Thursday 22nd February – Luke 4:31-37  ‘Supernatural authority’

Luke 4:31-37

Our culture has a strange relationship with the supernatural.  On the one hand, there is plenty of scepticism about the existence of the spiritual world; on the other, there has also been a significant resurgence of interest recently – there’s never been so many TV programmes about angels or demons or ghosts.

This ambiguity is partly a ‘Western issue’: most cultures around the world accept the existence of the spiritual world as a given; certainly, most people in the world of Jesus’ day would take that view.  So, when Jesus encounters an unclean spirit in the synagogue (v33), the crowd were fascinated to see how he would respond. 

They were already impressed with his teaching (v32): but does Jesus have the spiritual authority to back up his words?  The answer, of course, is yes.  The demon itself was quite right to be alarmed: Jesus was indeed there to destroy the work of the devil in people’s lives, just as the demon vocalised (v34).  And Jesus promptly deals with this spiritual being with a word (v35).  No elaborate rituals or special liturgy – a simple command is enough.

Not surprisingly, the people are even more amazed (v36): not only does he teach with authority, he backs it up with deeds.  The demonised man is one of those oppressed who has now been set free, just as Jesus promised in the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth (v18). 

Jesus is also demonstrating his authority over one of the things that humans cannot control, thereby proclaiming through his ministry that he is The Anointed One, the Messiah, the King of kings.

In the UK today, there is relatively little emphasis on this kind of deliverance ministry: but it does still happen.  The name of Jesus still has authority and power (v36).  Why not pray today for those who are called to this very specific form of healing ministry?  And give thanks, too, that the all-powerful name of Jesus has marvellously set each one of us free.  The One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world.  Amen!