed gaze of wonder which the next clause speaks of.
Fastened on him.—The Greek word so rendered is noticeable as being used twelve times by St. Luke, (chiefly in the Acts), and twice by St. Paul (2 Corinthians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 3:13), and by no other writer of the New Testament. It had been used by Aristotle in his scientific writings, and was probably a half-technical word which St. Luke’s studies as a physician had brought into his vocabulary, and which St. Paul learnt, as it were, from him.
Saving Naaman.—Better, but Naaman. as before.
That they might cast him down headlong.—The Greek word implies casting down from a cliff or precipice. It was not a recognised Jewish punishment, as flinging from the Tarpeian rock was at Rome; but we have an instance of it as an improvised method of execution in Amaziah’s treatment of the Edomite prisoners in 2 Chronicles 25:12. A multitude under the influence of fanaticism or anger is always fertile in expedients of this nature.
His word was with power.—The word used is the same as the “authority” of Matthew 7:29. There was no timid references to the traditions of the elders or the dictum of this or that scribe, such as they were familiar with in the sermons they commonly heard in their synagogues.
The people sought him.—The Greek tense implies continued seeking.
And stayed him.—Better, tried to stay Him. Their wish was that He should remain at Capernaum, heal their sick, teach them, and perhaps also that they and their fellow-townsmen might thus share in the fame of the new Prophet.
To other cities also.—Literally, to the other cities, with a special reference, probably, to those of Galilee.