Lord God, from the beginning your words have spoken life. I long for your words that draw me closer to you, teach me how to follow you, and give me joy.
Read LUKE 4:31-44
Jesus Drives Out an Impure Spirit
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.
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!”
35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
Jesus Heals Many
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.
40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.
42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘First, do no harm.’1 Is this our attitude to others?
After escaping the crowd’s threat, Jesus goes from Nazareth to Capernaum, where he has a dramatic encounter with a man possessed by a demon. Just as in Mark’s account,2 which is almost certainly Luke’s source for these stories, Luke emphasizes that Jesus’ spiritual authority is so overwhelming that even unclean spirits recognize and dramatically witness to his divine origins. Luke adds a phrase which Mark does not have: the spirit comes out of the man ‘without injuring him’ (v 35).
This shows Luke’s pastoral concern for the well-being of the man being healed. There is no question that he is set free by Jesus’ supreme power, but Luke wants his readers to know that no harm befalls him in the process. It is hard to imagine a more relevant focus for a church that is committed to safeguarding the vulnerable and the distressed, but which is having to come to terms with the reality that it has often failed in this responsibility. It is all too easy, in prayer and pastoral ministry, to allow coercive, oppressive, or damaging patterns to emerge, related to the misuse of power, but this passage reminds us that no collateral damage is allowed.
Toward the end of this section, Luke provides a hint about the source of his ability to heal without injuring. After many power healings, Jesus goes out to a solitary place at daybreak (v 42). His priority is maintaining intimacy with the Father in prayer and, though he must be exhausted, these lonely places of connection with God allow him to refocus on his calling and his true priorities. We have the privilege of ministering in Jesus’ authority, by the power of the Holy Spirit, but this must honor the physical, mental, emotional, and psychological well-being of those to whom we minister, or else it can be abusive.
In your place of solitary prayer, allow God to refocus your heart on his priorities for you today.
Jesus, I acknowledge my inadequacies, but my heart’s desire is to share the Good News with others. Please give me opportunity and your life-giving words to say that make a difference for eternity.
Last Updated on July 14, 2023 by kingstar