Series Title: ‘Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘The Gospel of Jesus Christ’ pt. 3 Text: Luke 4:14-44
Background: It’s been a few weeks since we’ve journeyed together in the Book of Luke. So, allow me to back up a bit, so we can get a clear picture of where we’re heading.
- After Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness by Satan, He begins His ministry in the region of Galilee. It lasts about one year.
- Then, Jesus returns to His hometown of Nazareth. Where He begins by attending the local synagogue.
- He read a portion of Isaiah 61. Luke 4:18-19 records it.
Read: Luke 4:18-19
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
People were impressed by the authority with which Jesus spoke… But it didn’t last. After reading from Isaiah, Jesus said Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
- The religious people in the synagogue that day understood that Jesus was declaring that He was the Messiah promised by God to deliver His people Israel.
- But when He refused to perform a miracle to prove what He was saying, their amazement turned to anger and they led Jesus to the edge of town intending to throw Him off a cliff.
- But, Jesus miraculously moved safely through their midst and left town.
Transition: That brings us to our text this morning. Open your Bibles to Luke 4:31. I’ll be reading verses 31-37 and verse 41.
- Luke 4:31-44 Jesus does what He said He would do
- Proclaim liberty to the captives
Read: Luke 4:31-37, 41
Jesus heads to the city of Capernaum, which would become His ministry headquarters. As was His habit, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. He was given the opportunity to read Scripture and explain it to those in attendance.
- And like in Nazareth, the people were amazed at His ability to understand and teach them God’s Word.
But, that day in the synagogue would not be like most. It seems logical to assume that sometime while Jesus was teaching He was interrupted by a man seated in the congregation, who was demon possessed. The demon shouts:
- Ha! What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God.
While people in that time were somewhat used to seeing and hearing people who were demon possessed, I very much doubt it happened often, if at all, in the synagogue.
I think we can assume this man was not demon possessed when he came entered the synagogue or they wouldn’t have allowed him in. And if that’s true, it means he was possessed after he entered.
- Satan has sunk to new lows to possess someone while worshipping in the synagogue just to disrupt Jesus’ ministry.
And that tells me that Satan will not stop, he will be relentless throughout all of Jesus earthly ministry, to stop Him from doing what He said He would do.
If I was there that day, I know I would’ve been more than a little shook up.
But notice Jesus remains calm. You see, this demon wasn’t a threat to Jesus, just as Satan himself, wasn’t a threat to Him.
- Just to be clear. There is NO truth to the Ying/Yang teaching, or to the idea that there’s a balance of power in the universe.
Even the demons know that Jesus has ultimate power over them? This one said:
- Have You come to destroy us?
And why did the demon ask that? Because it knew exactly who Jesus is. This demon said:
- I know who You are, the Holy One of God.
Jesus, immediately commands the demon to stop talking and get out of that man. And the demon had to obey. What was the response of the people in the synagogue?
- And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” And reports about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
The people were amazed. Word got out about what Jesus had done in the synagogue that Sabbath day.
Here’s the takeaway. In verses 18-19, Jesus gave us His mission statement, His Gospel:
- The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
When Jesus cast out the demon from the man in the synagogue, He was just doing what He said He would do. He said:
- He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives
That man was held captive by the demon. Jesus cast the demon out and set the man free from its enslavement.
- Jesus is keeping the promises He made to the Father from eternity past.
- He’s effectually demonstrating His calling.
- He’s doing what He said He would do.
- Proclaim recovery of sight (heal the sick)
Read: Luke 4:38-40
It seems Jesus’ home while in Capernaum, was Peters house, where Peter lived with his wife and extended family.
Jesus arrived after worshipping in the synagogue, and was made aware that Peter’s mother-in-law had become very sick with a high fever.
- Those who traveled with Jesus knew He could heal the sick, they had seen Him do it. So they asked Him to heal her.
- And when He did, she got up and started to serve the people in the home.
Let me give you some background.
- Everyone knows how physical labor can tire you out.
- We also have experienced times when exercising our mental/intellectual faculties, can drain us as well.
- But fatigue can also be found when exercising the spiritual.
ILL: Case in point. When I was the interim here, we had both morning and evening services on Sunday. I would do what I usually do now on Sunday morning, and few families would take me to their home for the time between the services.
We would fellowship for a bit, then they would graciously give me time to take a nap. Refreshed after the nap, they would feed me and we’d come back here for the evening service. I am so thankful for the love and hospitality shown to me during that time. Two things:
- I am still thankful for the love and hospitality shown to Kathy and me.
- And, I still take a nap on Sunday afternoons.
So, picture this: Jesus, just ministered in the Sabbath worship, even cast out a demon. Then He went to Peter’s home for a time of rest and refreshment. Immediately upon His arrival, He was confronted with a problem the people wanted Him to fix. Did He say:
- I’ll get to that later? I need some me time!
No. He did what He said He would do… He proclaimed recovering of sight to the blind. OK, not exactly. But He did heal someone who was sick… kinda the same thing.
- It wasn’t convenient.
- It could have been done later.
But, as many infomercials exclaim… there’s more!
Healing Peter’s mother-in-law wasn’t the end of it. Notice in verse 40 that it was getting late in the day and crowds of people brought their sick loved ones to Jesus The way the Greek is structured, the idea is there was a continual flow of people coming all day and now it was getting dark.
Folks, it was late, didn’t get his Sabbath afternoon nap. Remember, He was fully human. I bet He was tired, probably wanted, needed to get some sleep. And we read this:
- And He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.
Why? It was what He said He would do. And Jesus always did what He said He would do.
- Proclaim the Good News
Read: Luke 4:42-44
ILL: Pastor J Jeffrey Smead writes: A Pastor had a conversation with his people about Sunday morning worship. Each of them shared their favorite part of the service.
- One person said it was the congregational Scripture readings, because it was at that moment he was able to stand up and declare his faith.
- Another said it was the music; the songs and hymns deeply moved her.
- Another person said it was the prelude. The pastor looked at the person and was somewhat taken aback. The Prelude. Don’t you mean the Sermon? Oh no, pastor. It’s definitely the prelude.
- When asked what made the prelude so meaningful, he said his whole week is always so full, so busy, so intense. But when he enters the Worship Center and the prelude begins, it’s the only time all week he could just sit back, be quiet, and experience the presence of the Lord. (Adapted from J Jeffrey Smead)
Early the next morning, Jesus gets away to a quiet place to spend some time basking in the Father’s presence. Folks, even Jesus needed to be refreshed.
- Not just physically with sleep, but spiritually by time spent with the Father.
It was how Jesus was also able to do what He said He would do.
- His strength came from regular and intimate fellowship with the Father.
Can I ask? Where does your strength come from?
Well, it seems Jesus was planning to leave Capernaum for a while, and when the townspeople caught up with Him, they tried to convinced Him to stay. But Jesus said:
- I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.
Jesus’ Gospel was not one of just words, it was one of action.
- He (the Father) has anointed Me (Jesus) to proclaim good news to the poor… to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
The people wanted to stop Jesus
- from completing His mission, from fulfilling His duty, from living out His calling.
They didn’t care that when they found Jesus they were interrupting His time with the Father. All they cared about was their needs being met.
But, Jesus would not let their selfish demands, stop Him from doing what He said He would do.
- Jesus did what He said He would do.
Now, I realize some of you might be thinking, that’s nice, Jesus always did what He said He would do.
I can read about that in the Gospels. But what relevance does that have for me today?
Folks, this is huge! It shows that Jesus is faithful! Always faithful! No matter the challenge, no matter the cost, no matter the circumstances, Jesus is always faithful!
And because Jesus is faithful, because Jesus always does what He said He will do,
- your sins can be forgiven,
- your life can be transformed,
- your future in heaven can be secured.
And you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt:
- That Jesus will never leave you.
- That Jesus will never stop loving you.
- That Jesus will always make intercession for you to the Father.
- That Jesus will always speak to you through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
- That Jesus will always walk with you, lead and guide you, care for you, provide for you.
Even though it would cost Him greatly, even though it would cost Him His life, He will always do what He said He would do.
- Don’t just take my word for it.
Read: Hebrews 12:2-3
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
If you’ve had some doubts about Jesus’ claims, let the doubts end here. Jesus always does what He said He will do.
- If you admit your sin against Him.
- If you trust that when Jesus said He would die for and forgive your sin, that He actually did it.
- If you believe that Jesus did that, not just for the sins of the world, but for your
- If you give Him your life, all of your life, to transform it into the fullness of who God wants you to be.
Then, you’ll have an intimate encounter with Jesus, that will last not just this lifetime, but the next. Then, you’ll become a child of God.
- Jesus is committed to His Gospel,
- because Jesus is committed to you!
- B. Are we doing what we said we would do?
I’m almost done. But there is one more vital part of our text. The ‘so what’ for those who already are part of God’s family through faith in Jesus.
- Are you doing what you said you would do?
ILL: Pastor Michael Luke tells the following true story. The brilliant Christian scholar and writer C. S. Lewis took that truth seriously. His biography tells of the suffering he endured because he kept a promise he had made to a buddy during World War I.
This friend was worried about the care of his wife and small daughter if he should be killed in battle
so Lewis assured him that if that were to happen he would look after them. As the war dragged on, the man was killed. True to his word, Lewis took care of his friend’s family. Yet no matter how helpful he tried to be, the woman was ungrateful, rude, arrogant, and domineering. Through it all, Lewis kept forgiving her. He refused to let her actions become an excuse to renege on his promise.
C.S. Lewis did what he said he would do. He kept his commitment to his friend, even when the circumstances changed and it was no longer easy to keep that promise.
Look at the front of your Bulletin.
- Commitment…is doing what you said you would do,
- long after the mood you said it in has left you.
Do you understand what that says? It means
- you may feel one way when you say you’ll do something,
- but then it’s time to do what you said you would do, you may no longer feel the same way,
- usually because of other demands on your life.
Folks, that’s true whether it’s a commitment you made to your spouse, to your children, to your church or to your God.
And listen, just like Satan didn’t stop, was relentless throughout all of Jesus earthly ministry, to keep Jesus from doing what He said He would do, Satan has the very same strategy with you.
- He’ll place many distractions in your life,
- in order to keep you from doing what you said you would do… for your spouse, for your family, for your church, and to your God.
Marriages end, children rebel, and churches struggle to be effective at ministry,
- Because Christians stop doing what they said they would do,
- when they change their minds about what’s important to them,
- when it comes time to do what they said they would do.
But Christian, integrity says we keep our promise, our commitments,
- even when situations change,
- even when it’s hard,
- even when other good things to do come along competing for our time.
God knows our hearts, that’s why in Psalm 15 He said:
- Lord, who may dwell in Your sacred tent? Who may live on Your holy mountain?… those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind (Psalm 15:1,4)
Christian. God honors, those who do what they said they would do!