41 Demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus ordered them not to speak. After all, they knew he was the Messiah. (GWN)
In the Gospel lesson for Sunday, Jesus heads to Capernaum after being rejected in his hometown of Nazareth. As he heads to Capernaum he encounters a very open minded group seeking and eager to discover more about the Rabbi. Three key observations about this section of the Gospel of Luke.
The Word Condemns the Comfortable.
28 Everyone in the synagogue became furious when they heard this. 29 Their city was built on a hill with a cliff. So they got up, forced Jesus out of the city, and led him to the cliff. They intended to throw him off of it.
Jesus knew the people’s hearts and thoughts. He understood the culture and could quote from their proverbs. However, when Jesus confronted their limited view of God’s grace thinking that Gentiles were not included, the religious leaders felt slighted. They wanted to turn Jesus’ ministry into a side show. “Come see the faith healer, we have heard of the miracles he performed in Capernaum, why not do the same at home for his friends and neighbors?” The Word made flesh, confronts the comfortable with this reminder,“Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) In other words, those who are so comfortable and confident in their salvation based usually on their own sense of goodness, don’t see a need for a savior. Jesus says until that heart turns from that way of thinking and is broken there is nothing he can do for you. The comfortable must come to realizes a need to depend on someone outside of themselves.
The Word Cures the Afflicted
Jesus left Nazareth for Capernaum and there He set up His new base of operations. On the Sabbath Day, He taught in the synagogue and His teachings astonished the people. In Matthew 7 you hear this coming through loud and clear: “When Jesus finished this speech, the crowds were amazed at his teachings.” (GWN)
Jesus healed this man possessed by demons on the Sabbath which created quite a stir with the religious leaders. It was a violation of rabbinical traditions. Surely Jesus could have waited a day. However, he wanted to demonstrate to the people that man’s traditions should not come before or become more important than God’s will. Jesus came to show the afflicted that the Word made flesh (Jesus Christ, God’s Anointed) has the power to cure those afflicted by the effects of sin. No matter what the affliction is, demon possession or physical illness.
The Word Comforts the redeemed.
Jesus went where the Father was working. The Word came to people who wanted to be comforted by the Savior, not where the people were clamoring for a side show. He wanted all people to hear, not just a privileged few. What does it look like when the Word made flesh comes into contact with the redeemed? I love the way the Apostle Paul describes the impact Jesus has on the redeemed in Philippians 2, “If you find any comfort from being in the Anointed, if His love brings you some encouragement, if you experience true companionship with the Spirit, if His tenderness and mercy fill your heart; then, brothers and sisters, 2 here is one thing that would complete my joy—come together as one in mind and spirit and purpose, sharing in the same love.” (The Voice) Paul describes in great details what the comfort and encourage look like, the Word made flesh brings encouragement, true companionship, tenderness, and mercy. And then the calls goes out the redeemed, now make Jesus’ joy complete, you go out together as one people, united through one baptism, wth one common confession, sent with one common mission, to love as the Word made flesh has loved you. You have been redeemed and blessed to become a blessing to others.