Summary: An analysis of the power of Jesus in Luke 4:38-41 will give us further proof that Jesus is the Christ.
Luke began the public ministry of Jesus when Jesus was in the region of Galilee. The basic question that Luke asked and answered was: “Who is Jesus?”
Luke began by giving a summary of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee (4:14-15). Next, he gave an example of Jesus’ teaching (4:16-30) and authority (4:31-37). Then, he gave different examples of Jesus’ power (4:38-41).
Let’s read about the power of Jesus in Luke 4:38-41:
38 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. (Luke 4:38-41)
If you were asked to summarize the central story of the Bible in one sentence, what would you say?
The Bible is not merely a set of disconnected stories. It is not a set of rules. Nor is it a collection of sixty-six books that have been joined together to form one big book.
I would say that the central story of the Bible is the story of God redeeming a people for himself. After God created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden, he fell into sin by disobeying God. God banished Adam from his presence, and from Genesis 3 onwards, the Bible’s central story is the story of God redeeming a people for himself.
At the heart of the Bible’s central story is a Mediator. Because God is absolutely holy, he does not deal directly with sinful men and women. So, in his eternal purpose God planned to send a Mediator to reconcile sinful men and women with himself. This Mediator had to represent God perfectly to people, and he also had to represent people perfectly to God. That is why Jesus was fully God and also fully man so that he could perfectly represent God to man and man to God.
The Mediator would fill several different roles. However, his most prominent role was that of Christ, which is a translation of the Hebrew word, Messiah. Both terms come from verbs that mean “to anoint with oil.” Hence, as titles they mean “the anointed one.” For centuries the people of God believed that he would send the Messiah to bring deliverance to them.
By the time that Luke recorded the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in his hometown of Nazareth, one of the most popular Bible passages was Isaiah 61. The reason people loved it was because it spoke about the nature of the Messiah’s mission and ministry. The people often read it and prayed that God would send the Messiah soon.
Jesus was asked to read the Scripture in the synagogue in Nazareth. He got up and read from Isaiah 61:1-2 and 58:6:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
When Jesus finished reading the Scripture, the people were eager to hear his interpretation of that passage. But they were stunned by what he said. Jesus said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Jesus was saying that he was the promised Messiah!
The people of Nazareth were filled with wrath. They had known Jesus since he was a toddler. The common expectation among Jewish people in those days was that the Messiah would suddenly appear, out of nowhere, as it were, and bring deliverance. So, Jesus did not fit their preconceived notion of how the Messiah would come and bring deliverance. And so they tried to kill him, but Jesus left Nazareth, never to return, by the way.
Jesus then made his way to Capernaum, where he cast out a demon from one of the men in their synagogue. The people of Capernaum were much more favorable to Jesus and his ministry than were the people of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth.
The point that Luke wants his readers to see is that Jesus really is the Messiah, the Christ, and the anointed one sent by God. When Jesus ministered in Capernaum on that first Sabbath day, Luke indicated to us that Jesus is the Christ by first showing us his authority. Then, he showed us the power of Jesus, which we shall look at in our text today.