Sermon: The Word of Authority (Luke 31-37)

The Word of Authority

Jesus was basically driven out of His home town of Nazareth as He preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to them and claiming to be who He really is, the Messiah.  His own people did not acknowledge who He was.  Today we’re going to see a most unusual confession by a most unusual being in contrast to those who did not believe in Him and submit to Him in Nazareth.

It seems we often rebel against authority.  Whether it’s a parent, teacher, boss, the police, our government or whoever has been placed over us.  It’s part of our fallen sinful nature to not like being told what to do.  Children, when they get into their teen years often become hard to handle and become disciplinary problems because of the natural tendency to throw off any and all authority.

Children, listen to me very carefully.  Your parents love you very much and always want the best for you.  When they say No, or for some reason you don’t get your way always remember they are looking out for you as an authority with far more life experiences than you have.  God has placed parents in your life to guide you and care for you.  They serve as your authority for now.  There will come a day when you’re married or older when you can make your own decisions.  I can almost guarantee that if you think back to the times your parents intervened you will appreciate them even more.

In this section we see that Jesus has ultimate authority. This is something that the people of Nazareth failed to see.  This is the first of many miracle stories in the Gospel of Luke, this being the account of Jesus casting out a demon.  He did so that day as he was beginning to teach in the synagogue in Capernaum, it was the Sabbath.

Jesus is placed in the center of demonic activity.  He was always triumphant.

The Bible is very clear regarding Satan and his demon hosts; it reveals clearly their origin, present activity, and destiny.  Originally, they were holy angels, and Satan the highest ranking of them all.  They lived in heaven where they served and worshipped God.  But through Pride Satan rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-16), and one third (Revelation 12:3-4) of the holy angels joined him in that attempted coup. As a result of their pride and rebellion, they were cast out of heaven along with their leader (Luke 10:18), though they still are granted access to it (Job 1:6; 2:1).—MacArthur, (Luke, pg 280)

So far in the Gospel of Luke, Luke has been busy showing us the person of Christ, who He is and showing us His credentials as the Son of God.  Now, Luke shifts to focusing on Jesus’ power and authority.  Jesus has power over all the realms on earth and in heaven.  Today, we are shown that Jesus has power to rule over the demonic forces.  What Jesus commands they listen to and obey.  They listen better than the people in His home town.  Do they listen and obey better than we do?

This is the Word of God.

Luke 4:31-37 (ESV)

And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath,  [32] and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.  [33] And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,  [34] “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.”  [35] But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm.  [36] 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!”  [37] And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

The reading of the Word of God has ended, may He apply its truths to us.

1. Jesus’ Preaching Draws Out Astonishment (Luke 4:31, 32)

And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath,  [32] and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.

dida,skw- to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses.

We’re not told in this particular instance what Jesus’ teaching was about.  However, it’s not hard to figure out that He was teaching and preaching on the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.  That’s what He preached wherever He went because that’s what the people needed to hear the most.

When He began His ministry…

Matthew 4:17 (ESV)

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

As His ministry continued…

Luke 4:43-44 (ESV)

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.

As His Ministry continued even more…

Luke 8:1 (ESV)

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him,

Towards the end of His ministry…

Luke 20:1-2 (ESV)

One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up  [2] and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”

Even after His death, burial, and resurrection Jesus was still expounding the Scriptures showing the people that the good news of the Kingdom of God is found in Him alone…

Luke 24:27 (ESV)

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Jesus preached a message that was about the Kingdom of God and how it was that sinners could escape God’s wrath and be brought into this glorious kingdom for all eternity.

The message itself was amazing.

Also, what the people found to be as amazing was the words He used and the power they carried.  To understand what was going on here, we need to look briefly at the way a normal teacher in the synagogue taught.

Those who heard synagogue sermons were used to hearing corrupt and trivial messages from men who were themselves probably unconverted.  In their preaching, they often rambled on and on about nothing.  They would also, themselves try to merit some authority by quoting a former rabbi so and so.  However, the problem was that rabbi so and so was probably also corrupt and his authority came from the rabbi before him.

When Jesus spoke He didn’t quote a former rabbi, He was speaking for God Himself.  What we should see and understand that the same Logos who spoke the universe into existence was now preaching in a synagogue in Capernaum.

John 8:25-26 (ESV)

So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.  [26] I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.”

evkplh,ssw to strike with panic, shock, astonish… to be struck with amazement, astonished, amazed.  Literally, struck out of their senses.

The people were literally having panic and shock drawn out of them by the Words and authority in which Jesus was speaking.  Every eye was fixed on Christ as He spoke the Gospel to the people and every mouth gaping open.

evxousi,a the power of authority… the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)…universal authority over mankind

The power that came out of Jesus by His Words drew out panic and shock from the people.  They were hearing God speak the Gospel to them and they were being called to repent and believe and it was almost more than they could bear.

For all of them astonishment came out of them but for one something else happened.

2. Jesus’ Preaching Draws Out the Enemy (Luke 4:33-35)

[33] And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,  [34] “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.”  [35] But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm.

We must understand a very important universal truth.  The Gospel is what draws out the enemy.  A preacher can preach on social goodwill and therapeutic issues all day long and hell will not blink an eye.  But when the true Gospel is spoken hell trembles.  Demons come unglued because it is the Gospel that frees sinners from whatever grip Satan has on them.  Jesus didn’t perform an exorcism.  He didn’t chant some formula over the possessed.  He preached the Gospel and the enemy was drawn out and then with a word, the enemy was cast out.

His teaching brought out astonishment from the people and from this man brought out a demon.  This evil spirit cried out with a loud voice.

[34] “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.”

Literally, Have you come from heaven to destroy us? Do you find it amazingly unexpected here that the evil spirit knows Jesus?  There is no denial here.  The evil spirit is no liberal.  The evil spirit speaks the truth concerning who Jesus is… you are— the Holy One of God. You are the Messiah!  That’s what the evil spirit knew about the man standing before him.  This fact was also what the people in Nazareth refused to believe.

Other places in the Bible we have demons crying out in the presence of Jesus.

Luke 8:27-28 (ESV)

When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs.  [28] When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.”

Matthew 8:29 (ESV)

And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

In our story today, the evil spirit also knew that Jesus has the power to destroy him.  All He needs to do is say the Word.  So, this cry from the enemy is a cry of fear.

Listen, beloved we never have to fear the evil spirits because in texts like this, they are the ones afraid.  As believers, Jesus has won the victory over the dark forces for us.

A word of warning though; we should never tempt them by certain behaviors on our part.  As believers we should avoid things like fortune tellers, uigi boards, séances etc. Another word of warning, if you’re not saved you have every reason to be afraid.  Jesus has won the victory over darkness for all who are His.  Those who are not His must face it alone.

Do you belong to Jesus today?  Are you one of His?

I remember a story one time that John Macarthur told about his seminary days.  There was a student who interrupted the professor with a question.  The interruption was rude and selfish.  The question was unimportant and trivial.  The professor responded to the student, If you cannot come up with any better question than that please do not interrupt because you are wasting valuable time. Macarthur stated that he didn’t think there were any more questions asked the rest of the semester.

This demon interrupted Jesus’ sermon and really was wasting Jesus’ valuable time.  What does Jesus do?

[35] But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm.

In the Gospel of Mark, we have the report of the same instance.

Mark 1:26 (ESV)

And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him.

We must understand today that as important as knowing accurate facts about Jesus are, that by itself will not save.  We live in a world of Christianity that basically states the Gospel as affirming certain facts about Jesus.  The Gospel always must end with a love for and a submission to Jesus.  Just believing right things, does not save.  Here we have an example of a demon believing and even giving a good testimony about the person of Christ.

In order to be saved, the Holy Spirit must open our hearts to believe and to love and submit to Christ.

3.  Jesus’ Preaching Draws Out Amazing Reports (Luke 4:36, 37)

[36] 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!”  [37] And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

The people were amazed for two main reasons:

First, No one ever spoke like this man.  Jesus words had the authority of the Father.

Second, even the demonic forces very quickly obeyed Jesus’ Words.

There was no argument from this demon.  He didn’t even hesitate but obeyed the Lord’s voice at once.

Here again we see the idea of power coming out of Jesus as He speaks and the spirit comes out of the man.  Finally, a report goes out among the people of this great preacher with the power to control the demonic forces.

Do you recognize and submit to Jesus’ authority in your life?

Just as the demon so quickly obeyed Jesus, how quickly do we submit and obey the commands of Christ?

What changes do you need to make in order to obey Jesus quicker and more consistently?

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