All Authority over All Things

Posted: July 26, 2016 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 4:31-44, “All Authority over All Things”

“What gives you the right?”  Knowing someone’s credentials can make all the difference.  If you were driving down the street, stopped by someone & asked to get out of your car, you might wonder if you were about to be mugged (or worse).  Yet if the person showed a police badge & mentioned that he saw someone hiding in your backseat, you’d be grateful.  The badge (symbol of authority) makes all the difference.

A similar principle is true with matters of faith.  It’s not uncommon for people to wonder, “What makes you Christians believe you have the right religion?  Every religion always claims to be the right one – what makes you so sure?”  What they’re really asking for is the credential.  Where is the proof that Christianity is different from all the rest?  Ultimately, the proof is in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead – that is the ultimate credential identifying Jesus’ authority.  As Paul writes, Jesus is “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Rom 1:4)  There can be no greater credential demonstrating power over life and death than to personally come back to life from the dead, and that’s exactly what happened three days after Jesus died upon the cross for our sins.

That said, the resurrection is not Jesus’ only credential.  Jesus needed to establish proof of His authority during the days He still ministered in Judea & Galilee.  Otherwise, why would anyone listen to Him?  What made Him different than any other rabbi among the Jews?  That’s what the end of Luke 4 demonstrates.  Jesus had true authority – He had authority that was inherent in Himself.  He didn’t need other people to do things for Him.  Jesus has all authority over all things at all times.

Luke 4:31–44

  • Power in His person (31-32)

31 Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths. 32 And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.

  • Before we get to the demonstrations of power, Luke provides a bit of background information, and for that, we need to remember our context.  The ministry of Jesus was officially underway.  He had been baptized, led out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and returned in power to Galilee as He taught the people.  Eventually Jesus went to Nazareth, where He revealed Himself as the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy while reading the words of Isaiah in the local synagogue.  The people were skeptical (especially in His childhood hometown), thinking they already knew everything that could be known about this supposed son of Joseph the carpenter.  Jesus knew their objections (and their hearts), pointing out that the Hebrews often missed out on the work of God right in front of them.  If they weren’t willing to humble themselves, and set aside their pride, then they would never truly know Jesus at all – and thus they would not know God.  At this, the people were incensed and attempted to kill Jesus by pushing Him off a cliff.  They obviously failed, God being sovereign even at that moment.  It was not yet time for Jesus to die, so He was able to go His way from the town.
  • Despite the danger, Jesus did not go far.  He remained in Galilee, simply moving on to other cities, which is where Luke picks up as Jesus came to Capernaum.  Capernaum was a prominent city within Galilee…at least as much as an ancient fishing town could be on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. By the time Jesus had gone to the synagogue in Nazareth, He was already known for His work in Capernaum (4:23), and apparently Jesus spent quite a bit of time there.  It was the home of Peter, Simon, James, and John, and seemingly Jesus adopted it as His own as well.
  • In any case, Luke begins with this generic statement about Jesus’ ministry in Capernaum.  Luke will get very specific in a moment, but first he establishes Jesus’ general pattern.  When was Jesus in Capernaum?  Apparently over a period of several weeks (i.e. plural “Sabbaths”).  What was He doing there? “Teaching.”  This is something that tends to get lost among those who look to Jesus as a model for social ministry.  Jesus did much in regards to practical expressions of compassion and help (some of which we’ll see today), but that wasn’t Jesus’ primary ministry.  Jesus’ primary ministry was a teaching ministry.  He purposefully went out to share the gospel of the kingdom, which He’ll explicitly say at the end of the chapter.
    • What makes teaching so important?  Because that’s how people get saved.  We are saved by grace alone through faith alone, and how does faith come?  “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” (Rom 10:17).  We don’t know we need to be saved unless we’re told of the danger, and we don’t know how to be saved unless we’re told of a Savior in whom we can trust.  That’s what happens in a teaching ministry, or anytime the gospel is proclaimed.  Churches don’t teach to fill our heads with Bible trivia; churches teach in order that we might be filled with Jesus.  We know HIM when we know proper doctrine.  We’re introduced to Him when we’re taught the Scripture & gospel.  That’s why Jesus taught, and that’s why we do it as well.
  • What’s interesting here is the people’s reaction to Jesus’ teaching.  “And they were astonished…for His word was with authority.”  Simply put, Jesus’ teaching was so powerful that people were blown away.  The word for “astonished” speaks of being “filled with amazement to the point of being overwhelmed,” (BDAG).  The root word refers to being struck, and more than one scholar describes the people as being struck out of their senses.  Why – what was so different about Jesus?  His “word was with authority.”  “Authority” is a key concept here.  It speaks of power & the inherent right to rule.  Jesus didn’t have to have power conferred upon Him – He didn’t have to rely upon the words of other well-respected scholars and rabbis to back up His teaching.  What Jesus said, He said on His own – and people recognized Him having inherent/implicit authority.
    • How different this is from anyone else!  Every teacher needs some sort of outside authority.  School teachers need their teaching certificate – professors need their doctorate degrees – physicians need their various certifications.  Even pastors need the Bible.  (We certainly don’t have authority of our own; any authority we project needs to be based upon the Word of God alone.  Otherwise, the opinions of a pastor are just that: opinions.)  But not Jesus.  Certainly everything Jesus said was repeated in the Scripture, as He never contradicted His written word – but Jesus did not need to quote the word of God in order for people to recognize the word of God.  He has authority in Himself.
    • This is why we can turn to Jesus in everything!  To whom else would we go?  He alone has the words of life, because He alone is the Author of life!  Jesus has all authority in all areas at all times.  His word can be trusted, because in His word there is the power to back it up.
  • Of course, that’s something we know in retrospect.  How could the people in Capernaum know it at the time?  Jesus needed to do more than teach; He needed to act.  His actions would demonstrate the power that was inherent in His speech.  Luke goes on to give a few specific examples…
  • Power over demons (33-37)

33 Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, 34 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”

  • Luke hones in on one particular Sabbath day in the life of Jesus – one also addressed by Mark in his gospel account (Mk 1:21-28).  The accounts closely follow one another, though Luke uses some terms more preferable to himself (“demon” as opposed to “spirit,” etc.).  Keep in mind that although Luke (and Matthew) relied heavily upon Mark’s gospel as a writing source, Luke had his own inspiration from the Holy Spirit.  He wrote to a different audience with a different focus.  There will be many similarities, but also many distinctions.
  • The basic idea here is that while Jesus was in the process of teaching in the synagogue, that’s when the demoniac “cried out with a loud voice” in the middle of service disrupting anything.  It would be like me teaching here today and having someone start throwing a fit right in the middle of the sermon.  Although it’s possible that the man wandered into the room, there’s no indication that he was anything other than a regular member of the local synagogue.  There was just one key difference between him & everyone else: he had a demon.  That brings up (at least!) a couple of questions:
  • Question #1: “Are demons real?”  Without a doubt, yes.  Although some have tried to write off demonic possession as what ancient people used to describe mental illness, there can be no question that Jesus encountered real demons on a regular basis in His ministry.  Certainly much mental illness went by undiagnosed by the ancients (just as it still does today), but to dismiss all Biblical demonic description as psychological is foolish.  Mental illnesses do not possess intelligence and the power of speech, and demons regularly spoke to Jesus (and Jesus regularly shut them up).  To dismiss demonic activity is to dismiss vast amounts of the Scripture.
    • In addition, don’t make the mistake of thinking that demonic activity is confined to the past.  Our own culture might not recognize demons, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  In all likelihood, some (not all) cases are misdiagnosed as mental illness.  Our culture tends to write them off because demons cannot be quantified by medical science.  Other cultures around the world recognize them quickly and easily.  We live in a spiritual world, and thus there are spiritual beings that are both good and evil (angels and demons).
  • Question #2: “Can demonized people pass by undetected?”  Yes.  Demons do not manifest themselves unless they choose to do so (or are forced to do so by God).  Apparently this particular demonized man was sitting quietly in the synagogue for at least part of Jesus’ teaching until he began screeching at some point during the message.  Who knows how often the man had sat among them undetected & undiagnosed?  Even if people understood that the man was different, obviously nothing had been done to this point.  He was among the people of religion, but he was possessed by a demon the entire time.
    • It serves to underscore the point that not everyone who walks through the door of a church building is a Christian.  Some can come for months or even years, and not personally know Jesus as Lord.  Obviously they may not be possessed by a demon, but until a person puts his/her faith in Christ, he/she does belong to the devil.  We have to be born-again in order to be free from his dominion – and that’s what happens when we put our faith in Jesus. (Something you can do right now.)
  • Whatever it was that Jesus taught that morning, it certainly ticked off the demon.  He took hold of the man’s mouth and began screaming and yelling at Jesus, calling all kinds of attention to himself.  Actually, there seems to have been more than one demon within the man, as the demons refer to themselves in the plural number.  How many there were, we cannot know.  At least one other Biblical incident refers to a multiple-possession, where a man had a whole legion of demons inside him (Lk 8:30).  The NKJV/KJV somewhat paraphrase what the demon(s) said when the man proclaimed “Let us alone!” – the actual phrase that was used is more closely captured by the ESV: “Ha! What have you to do with us?”  The phrase is a Hebraism that basically asks what business two people have with each other, but the general sense is to butt out & leave the other alone. 
  • At that point, the demon goes on to give the most detailed description of Jesus since John the Baptist.  He knows that Jesus has the power to destroy him (and all the demonic line) – he knows Jesus’ human ancestry – he knows Jesus’ divine origins.  The demon had all the right knowledge of Jesus.  A human giving that confession of faith might almost qualify for baptism; for the demon it was just common knowledge.  Knowledge of Jesus doesn’t save us; faith does.  We cannot merely know the correct facts about Jesus and expect to receive eternal life.  Facts are easy to come by; faith is rare.  As James notes: As James notes: James 2:18–19, "(18) But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (19) You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!"  People can say they believe all day long – the question is whether or not they really do.  Is faith truly alive and active?  That’s a faith that saves.  A faith that is merely head-knowledge is not faith at all.  The demons have that much.  What is needed is a heart transformed by the Lord Jesus.  (And He makes that transformation available to anyone who asks.)
  • The demon knew a lot about Jesus, but Jesus didn’t want to hear it. Vs. 35…

35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him.

  • Jesus rebuked the demon in strong terms.  Just the description of “rebuke” refers to strong disapproval…even removing honor from someone.  Jesus wasn’t going to have any talk from the demon.  He literally commanded it to be muzzled & to come out.  Question: why?  Wasn’t everything the demon said true?  Why would Jesus want to muzzle someone / something that spoke rightly of Him?  Some believe this is evidence of Jesus’ desire to keep his Messianic identity a secret, but that whole theory is counter-intuitive to how often Jesus taught of Himself (especially in light of the fact that Luke just showed Jesus explicitly telling the Jews of Nazareth how He personally fulfilled Messianic prophecy).  It’s possible that Jesus simply didn’t want the demonic noise – but Jesus’ silencing of demons is something that becomes a pattern for Him.  Most likely, it seems that Jesus muzzles the demons because He doesn’t want their testimony.  In this case, the demon(s) spoke the truth, but who can tell when a demon is speaking truths or lies?  They follow the directions of their master the devil who is the father of lies.  If people started listening to the demons about Jesus, they wouldn’t know what to believe.  Jesus is indeed “the Holy One of God” – God’s only begotten Son, the Messiah sent to fulfill every promise of God, the truly holy and perfect God Incarnate – but Jesus didn’t want people learning this from the testimony of demons.  That’s a testimony that cannot be trusted.
    • FYI – this is one reason why people ought not to mess around with Ouija boards, séances, palm-readings, etc.  Whatever information that might be given (in the occasions it’s actually real) comes from demons; not ghosts of loved ones.  Demons cannot be trusted, even when they speak the truth.  The devil comes not but to steal, kill, and destroy (Jn 10:10a), and he & his demons are to be avoided at all times.
  • Jesus knows the proper way to deal with demons: shut them up & cast them out – and that is exactly what He did.  He commanded the demon muzzled and to come out, and the demon (no matter how reluctant) was forced to obey.  Note two things here: (1) Jesus relied upon no incantation or any other appeal to outside authority, (2) the demon was indeed obedient eventually.  On the first, this is something that is (again) unique to Jesus.  When the disciples cast out demons, they did so based on the authority of Jesus as they acted in His name.  (The same would be true with modern Christians today.)  Not so with Jesus.  He didn’t need to appeal to anyone – not even to the Father…Jesus simply commanded the demon on His own.  That shows that His authority is inherent – it is simply part of who He is.  Secondly, the fact that the demon obeyed shows that Jesus’ authority is more than mere words or appearance.  Jesus has true authority & power.  He has so much authority that even His enemies are forced to obey, despite their struggles and rebellion.  This is something the people pick up as they witness Jesus in action.  Vs. 36…

36 Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” 37 And the report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

  • In vs. 32, the people were “astonished” by Jesus – here, they “were all amazed.”  No doubt Luke is searching for synonyms, but he’s running out of ways to describe how people are blown away by Jesus.  This particular word speaks of “a state of astonishment brought on by exposure to an unusual event,” (BDAG).  If before they were struck out of their mind & senses, now they were bowled over by shock.  They were simply dumbfounded.
  • Why?  Because they recognized that there was power in the “word” (λογος) of Jesus.  His word has “authority and power.”  Remember that Jesus’ authority is a key concept.  That particular word speaks of ruling authority – the right to rule.  The word for “power” is slightly different, in that it speaks of strength / ability / capability (δυναμις). This is what was demonstrated in Jesus’ victory over the demon.  Jesus not only has the right to speak, but He has the power to back it up.  With men, that’s not the case.  Men and women often speak in pride, and they promote themselves to be something that they’re not.  Jesus is different.  When Jesus speaks, His words are not in vain.  When Jesus speaks, things happen.
    • What does this demonstrate?  His divinity!  When God spoke, creation happened.  God spoke light and the universe into existence.  That is true power!  And that same power resides in Jesus, because Jesus is God.  Jesus doesn’t need someone else to make something happen; He needs only Himself.  His will is enough to make His word come to pass.
    • What does Jesus will for you?  We can know Jesus’ will for us is to be saved, which is why anyone who does come to Jesus in faith can know without a doubt that he/she is saved.  Jesus has come that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly (Jn 10:10b).  But beyond our eternal salvation, what else is it that God wills for you & your life?  He wants us to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18) – He wants us to confess our sins and be cleansed (1 Jn 1:9) – He wants us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23) – He wants us to give thanks in everything (1 Ths 5:18) – He wants us to pray and not lose heart (Lk 18:1), and more.  What God wills for us to do, God empowers us to accomplish.  We spend so much of our time seeking our own will, when we need to be seeking the will of God.  Jesus even taught us to pray along those lines: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Seek God for His will, and trust Jesus to make it possible.  If our prayer isn’t answered, it’s not because it’s not within Jesus’ power – it’s because it’s not within Jesus’ will (at the time).  Submit yourself to His will, and trust in His power and promise.
  • We can imagine that when the demon was cast out, it caused quite a stir.  No doubt it was difficult (if not impossible) to get back to the normal order of the synagogue service.  Jesus left quite an impact upon the people, and word began to spread quickly about Him all over town…and beyond, as fast as word of mouth would take it.  Keep this in mind for later.  In the meantime, Luke shows us what took place back at home.  Vs. 38…
  • Power over illness (38-39)

38 Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her.

  • Luke hasn’t yet officially introduced his readers to Simon Peter (that comes in Ch. 5), but no doubt Peter was well-known enough that he needed little introduction.  Apparently Jesus stayed at Peter’s home while He was in Capernaum, and that’s where they went after synagogue.  They weren’t unlike any of us in that regard – they probably went home for a bit of lunch, just as we might do after our church service ends.  Yet coming home, they found Simon Peter’s mother-in-law sick.  Literally, she was “held together” with a high fever – it seized her, and afflicted her.  Interestingly, Mark simply describes it as a fever, whereas Dr. Luke gets a bit more technical with it as a “high fever.”  Perhaps he knew something about the illness that Mark did not.
  • In any case, she was sick, so what did Simon’s family do?  Appeal to Jesus.  And why not?  It was precisely the right thing to do.  No doubt they already addressed the mother’s symptoms as best they could, and were probably doing a fine job of it.  There’s no indication that the woman’s life was in danger – it was a fever, but not necessarily a sign of a greater mortal disease.  Yet she suffered, and Jesus was there.  Why shouldn’t they ask Him for help?  Obviously we don’t know the full scope of her problem, but the issue is clear: whether major or minor, whether the problem is spiritual or physical, we can go to Jesus for help.  We have not because we ask not.

39 So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.

  • How did Jesus treat the fever?  Basically the same way He treated the demon: by rebuking it.  This doesn’t mean that the fever was demonically-induced, nor does it mean it had personality & needed to be addressed as a “spirit of sickness.”  It just means that Jesus’ power extends over both the spiritual and physical spheres.  What Jesus does in one, He can do in the other.  He is not limited in His authority.  He can do all things in all places at all times.  Nothing is impossible for Him.
  • What was the extent of her healing?  It was total & immediate.  She was so healed that she could get up and serve them in that instance.  She didn’t need a few hours to recover – she didn’t need to rest a bit longer.  She could get up and serve them lunch (or whatever), and apparently that’s what she did. 
  • So it’s been a busy day for Jesus.  First there was the exorcism in the synagogue – then there was the healing at home.  Sounds like it’s time for Jesus to kick off His sandals and relax for the evening.  Right?  Wrong.  There is soon more to do…much more, as people come streaming to His door.  Vs. 40…
  • Power over all (40-41)

40 When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ.

  • The fact that the “sun was setting” is an important detail on a Sabbath day, because it meant that the Sabbath had officially ended. Jewish days run from sundown to sundown, so the Sabbath officially begins on sundown Friday & lasts until sundown Saturday.  During that time, people are limited as to how much work they do, including how far they walk.  There are different thoughts as to how far a “Sabbath’s day journey” actually was, in that the Jewish rabbis & Pharisees came up with all sorts of loopholes and exceptions to try to make the distance as far as possible.  However far it was, it was still limited, and although the word about Jesus had spread quickly, word-of-mouth & rumor can travel farther than our feet can take us.  With the sun setting, all travel restrictions were lifted, and people came far & wide to the door of Simon Peter, where Jesus stayed.  They knew what Jesus had done, they knew were Jesus was, and they wanted to get to Jesus as soon as possible.
    • That’s actually an admirable thing.  It may have made a long day (and night) for Simon & his house, but it’s wonderful to see people with a desire to see Jesus.  When people truly understand who Jesus is, and what He is able to do, then no obstacle is enough to keep them away.  To know that Jesus is God & that He saves – that ought to have us running to Him!  And we can!  Backgrounds of atheism can be left behind – backgrounds of abuse and addictions can be forsaken.  It doesn’t matter who we are or where we come from, we can see our Jesus & we know He offers healing, forgiveness, and eternal life.  And so we come! 
  • As they came, they brought whoever they could.  At this point, Luke dispenses with the need to describe every variety of illness & demon possession – it was all-inclusive.  It didn’t matter who or what was brought to Jesus, Jesus could (and did) address it all.  His power is completely unlimited.  There is no sickness He cannot heal – no spiritual oppression He cannot overcome.  There is also no limit on whom He would address: “He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.”  Rich or poor, religious or heathen, it didn’t matter.  Jesus didn’t leave anyone out.  If someone come to Him in faith, He touched them with compassion, and He healed them.  He healed without regard to social status, political position, or anything else.  People didn’t have to make themselves worthy to be addressed by Jesus – Jesus simply loved them for who they were.
    • There was one condition: they had to be there.  Whether they walked on their own two feet, or they were brought to Jesus by friends and family, they had to come.  They had to show up and ask to be healed.  Think about it: Jesus could have healed the entire nation with a word.  He could have healed everyone long-distance all over the world, but He didn’t.  He healed only those who came to Him in faith.
    • The same principle applies to salvation.  Jesus is freely available to all.  Jesus has already done all the work necessary for anyone to be saved.  But we have to come.  Jesus does not grant a blanket salvation to all the world – we have to go to Him in faith, asking to be healed of the sickness of our sin, trusting that He will do it.  And He will!  He will not turn any away who humble themselves and ask to be saved.
    • BTW – some people need to be brought.  Just like those who were diseased needed to be brought to Jesus (vs. 40), so do we need to bring others.  This is where the Great Commission comes in.  People may not know of the compassion and healing of Jesus until they are told.  We are the ones to tell them…so tell them!
  • How long did it go on?  As long as it took.  Jesus addressed the diseased & the demon-possessed, every one until all were healed.  The demons continually cried out against Jesus & Jesus continually silenced them even in their truthful testimony, because even their truth cannot be trusted.  Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Son of God, but demons are poor sources of information.  Besides, Jesus’ actions speak for themselves.  He showed Himself to be the Son of God by His authority over the devil.  Jesus’ ability is evidence of His authority.
  • Purpose for power (42-44)

42 Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them;

  • Jesus had been surrounded all evening – when the morning came, He understandably when to a place that was “deserted.”  Mark notes that Jesus went there specifically to pray (Mk 1:35), and it’s no wonder as to why.  Jesus well understood the need to have time alone with God.  He knows better than anyone the need to pray, and the kind of refreshing that only comes through time spent alone in God’s presence.  Though the day before was the Sabbath, Jesus received very little rest, and He needed it, just like we all do.  So much of our time is filled with activity – even our times of prayer, as few as those may be.  Sometimes it seems we avoid prayer simply because we are afraid of running out of things to say, and we want to be overly active.  Sometimes, we just need to rest.  Spend time in prayer listening to God, meditating upon the Scripture, and simply being with Him.  It’s not a matter of disengaging (per Eastern meditation), but it is a matter of resting.  We can be with God in prayer just as we can sit next to our spouse in the living room.  That’s good time – that’s needed time.
  • Unfortunately, Jesus didn’t get much of it.  He had gone to a deserted place, but it didn’t stay deserted for long.  People came looking for Him, just like they had the previous night.  Mark notes that it was Peter & his friends that brought a report to Jesus that the crowds had come searching for Him (Mk 1:36), but the idea is the same.  While Jesus remained in Capernaum, people would be coming to Him asking for healing, not ever wanting Him to leave.
    • That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as people are coming to Jesus for the right reasons.  Do they come in faith, seeking Jesus as their Lord, trusting Him to heal according to His will?  Or do they come with themselves as Lord, demanding that Jesus bow to their wills, healing upon their demands?  Many people desire Jesus; not all desire Him for the right reasons.
  • Jesus would not be restrained.  Vs. 43…

43 but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” 44 And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

  • Capernaum wasn’t the only town in Galilee that needed to be visited by Jesus – there was more to do, and thus more places to go.  Specifically, Jesus had a purpose to go to the other cities: He had to “preach the kingdom of God.”  The word for “preach” in vs. 43 is a familiar one: ευαγγελιζω (~ evangelism).  It literally speaks of a good message, proclaiming glad tidings.  When Jesus preached the kingdom of God, He engaged in evangelism.  He told people the good news of how the kingdom of God had arrived – how people could gain entry – how He is the King.  That’s what evangelism is all about: simply telling people about Jesus.
  • Please note that this was Jesus’ specific purpose.  When Jesus said that He “must” preach, He was saying that this was necessary.  He explicitly said that this was the “purpose” for which He was sent.  He engaged in much healing & He performed many exorcisms, but Jesus did not come to do those things.  He came to preach the gospel of the kingdom, so that people would hear and believe.  It’s a good thing to be healed of a disease, but all those who are healed still eventually die.  It’s a good thing to be cleansed of a demon, but even that freedom is temporary without the eternal spiritual work of Jesus.  As important as those things are, the gospel proclamation is far more important, and that’s what Jesus came to do.
  • And He did it.  As Luke notes, Jesus left to continue preaching in the other synagogues around Galilee.  Perhaps He cleansed other demoniacs along the way & healed people in other towns, but Jesus’ primary activity was that of preaching / proclaiming / announcing the good news of God.

This was the whole point of the miracles & demonstrations of power.  The miracles gave Jesus the opportunity to preach the gospel.  The miracles gave proof of Jesus’ right to proclaim the things He did.  The miracles were evidence of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah.  These displays of power were not an end to themselves – they served a greater purpose: they gave proof to Jesus’ words.

The people recognized the power that was inherent in Jesus.  He has the right to rule – He has the ability to rule.  Whether the problem was spiritual or physical, Jesus had the power to rule over it, making all reality bend over backwards to His personal will.  Jesus has all authority over all things at all times.

So what?  So pay attention to what this Man has to say!  Someone who can do those things is someone to whom we need to listen!  Anyone can speak a bunch of words.  Election years are famous for politicians making promises they cannot keep (and this year is no different)…backing up those words is something different.  Jesus has the power to back it up.  Jesus has power inherent in Himself, independent of anyone else.  Thus HIS word can be trusted.  What Jesus says, He does.  What Jesus wills, He empowers.  Believe Him…trust Him.

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