Luke 4:31-44

31Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. 32They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.

33In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34"Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!"

35"Be quiet!" Jesus said sternly. "Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

36All the people were amazed and said to each other, "What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!" 37And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

38Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

40When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.

42At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43But he said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." 44And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (NIV)

Things to Note

1. Jesus' teachings have divine authority (vv. 31-32).

The scribes who usually taught in synagogues were always supporting every little point they made with a quotation from another person, in order to establish their authority.

The reason why the townspeople were "awe-struck" or "thunder-struck" (since these adjectives get at the heart of the meaning of the word that's translated "amazed") at Jesus' teaching was that He did not follow the scribes' example, but rather demanded that people listen to him on his own terms. "...Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Mt 7:24). "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" (Jn 6:63).

2. Jesus has the power to deliver people from evil spirits (v. 33-35, 41).

One reason why He was sent was to disarm spiritual powers and authorities (Col 2:15) and destroy the devil and all of his work (Lk 10:17-20; Heb 2:14-15; 1 Jn 3:8).

In paying the penalty for the sin of all who trust in Him, Jesus will "rescue" them "from the present evil age" (Gal 1:3-4).

3. Even demons acknowledge Jesus as Lord and God (vv.33-34, 41).

This truth reinforces the point made later in the letter of James: that intellectual assent is not enough to constitute true faith (James 2:19-20)

4. Jesus has the power to heal sickness and disease (vv. 38-40).

Jesus' healing of Peter's mother-in-law provides a glimpse of the hope all of us have when Christ returns, when "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Rev 21:4)

5. Jesus heals so that the healed may serve Him (v. 39).

"She got up at once and began to wait on them."

"Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." (Tit 2:14; see also Rev 1:4-6)

6. One of Jesus' main purposes in His first coming was to proclaim the coming of the kingdom of God (vv. 42-43).

In speaking of his intent to go to other towns, Jesus reinforces his priorities, and communciates that he will not be swayed by the wishes of people.

In a similar way, we are not to let anyone hinder us from "declaring the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Pet 2:9; Acts 5:27-32)

Discussion Question 1: How does Christ's authority and power comfort you?

Discussion Question 2: In what way should professing Christians take warning by the fact that even demons acknowledge Jesus as Lord and God?

Discussion Question 3: How would you respond to someone who, when looking at this account (and many others) of how Jesus heals people, constructs the idea that we can count on his healing every time we get sick? You may benefit from reflecting on such passages as 1 Co 11:29-31; 2 Ti 4:19-20; 2 Co 12:7-10; and 1 Jn 5:14-15.

Discussion Question 4: Now that we have begun to see how, in Luke 4, the author is beginning to focus on Jesus' own words and works, what characteristics of Jesus do you find comforting? Arresting? Convicting?