Summary: An analysis of the preaching of Jesus in Luke 4:42-44 will teach us the necessity of responding to Jesus' preaching.
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), authority (4:31-37), and power (4:38-41). Then, he told us about Jesus’ preaching (4:42-44).
Let’s read about Jesus’ preaching in the synagogues in Luke 4:42-44:
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. (Luke 4:42-44)
Imagine a foreigner coming to the United States of America for a visit. Let us say that he is a pastor and theologian, and he is interested in learning about preaching in this country. What kind of preaching would he hear?
The well-known German pastor, theologian, and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, did come to this country in 1930 to study for two years. The preaching he heard shocked him. He visited scores of churches during his two-year stay. He observed:
The sermon has been reduced to parenthetical church remarks about newspaper events. As long as I’ve been here, I have heard only one sermon in which you could hear something like a genuine proclamation. . . . One big question continually attracting my attention in view of these facts is whether one here really can still speak about Christianity. . . .
In New York they preach about virtually everything; only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life.
That is a sad commentary on the state of preaching in this country in the early 1930s.
One would hope that things have improved since then. However, turn on the television today and you are likely to hear preaching about health, wealth, self-improvement, liberalism, and so on.
Jesus lived in the late 20s, and he was a preacher. Although he performed miracles, he was primarily a preacher. So, what did people hear who listened to his preaching?
Today, I would like to analyze the preaching of Jesus.
An analysis of the preaching of Jesus in Luke 4:42-44 will teach us the necessity of responding to Jesus’ preaching.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. Jesus Spent Time Alone in Preparation to Preach (4:42a)
2. Jesus Resisted the Agenda of Others (4:42b)
3. Jesus Was Constrained to Preach (4:43a, 43c)
4. Jesus Preached the Good New of the Kingdom of God (4:43b)
5. Jesus Preached in the Synagogues of Judea (4:44)
I. Jesus Spent Time Alone in Preparation to Preach (4:42a)
First, Jesus spent time alone in preparation to preach.
Luke began the public ministry of Jesus in the region of Galilee. He first described Jesus’ visit to his hometown of Nazareth in Luke 4:16-30. However, the people of Nazareth rejected Jesus’ claim to be the promised Messiah. In fact, they wanted to kill him, but Jesus left them and went down to Capernaum.
The people of Capernaum responded positively to the ministry of Jesus. Luke recorded events that took place on a Sabbath day in Capernaum. Jesus taught with authority in their synagogue and also cast a demon out of a man (4:31-37). After the Sabbath worship service Jesus healed people of their diseases and cast demons out of people (4:38-41). Then, after all had been healed of their diseases and demons, Jesus finally went to sleep. He was exhausted after a long day of ministry.
Very early the next morning, when it was day, before anyone else was awake, Jesus departed and went into a desolate place (4:42a). The Gospel of Mark tells us that Jesus went to pray (Mark 1:35).
Jesus’ ministry was extremely draining. It is doubtful that anyone in history had as an exhausting schedule as Jesus. And even though his ministry was draining, he knew that he needed to spend time in preparation to preach and serve people. And so Jesus spent an extended time in prayer prior to preaching and serving people, even though his days were extremely busy.
Does prayerful preparation make a difference?
• David Watson notes, “Prayer has always been a primary mark of the saints of God in every generation of the church. George Whitefield, who retired punctually at ten p.m. every night, rose equally promptly at four a.m. in order to pray.“
• John Wesley spent two hours daily in prayer, and commonly said, “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.”