Luke 3:1-4:15

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Home > The New Testament > Luke > Chapters 1-4a > Verses 3:1-4:15
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  • Outline of Chapters 3-6.
  • John’s preaching and message (Luke 3:1-20).
  • Jesus’s baptism (Luke 3:21-22).
  • His genealogy (Luke 3:23-38).
  • The forty-day sojourn in the desert and the temptation of Christ (Luke 4:1-13)
  • Jesus’s first sermon, on Isaiah 61:1-2, and its reception in Nazareth (Luke 4:14-32).
  • Jesus casts a devil out of a man in the synagogue (Luke 4:33-37).
  • He cures Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever (Luke 4:38-39).
  • He cures many others of various diseases, and the evil spirits witness that he is the Christ (Luke 4:40-41).
  • The people beg him to stay with them, but he says he must preach in other places as well (Luke 4:42-44).
  • Jesus calls Peter, James, and John (Luke 5:1-11).
  • He heals a leper (Luke 5:12-15).
  • He heals a man of palsy by saying “Thy sins are forgiven thee” (Luke 5:16-26).
  • He calls Levi (usually assumed to be Matthew), a tax collector (Luke 5:27-28).
  • Levi throws a feast for Jesus, and the scribes and Pharisees question why he would eat with the unclean and with sinners (Luke 5:29-32).
  • The scribes and Pharisees question why his disciples do not fast (Luke 5:33-35).
  • He tells them the parables of patching a new garment with old cloth, of putting new wine into old bottles, and of the superiority of old wine (Luke 5:36-39).
  • Some Pharisees question why his disciples prepare food on the Sabbath (Luke 6:1-5).
  • He heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, with Pharisees observing and looking for something to accuse him of (Luke 6:6-11).
  • Jesus calls the Twelve (Luke 6:12-16).
  • 4:1-5:11 The placement of these stories (Luke 4:1-5:11), directly after the temptations, is interesting. Some parallels are worth mentioning (working backwards, in chiastic fashion):
3) Temptation to demonstrate chosen status as God’s son, imperviousness to danger — countered in announcement of self as Messiah, miraculous escape from harm/death at the hands of the inhabitants of Nazareth.
2) Temptation to rule earthly kingdoms, glory, countered in "fame" spread about and in the acclaim of the evil spirits. This is ironically satisfactory since it is the Devil’s kingdom paying homage to Christ. The raising of the dead fits in here too, possibly, as death is seen to be one of Satan’s dominions.
1) Temptation to satisfy physical appetite with miraculous food countered by the miraculous catch of the fishermen.
As a whole, this small unit reflects on why and when miracles are performed. Satan and his temptations parallel the people of Nazareth and their desire for a sign. The miracles Christ offers are abundant, however, and available for the faithful.

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  • Regarding the outline above. Notice that, after telling of the first sermon and after telling of the call, Luke tells us of various miracles that Jesus performed. Why do you think he does that? How are those miracles related to the events that precede them?
What is the symbolic significance of healing the sick and casting out devils? Is there a sense in which the symbolic significance of healing and its literal significance come together in the healing of the palsied man?
After calling Levi as a disciple, Jesus tells us several stories about Jesus’s interaction with the scribes (the religious teachers) and the Pharisees. What is the significance of these stories? Why do they come after the story of Levi? What do they show us about Jesus and his teachings?
How do these major stories, beginning with Jesus calling Peter James and John, and the stories of healing and of confrontation with the scribes and Pharisees, lead us to the story of the calling of the Twelve?
  • Luke 3:10-14. If John the Baptist was a forerunner to Jesus Christ, does he foreshadow in these verses what Jesus would teach about loving others?
  • Luke 3:10-14. Does he tell the people seeking baptism that "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none," because Christ will soon tell his followers to love their neighbor as themselves?
  • Luke 3:10-14. Or did Christ go further than his cousin when he said "if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also" Matt. 5:40.


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