We have looked at Jesus growing in fame and popularity and how that led to his rejection. Today, we continue our look at the story of Jesus through the Gospel According to Luke, the third book of the New Testament, and get to see Jesus performing miracles—healing people.
“Then He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbath. They were astonished at His teaching because His message had authority. In the synagogue there was a man with an unclean demonic spirit who cried out with a loud voice, ‘Leave us alone! What do You have to do with us, Jesus—Nazarene? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!’
But Jesus rebuked him and said, ‘Be quiet and come out of him!’ And throwing him down before them, the demon came out of him without hurting him at all. Amazement came over them all, and they kept saying to one another, ‘What is this message? For He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they come out!’ And news about Him began to go out to every place in the vicinity.”
This is a startling and powerful story to kick off Jesus’ public ministry. The Bible is always clear to pair up Jesus’ preaching/teaching with his acts of power. He’s not just a good teacher, but his words are backed up by his mighty deeds. He’s not just a healer, but his miracles are signs of the coming kingdom of God he preaches about. They are intertwined and cannot be separated.
In this case, the encounter with the demon gives immediate credibility to his teaching.
What I find terribly amusing here is the behavior of the demon. In ancient exorcisms, the exorcist would control the demon by naming it and by using strong language to remove it. In this scene, the demon is using exorcism language on Jesus!
But the supernatural powers, be they angels or demons, have no control over Jesus. In fact, Jesus tells the demon, “SHUT UP AND GET GONE!” and the spirit has to obey. He isn’t merely a good teacher—he has power over the supernatural world.
“After he left the synagogue, He entered Simon’s house. Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him about her.”
There was a comedian named Henny Youngman who made famous a joke, “Take my wife…please!”
Every time I read this story about Peter’s mother-in-law, I see Peter talking to Jesus about his mother-in-law: Jesus, take my mother-in-law…please!!
“So he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and began to serve them. When the sun was setting, all those who had anyone sick with various diseases brought them to Him. As he laid His hands on each one of them, He would heal them. Also, demons were coming out of many, shouting and saying, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Messiah.
When it was day, He went out and made His way to a deserted place. But the crowds were searching for Him. They came to Him and tried to keep Him from leaving them. But He said to them, ‘I must proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose.’ And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.”
Jesus’ authority begins over the spiritual world. He can command evil spirits and they MUST obey. But we see his authority is extended beyond the spiritual realm to the realm of the physical body. A touch from Jesus and the sick are healed!
Ask yourself: How am I most in need of the touch of Jesus to bring healing and restoration to my life?
But we get discouraged sometimes when we DON’T see healing. Let’s be real here:
Some healers are frauds. This is sad but true. Some people prey upon the hopes of sick people and take advantage of their desperate desire to be well. I am not God, and I cannot see into the hearts of men, but some ministry of some healers just seems odd. A while back, the Daily Show took clips from Benny Hinn’s ministry and added Star Wars effects. Put into another context, Hinn does seem…different.
Again, I’m not God and I’m not the final judge of any ministry or man. Perhaps Benny Hinn’s ministry does some good in this world. I’m a natural skeptic and don’t see Benny doing things the way Jesus, Paul, or any of the early Christians did things.
Some healings are mere emotional responses (placebo effect). Our bodies have an amazing ability to repair themselves and to feel better when our mind is in it. That’s why drug studies have to use controls and placebos—to weed out the possibility that people are getting better on their own.
Still, we cannot deny that the supernatural occurs in this world. I personally know people who have gone to the doctor and received results from pet scans, CT scans, and other tests saying, “You have cancer,” or, “You have broken bones here, here, and here.” Then, upon subsequent visits to the doctors, they were told, “Well, the labs came back negative this time,” or, “We scanned you again and can’t find the breaks.”
While doubters tend to say, “The health care professionals goofed,” there are stories like this from all over the world. Either God STILL works miracles or we have a serious problem with our health care “professionals” making so many mistakes.
Healing was a regular part of Jesus’ ministry and were samples of the coming kingdom. That age has not come in fullness until we once again see Christ face-to-face. Healing is supposed to be a regular part of the Christian experience!
“The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works.”
–2 Corinthians 12:12
“For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God — so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ.”
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”
And yet, not everyone is healed. Paul, who sent anointed hankies to people and they received healing, had people in his circle who remained sick. He himself didn’t experience the relief he sought.
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
–2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Can we, like Paul, seek God’s touch yet still live with a negative answer? Just because we may suffer with our own thorns doesn’t mean that God has stopped performing miracles in this world. THROUGH EVERYTHING GOD STILL HAS OUR BEST INTEREST AT HEART! When we believe that he is who he says he is, that he has the power to restore all things, and actively seek his power and presence, we will see the miraculous.
So we continue to press in and pray for healing. We pray for miracles. We pray for God to break through and intervene in this world.
We’re going to have some reflection and response time. We have two songs that connect thematically with what we’ve been talking about. Think about the message and focus on the words of the songs.
Our first song is called Healer and speaks directly to our theme of Jesus’ miracle-working power—a power like no other!
You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
I trust in you, I trust in you!
I believe you’re my healer
I believe you are all I need
I believe you’re my fortress
I believe you’re more than enough for me
Jesus, you’re all I need
As you listen, ask yourself if you believe in Jesus’ healing power. Do you believe the story Luke tells us? Can Jesus heal us?
Ask yourself, “Have I been asking for a miracle? Is Jesus enough for me even if I’m not healed?”
Our second song this morning talks about how the love of God is bigger than any problems we might face. Even if we don’t receive healing in this life, God still loves us more than anything. The song is called One Thing Remains and says:
Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
This one thing remains
Your love never fails, it never gives up
It never runs out on me!
– How do I see God’s love in my life?
– Do I really understand that God’s love is bigger than our troubles?
– Can you follow God even when He doesn’t give you the miracle you desire?
MAKING IT REAL
– This week, what miracle(s) do you need in your life?
– Pray that God would move miraculously!
– Look for miracles in your life and in the world around you (no, I don’t mean the sunset – I mean MIRACLES!).
– At the end of the week share your God moments with us here on the site or on our page at Facebook.
If you want to read more about miracles, there is a wonderful 2-volume work called Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts by Craig Keener.
The Church Plant: If this ministry has been a blessing to you, Theology Mix would appreciate it if you would consider donating to The Church Plant. Thank you!