All spoke well of Him and marveled at the gracious words that came from His lips. "Isn't this the son of Joseph?" they asked.
I. THEIR SUBSTANCE. They were not, indeed, without seriousness, and at times not without severity. Christ did say, when the occasion required it, things which startled his hearers, things which are well fitted to make us pause and even tremble if we are obnoxious to their severity. He is, as a Divine Teacher and Revealer of God, as far as possible removed from the easy good-naturedness which would represent it as a matter of indifference what men hold and how they live, - the "good God" will make it all right in the end. No man can listen attentively and reverently to Christ and settle down into comfortable unbelief or self-complacent sin. Yet were his words predominantly and pre-eminently "words of grace." By the truths he preached he made known to mankind that:
1. God is accessible to all; the Approachable One, who is always willing to receive his children, and who welcomes back those who have wandered farthest away.
2. That a noble life is open to all; we may be in character and spirit, as well as in name and in position, the children of God (Matthew 5:45-48); we are to be "the light of the world," "the salt of the earth."
3. That a glorious future is within the reach of all; "in the Father's house are many mansions."
4. That salvation is very near to all; the Scripture is fulfilled; the Redeemer is come; the blind may see; the captives may be delivered; this is "the acceptable year," "the accepted time;" "to-day is the day of salvation." Or whether we consider -
II. THEIR FORM. There is about the gracious words of Christ:
1. An accent of persuasiveness. He does not angrily threaten, he cordially invites us; he says, winningly, "Come unto me... I am meek and lowly;" "Abide in me, and I [will abide] in you;" "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock," etc.
2. A note of considerateness. "Come into a desert place, and rest awhile;" "I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now;" "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
3. A touch of tenderness. "I will not leave you comfortless;" "Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart."
(1.) It is perilous to abuse the grace of Christ. There is such a thing as "the wrath of the Lamb."
(2.) It is perfectly safe to trust in his grace. He means everything he says; the worst may obtain his mercy, the most diffident may confide in his redemption of his word. - C.
Ye will surely say unto Me this proverb, Physician, heal Thyself.1. No man should be undervalued on account of humble parentage. If a man behave well himself, even the sins of his parents ought not to be imputed to him as a fault, much less ought their lowly condition in life. Indeed, the greater the obscurity from which a man has emerged, and the more numerous and formidable the difficulties with which he has had to struggle, the more praise is due to him for aiming at honourable distinction. Let us be ready to acknowledge ability, and to esteem worth, wherever found. And let not those who have risen in life be ashamed of their humble parentage, or undervalue or forget their kindred and early friends.
2. We should not neglect the lessons taught in the proverb, "No prophet is accepted in his own country, or of his own kindred." Honourable exceptions there may be to this; but it states what is generally the case among men.(1) Prejudice against those who have risen above the station in which they were born.(2) Envy at their rising above one's own position.(3) Curiosity, and desire for novelty influence men against those they are well acquainted with. What comes from a great distance is generally reckoned of great value.
3. The sinfulness of objecting to the more extensive diffusion of religious privileges, and of refusing to rejoice in the good of other countries, under the pretence that all our exertions should be limited to our own country. Home has the first, but not the only claim. We ought not to shut our hearts against any call to attend to the spiritual welfare of men. There is a tide in the affairs of men and of the Church — a tide, not of chance, but of providential influence and arrangement; that tide of favourable circumstances we cannot command; it is our duty, therefore, to avail ourselves of its flow, lest it ebb away, and the opportunity be lost. And as neither at Nazareth, nor at Capernaum, was the ministry of our Lord without some success, so may we hope that no Scriptural attempts, whether at a distance or at our own door, will ultimately prove altogether in vain.
4. Let us beware of resembling in any way the Nazarenes in their more violent hatred of Christ, and of the truth, here described; and beware also of the causes which led to that hatred. They began by cavilling at His plans, and ended by raging and setting themselves against the Lord and His anointed. They were too proud to submit to the righteousness of God. This spirit is rife still. Let us remember we have no "rights" with respect to God; let us gladly fall in with His plans, and thankfully accept of His offered mercy. Submission to free grace is the only way of safety, and of holiness and comfort; it changes the slavish and mercenary spirit into the spirit of the freedman and child; and the obedience of the life will be secured as the cheerful homage of the reconciled and grateful heart.
(James Foote, M. A.)I. THE CHARM OF CHRIST'S PREACHING.
1. He was not simply a human teacher. Hence the tone of authority which He alone might assume.
2. Preaching was in His hands altogether a new thing.
3. A singular gracefulness in His manner.
4. Popular style of discourse.
5. Evangelical doctrine, suited to men's needs. He spoke of those Divine truths which are the hope of guilty captives, and the balm of the broken-hearted; He brought tidings of great joy, messages of mercy suited to their nature as intelligent, immortal, responsible creatures, and at the same time to their circumstances as lost sinners.
II. Some of the chief QUALITIES REQUISITE TO SECURE SUCCESS to a human ministry.
1. It should give a prominent exhibition to the great peculiarities of the gospel. Redemption through the Cross of Christ must be the preacher's constant theme.
2. This prominent exhibition of the Cross should always be combined with a tender solicitude for the salvation of souls. Eternal consequences are at stake. With all earnestness the message, therefore, must be urged.
3. Simplicity of style. Brilliant images and pompous language may excite wonder, but will not instruct or convince. Plain truths should be con. veyed in plain words. Illustrations may be used, but only such as add clearness to the discourse.
III. BY WHAT MEANS SUCH A MINISTRY MAY BE FORMED AND SUSTAINED.
1. A profound acquaintance with the gospel, in its adaptation to all the varieties of human character and condition.
2. Entire consecration to the ministerial office.
3. Eminence in personal piety.
4. The habitual recognition of scriptural encouragements and motives, and especially the anticipation of the final results of the ministry, wilt not fail to exert a beneficial influence on the mind of the minister.
1. The spirit of detraction is the surest sign of a small and vulgar soul.
2. Jesus goes on to anticipate the objection with which His opponents will meet this announcement of Himself, and in which they will demand a miracle as proof of His claim. To such a spirit He could vouchsafe no sign; indeed, miracles would have been no sign to such.
3. At the same time He would warn them that God ever finds work for His prophets to do. If their own countrymen will not receive them, there are others who will. The widows and the lepers of Israel may not care to be comforted or healed by them, but there are widows in Sarepta and lepers in Syria who enter upon the blessings which are despised by the children of the kingdom.
4. The passive rejection of the Christ cannot for long remain passive. They who reject Him passively are miserably conscious that it is He who is rejecting them. Roused to anger (which is, in reality, terror), they actively rebel against Him, and seek to destroy Him.
II. Not infrequently we are conscious that the voice of God is speaking to us through one whom we have known familiarly, who, it may be, is inferior to us in age or worldly position, or whom in past years we ourselves have patronized. There is a temptation to weaken the force of the call by depreciating the instrument through which it comes.
(Canon Vernon Hutton, M. A.)
"But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whilst, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own read."
(D. D. Bevan, LL. D.)
1. Take first the figure we cut in the matter of our international relations.
2. Are we as a mercantile community possessed of clean hands in the matter of the fabrics we send out into the markets which these people's necessities provide.
3. What do Chinese, and Hindoos, and Japanese, find among us, in our own land, when they visit us? Should we have any right to resent the taunt, if, when we bid them embrace our religion, they should point the finger of scorn at us, and say, "Physician, heal thyself"?
4. But it may be said, "It is a merely nominal Christian nation or society which exhibits these wide and gross departures from the spirit and practice of the Christian religion. It is the Christian Church which sends out missionaries to the heathen. Well, what is likely to be the feeling with which intelligent heathens regard the attempts of the Christian Church to convert them? Are they not sure to smile at our efforts, and to say to us, "Heal yourselves before you undertake to cure us. Apply the knife to the cancer which festers at the heart of your own society, before you undertake the amelioration of the condition of ours; convert your own countrymen first and then shall you have free access to ours; then will you prove to us, in the most convincing way, that your religion is all that you profess it to be"?
5. Have not our denominational rivalries been often transplanted, and set in operation among peoples who cannot understand the merits of our disputes, or the grounds of our contending polities; and have they not inclined them, confused and confounded as they must be by distinctions and claims which are to them incomprehensible, to wash their hands of the responsibility of deciding between so many conflicting opinions, and to say to us, "Learn to agree among yourselves as to what your religion is: learn, above all, to manifest more of its spirit in your relations to one another, before bringing it to is, and trying to persuade us to accept it"?
6. What, then, is the practical outcome of all this? Not that we should withdrawn single missionary from his work, or relax a single aggressive endeavour, or reduce by a single penny the amount of our contributions to the missionary cause, No! let us rather redouble our zeal and multiply our gifts. But above all let us see to it, that as a people, as Churches, as members of Christ's Church, we no longer belie our teachings and profession by our example and our life.
(J. R. Bailey.)I. BY WHOM ARE THE INCONSISTENCIES OF CHRISTIANS CHIEFLY DENOUNCED?
1. By infidels.
2. By rationalizing believers.
3. By eminent Christians.
II. FOR WHAT PURPOSE ARE THE INCONSISTENCIES OF CHRISTIANS DENOUNCED?
1. TO invalidate the evidence of the Divine origin of Christianity.
2. To bring discredit on evangelical religion.
3. To elevate the standard of Christian attainment.
III. CHRISTIANS ARE NOT SO INCONSISTENT AS THEY ARE REPRESENTED TO BE.
1. All are not Christians who usurp the name.
2. All Christians are not responsible for the shortcomings even of genuine Christians.
3. All Christians are men, and in trying them by the standard of their religion, the same allowance must be made for them as for other men.
4. Christians should be judged by their general conduct, and not by individual actions.
5. Christians should be compared with men who are their peers in everything except their religion.
IV. THE INCONSISTENCIES OF CHRISTIANS FURNISH NO VALID OBJECTION AGAINST THE DIVINE ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY.
1. It does not recommend, or palliate, or defend them.
2. It makes ample provision for their removal by the doctrines it teaches, by the precepts it delivers, by the motives it presents, by the spiritual influence it promises.
3. It has produced many of the finest specimens of human character the world, throughout the whole course of its history, has ever witnessed.
4. It has exercised an indirect influence, of a most elevating description, on multitudes who are strangers to its saving power.
5. It has exercised on its most inconsistent disciples an ameliorating efficacy, to which no system of philosophy or religion can adduce parallels.
V. THE INCONSISTENCIES OF CHRISTIANS FURNISH NO VALID OBJECTION TO THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE, AS THEY ARE CALLED.
1. These doctrines leave all the usual arguments for a holy life untouched.
2. They remove that invincible obstruction to a holy life which arises from a sense of guilt, and from a self-righteous and superstitious attempt to earn, by personal merit, pardon and acceptance.
3. They furnish, in the love of God in Christ, the most powerful motive to a holy life that has ever been urged.
4. They secure an adequate supply of the influence of the Holy Spirit.
VI. THE GRIEF WHICH THE INCONSISTENCIES OF CHRISTIANS SHOULD AWAKEN IN FELLOW-CHRISTIANS.
1. Because inconsistent professors bring dishonour on the names of God and of the Saviour.
2. Because inconsistent professors lower the general standard of Christian attainment.
3. Because inconsistent professors hang as a dead weight on the energies of the Church.
4. Because inconsistent professors are little likely to be brought to a saving acquaintance with Christ.
VII. THE DUTIES WHICH THE INCONSISTENCIES OF CHRISTIANS IMPOSE ON THE FRIENDS OF CHRIST.
1. A habitual watchfulness over their conduct.
2. A conscientious discharge of relative duty.
3. A foregoing of certain rights and privileges for the good of others.
4. Thorough adoption of the great principles of Christianity.
VIII. REAL INCONSISTENCIES OF CHRISTIANS.
1. It is inconsistent to live in the wilful and habitual practice of known sin.
2. It is inconsistent to pursue a doubtful course of action, without seeking to ascertain whether it is right or wrong.
3. It is inconsistent to conform to worldly habits of thinking and acting.
4. It is inconsistent to be chargeable with vices which respectable men of the world abhor.
5. It is inconsistent to be indifferent to the progress and prosperity of the cause of Christ.
LinksLuke 4:22 NIV
Luke 4:22 NLT
Luke 4:22 ESV
Luke 4:22 NASB
Luke 4:22 KJV
Luke 4:22 Bible Apps
Luke 4:22 Parallel
Luke 4:22 Biblia Paralela
Luke 4:22 Chinese Bible
Luke 4:22 French Bible
Luke 4:22 German Bible
Luke 4:22 Commentaries