Sermon: The Power to Heal (Luke 4:38-44)

Click Here for Audio Luke 4-38-44

The Power to Heal

The setting for this text picks up where we left off last week.  It was about noon when the synagogue services were over.  Simon Peter was one of those who heard Jesus’ message of the gospel and the kingdom of God.  He also saw firsthand Jesus cast out the unclean spirit from the man in the synagogue.  Simon walks up to Jesus and invites Him to come to his house for the Sabbath meal.  Simon Peter had not been named Peter yet by Jesus so Luke calls him Simon.  All this took place before Peter was called to be an apostle.

Simon was showing the Messiah hospitality by inviting Jesus to his house.  It seems as if Peter not only had hospitality in mind but also something else…

The Son of God came to earth to redeem sinful man.  His task as Redeemer is to reverse the effects of sin.  He has the power to forgive sin, to cast out demons, and today, we’ll see He has the power over sickness and disease.

Jesus is not trying to make heaven on earth but showing us a taste of heaven while on earth.  In heaven there will be no sin, no demons, and no sickness and death.  Jesus has the power to reverse all these things that came unto man as a result of the fall and the curse.

This is God’s Word…

Luke 4:38-44 (ESV)

And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf.  [39] And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.

[40] Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.  [41] And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

[42] And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them,  [43] but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”  [44] And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

So ends the reading of the Word of God…

1. Jesus Stands Over the Sick (4:38, 39)

And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf.  [39] And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.

What’s so significant about the words of Luke?  To get the picture we must remember that Luke was a doctor.

Col. 4:14 (ESV)

Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.

Luke reports this with amazement.  He writes that Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a (literally, mega fever) high fever.  Luke knew what a high fever meant and the seriousness of it.   No matter how high her fever was Jesus could cure her.

Then, only as a doctor could do, Luke goes on and shows Jesus taking a doctor’s position by standing over the patient.  I wonder how long He stood there.  I wonder what Jesus was thinking?  We’re not told much except He spoke a word and the sickness left.  With the command, the fever left.

The cure was sudden, the fever left her immediately.  In other words, she didn’t lie in bed for hours as her fever became less and less, it left immediately.

The cure was also complete; she wasn’t totally exhausted after being bed ridden with a high fever.  All her symptoms associated with a fever immediately vanished and her strength was returned to her.

I want to take a moment to look at what Jesus did here in this text.  He rebuked the fever.

First of all, that sounds somewhat odd.  I mean if someone is ill there is either a virus or some other biological cause for the sickness.  Fever is a symptom of the fact that there is some sort of infection within the body causing the body to respond with a higher than normal temperature to rid itself of the virus or whatever.

The pattern of Jesus using this word evpitima,w has to do with Him rebuking demons.  Numerous times in the New Testament Jesus rebukes unclean spirits and they are cast out.  With the rebuke in almost every case, the spirit is told to be silent and come out.  Literally, be muzzled and come out.  A muzzle, as you know, is something you put on a vicious dog so it can’t bark and won’t bite.  Jesus was muzzling demons and causing them to be controllable.  Luke places this account in the midst of Jesus’ work with demon possessed people to show that in the same way that He silences demons and removes them He also, silences the foreign substance in the people and cast it out.  By the power of His Word the virus is rendered powerless and immediately removed and that same Word restores the sick person to health.  They didn’t need a follow-up visit to the doctor, they were completely healed.

There is also the possibility that this fever was cause by an unclean spirit.  But the Bible doesn’t say it was, so we need to be careful.  Some theologians think this is what was going on, but I believe it’s possible and yet the Scriptures are silent here to that fact.  I will say this though, every time Jesus used this word, except once, in the NT it was in regard to casting out or silencing demons.

Jesus is the Great Physician.  He stands over us and cares for us in much the same way.  Sometimes, Jesus will heal us like in the case of Simon’s mother-in-law.  Other times Jesus wants us to suffer through and grow stronger in the process.  In either case Jesus knows what’s going on and stands over His people in love.

2. Jesus was laying His Hands on the Sick (4:40, 41)

[40] Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.  [41] And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

The news spread quickly about the healing that took place in Simon’s home.  The people waited until 6:00pm when the Sabbath was over and then they poured out bringing their sick loved ones and Jesus showed mercy and grace to these people and began to heal them as well.

In Matthew’s account, (Matthew 8) He spoke to the disease as He did before, but He also touched them.  This was probably for the onlooker’s benefit.  I’m sure not everyone could hear what He was saying but all who wanted to could watch and see Him place His hands on the sick and heal them.  Those who had to be carried in got up and walked out.

Look with me at another important truth Luke shows us… he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. Let me ask you a question, was there anyone who came to Jesus that day needing to be healed that He turned away or didn’t heal?

This physical healing is but a picture of true healing of sin that Jesus would also extend to all who would come.  This truth is still in effect to day.  If you come to Christ by faith and believe that you are a sin sick person and you trust Him, He will heal you.  He will deliver you and He will cast out your sin.

Luke 5:23-26 (ESV)

Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?  [24] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—”I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”  [25] And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.  [26] And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

Just as last week, the demons that were cast out knew who Jesus was…

[41] And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!”

Luke reports again that Jesus muzzles the demons and with a word from Him they are silent.  Many speculate as to why Jesus commanded the demons to be silent and not spread the news that He is the Messiah.  It’s probably has to do with the timing of His mission and ministry.  In the end, only God knows.

One of my favorite hymns is A Mighty Fortress Is Our God written by Martin Luther…

And though this world with devils filled

Should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God has willed

His truth to triumph through us.

3. Others Needed to Hear (4:43, 44)

[42] And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them,  [43] but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”  [44] And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

What a night that must have been in Capernaum.  Jesus must have been up early into the morning healing the sick and casting out demons.  As soon as the sun came up, He gets ready to leave. The people didn’t want Jesus to leave. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them.

This is such a different scene than the one in Jesus’ home town.  There, they tried to kill Him and wanted nothing to do with Him.  Here, the people believed.  I’m sure many of those who were begging Jesus to stay were the very ones who 24 hours before were laying on their death beds with no hope whatsoever.  Then Simon brought Jesus to his house and the dominoes started to fall.  One man’s faith began a pouring out of the power of God.  Simon was quick to act.  When he heard Jesus preach and saw the demon cast out, he didn’t hesitate but moved very quickly.

Jesus, would you come to my house and eat with my family?  I also think that Simon wanted Jesus to do in his house what he saw Him do in the synagogue, namely cast out either a demon or at least a disease from his sick mother-in-law.

Jesus had to leave and go preach other places.  Jesus knew that there were going to be others as well… I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”

I’d love to stay but I can’t.  There are so many of My people who haven’t heard the Gospel.

Are there people you know who need that same message taken to them?  Do you have friends and family that need the Gospel message taken to them?

I pray we would see the power of Christ today and realize that all it takes is His touch and His Word and the sin sick will rise up and be healed.

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