#857. Jesus’ power over demons (17/7/23)
Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily devotional. This week, we continue in our series, Luke - Exploring who Jesus is. This week, our devotionals are based on Luke 4:31-44. Today’s devotional is entitled, Jesus’ power over demons.
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’Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.’ (Luke 4:31-37)
Lesson: Jesus has authority over every spiritual power and He uses us to overcome demonic powers through prayer and truth.
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In last week’s devotionals from Luke 4:14-30, we looked at Jesus’ reading and claiming to be the Messiah prophesied in Isaiah 6:1 and 58:6. He declared:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19)
This is a prophecy about how the Messiah (Christ) will minister to the poor, the prisoners (or captives), the blind, and the oppressed. This week, we will be reflecting on Luke 4:31-44 and how Jesus enacts His fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy as He takes authority and brings freedom to those afflicted by demons and sickness.
His words had authority
We are told that Jesus’ teaching had a great impact, and the people ‘were amazed at his teaching because his words had authority.’ His words had authority in at least three ways:
1. Jesus' words’ had authority - Because Jesus spoke by His own authority
Firstly, the Jewish teachers of Jesus’ day constructed their messages using quotations from other rabbis in order to establish their authority. David Garland writes,
‘The majority of rabbis would base their teaching on the chain of tradition, citing the opinions of their predecessors.’
Jesus did not do that but taught as one speaking on His own authority. His manner of teaching was forthright and demanded a response of repentance. Jesus didn't give nice, fun, and uplifting messages that pandered to the crowds; His teaching was true preaching, presenting God's truth in the power of the Spirit, which demands a response of repentance and faith.
2. Jesus’ words had authority - Because His words had authority to defeat demonic powers
Secondly, His teaching and words had authority in that His commands to demons (and sickness) were obeyed, and people were set free from oppression. The man set free from a demon in today's text is the first of twenty-one miracles recorded by Luke. On the importance of confronting demons in Jesus' ministry and our ministry, David Garland writes:
‘Demon-possession is too frequent and integral to the gospel narratives to minimise or, worse, discard it as Hellenistic superstition. This is only the first mention of it in Luke, the climax of such incidents coming in 11:14–22. Significantly, Jesus is confronted by demonic activity during his first public ministry described by Luke following the introductory sermon at Nazareth. The “good news of the kingdom of God” (v.43) Jesus was proclaiming signalled an attack on the forces of evil. Luke wants us to understand the centrality of the kingdom in Jesus’ ministry and in that of his disciples. (See his unique use of the expression “kingdom of God” in such passages as 9:27, 60, 62.) A holy war is being launched and, as v.34 suggests, the demons know it. This war will be carried on by Jesus’ disciples (9:1–2; 10:8–9, 17).’
The demonic spirit responds to Jesus in fear, saying, "Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!" In speaking of "us," the demon is speaking on behalf of all dark forces that Jesus has come to destroy. The devil and demons know what scripture teaches and that Jesus will "crush his [Satan's] head." This fearful outcry reveals that they know, even if they won't accept it, that they are doomed, as John writes:
‘The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.’ (1 John 3:8)
3. Jesus’ words had authority - By the Spirit
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the main point that Luke is making is that Jesus' words had authority because He was filled with and speaking in the power of the Spirit. We have read that ‘Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,’ and it was the empowering of the Spirit that gave content and a sense of divine authority to His words.
Jesus has authority over every spiritual power and He uses us to overcome demonic powers through prayer and truth.
This freedom-bringing ministry is to be continued through the church. It is a big subject, but in essence:
Firstly, if a demon manifests itself as in this text, tell it to go in the name of Jesus.
Secondly, if a person thinks they are being afflicted by a demon, pray for them and command the demon to leave in Jesus' name.
Finally, demonic powers are defeated, and we are kept safe as we learn the truth and confess it against demonic assaults, just as we see Jesus doing at the beginning of this chapter (Luke 4:1-13).
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read Luke 4:31-44 (Pay particular attention to 4:43)
On Sunday we looked at Luke 4:31-44 and we made the point:
The good news of the Kingdom means that we can receive the King, enter and experience His Kingdom right now.
Firstly, we saw that to enter the Kingdom we need to receive Jesus as our King/Lord.
Secondly, we briefly looked at 6 ways that we experience the Kingdom now:
i. Experience the acceptance of citizenship.
ii. Experience God’s presence and empowering by the Spirit.
iii. Experience victory over the devil and demons.
iii. Experience the healing of the Kingdom
iv. Experience the holiness of the Kingdom
V. Experience the ways of the Kingdom as we are ‘salt and light’ in the places that God has put us.
We know that when Jesus comes again, we will experience these things - the Kingdom - in fullness but right now we are to experience them in measure.
Did God speak to you about anything specifically from the message on Sunday?
What aspect of the Kingdom would you like to see more of and why?
How can we experience more of the aspects of God’s Kingdom in our lives and church?
SIV - How would you put ‘the message of the Kingdom’ into words that your non-believing friends would understand?
SIV - Lets pray for one another that we would Serve, Invest and Invite more powerfully where God has put us.