Saturday, February 2, 2013

Epiphany 4

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42
Chartered February 25, 1838
Celebrating our 175th Year
03 February 2013
Epiphany 4
Luke 4:31-44

Jesus demonstrates much authority. Not as others then or now. How will you perceive Him? Deliberately Jesus will demonstrate His authority. In Nazareth, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah -that Messiah has come. The exorcism in Capernaum is a fulfillment of Isaiah's prediction. 

The Messiah would bring release to those captives of Satan. It is a statement on what the kingdom and its king offer to those who are willing to become its citizens.

1.       Jesus shows great authority by proclaiming the Word.
31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people.32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.

Mere opinion is not His to give. He comes speaking with the power and the authority of the Lord. He speaks God’s honesty. He heralds God’s reality. Not the views of men. Not the beliefs of the current day.
Not the attitude and outlook of popular opinion. He speaks with truth and power. He speaks as the one sent from God for He is God’s one and only Son. The people are amazed at His teaching for He teaches not as the scribes and teachers of the Law. He teaches with both confidence and conviction for all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him.  

2.       Jesus shows great authority in casting out unclean spirits.

33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! 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!”

The "good news concerning the kingdom of God" is release from the captivity of Satan as demonstrated by healings, and especially by exorcisms.

At His command, demons are driven out. Jesus rebuked the demon inside the man in the synagogue.  And later that evening, when the demons were coming "out of many, crying, 'You are the Son of God!' … [Jesus] rebuked them and would not allow them to speak." 

His authoritative Word grabs them by the throat.  Jesus speaks and the demons are silenced immediately.  And more than that, they give up their victims.  The man in the synagogue is unharmed.  The many are healed.  Jesus speaks and the people's mouths are opened to declare His praise.
You are the Christ.” They say. They know His authority. They know His power. His ultimate authority will be seen at the cross when He cries out, “It is finished” His final glory will be seen when He will say to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." John 20:27

The exorcised demons identified Jesus, crying out, "You are the Son of God" (vs. 41) The demons speak and identify Jesus before they are silenced. Isaiah’s words are being fulfilled in the presence of these witnesses. Release for the captives. Only God could do something like that! Who alone has the power to silence demons? Jesus? Yes, Jesus!

3.       Jesus shows great authority by acts of healing.

38 Jesus 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. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

In freeing the sufferer, Jesus rebuked the source of the illness and yanked the victim from his power. The message of Luke is clear: this miracle illustrates Jesus' power to free the captives from Satan's power

Jesus comes to free us from every effect of sin. Jesus left the synagogue and entered Simon's house. Did you notice how Luke said Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law?  He found Simon's mother-in-law stricken by a high fever. Jesus "stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them."

Jesus rebuked the fever.  He treated it the same way He treated the demons. He addressed the fever as though it possessed intelligence, or was caused by an intelligent being.   

This verbal rebuke, given by Jesus, shows that the fever was having a demonic effect.  This demon had to be brought under control. Jesus addresses the fever as a living creature, a fever demon, an instrument of Satan, by which he torments humans.

He considers disease as foreign to us as demons and death.  It is all the same to Jesus. They are all the outcome of the fall. Divorce, addictions, violence, depression, abuse, poverty, - are all invaders that do not belong in His Creation.

Still, others are healed. As “the sun was setting on the Sabbath the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying His hands on each one, He healed them.” They came. Jesus responded. Every. Single. Time.

They were astonished by His authority of healing”. “Who is He?” they ask. He’s the Lord! He’s a liar! He’s a lunatic! What say you? Who is this Jesus?   

He was sent for this purpose. To release those held prisoner from the captivity of Satan. To set free those who were bound.  In Galilee and other cities, He will do this mighty work until it is completed, finally, at the cross, on a hill called Golgotha.

It continues to this day. For 175 years, this message of Jesus releasing those who were bound is being proclaimed. It has been shared across the kitchen table, at the shop, in our school, in our Sunday school, and in countless other places and circumstances too huge for us to count. Christ continues to be center in our lives and His release of those who were bound is the story of redemption, which we all need to hear.

Rejoice this day. You sin is forgiven. Release has been granted to you. Peace has come to this house! Forgiveness has come to this home! The demons hear and they must obey. He has been granted authority – authority of which He speaks, commands, and acts - on your behalf and on behalf of all to whom He calls by name.    

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