Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
His Word Has Authority - February 3, 2013 - Fourth Sunday after Epiphany - Text: Luke 4:31-44
This morning we continue in the season of the Epiphany. Today is the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany. Just as a reminder, the word Epiphany means appearing. During the season of Epiphany we celebrate the appearing of God in human flesh, and especially the appearing of Jesus to the Gentile Magi. Our text for this morning gives us no less than three examples, proofs if you will, of the fact that Jesus is God born in human flesh, as we will see.
Our text picks up from last week. Last week you might remember, Jesus was the hometown boy preaching in His hometown synagogue and being rejected by His own family and friends, even after they recognized that His preaching was a preaching with authority. Their problem, you might remember was that they would not believe and so Jesus did not do for them any of the signs and wonders, any of the miracles He had been doing elsewhere. This morning we continue to see that Jesus teaches with authority and we would respond with a “duh” because after all, we know He is God and God has authority.
Our text brings us again to His usual Sabbath synagogue attendance. For those who believe Jesus to be an example to us, and He is an example but He is so much more, but for those who believe Jesus is an example, certainly His usual, every Sabbath synagogue attendance should spark an obedient desire to be in Divine Service every Sunday, you might think.
Jesus is in the synagogue and He is preaching and teaching to the people and the people are amazed at His teaching. They are amazed at Jesus teaching because they were used to the teaching of the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law. As for the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law, their teaching was a teaching of quoting the authority of others. In other words, they really had no authority of their own.
On the other hand, now these people, who were used to the teaching of the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law were listening to Jesus teaching and they noticed the difference. Jesus did not teach by quoting others or by quoting other so called authorities. Jesus taught of His own authoritative words.
Yet, not only did Jesus teach with authority, He also demonstrated, or proved the authority of His words by His actions. As Jesus is preaching the good news of salvation, bringing comfort to the people in the synagogue, we are told that “a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon . . . cried out with a loud voice,” and challenged Jesus. Now please notice, even though the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law, the religiously educated, professional clergy of the day did not recognize nor acknowledge Jesus and His divinity, the unclean spirit recognizes and confesses Jesus “I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
Notice that at the confession of faith of the unclean spirit, Jesus rebukes that spirit and will not allow him to speak. Certainly this confession of faith is a right confession and you might think would be a good confession. Maybe the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law will believe if this demon confesses Jesus as God in flesh, or not. On His part, Jesus does not accept the testimony of the demon, but keeps it silent.
And then, Jesus shows His authority, He shows His divinity, He shows His power over the spirit in freeing the man. Yet, before the demon gives up he makes one last attempt at power by throwing the man down. The response of faith of those present is that “36And they were all amazed and said to one another, ‘What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!’ 37And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region” (v. 36, 37).
But Jesus is not done. He continues to show His authority. After leaving the synagogue we are told that Jesus goes to Peter’s house for rest. When He gets to Peter’s house He finds that Peter’s mother-in-law (implying if not outright saying that Peter is married), is ill with a high fever. As they enter the house those present speak for Peter’s mother-in-law, appealing to Jesus to have Him heal her. Would that we would emulate their example of faith, and that we would appeal to the Lord for our family and friends who are in need from the Lord.
Again, Jesus shows His authority and the fact that He is true God in human flesh. Jesus stood over Peter’s mother-in-law, rebuked the fever and it left her. Jesus, God in flesh, has authority and thus has power over all creation, even to heal our broken, sick and diseased bodies.
What is fascinating is that when Jesus gives healing He gives perfect and complete healing. Notice that Peter’s mother-in-law is perfectly healed with no residual lingering side affects as we see her respond to her healing by immediately getting up and serving them.
And still our text and Jesus showing His authority are not done. Our text continues by telling us that after the sun went down, which means that it is no longer the Sabbath and day of rest, Jesus went out to a desolate place. Jesus went out to have some alone time, to be in communion, in prayer with God the Father. Yet, His alone time did not last very long. After the Sabbath and the restrictions of the Sabbath were over, the people sought Him and came to Him.
Jesus came for all people. Jesus did not come to this earth for Himself. Jesus did not come to save only one specific group of people. He came to seek and to save the lost and so, even when He intended to have some time for Himself, even though the crowds found Him, He was always ready, willing and able to care for the people. He healed those brought to Him. He cast out demons. He did many signs, wonders and miracles as proof of His authority and power, indeed, as proof of His divine nature, that He is truly God in human flesh.
The last two verses of our text remind us that as Jesus spends time in prayer and as the people are bringing those who are sick and demon possessed, Jesus recognizes the people are seeking a healer, not a Savior and thus He tells them that He needs to take the Gospel to others.
So, what does this mean for us today? Today we continue to live in a spiritually divided world. We live in a spiritually skeptical world. We have those in our world who outright deny Jesus even denying the existence of a God and instead have a faith in a religion of atheism and evolution, which is a religion, a religion that fills the hole in one’s life with oneself as opposed to God. The basic tenants of the faith of atheism and evolution is that there is no god so that one becomes their own god, which we know is idolatry. We also have those in our world which recognize Jesus humanity but not His divinity, in other words there are those religious, cults and sects which believe that Jesus was just a good human being and nothing more. And we have those who believe in Jesus divinity, but deny His humanity, in other words they believe that Jesus is God but that He never was truly human.
In our text and in all of Holy Scripture we see that Jesus is who He says He is. Jesus shows Himself to be truly human and divine. Jesus is truly human as we confess that He was born of the Virgin Mary. And we confess that He is truly divine, truly God as He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. In our text for this morning we see Jesus, truly human doing things that can only be done by God. The Gospel writer John makes much of what he calls the signs and wonders Jesus’ performed as proof of Jesus divinity, along with His humanity.
The greatest gift we see Jesus giving and the greatest gift Jesus came to earn and give is that He brings ultimate healing with forgiveness of sins. Remember, our greatest need is forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness is our greatest need, because without forgiveness our sins would remain on us and we would be eternally condemned, to eternal spiritual death in hell, which is the price for sin. And that is why Jesus came to earth, to earn and to give forgiveness of sins.
Jesus had to be truly human in order to be our substitute, in order to trade His life, His perfect life for our imperfect, sin filled lives. And Jesus was human and He was perfect. Jesus was human born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus was perfect which is why He had to be truly God, because only God is perfect. Jesus was perfect and never sinned once. And He had to be perfect in order to trade His life for ours.
Jesus, true God, gave up the glory that was His in heaven, taking on human flesh and blood in order to live a perfect life for us, because we could not be perfect, which is the demand of the Law of God. After living a perfect life, after fulfilling all God’s commands and promises perfectly, Jesus took our sins, all our sins, all your sins and all my sins, and all the sins of all people, of all places, of all times on Himself. He took all sins to the cross and paid the price for all sin. He suffered and died because of His great love for us. He died and was buried, yet death and the grave had no power over Him. He rose victorious over sin, death and the devil. And now, by faith in Him, faith which He gives to us, when our last hour nears, either at our own passing, or at His return, both of which will be sooner than we know and sooner than we might image, He will gather us and cloth us with His robes of righteousness and take us and all the saints to be with Himself in heaven for eternity. And so we will gather with all the saints before His throne and we will rejoice and say, to God be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.