Luke 4:14-44

Luke 4:14-44 –  Preached @ Ebenezer Church on on 1 July 2012 

Today, we shall mediate on Luke 4:14-44.

Some of you may recall that we have studied this passage before.

But you can the bible 100 times; God may show you a different lesson each time you read it.

I hope He will show you something different from Luke 4 today.

I will cover this passage under 3 headings as follows:

1. Jesus overcame temptation and defeated Satan

2. Jesus Was Rejected at Nazareth

3. Jesus Preaches & Heals

1. Jesus overcame temptation and defeated Satan

Luke 4:1-13 records the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.

And after being tempted for 40 days, Jesus went forth victorious.

Verse 14 tells us that He “returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee”.

My friends, we face sin and temptation every day of our lives.

When we yield to the devil, we end up with misery and despair.

And we wallow in depression and great unhappiness.

One sin will lead to another sin.

And it can be a spiraling well that you can never get out of.

Old testament Israel fell into all kinds of temptation 40 years in the wilderness.

The entire generation that saw the opening of the Red Sea perished there.

But in absolute contrast to that, Jesus was fully obedient to God in the 40 days of temptation in the wilderness.

You see, when we submit ourselves to God, the entire equation changes.

Instead of one sin leading to another, it is one victory leading to another.

Because every victory over sin draws us closer to God.

And it brings growth to our spiritual lives.

And joy, contentment and fulfillment accompanies the process.

It does not mean we will not be tempted again.

But we will be stronger after we have overcome the first temptation.

And that gives the impetus to overcome the 2nd temptation.

Jam 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

So, we must be determined to fight that first temptation.

And you will go forth in victory.

And that was exactly how Jesus overcame temptation when He was in the wilderness.

Now, remember that Jesus was 100% man when He was tempted by the devil.

Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

So it was not a “walk-in-the-park” for Jesus when He was a 100% man on earth.

But His victory over sin gives us the confidence that in Him is our hope.

We too can overcome temptation because He has overcomed.

And as Jesus went forth in victory, even the other evil spirits recognized His victory.

We are told in verses 34 and 41 that they acknowledged Him as the Son & Holy One of God.

They were afraid of Him.

These evil spirits were already defeated.

And they were afraid that Jesus would destroy them.

Friends, this is Jesus our God.

In Him, we can have the same victory.

What would you do if you were to meet Him?

Satan and his evil spirits were afraid of Him.

What would you do if you were to meet Him?

I suggest to you that the only acceptable response would be worship & submission.

Do so quickly before your heart turns away;

Profess your faith in Him before Satan brings you into a pit that you cannot get out of.

Because in our passage today, we see a group of people who rejected Jesus.

They rejected Jesus in spite of all the signs and wonders that He has done before their eyes.

They rejected Jesus in spite of Him defeating Satan and the evil spirits.

And that brings us to point 2.

2. Jesus Was Rejected at Nazareth

The bible tells us that Jesus grew up in the town of Nazareth.

Lots of information is provided for us in Luk 4:16-29.

But I want to point out 3 things that we can learn there:

i. It gives us a glimpse of how worship was conducted in a Jewish synagogue

If fact, it tells us specifically how Jesus participated and conducted the worship itself.

Jesus stood in the synagogue and read from the book of Isaiah.

He explained the meaning of the scripture as everyone listened to Him.

This reminds us that preaching ought to occupy central place in any worship proceeding.

The word of God is to be read, explained and applied to the lives of the listeners.

Preaching is something that must never be neglected in any biblical Church.

It must not be replaced by musicals, dramas or any other form of presentation.

We see these things trying to creep into the Church today.

We must guard against it.

Jesus also sets an example of how preaching ought to be done.

He reads from the Bible.

He explains what is meant by the words He has read.

In this case, the passage from Isaiah was referring to Him and His mission on earth.

And so, He explains that to the listeners and the implication of it to their lives.

Verse 20 tells us that “the eyes of those in the synagogue were fixed on Him”.

This tells us that the listeners were listening intensely.

They came with great expectations.

How are you listening to God’s word today?

Are you earnestly desiring to know what God has to say from His word?

Did you come prepared with an earnest desire to learn?

Have you come expecting that God would speak to you today?

ii. Secondly, this passage tells us which Bible Jesus used when He was on earth

Jesus read from the book of Isaiah.

In Luk 24:44, He referred to the Law of Moses – the Pentateuch, ie. the 1st 5 books of the bible.

This authenticates for us that the Bible He used is the Old Testament that we have today.

Now, we are not theologians or archaeologists.

Many of us do not even know how our Bibles came to us today.

But the simple fact here is that Jesus referred to the Old Testament that we have in our bibles.

We can easily cross-reference verses 18-19 to Isa 61:1,2 and 58:6.

Jesus referred to this Bible as the Word of God.

We better take heed that this is indeed the Word of God.

And so, we must read it.

We must understand the implications of the words herein on our lives.

Have you been reading your bible?

Remember that Jesus tells us that this is the Word of God and hence, you must read it.

iii. Thirdly, I want you to observe that there is such a thing called “election”

Clearly Jesus was victorious over Satan.

Clearly He knew the Bible and explained it in absolute clarity.

Clearly He was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy.

The people were listening intensely.

But that listening did not translate into saving faith.

Jesus was rejected by many people.

The sad thing was that many of those who rejected Him were from His own hometown Nazareth.

Friends, we are not surprised that there will always be people who reject the gospel.

I just hope that you are not amongst those who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I do not know who brought the gospel to you.

I do not know who you have been trying to bring the gospel to.

But it would be very sad if those whom you are related to, those in your own hometown, reject the gospel.

It would be very sad if you reject the gospel because it was brought to you by those in your family or hometown.

Jesus was rejected by Nazareth.

Do not reject Him.

Now, notice what Jesus says in verses 25-27.

There were many widows in the time of Elijah when there was drought and famine.

But Elijah was sent only to a specific widow.

There were many lepers in the time of Elisha.

But ony Naaman the Syrian was cleansed.

And Naaman was not even an Israelite.

Rom 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.

The word of God will be preached to all.

The facts of the gospel will be clearly declared.

But only God knows whom He will call into His Kingdom.

Our job is not to question who this will be.

Our job is to bring the gospel to as many people as possible.

God, the Holy Spirit, will work in the hearts of those He will show mercy to.

If we are unbelievers, our job is to ensure that we do not behave like Nazareth.

Friends, when you try to reach your family with the gospel, they may behave like Nazareth.

But do not be discouraged.

Just be faithful in doing it.

Just keep praying for them.

That is our duty and job as servants of God.

The rest is for God to show mercy.

Pray that indeed He will.

Jesus was rejected at Nazareth.

Friends, do not reject Jesus because He is the Son of God.

3. Thirdly & finally, Jesus Preaches & Heals

Although He was rejected at Nazareth, Jesus continued to preach.

He also healed many people when He was on earth.

He preached the Kingdom of God because (as we are told in verse 43), “that was the purpose for which He was sent”.

Many people were astonished at His teaching.

The Pharisees and teachers of the law would appeal to tradition in their teaching.

But Jesus taught with authority as the Son of God.

Verse 22 tells us that gracious words proceeded from His mouth.

Jesus also healed many people when He was on earth.

In particular, He healed Peter’s mother-in-law.

In verse 38, we are told that she had a high fever.

In verse 39, we are told that “Jesus stood over her and rebuked the fever”.

We are also told that there were many other people who were sick and had various diseases.

Jesus laid hands on them and healed every one of them – verse 40.

And in the process of healing, demons also came out of many of them – verse 41.

Now, these verses simply tell us that Jesus was no ordinary person.

Only God can do these things.

These miracles authenticate that Jesus was indeed God.

It is unfortunate that there are people who derived the wrong application of these verses.

I know some zealous Christians who go around rebuking illnesses and diseases.

They do this because they say that that they are simply following the example of Jesus.

I was on a missionary trip in India 26 years ago.

We were in a small city in the state of Kerala on the west coast of India.

There were temples and idols all over the place.

My team leader would raise his voice and condemn the temples and idols.

He would say “in the name of Jesus, I condemn this temple and may you be torn down”.

What an impression these things left on me as a young believer.

And as I followed him, he would place his hands on people who came to him saying they were ill.

Now, there are zealous Christians who conclude that Satan is behind every illness.

They think that every affliction is caused by demonic activities.

Now, I want to just state this is an inaccurate generalization of how this passage should be understood.

We should not be going around reprimanding every illness or disease as if they are people or spirits.

We should not go around commanding diseases to depart.

Yes, when we or our closed ones are afflicted with illnesses, we are sad and miserable.

But these illnesses are all part of the providence of God.

They happen according to His purpose and intent which we may not understand.

And by His providence today, our state of medical science has also substantially improved.

It is therefore only appropriate that we seek such providential means of medical science provided when we encounter illnesses.

But this does not stop us from praying for the individual. 

On the contrary, we ought to pray all the more because God is the ultimate Physician.

It is He who can use His providence to heal.

Some of you may not agree with what I say when you read verse 39.

It is true that the plain reading of verse 39 tells us that “Jesus rebuked the fever”.

But remember the context of that passage: those days were plagued with demonic activities.

The rest of Luke 4 seems to indicate that many people were afflicted with illnesses caused by demons.

Hence it is highly likely that demons were the cause of Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever.

Is it possible?

Well, in 1 Sam 16:14 Saul was afflicted into depression by an evil spirit.

Hence, it could be because of that reason that Jesus rebuked the fever.

This is only logical conclusion I can make from a quick study.

Nonetheless, that’s not the key point of this passage.

The passage authenticates that Jesus is God.

It does not teach us to go around rebuking illnesses.

Let us be very careful about that.

Now, let me now draw our meditation for today to a close.

We read from Luke 4:14-44.

I highlighted 3 points for our consideration:

1. Jesus overcame temptation and defeated Satan

He is your only hope for overcoming sin & temptation.

Turn to Him for help.

2. Jesus Was Rejected at Nazareth.

Do not reject Him as you hear His word today.

3. Jesus Preaches & Heals

Jesus is the great physician.

He heals physically.

He heals spiritually.

I hope the word of God has spoken to you today.

Do not reject Jesus.

Let us sing a hymn in closing.

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