Saturday, October 15, 2011

Luke 4:31-44: Miracles

We're between units in our study guide this week.  The class decided to cover the entire gospel, not just the chapters chosen by the lesson writer in the study guide.


Last week we discussed Jesus teaching in His home synagogue.  We learned Jesus' message was rejected by His own hometown folks.  People couldn't believe the boy they had watched grow into a man was the Son of God, the Messiah.

This week we see His first miracles.


A little background on people's beliefs about unclean spirits in Jesus' day...

  1. Ancient people thought world was thickly populated with unclean spirits
  2. Unclean spirits sought entry into people through food and drink
  3. Egyptians thought there were 36 parts of the body where spirits could enter
  4. Unclean spirits were thought to be the cause of any disease or condition which couldn't otherwise be explained.
Question: Most people now consider the belief in unclean spirits to be primitive yet Jesus seemed to believe in them.  How can this be? 


Here in two short verses we have another example of Jesus' healing power.  Barclay points out there are three great truths which can be found in this short passage.

  1. Jesus was always ready to serve.  Likewise we too are called to always be ready to serve those in need.  Are we or are we too busy with our own lives and issues to even see the need around us? 
  2. Jesus didn't need crowds to perform miracles.  He was at His best wherever and whenever.  Are we on our best behavior when we're out in public or are entertaining guests?  What about when we're alone with family?  Is there a difference?
  3. After being cured Simon's mother-in-law immediately got up and began to serve them. Do we use our priceless gift of health to serve others who are less fortunate?

In this last passage in chapter 4 we encounter Jesus beginning to explain the Kingdom of God.  However, before we get there we are reminded about a few other items.

  1. Jesus always sought time to be alone and pray to His Father.  He used this time to rekindle His spirit and rejuvenate Himself for the task ahead.  We too must take time to speak with God, to worship Him, to allow Him to rekindle the spirit in us.
  2. Another example of Jesus always being ready to serve.  Crowds sought Him out.  He did not push them away.  He met their needs.
  3. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirits when they recogized Him as the Son of God.  Jesus knew the time was not right for the people to know Him as the Messiah.  They wanted an earthly, revolutionary Messiah; another Moses to lead them out of bondage into the 'promised land'.  They wanted Him to overthrow the Roman rule.
  4. Jesus explained to the people that He had to go out into other towns and villages to teach people about the Kingdom of God.  What was His message regarding the Kingdom of God?  Was it about the future Kingdom in heaven, the earthly Kingdom here and now, or both?

Interpretation - A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: Luke, Fred B. Craddock, 1990, John Knox Press

Interpretation Bible Studies: Luke, Thomas W. Walker, 2001, John Knox Press

The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Luke, William Barclay, 2001, John Knox Press