Click here for an audio version of this blog post.
And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. 33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Ha! 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.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 37 And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
38 And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.
40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. – Luke 4:31-44 [ESV]
I’m reading two novels now; both in the mystery genre. It’s so interesting to see how the authors are weaving together disparate characters and story lines. I know somehow they will all come together. The flight attendant will either be found to be the culprit or not, and the other mysterious woman the same. The police chief’s wife will help save an unsuspecting man from impending danger or not. And somehow these may all come together at the end of each story line. Somehow there be a denouement.
There is little hint of the path toward resolution in these initial encounters of Jesus with demons and disease. Demons are being cast out. Disease is being healed. The kingdom of God is being revealed. But where will this go? What is the ultimate outcome of this drama that begins here near Jesus’ home town?
The hint is twofold. First that the demons are cast out, rebuked, and silenced, but not destroyed should help us realize that there will be more battles between Satan and Jesus. The devil will not strike out on the first pitch. He who is being silenced now will have a voice in the time to come. Jesus will again face him. Jesus clearly has power and authority over the demons here and now. He will not relinquish that power. But there are many demons. Satan has his claws in many people’s souls and in many places. We’re not done yet. There are more chapters to be written.
This is the second hint: Jesus clearly says that he has good news to preach in other towns “as well.” That is why he was sent. And he does so in the synagogues of the area. The good news is about the reign and rule of God. That is the denouement toward which all of Jesus’ mission and ministry marches.
That will begin some three years later – after what appears to be the irredeemable loss of Jesus’ death on the cross. But then comes Jesus’ resurrection, and ascension. His Great Commission to his disciples. His promised return at the end of all time. What starts here will be fully and eternally expressed for all who believe in Jesus. This will end when the final battle with Satan is consummated and he is thrown into the pit of hell prepared for him and all his angels (cf. Matthew 25:41). This will resolve in the full and unfettered reign of health, freedom from oppression, life, release from captivity, and the favor of God. It is a reign of hope, joy, purpose, and comfort. It is a place of God’s presence in an atmosphere of glorious grace.