September 14 - Luke 4:31-37

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Luke 4:31-37 – Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit

Jesus left Nazareth and went on to Capernaum, another town in Galilee. According to Luke, he stays in this region for a good portion of time and anchors his ministry here.

When he comes to the synagogue, a man possessed by an evil spirit screams at Jesus. The words used here translate as “what do you want with us” or “what have we to do with you,” but the true meaning is “why are you getting mixed up in our affairs” and actually, rather than a question, the evil spirit accuses Jesus of coming to destroy them.

It recognizes Jesus, offering a title that it knows him by – the Holy One of God. Even the demons recognize who Jesus is.

We might read the words in Luke 4:35, “Be quiet,” as less powerful than they truly are. The NIV tells us that Jesus ‘sternly’ speaks them. The adverb and the command give us a weak idea of the power that Jesus put into his command. This was a demand that had the power of heaven behind it. The word of God has been spoken to subdue evil.

Luke has often used sets of three to emphasize the importance of things. In this passage, he does so again.

Jesus commands the Spirit to “come out of him,” (Luke 4:35), the demon “came out without injuring him” (Luke 4:35b) and the people are amazed at the authority Jesus has that he “gives orders to evil spirits and they come out” (Luke 4:36).  It is little details such as this that Luke uses to weave a story and build our understanding of theology through the narrative. We don’t even notice what it is that he does, but we grow in our knowledge as we read.

The message of Jesus’ power and teaching begins to echo throughout the region. The story began in a small town in Nazareth and soon he will be known wherever he goes.