Introduction to Christianity with Luke
Hi, welcome to my Introduction to Christianity with Luke. I’m Brent Clark. In chapter four, we learn about:
- The beginning of Jesus’ ministry
- Biblical numerology
Luke 4:1-13: Jesus tempted in the desert
Temptation can come in three ways:
- Comfort – Jesus refused to abuse his power to comfort himself by turning rocks into bread
- Power – Jesus refused the allure of power the easy way. He knew that he would eventually rule over the world, but not by submitting to Satan
- Presumption – Jesus refused to test God’s promise that he’d protect him from falling
In each case, Jesus recalled scripture to prove the Devil’s words were against God’s will. However, the Devil can come twisting God’s Word. That’s why it’s so important to immerse ourselves in God’s Word.
Luke 4:14-30: Nazareth rejects Jesus
A synagogue is like a Jewish church. They’d gather on Saturday, which is their day of rest, remembering the day God rested after the six days of creation. This is called the sabbath day.
Jesus’ reading stopped mid-sentence:
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Almighty Lord is with me because the Lord has anointed me to deliver good news to humble people. He has sent me to heal those who are brokenhearted, to announce that captives will be set free and prisoners will be released. 2to announce the year of the Lord’s good will ...
... and the day of our God’s vengeance, to comfort all those who grieve.
The Jews longed for the day that the Messiah (Savior/Christ) would come and overthrow the Roman occupation and cause Israel to rule the world. They’d misinterpreted prophecies with their wishful thinking. They didn’t like other prophecies that spoke of a servant who would be sacrificed for the whole world. Prophecy is like looking at a mountain range in the distance, sometimes failing to distinguish the peaks that are a great distance apart. Sometimes, a prophecy is fulfilled in part, but will be fulfilled completely later. Jews and Christians look forward to the Messiah coming to fulfill this prophecy entirely. When Jesus returns after the Apocalypse, he’ll imprison Satan and restore the whole world to rule from a newly built Jerusalem.
Jesus’ home community turned on him as he claimed to be the Messiah, who would do amazing things for strangers, but not for them.
One commentator suspects this happened around the Maronite Church of the Annunciation, where there are significant drops that a crowd could throw someone down and finish them off with stoning.
Luke 4:31-37: Jesus forces an evil spirit out of a man
Jesus began demonstrating the power of God, which proved his authority and his deity. He performed countless healings and miracles, which are attested to by secular accounts such as from the Jewish-Roman chronicler Flavius Josephus.
In western society, we don’t hear much about demon possession, although it’s still recognized in the psychologists’ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In other countries, demon possession is quite commonplace. I think that sometimes demon possession is misdiagnosed as a medical or mental condition. It’s important to understand that mental conditions typically stem from brain damage or chemical imbalances, which can be managed with drugs. Regardless, Jesus gave Christians authority in his name to heal people, whether it’s from a physical, mental, or spiritual condition; and to perform miracles and even raise the dead. However, these can only happen under God’s direction – not when we presume God’s will and don’t bother listening to him. The key to Jesus’ authority was that he only ever did what he saw the Father doing.
Luke 4:38-41: Jesus cures Simon’s Mother-in-law
“She got up immediately and prepared a meal for them.” The cynic in me sees this miracle as self-serving ;-). However, while no one expected her to be doing anything, she suddenly felt so amazing her response was to serve those around her. This is what happens when someone is touched by God.
It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t let demons proclaim who he really was. I wouldn’t really want the devil doing my advertising either. It’s important that people come to their own conclusion that Jesus is the Messiah from scripture and the miracles he performed – not from the insane rantings of lunatics.
Luke 4:42-44: Spreading the good news
Some translations say he spread the good news in Judea, which is down south around Jerusalem, while others say, “around Galilee”, which makes a lot more sense in this context.
Jesus often took time to be alone with God to recharge. I’ve discovered great strength in taking time out to rest from my regular work as well as ministry. Before this, I was burdened with depression.
Reading about Jesus’ temptation for 40 days, people notice that certain numbers keep coming up in the Bible. These numbers carry meaning.
3 = Trinity
- God is three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
- An atom is made up of protons, electrons, and neutrons
- Adam had three sons named: Cain, Abel, Seth, plus others
- Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham & Japheth
- There were 3 days from Joseph’s co-prisoners’ dreams to their fulfilment
- Israel was led by Kings, Priests, and Prophets
- Jonah was in the fish for three days and nights
- Jesus was buried for three days and nights
- Jesus had three close disciples: Peter, James, and John
- 3 sets of judgements in the Apocalypse
7 = Completion
- 7 days of creation becomes seven days in a week
- 7 years of good, then bad harvests with Joseph in Egypt
- 7th year is the year of rest
- 7x7 years and then the jubilee (50th year)
- 7 branches on the menorah (temple lamp)
- 7 empires rule over Israel
- 7 churches of Revelation
- 7 years of the Apocalypse
- 7 seals, trumpets, and bowl judgements during the apocalypse
- 7,000 years of biblical history (1,000 yet to come)
8 = New beginnings
- 8th day starts a new week
- 8 people were saved on Noah’s ark
- Circumcision on the 8th day
- 8,000th year begins the new creation
- 10 fingers and toes on our hands and feet
- 10th generation from Adam is Noah
- 10th generation from Shem is Abraham
- 10 plagues on Egypt
- 10 commandments with Moses
- 10 kingdoms in the apocalyptic empire
12 = Completion
- 12 constellations in the Jewish zodiac
- 12 months in a year
- 12 hours per day / night
- 12 sons of Ishmael, Abraham’s illegitimate son
- 12 sons of Jacob became 12 tribes of Israel
- 12 apostles of Jesus
- 12 gates of new Jerusalem in the new creation
40 = Testing
- 40 days and nights rain during Noah’s flood
- 40 days Moses was on Mt. Sinai (twice)
- 40 years wandering the desert with Moses
- 40 years of David and Solomon’s kingship
- 40 days of Jesus’ temptation
- 40 days Jesus remained on Earth after his resurrection
70 = Leaders
- 70 nations/languages separated at Babel
- 70 Jewish elders appointed by Moses
- 70 years of exile in Babylon
- 70 apostles sent out by Jesus
120 = Warning
- 120 years warning before Noah’s flood
- 120 years of Moses’ life
666 is the Mark of the Beast
6 = man, as a trinity (the selfishness of me, myself, and I)
While this is all quite fascinating, I’ve never really put much weight on Biblical numerology, but I do believe it has a lot of prophetic significance, and can be useful in interpreting dreams.
Closely associated with this is gematria, which is the study of numeric patterns, such as the Antichrist’s name adding up to 666 when the Greek letters are replaced with their numeric value.
The Bible codes are similar, finding patterns, particularly in the books of Moses by taking every nth letter, which in some cases forms clusters of related words.
This seems to prove a divine authorship of the Bible but leads to a lot of speculation that distracts away from God’s purpose of revealing himself to humanity and his plan to fix the sin problem.
Anyway. Thanks for joining me.
I pray that God would really bless you as you seek to understand his word and as you seek to understand him. I pray that God would reveal himself to you and place his Holy Spirit within your life to guide you and direct you and to comfort you in all that life brings. I pray that you’ll be richly blessed in Jesus name. Amen
We’ll see ya later guys.
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