He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbath. They were astounded at His teaching, because He spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” And a report about Him began to reach every place in the region. (Luke 4:31-37, NRSV)
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When Jesus spoke, people listened.
I am not trying to be “super-spiritual,” but every time I get asked the question, “If you could have dinner with any person – dead or alive – who would it be?,” it is most often Him. I want to hear with my ears the way He spoke. I want to listen to what words He would choose based off of His knowledge of me, what questions He would ask, what inflections and tone He would possess.
In today’s passage, it is clear that Jesus’ speaking was one of a kind. To everyone around, there was something so different – so alluring to it.
The gospels teach us that when Jesus taught, there was not this poetic eloquence, but a heavy genuineness. There was not a dramatic fluff, but a deep-rooted reality. To the hearer, there was no telling what would happen, for this Rabbi was unpredictable.
Yet His un-predictability was not due to a spontaneous immaturity, it was due to His connection to the unseen will of the Father.
He knew God the Father, so He spoke as if He knew God the Father.
And in today’s miracle, Jesus proclaims with His words the very thing that was already astounding people: divine authority.
A man possessed by an unclean spirit becomes overwhelmed. Instantly, the spirit within screams out questions to Jesus. And what I quickly overlook is the deceptive motives underlying these remarks.
Yes, he is screaming to Jesus, but he is screaming to Jesus for all to hear. Yes, his questions can appear innocent, realistic, and full of truth, but a deceiver’s use of truth is never innocent.
Just look at what he is doing here: “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth. Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” (Luke 4:34)
With his realistic questions, he can easily spread seeds of fear. With his realistic questions, he can deliver cracked doors for doubt. And with his realistic questions, he can take all eyes, all ears, and all thoughts off of Jesus.
But instead, Jesus responds to this demon with complete power.
Though His statement consists of seven words in our English language, this phrase – or command – is merely two in the Greek. And with those two words, he shut a mouth and commanded an exit.
And this was so much more than an exorcism. In the synagogue that day, Jesus shut down the inner control and workings of something so powerful to fallen humanity.
You see, for a period of time, this man knew of only one source of complete power. It ruled him, directed him, puppetted him. And with two words, our Jesus spoke through the flesh of a man, into the depths of his soul, and cast out the very thing that had control over him.
It was not eloquent, fluffy, immature, or spontaneous. It was miraculous; a jaw-dropping and life-changing experience.
With His voice, our God overcomes the will of our enemy. With His voice, He triumphs over the spreading of lies, the work of doubt, and the lure of distractions.
His authority reaches deep and relieves our hearts.
I do not know what is thriving inside of you right now, but I do know that we all need to rediscover the authority of God in our lives. Just like in today’s passage, God still proclaims with authority the very things that astound us in scripture.
Your addiction can be called out.
The hurt can be healed.
The weight can be lifted.
The doubt can vanish.
The chains can fall.
Your marriage can be redeemed.
Your depression can be released.
Today, may we all listen for it.
Though the odds of us having dinner with Jesus are slim, He is still very much present. His authority is still relieving, still redeeming and still reviving hearts everyday. Those two, powerful words are still spoken.
We pray that you discover the power of Jesus Christ very tangibly in your day. If you enjoyed today's devotion, let us know! We would love for you to comment or help us out by sharing it with others! We have an image below that you can Instagram as well as sharing icons to spread it within your social media networks.
Greg, Declare Glory