Then Jesus went to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught there in the synagogue every Sabbath day. There, too, the people were amazed at His teaching, for He spoke with authority. Once when He was in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon—an evil spirit—began shouting at Jesus, “Go away! Why are You interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One sent from God!”
Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” He ordered. At that, the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further.
Amazed, the people exclaimed, “What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey Him, and they flee at His command!”
The news about Jesus spread through every village in the entire region.Luke 4:31-37
This and the following pericopes which Luke has stacked up here follow the lead of Mark in his first chapter – 1:21-39. Matthew disperses these pericopes to later chapters in his gospel. [If you want to know what Matthew’s purpose is you will have to study Matthew.] At the moment we are focused on Luke so that is what we concentrate on and use the other gospels to work out what Luke is doing and how he is organizing his material. Luke keeps the stories together following the lead of Mark. Notice how they are structured. This story is clearly borrowed from Mark or oral tradition. They are virtually identical. I want to draw your attention to the overall structure.
Note something very interesting in this story Jesus is teaching in the synagogue and the people are amazed at the authority this man has. He spoke with authority. Not surprising really when all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him. But let’s leave that aside. Immediately this comment is made we have this incident recorded of a man in the synagogue who was manifesting a demonic spirit. The way this story is put together is not saying that while on this occasion in synagogue in Capernaum a man manifested an evil spirit. This element starts with “Once when he was in a synagogue . . .”. This incident has been borrow from the stack of stories about Jesus and placed in juxtaposition with comments above it. Why? It is all to do with authority.
Notice that this pericope has multiple references to authority and a story which is all about authority. isn’t that what this story of the man with the demon is all about. Authority! Here is this man manifesting an evil spirit. Where? In the house of God; the synagogue. Can’t God take care of His own house. Who is Lord of the house anyway? If God is not Lord of the House of God then He is not Lord at all. So it is interesting don’t you think that these elements related to the theme authority are placed with a story that basically is questioning “authority”. They recognize He speaks with authority but what shocks them even more is that He possesses authority. This One embodies authority. When the Bible says “All authority on heaven and earth is given to Me” that is what it means. On the earth, above the earth and below the earth. Jesus is over all. That includes the “underworld”.
Fascinating isn’t it. They recognize His authority when He is preaching but it takes the demons to call out “Jesus of Nazareth . . . I know who You are – the Holy One sent from God.” Well there it is right there. The demonic world knows who He is. The Holy One sent from God to destroy the works of the evil one. Jesus silences the demon with a word and commands it to come out. Immediately upon that statement (“at that”) the demon threw the man to floor and came out of him without hurting him any more. Such that the crowd say “What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him and they flee at His command!” It could not be clearer. Yes this man does speak with authority. The One who spoke creation into existence has power over the demonic world as well. Not only does He speak with authority but He acts with authority as well.
There are some differences between Mark and Luke, but I am not going to analyze them in detail. Suffice to say, notice Luke has left out the part of Mark 1:22 which says “spoke with authority, not like their scribes”.
Then Luke adds to the Mark story . . . “It came out without hurting him.” It is as though Luke extends the degree of authority further than Mark. In Luke it is a more all encompassing power. A definitive, absolute power over all of creation and especially over the demonic world. Firstly Jesus teaching is far and above that of the Scribes and by inference the teachers of the law and those like them. Luke doesn’t limit it just by the scribes. Leaving out “the scribes” has the effect of absolute complete power over all human or demonic power levels. Demonstrated by what He does. Then Luke adds, when Jesus commands the demon to come out, it comes out without hurting the man. There are many times in Scripture when demons wreak havoc upon leaving: driving pigs to their destruction over the cliff and throwing the boy into the fire. In this case “the coming out” is a clean one with no further harm being done to the man.
This One indeed has power and the people spread the news around far and wide. Come and see the real deal. In a subsequent Gems we will investigate why it is that Jesus often tells people and certainly the demons to be quiet after he has done something to demonstrate Who He is. But that is for another day. Enough for now.
The amount of your endurance, and the intensity of your focus, is directly proportionate to the clarity of your vision!Rick Godwin
If you think adventure is dangerous, try ROUTINE. It is lethal! Try something different today?Rick Godwin
It Is Impossible To Become A Man In Authority Until You 1st Become A Man Under Authority.Robb Thompson
Anytime you try to judge what you’ve no authority over, you’re out of your jurisdiction!Bob Gass