CHRIST’S AUTHORITY AND POWER HAD A REAL AFFECT ON THOSE CLOSEST TO HIM (LUKE 4:38, 39)
Jesus was invited to the home of his soon-to-be-disciple Simon Peter: “Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her” Luke 4:38). Luke the physician literally tells us that the poor woman was “seized by a great fever.” She was not dying, but she probably felt like it. When we are in the grip of a fever, the smallest task can seem as daunting as climbing Mount Everest.
Peter’s mother-in-law, unable to attend the synagogue with the others, was home languishing from her fever. Then Jesus was asked to “help her.” “So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them” Luke 4:39). The word translated “rebuked” was the same one Jesus used when he sternly commanded the demon to come out of the man at the synagogue. One second the woman lay flattened out with fever, and the next she was cheerfully setting the meal on the table!
The healing had been instant and complete! And the woman’s healing enabled her to serve. As the subsequent church has reflected on this over the years, it has rightly seen a living example of what Christ wants to do in believers’ lives. The measure of a Christian is not how many servants he has, but how many he serves. The memorable meal would never be forgotten. As family and friends lingered around the table, And as all reflected on the authority and power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a good thing to every once in a while ask ourselves how we are doing in serving Christ and in serving others. Perhaps you are a mother with some small children. No doubt you are doing wonderfully in serving others. At other times in our lives we may get distracted from the priority of serving others and serving Christ.
HOW DID CHRIST’S AUTHORITY AND POWER AFFECT THE TOWNSPEOPLE (LUKE 4:40, 41)?
Luke 4:40 says, “When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them”. Word of the synagogue miracle quickly went to every home in Capernaum, and the city’s ill were brought to Jesus in joyous anticipation. Suffering masses gathered at Peter’s door as the sun began to set. Every manner of disease was there—raging fevers, cancer, degenerative diseases the crippled, the palsied, the blind. Some had to be carried. Many moaned in their distress. In the fading light Jesus healed “each one.”
This was a wholesale healing, purposely indiscriminate. At other times, Jesus would heal some but not others, but on this unique occasion all who came were made whole. This was an unrestrained display of power. Luke is most careful to tell us that “laying his hands on each one, he healed them” Luke 4:40). Hands-on healing was most unusual, for such a practice was unknown in the Old Testament and rabbinical literature.
Jesus’ method, radically new, was symbolic of the outflow of divine power. Moreover, here it conveyed divine tenderness to the needy. Every single person that evening felt the touch of Jesus’ hand. Since some of the illnesses Jesus encountered were caused by evil spirits, Luke adds, in Luke 4:41, “Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ”.
The demons’ repeated shouts, “You are the Son of God!” were not confessions, This knowledge was a knowledge unaccompanied by faith. Those who possessed it were miserable fallen beings, full of bitter hatred both against God and man. What pleases God is not mere knowledge but a humble faith and trust in the gospel.
Jesus silenced them with a simple rebuke, just as he had done with the unclean spirit in the synagogue (v. 35) and in Peter’s home when he rebuked the fever (v. 39). Jesus is showing his omnipotence here. This is important because Scripture teaches that we are at war with a mighty enemy: Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” .
Our spiritual enemies are not petty officials. We face a great demonic enemy with a defined and disciplined chain of command. The evil we wrestle against is not a feeble Satan. It is a great organized army of personal evil beings. But we need not fear— Jesus confronts the enemy in cosmic combat, and his powerful word is all that is needed for victory.