Luke 4:14
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and the news about Him spread throughout the surrounding region.
Effects of the Indwelling of the SpiritLightning FlashesLuke 4:14-15
Spiritual PowerLightning FlashesLuke 4:14-15
The Higher Spiritual LifeH. W. Beecher.Luke 4:14-15
The Power of the Holy GhostH. W. Beecher.Luke 4:14-15
Christ's Sermon in NazarethR.M. Edgar Luke 4:14-30

I. HIS PREACHING BEGAN IN GALILEE. Though our Lord's public ministry may be regarded as having commenced at that Passover at Jerusalem to which reference has been already made, yet his public appearance as a preacher was in Galilee. The place, the date, the subject are all distinctly marked by St. Peter in the tenth chapter of the Acts, at the thirty-seventh verse, as we read, "That word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching the gospel [good tidings] of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all) - that saying ye yourselves know, which was published throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached."

II. A FAVOURABLE FIELD. Now commence our Lord's labours among the towns and villages of Galilee - a sphere of operation of the most promising kind at that period. Of the four provinces of Palestine in the time of Roman rule, while Judaea was south, Samaria central, and Pereea east, Galilee was in the north. Originally it comprehended only a limited circle or circuit, as the name Galil imports, round Kedesh-Naphtali, including the twenty towns which Solomon gave to Hiram, but it grew into much larger dimensions till it included the four northern tribes, Asher and Naphtali, Zebulun, and Issachar, embracing an oblong twenty-five miles from north to south and twenty-seven from east to west. It was divided into Lower and Upper Galilee; the former district consisted mainly of the plain of Esdraelon or Jezreel, and the latter, containing the district between the Upper Jordan and Phoenicia, was called Galilee of the Gentiles because of its mixed population - Greeks, Arabs, Phoenicians, as well as Jews. This northern province of the Holy Land in the days of our Lord was studded with towns and even cities, had a thriving population, and abounded in hives of busy industry. Speaking of our Lord selecting this district as the scene of his labours, the late Dean Stanley says, "It was no retired mountain-lake by whose shore he took up his abode, such as might have attracted the Eastern sage or Western hermit. It was to the Roman Palestine almost what the manufacturing districts are to England. Nowhere, except in the capital itself, could he have found such a sphere for his works and words of mercy." The husbandman that tilled the fields, the merchantman that traded in the towns or villages, the fisherman that plied his craft on the waters of the lake, and labourers standing in the market-place, - all these and many such abounded in this populous region; and while easily accessible, and willing to wait on our Lord's ministry, they were more free from prejudice - less bigoted and less exclusive than their brethren of the southern province.

III. THE DISTRICT POINTED OUT IN PROPHECY. Ancient prophecy had marked this region out as that where gospel light would shine most brightly. These northern tribes, Zebulun and Naphtali, had soonest sunk into idolatry through the influence of their idolatrous neighbors, the Phoenicians, on the west, and had suffered sorest from Assyrian invaders from the east, most of them having been carried captive by Tiglath-pileser and their land repeopled in large part by strangers. The prophet, however, in order to console and in some measure compensate, foretold a good time coming in Isaiah 9:1, 2, which rightly rendered reads thus: "There shall not hereafter be darkness in the land which was distressed; as in the former time he brought to shame the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, so in the time to come he bringeth it to honor, even the tract by the sea [i.e. the western shore], the other side of Jordan [the eastern side], Galilee of the nations [i.e. district north of the sea]. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." Thus henceforth the scene of the Saviour's ministry lies by the Jordan, the Lake of Gennesaret, and in Galilee of the Gentiles -

"What went ye out to see
O'er the rude sandy lea,
Where stately Jordan flows by many a palm,
Or where Gennesaret's wave
Delights the flowers to lave
That o'er her western slope breathe airs of balm?

"Here may we sit and dream
Over the heavenly theme,
Till to our souls the former days return;
Till on the grassy bed,
Where thousands once he fed,
The world's incarnate Maker we discern."

IV. THE SUBJECTS OF OUR SAVIOUR'S PREACHING. The precursor had been imprisoned in the castle of Machsaerus, some nine miles east of the Dead Sea, in the district of Persia; but the Prophet himself takes up the work. Thus it ever is. God buries his workmen, but carries on his work. The great theme of the Baptist, as we have seen, was repentance and correspondent reformation, yet with faith implied. The theme of repentance was resumed by Jesus, but with the other doctrine of faith not implicitly but explicitly taught. The doctrine of faith now comes into prominence - the doctrine of faith, and that not merely have credence or simple assent to the good news, but faith in - reliance on the gospel as the great and only means of safety and salvation. He proclaims, moreover, the advent of Messiah's reign. That critical epoch had now come; that greatest era in all human history had arrived.

V. DIFFERENCE IN THE USE OF TWO SYNONYMOUS TERMS. The kingdom is usually called by St. Matthew the "kingdom of heaven," and not "kingdom of God," lest the latter expression might confirm the Jews, for whom in the first instance the evangelist wrote, in their erroneous apprehension of it as a great kingdom of a worldly and temporal kind, as by a Hebrew idiom the name "God" is joined to anything excessively great or extremely grand; thus, we read of the "river of God," of "the cedars of God," and other similar expressions. By St. Luke, on the other hand, it is called the "kingdom of God" and not the "kingdom of heaven," lest the Gentiles, for whom this evangelist specially wrote, should misapprehend the expression as countenancing local divinities, as they were accustomed to gods and goddesses of different localities or quarters of the universe, such as Naiads, Nereids, Dryads, Hamadryads; gods of the ocean and of rivers; deities of the ethereal and infernal regions. This kingdom had been foreshadowed by Daniel in his vision of the great world-powers. - J.J.G.

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee.
Jesus returns to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. This is full of interest in every way.

1. As bringing up the question of Christ's Divinity. Can One who is Divine receive augmented powers? Especially can He from another co-equal Spirit? To this inquiry it may be replied that Christ's life on earth was the Divine circumscribed. The power of the Spirit that rested upon Christ brought forth no new elements, but it brought out the Divine element previously existing.

2. Interesting as a study of the life of Christ, it becomes even more so in its connection with ourselves — with the whole sphere and operation and possibilities of the human mind. A like experience will be traced in the apostles' lives. At the time of His death they were very little advanced, except in personal affection for Him, beyond Nicodemus, or other devout and spiritually-minded Jews. He had told them to stay in Jerusalem until some great change should come upon them. And He declared what that change should be — power from on high; the power of the Holy Ghost. And then came the Pentecostal experience.

3. We find traces in the early Church to show that there were those who received this special power over and above mere ordinary endowments.

4. In every age there have been those to whom these disclosures have been made, pre-eminently the case with John Wesley, who laboured years, as he regarded it, in bondage, and at last came out in the power of the Spirit.

5. Lastly, many now living are distinctly conscious that this same impulse, this same clothing of extraordinary power remains on earth. Men's faculties are telescopic. Used in their lower state they are, as it were, undrawn cut. They are capable of being brought to a condition in which they will be a hundred times more than in their ordinary condition. The consciousness of this transcends all other evidences of the Divine life. APPLICATION: Many of you are longing for the renewal of life. Here is the instrument of your power. This is what you need; this is what we all need — that higher life which comes by the Spirit of God.

(H. W. Beecher.)

There was no great natural capacity in Harlan Page; and yet he was an apostle; and his life has quickened the lives of tens of thousands since he has been gone. Being dead, he yet speaks. But he had the Holy Ghost rising upon him. There are men who say but little; and yet they give you anew ideal. They shine as stars in the heavens. And there can be no accounting for it, except on the ground of the dynamic influence of spiritual life and spiritual power in this world. There are men who stand in the centre of circles, and all rise up and call them blessed; and nobody can tell why, except that they bring heaven near, and bring invisible things near, and gain faith, and strengthen their moral tendencies, and see God, and have the power to reflect what they see upon other persons. It is these men who have the higher region of their soul enlightened by the Spirit of God, that do the most for other men; that set aside scepticism, that convince the unconvinced, that penetrate the unconverted through with a new and eternal sense, both of their lacks and of their possibilities and hopes. It is these men who are joined together, and who receive their power of life and of working from God, that, after all, are the lights of the world.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Lightning Flashes.
Dr. Daniel Steele says, " Soon after Dr. Finney's conversion he received a wonderful baptism of the Spirit which was followed by marvellous effects. His words uttered in private conversation, and forgotten by himself, fell like live coals on the hearts of men, and awakened a sense of guilt which would not let them rest till the blood of sprinkling was applied. At his presence, before he opened his lips, the operatives in a mill began to fall on their knees and cry for mercy, smitten by the invisible currents of Divine power which went forth from him. When, like a flame of fire, he was traversing western and central New York, he came to the village of Rome in a time of spiritual slumber. He had not been in the house of the pastor an hour before he had conversed with all the family, the pastor, children, boarders, and servants, and brought them all to their knees seeking pardon, or the fulness of the Spirit. In a few days almost every man and woman in the village and vicinity was converted, and the work ceased from lack of material to transform, and the evangelist passed on to other fields, to behold new triumphs of the gospel through his instrumentality."

(Lightning Flashes.)

Lightning Flashes.
Dr. Steele mentions another case, not, however, so well known in this country as that of Professor Finney. He says, "Another rare instance of extraordinary spiritual power is that of Father Carpenter, of New Jersey, a Presbyterian layman of a past generation. A cipher in the Church, till anointed of the Holy Ghost, he immediately became a man of wonderful spiritual power, though of ordinary intellect, and very limited education. In personal effort, hardened sinners melted under his appeals and yielded to Christ. Once in a stage-coach going from Newark to New York, he found six unconverted men and one believer his fellow-passengers. He began to present the claims of Jesus, and so powerfully did the Spirit attend the truth, that four were converted in the coach, and the other two after reaching New York. At his death it was stated that by a very careful inquiry it had been ascertained that more than ten thousand souls had been converted through his direct instrumentality.

(Lightning Flashes.)

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