Summary: It is naïve to think that an evil spirit can’t come into a church. Or invade your home, or think that you are immune to the devils attacks. This is the first example of Jesus' power to heal the spiritual afflictions that possessed the human soul.
Jesus Heals an Evil Spirit in the Church
“In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit.” Luke 4:31-37
Intro: The city of Capernaum was on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was a fishing village and along the major route about 200 miles from the city of Jordan. It is of great significance to us because of two things. One it was the hometown of several of the early Disciples like Andrew and James and John, and Matthew, and also the home of the Apostle Peter who really became the lead church Patriarch after the resurrection and ascension of Christ. As recent as 1982 a major hoard of ancient gold was discovered near what was an early Roman bath house.
Second it is of great significance because at the synagogue of Capernaum the custom was to allow traveling Rabbis to speak to those who gathered for church on the Sabbath. So Jesus took advantage of this tradition. And also later the Apostle Paul is mentioned in Acts 13 of taking advantage of this opportunity to speak on the Sabbath at these gatherings.
Jesus had already displayed His power to perform miracles. He turned water into wine. He healed the Roman official’s son. In the bible there are many examples of Jesus’ power to heal not only physical disease but also to forgive sin, and cure different spiritual afflictions that possessed the human soul. This is the first such time when a person with an evil spirit is mentioned. Jesus heals and delivers the demon processed in the church at Capernaum.
When we go back a few verses in Luke 4:31-32. “Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”The Greek words used here (ekplesso) literally means “to strike with panic or shock.” The teaching of Jesus commanded authority. His preaching packed a punch. The unprepared listeners were so amazed by his teaching that they were unable argue against Him.
The Old Testament prophets spoke for God. There are many places in the Old Testament where the prophet would use the phrase, “Thus says the Lord.” Hosea, Joel, Amos, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Elijah and we could go on to several others.
Those who read the Word of God and then spoke about its meaning were all messengers. Even the Scribes who merely read the word were considered preachers of the law. They stood on the authority of what previous great men had spoken about the meaning of scripture, it was not their denomination, it was not their doctrine, it was not their creedal theology, but they were people who spoke as messengers of God.
Jesus spoke with such authority that the people were amazed. Jesus’ preaching was clear. He understood that people needed real answers for real problems. While Jesus was preaching to the people a man came walking down the aisle. The man does not say, “I have an unclean spirit in me and I am trying to deal with it.” But Jesus knew what an evil spirit was like. Evil can be in different shapes and forms of self destructive habits, addictions, dysfunctional conflicts, patterns of negative thoughts and behaviors, temptations, divisive and destructive actions.
Mark Twain said, “It’s not the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that cause me problems, it’s the parts of the bible I do understand and don’t want to do that cause me problems.”
The Word of God and the Holy Spirit of God points out and reveals the sin and evil in whatever silhouette or shape or shadow it appears in.
The great preacher Charles Spurgeon tells the story about a butcher who ran a little shop on the edge of London. He decided one Sunday that he would go into town and hear the great preacher, Charles Spurgeon. The butcher’s wife chose not to go with him. So the butcher went to town, went to church, and came home. That afternoon his wife began to question him about the service. "What songs did they sing?" He said, "I don’t remember." "What scripture did the preacher read?” He said, “I don’t remember.” “What good did it do for you to go to church this morning?" The butcher was quiet for a moment. And then after the long pause he said, "I will tell you what good it did. You know those scales at my butcher shop that really weigh just 14 ounces to the pound? Well, before we open for business in the morning, I am going to correct those scales to where they weight a full 16 ounces to the pound.” Evil is conquered by the preaching of Jesus.