Luke 4:17-21 has often been described as Jesus’ manifesto or purpose: what he came to do and who he came to address. Below is a more literal translation of verses 18 and 19 from the original Greek which shows the emphatic positioning of the terms ‘me’ and ‘release’. Note also how the primary function of Jesus’ mission is to proclaim good news to the poor and that this is fleshed out in the clauses which follow, which explain how this primary mission is carried out.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

for he has anointed me;

To preach good news to the poor he has sent me;

To proclaim for the captives release,

and to the blind sight;

To send forth the oppressed in release;

To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.

  1. For Luke, ‘the poor’ refers to more than those who are economically poor. Who else is included in this group and how might you describe this group? See also the other places in Luke’s Gospel where the poor are mentioned in association with other descriptive terms – Luke 6:20, 7:22; 14:13; 14:21; 16:20 (depending upon which translation you use, you may not actually see the word ‘poor’. What does this suggest about what Luke means by ‘the poor’?
  2. The above passage also implies that the ‘good news’ is more than just the message that Jesus is the saviour of the world – what are some other elements of the ‘good news’? What are the implications of this for evangelism today?
  3. The quote in Luke 4:18-19 actually comes from Isaiah 61:1-2 with a few words from Isaiah 58:6. What do you notice about the way in which Luke quotes Isaiah 61:1-2? Why might Luke leave out part of the quote?
  4. Identify the various descriptions given of or to Jesus in this passage and what are the various responses (both positive and negative) which we see? What should we learn from these different responses and how should this influence our mission, individually and corporately?
  5. In the sermon, it was mentioned that John Macarthur has identified the following purposes of miracles in the time of Moses, Elijah and Elisha, and Jesus and his Apostles. He says, the purpose of miracles is to:
    • Announce a new period of revelation;
    • Authenticate the messenger;
    • Authenticate the message;
    • Call people’s attention to what God is doing.

How accurate, comprehensive, and/or helpful do you find this description? What might this mean for the debate about whether miracles happen today? (Bear in mind that ‘miracle’ means different things to different people and that some will say that no miracles occur today, some will say that only certain miracles happen today, and some will say that all the miracles we see in the Bible can and do occur today).

  1. What place should empowerment by the Holy Spirit have in our ministry and mission? Discuss some ways that we can show our dependence upon the Holy Spirit.
  2. Why is it important for actions and words to match and how can we make sure that we practise what we preach?


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Bible Study Jesus ministry- Opposition and AcceptanceLuke 4