Summary: Jesus' Inaugural Address, in explaining who He is and what He came to do can be seen through: 1) The Area (Luke 4:14–15), and 2) The Announcement (Luke 4:16–21).
Many around the world are waiting for the inaugural address of the new incoming US president Donald Trump, this month. The "inaugural address" itself is a speech given during this ceremony which informs the people of the intentions as a leader. The opening remarks are significant, for this is the first formal public address as leader now in power, as to priorities, actions and aims. It is an Epiphany of sorts in unveiling who this person is.
In Luke 4, in Jesus’ first public address in the temple, he explained who He is and what He has come to do. Before this point, through the first thirty years of His life, Jesus had lived in obscurity in Nazareth. The only recorded incident from those silent years is His visit to Jerusalem and dialogue with the teachers in the temple when He was twelve. Apart from that, nothing is known about His childhood years except for the general statement that He “kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). The next recorded event in Jesus’ life was His appearance at the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. After His baptism Jesus, at the direction of the Holy Spirit, spent forty days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. All that happened in His life up to this point in Luke’s gospel—the testimony of Gabriel, the angels who appeared to the shepherds, Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, John the Baptist, Jesus’ affirmation at age twelve that He was the Son of God, and His public attestation by the Father and the Holy Spirit at His baptism—had established His messianic credentials. The time had now come for Jesus to step onto the stage of His full public ministry.
It is only in truly seeing Jesus for exactly who He is and what He came to do, we can see who we are and what we must do. In order to be rescued and to act as rescuers, we must clearly see the human condition, need and avenue for escape. If we are unclear about this condition or how to help others in this condition then the effect is tragic and eternal. But if we can see the link of Jesus’ ministry to God’s promises, His tender call and hope of deliverance, then we can be sure of the sinners deliverance and assurance of salvation.
This introductory scene in Luke’s account of Jesus’ public ministry takes place in His hometown of Nazareth. His Inaugural Address in explaining who He is and what He came to do can be seen through: 1) The Area (Luke 4:14–15), and 2) The Announcement (Luke 4:16–21).
1) The Setting (Luke 4:14–15)
Luke 4:14–15 14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. (ESV)
Verses 14 and 15 are the entrance to a new section of portraits of Jesus in Luke’s gospel. They introduce Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, the northern part of Israel, which the Lord would be engaged in for about a year and a half. Between Luke 4:13 and 4:14, 15 there may well have been an interval of about a year, during which the events related in John 1:19–4:42 occurred. If so, the date when Jesus returned to Galilee, to begin his Great Galilean Ministry (Luke 4:14–9:17), was probably about December of the year A.D. 27 or a little later (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Vol. 11, pp. 246–247). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.)
Having been anointed at his baptism by the Spirit “in bodily form” (3:22, only Luke), being “full of the Spirit” (4:1, only Luke), and having been led by the Spirit to do battle and defeat Satan, Jesus “in the power of the Spirit” (4:14, only Luke) returned to Galilee to begin his ministry. Jesus’ conception (1:35), baptism (3:21–22), temptation (4), and now His ministry are all linked to the working of God’s Spirit. If Jesus depended on empowerment by the Spirit, how much more must we (Richards, L. O. (1991). The Bible reader’s companion (electronic ed., p. 655). Wheaton: Victor Books.).
He went “from one city and village [there were 240 cities and villages in Galilee according to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus (Life, 45)] to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God” (8:1). Jesus’ powerful preaching and the miracles He performed created a huge sensation, so that a report/news about Him went out/spread through all the surrounding country/district (cf. 5:15), and even south into Judea (7:17).
At this early stage in His ministry Jesus, verse 15 notes that He was glorified/praised by all. Galilee was not a large region, and Jesus would have thoroughly blanketed it in the year and a half of His ministry there. Perhaps that is why, as some have speculated, the Lord’s commission of the apostles in Acts 1:8 refers to Judea and Samaria, but not to Galilee. It might appear from reading Luke’s account, as well as the parallel histories of Matthew (Mt. 4:12) and Mark (Mk. 1:14), that the Lord’s ministry in Galilee began immediately after His baptism. That was not the case, however. There was an interval of about a year between Jesus’ baptism and the beginning of His Galilean ministry. While the Synoptic Gospels are silent about that year, which Jesus spent ministering in Judea, the gospel of John describes it in detail (John 1–4).