In this sermon, Pastor Neil continues his series on Travels with Jesus. Here he talks about Jesus’ authority, demonstrated to the crowds at Capernaum. Here are some excerpts:

The Authority of Jesus’ Teaching

…[T]he people of Capernaum “were amazed at His teaching, because His message (logos) had authority.” There was something different about the teaching of Jesus than what they were used to hearing in their synagogue. The Message says: “They [the Capernaum-ites] were surprised and impressed – His teaching was so forthright, so confident, so authoritative, not the quibbling and quoting they were used to” – the way their religious leaders usually taught, which was to quote the opinions of other teachers endlessly without, in many cases, ever coming to a conclusion…

Matthew points out this same quality of authority in the teaching of Jesus at the end of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:28-29, where he says: “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”

…Where did the authority of Jesus come from? It came from God; from God the Father, who sent Jesus on His mission to this world; from God the Holy Spirit, who anointed Jesus for His mission, and who was present with and at work in and through Jesus at every moment. The authority of Jesus came from the fact that He Himself was God in flesh and blood. Every word He spoke was the word of God. Every act He did was an act of God. When you see Jesus, you are seeing God. When you hear Jesus, you are hearing the voice of God. If you have eyes to see and ears to hear, to really see Him as He is and to really hear Him, you can’t help but be amazed, and be moved to bow before Him in surrender and worship…

Jesus’ Authority Over Demonic Spirits

The second thing to notice in this passage is the authority of Jesus over demonic spirits. It comes through loud and clear in verses 33-37 where Jesus encounters a man who was “demonically disturbed” (MSG). Literally, what Luke says is that this man had “a spirit of an unclean demon” (verse 33) that affected both his mind and body.

Belief in demons or evil spirits may be controversial or out of fashion today, but there was no question about their existence in New Testament times. There is no question that Jesus recognized their existence and their evil influence. A demon, simply put, is an evil spiritual being who is hostile to God, hostile to people created in God’s image, and hostile to God’s gracious, redemptive purposes for the created world. Demons, like Satan himself, are fallen angels. They are angelic beings who rebelled against God. They are spiritual beings who joined Satan in his attempt to overthrow God and set himself up as the supreme ruler of the universe.

We may go through the normal activities of daily life with little or no awareness of the existence or pernicious activity of demonic spirits, but the Bible reminds us in Ephesians 6 that the most consequential struggles we face in this life are “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, … the authorities, … the powers of this dark world, and … the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). To fight against these demonic spiritual enemies, we must “put on the full armor of God, so that … (we) may be able to stand (our) ground, and after (we) have done everything, to stand” (6:13). Spiritual warfare is real. Demonic spirits, who are sworn enemies of God and His people, are real…

Jesus’ Authority Over Disease and Illness

…Here is a third thing we see in this passage: We see the power of Jesus over illnesses and diseases of all kinds. After Worship at the synagogue, Jesus goes home with Simon. We know Simon better as Peter, which is the name Jesus gave to him (John 1:42; Mark 3:16). Simon had a mother-in-law (verse 39), which by definition means that Peter was married. His wife isn’t mentioned here, but it is logical to presume that Simon Peter lived with his wife and mother-in-law in what was probably a one-room house in Capernaum. Peter’s mother-in-law was very sick with a high fever. Luke, a physician by training, says it was not just a run-of- the-mill fever; he calls it a pureto megalo, a “great fever.” What does Jesus do? He goes to see her and tells the fever to leave. And it leaves. Peter’s mother-in-law gets up without a moment’s hesitation. She knows she has been healed. And she immediately begins to wait on Jesus and their other guests (4:39)…

His Authority and the Kingdom of God

…Unlike the nations of the world, the kingdom of God is not a political entity. It is not a geographical place with national boundaries. It is a spiritual kingdom that exists wherever and whenever people acknowledge the sovereign rule of God and submit their lives to His gracious, loving authority. As Jesus said in Luke 17:20-21, when some Pharisees were grilling Him about when the kingdom of God would come: “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ for the kingdom of God is within you (and among you).” The kingdom of God is an inside job. It starts in your heart and moves outward from there.

Pastor Neil has a lot more to say about this topic. Please click on the link below to hear the message in its entirety.

February 28, 2021

Luke 4:31-44

Dr. Neil Smith

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