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Study in Luke’s Gospel. Presentation 15. The Authority Of Jesus Chap 4v31-44. Presentation 15. Introduction.

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Study in Luke’s Gospel

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Study in

Luke’s Gospel

Presentation 15


The Authority Of Jesus

Chap 4v31-44

Presentation 15


Introduction

We might not pay too much attention if a member of the public tells us, “You can't park your car there". But if a policeman tells us that's another matter! We might be amused if a child told us that the theory of relativity describes the number of aunts and uncles they had but I suspect we might give more weight to what a professor of physics had to say about the subject. Whether or not we accept what a person has to say or not depends in great measure upon the authority they are seen to carry.

In laying the groundwork for the ministry of Jesus, Luke begins by laying before us the credentials of Jesus whose authority is spread before us. We will see that the authority of Jesus commanded a response in a wide range of situations.

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The Authority Of Jesus’ Teaching

First we examine the authority of Jesus in his teaching. Cf v31, the people of Capernaum were amazed at Jesus’ teaching because his message had ‘authority’. Matthew is more explicit he says, "they were amazed because he taught as one who had authority and not as their teachers of the law" Matt.7.29.

You see this broken, anxious and perplexed crowd weren't used to Jesus’ kind of preaching. What a change from the dead, dry, lifeless preaching of the religious leaders. The scribes, the custodians of the Word of God, had for all practical purposes abandoned preaching in favour of human speculation and tradition.

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The Authority Of Jesus’ Teaching

Theirs was a hollow authority, they held an office which promised much but delivered little. Their ministry carried no sense of the presence of God. Their preaching was no more capable of driving the stale air out of the synagogue than evil out of men’s hearts.

They had little concern for their hearers and wasted their time talking of trivialities and arguing with one another. The house of God should have been a resurrection ward which breathed new life into its worshippers but the scribes had transformed it into a spiritual morgue.

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The Authority Of Jesus’ Teaching

In his ministry Jesus spoke of matters of great significance, matters of life, death and eternity. He showed himself to be a lover of men, one concerned with the everlasting welfare of his hearers. The message of Jesus came straight from the mind and heart of the Father, from his own inner being and from scripture.

Last but not least Jesus preached with a recognisable authority which caused the crowd to think, "Here is someone who knows what he is talking about".

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The Authority Of Jesus’ Teaching

The church's preaching today should share the same ring of authority. Read church history and you'll discover that one of the great issues at stake at the time of the Reformation was that of authority. That was what split the church - the Reformers determination to place the authority of scripture above the authority of the traditions of men.

In the midst of the debate Luther was asked to consider the views of a number of learned men in the church to which he replied. "Never mind the scribes what do the scriptures say?" When the Reformers made God's word and not men’s ideas their touchstone, they not only preached with authority

but men and woman responded!

Presentation 15


The Authority Of Jesus’ Teaching

When we think of authority in preaching we must not confuse it with the frenzy or the volume of the preacher. Some who seem to think that the louder they shout and the more belligerent their attitude the more they display authority in their preaching. But these are evidences more of insecurity and unbelief rather than a display of divine authority.

The authority of preaching is derived from the authority of God's word. To say the Bible is our authority means that we let our thinking be tested by it and our lives be moulded by it. The word of God is either absolute or obsolete! The Bible's own claim for divine authority can be put to the test as we put our trust in its author and experience its transforming power in our lives.

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Jesus’ Authority In The Spiritual Realm

Secondly, Luke introduces us to Jesus's authority over the spiritual realm in v33ff. We are introduced to a demon possessed man. It is not true that the N.T. writers in common with all primitive peoples considered various forms of mental illness or multiple personality to be demon possession. According to scripture distinct and evil beings had taken possession of this man. He cried out in a rage when he saw Jesus. Notice that Jesus is recognised for who he is "The Holy One of God". When modern theologians deny the divinity of Jesus they show less spiritual insight than the demonic world. Is it not strange that the demons clearly know who Jesus is and yet men fail to recognise his identity and power to transform their lives.

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Jesus’ Authority In The Spiritual Realm

Of course the knowledge the demonic has of Jesus is the author of sheer terror. Note the cry, “What do you want with us" the literal translation is, "What have we in common with you?" and the answer is of course "nothing!". His wild restless ranting furnished evidence of the opposition in the spiritual realm to Jesus’ work. John in his epistle writes: "The Son of God has come to destroy the works of the Devil“.

In this encounter Jesus does not argue with evil powers nor allow them to give testimony to his uniqueness. They have absolutely nothing to contribute to the establishment of Christ's

kingdom. And so the demon is silenced and commanded to leave the man. The powers of

evil recognise the authority of Jesus.

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Jesus’ Authority In The Spiritual Realm

There are good grounds for believing that this man was a regular attender at the synagogue. He was accepted as quite a normal person and behaved in such a way until the day that the Word of God came in power into the synagogue. Jesus’ authority did what years of exposure to scribal teaching could not do- it freed the man from a horrible bondage. We must not lose sight of the motive behind this exercise of authority. It was a tender love for the man whose life was saddled by evil. This is what Jesus does in the spiritual realm, he draws out into the open the hidden evils of nature and personality in order that they might be healed. It is for this reason that we need not fear what God's living word may reveal in our lives. Its aim is to expel only that which is harmful and destructive.

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Jesus’ Authority In The Spiritual Realm

A great many people's lives have been terrorised by the occult. It may have begun with a fascination for certain kinds of films, by reading Dennis Wheatley novels, by ‘apparently innocent’ involvement with a Ouija board - though they are far from innocent.

Of course many of the evils in society can only be explained by a spiritual kingdom of evil. One only has to think of the growing awareness of the amount of ritual child abuse which takes place in

this country. I understand that T.V. documentaries have been produced on the subject yet supressed because the powers that be are not persuaded that the public would believe some of the things which are reported!

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Jesus’ Authority In The Spiritual Realm

What does this incident teach? Surely this, that the Christian need not stand in fear and terror of the kingdom of evil. Why? Because we know that all evil, in its various forms in human experience is under the authority of Jesus. There are times when Christians are confronted with malignant evil and almost paralysed with it. John writes to a group of Christians in this situation and says in 1Jn. 4.3ff "every spirit which does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist which you have heard is coming and even now is in the world. You dear children are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

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Jesus Authority Over Creation

A third facet of Jesus’ authority is shown in relation to the natural created order. We read in v38ff of the healing of Peter's mother-in-law who was in bed with a fever. She couldn't manage ‘church’ that day but that didn't stop Jesus from coming to meet her need. We often split our lives up into separate religious and domestic boxes. We need to learn to take Jesus home with us and allow him to exercise his authority there! And in this case what was the result? Immediately the woman was healed- so totally that none of the residual tiredness usually attached to high temperatures is in evidence and she is able to get up and wait on Jesus and his disciples.

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Jesus Authority Over Creation

Healing clearly interested Dr. Luke. He sees the authority of Jesus extending into the realm of disease and suffering. Sickness was not a part of God's original creation. It was one of the consequences of the fall, a blight on God's perfect world. But not something outwith God's control.

And while God uses the bodies natural mechanisms, drugs medicines and medical skill to restore people to health today, he can also work directly and by miraculous means. I wonder if we sometimes limit God by locking this kind of healing within the covers of our Bibles. In this miracle we see the authority of Jesus over a fallen world.

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Jesus Authority Over Creation

Does the fact that Jesus has authority over disease mean that it is always his will to heal? Some would say so but

it is neither biblical, true to experience or pastorally responsible. Note that not all illness in the N.T. is healed cf. Paul, Epaphroditus, Timothy and Trophimus. It has been the experience of those both within the pages of scripture like Job and Paul and contemporary Christians like Joni Eareakson that God in fact can use sickness and suffering for his glory and our good. It can be an instrument to make us like Jesus. Therefore, we need

not panic nor fear in the face of suffering. The very fact that we are able to bring that suffering before God, begins to lift the burden, though the illness is not necessarily removed. The day is coming when all

sickness and pain will be banished. That day is not yet!

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Conclusion

Luke has laid before us Jesus’ credentials. The authority of Jesus is here for all to see. It is comprehensive and unassailable. Jesus deserves to be listened to. He uniquely has the ability to change and transform bruised, bondagedand broken lives.

The community at Capernaum pleaded with Jesus in v42 to stay with them, they wanted to keep the blessings of Jesus to themselves, to benefit from the exercise of his uniqueauthority. But Jesus, in his reply, shows us something of his vision for a desperately broken and needy world. Do we share Jesus’ vision. If so do we long for, pray for, work for the advance of his kingdom?

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