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Summary: Jesus the conqueror (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

Jesus the conqueror

Reading: Luke chapter 4 verses 31-44.


• King Canute (1065-1035AD);

• Was the King of England, Norway & Denmark.

• Canute’s reign was a strong and effective one.

• He brought with him security from foreign invasion and he ruled justly and well.

• He was considered a friend of the English church and was generous toward it.

• At his death, he was buried in Winchester Cathedral.

His claim to fame or what most people know about him is:

• He was the king who sat on his throne at the waters edge;

• Commanding the sea to go back. And of course the sea doesn’t take any notice of him!

• Most people who know or read the story;

• Think what a fool! I could have told him that would happen.

• He might be a king,

• But that does not mean he would have the power to command nature to obey him!

But, King Canute has been greatly misunderstood:

• He was not some egocentric fool trying to hold back the sea by his command,

• But was in fact a very modest.

• King Canute lived in an age;

• When it was traditional for people to be "subjects" and to pay homage to the monarch,

• And his followers worshipped him and would say things like

• "Oh great majesty, the very sea obeys your mighty command".

• He was a humble man who wanted to prove to his courtiers;

• That the sea did NOT obey his commands.

• King Canute stayed on the beach until his courtiers admitted it.

• He risked himself & his court being drowned rather than allow the nonsense to continue.


• A twelfth-century manuscript (Henry Huntingdon’s Historia Anglorum);

• Records King Canute’s words:

“Know all inhabitants of earth, that vain and trivial is the power of kings, nor as anyone worthy of the name king save Him whose nod heaven and earth and sea obey under laws eternal”.

One man who did have authority even over the winds and waves:

• Was Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God!

• We will see in this passage his authority in other situations.

• I want to split this passage under four headings;

• Four sections where we see the authority and power of Jesus at work.

(1). Teaching The Truth (vs 31-32).

“Then he went down to Capernaum,(and Luke adds for those readers unacquainted with the geography of the Holy Land) a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people.

32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority”.

When Jesus preached people noticed an immediate difference:

• FIRST: He spoke the truth.

• Sadly many of the religious teachers were corrupt and evasive in their reasoning.

• They were willing to manipulate the scriptures to fit in with their interpretation;

• Rather than change their lifestyles to fit in with God’s revelation!

• SECOND: He taught matters of great significance;

• e.g. matters of life & death & eternity.

• Often the religious teachers wasted their time on trivialities.

• Ill: theologians of old who argued how many angels would fit on a pin-head!

• THIRD: There was coordination and structure in his preaching.

• Often the religious teachers as the Talmud proves, rambled on and on and on.

• FOURTHLY: He was good at communication with his audience;

• Using humour and illustrations that captured the attention of his hearers.

• By contrast the religious teachers were as dry as dust;

• They went through the motions but there was no thought of engaging their audience.

• FIFTHLY: He spoke as one concerned for all his hearers;

• He taught the people of their value and importance to God the Father.

• The lack of love and concern marked out the religious teachers;

• Who seemed only concerned with their own welfare and comfort.

• SIXTHLY: And this is the most important;

• Notice it is stated in verse 31: “He spoke with authority”.

• The scribes & teachers of the law spoke FROM authority.

• But Jesus Christ spoke with authority.


• The scribes & teachers of the law:

• Would read the Old Testament scriptures and interpret them by saying;

• “Rabbi so & so, says that this passage means this and Rabbi so & so says that”.

• In fact they even prided themselves on never saying anything original!

• In contrast Jesus never quoted other Rabbi’s (other men);

• He simply said; “This is what it means” or “I say unto you”

• The scribes & teachers of the law spoke from opinion or tradition;

• Jesus spoke with a God-given authority.


• Samuel Clement (better known by his alias Mark Twain);

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