August 31, 2021 - Power Preaching - A Reflection on Luke 4:31-37

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.

Nobody preached like Jesus. His teachings were so powerful they always met with some unique responses and results. In this passage we see three things happening: astonishment, adversity, and amazement. People were astonished at his teaching, because he taught that the kingdom of heaven, that hitherto had been beyond the reach of people, was now at hand, and all sinners could all be saved. This must have been a huge departure from the insignificant sermons they usually heard from corrupt men.

However, the salvation message always antagonizes the one from whom we are being saved. Please remember this. The Gospel always provokes the enemy and if you ever start preaching, expect a battle. Jesus constantly had to confront the enemy and we find him doing this in this story too. Notice how the enemy is the first to speak: “Have you come to destroy us?” it asks. Note the fear. It is the enemy who is afraid. So you don’t be. Anyway, of course Jesus had come to destroy him. He told the devil shut up and ordered it to leave. And that was that.

And the people were amazed. See, it is one thing to preach with authority; it is another to back up what you say with signs that can be performed only by God, and through these signs Jesus revealed who he was.  They saw how easily and immediately the evil spirit obeyed Jesus and were filled with amazement.

We have been given the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit. We have also been given the commission that was given to Jesus. Jesus, himself, expressly said so: Go into the whole world. “And as you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons” (Matthew 10:7-8). 

Let us go forth and fulfill this great commission. We can preach with the assurance that Isaiah gives that God’s word “shall not return to him empty, but accomplish his purpose, and succeed in the thing for which he sent it” (cf. Isaiah 55:11). Let us back this up by the power of the Holy Spirit, which flows mightily in those who are led by him. As an example, see the effect Peter’s preaching had on the day of Pentecost. 3,000 people accepted Christ as their savior when he was done.

May we draw people to Christ as well.