Study Notes

Luke 4:31-5:11

The News article read, "Billion Chinese Set To Knock Earth Out Of Orbit". The article, which by the way, was in the Weekly World News stated, "Reliable sources in the Far East report that China is mustering its 1.4 billion people to accomplish the diabolical plot by... jumping up and down."

When we left our study of the gospel of Luke two weeks ago, Jesus had delivered a sermon in his hometown's synagogue that was received about as well as that "news" story. As a matter of fact, the people in the synagogue had tried to throw Him off a cliff. Fortunately, their attempt was about as successful as that of those 1.4 billion Chinese jumpers.

Now we see Him continuing His teaching ministry among those who will receive it, and giving much more reliable information than you'll get from the Weekly World News!

4:31-32 Teaching with authority

They were amazed at His teaching, for it was with authority. Jesus was never a people-pleaser. He didn't tell people what they wanted to hear, He taught them the Word and told them the truth. Paul told Timothy:

2Tim. 4:2-4 ...Preach the word... For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth Unfortunately, that time has come. These days of political correctness has left the church in such a state of wishy-washiness that most teachers don't teach the Word and don't tell the truth. We are so afraid of offending people, that the Word is neglected, and truth is forsaken. All because we are afraid to teach the Word with authority.

We are told to be imitators of Christ, and if we are to be imitators of Christ, we must be teachers who teach with authority.

  • That doesn't mean to be dogmatic about that which we know nothing about.

  • That doesn't mean to pound the pulpit regarding our personal opinions or agendas.

  • It does mean to speak with authority from the supreme authority: the Word of God.

    When you're giving your opinion or pushing your own agenda, you're just another voice in the crowd. But when you're speaking the Word of God, you're speaking with authority. And when you speak and teach with authority, people will be amazed. They'll either love you or hate you, but they will be amazed.

    4:33-34 Demons are real

    As we've talked about before, when the Bible says that someone is demon-possessed, they are in fact inhabited by one or more demons. They are not schizophrenic, psychopathic, or mentally ill. How do we know this for sure? Well, for one, the Bible says so. Secondly, demons have knowledge of the supernatural: they know things that a human couldn't possibly have. Remember, even the people in Jesus' own city didn't know who He really was. No human yet knew that Jesus Christ was the Holy One of God. No human yet knew that He had the power to destroy demons.

    But the demons did. This interjection rendered "Ha!" in the NAS and NIV, and "Let us alone!" in the KJV is part of a Greek verb which is a cry of sheer terror. A more proper translation would be: "Aaauuugghhh!"

    4:35-36 Christian Possession

    Now the question has arisen in the church: Can a Christian be demon-possessed? Those who say yes don't have much Scripture to stand on, but they do quote verse 33. They say, "Look, this guy was in the synagogue! If he was in in the synagogue, then it stands to reason that there are demon-possessed people in the church as well." Sure, I'll buy that, but the church is full of people who aren't Christians. Jesus said:

    Matt. 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. So churchgoers have nothing to do with the question. The question is: can a Christian be demon-possessed? Jesus told us in Matthew 12 what happens when a demon is cast out of someone. He said:

    Matt. 12:43-45 "Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes, and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first." So the demon-possessed guy gets an exorcism, and returns to normal life again. But the demon comes back. Notice that Jesus said the demon cannot re-possess the man if the house is occupied. Is a Christian occupied? Ephesians tells us that Christ dwells in our hearts through faith. James tells us that the Father made the Spirit dwell in us. We're not just occupied, we're a duplex with no vacancies!

    Too many people excuse their sin by saying, "The devil made me do it." We're too quick to blame demons for things. When someone is using pornography, we say he's got a "demon of lust". When someone's got problems with drugs, we say that they've got a "spirit of addiction". That's nonsense - you'll find that the Bible doesn't support such ideas.

    Now there IS a spiritual battle going on. But it is not demonic possession, it is demonic oppression. And the Bible says that in regards to that battle, it is us who sin and us who are accountable. That spiritual battle is not won by naming demons, rebuking spirits, or claiming victory. It is won with the armor of God as described in Ephesians 6: having a life characterized by truth, righteousness, being prepared with the gospel, faith, salvation, and the Word of God.

    4:37-39 Peter was married

    Jesus Christ doesn't just have power over demons, He also has power over sickness. He rebukes this woman's fever, and it leaves. Who was the woman? Simon Peter's Mother-in-Law.

    Many in the church believe that Peter was the first Pope. This is based on a misunderstanding of what Jesus said in Matthew 16. After Peter proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus said:

    Matt. 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church..." The rock was Peter's statement, not Peter. But even assuming that Peter was in fact the first Pope, I see a big dilemma. For Popes, bishops, and priests aren't allowed to be married. And if the first Pope wasn't married, how did he get a Mother-in-Law? Actually, we are quite sure that Peter was married, for Paul said in 1Corinthians 9:

    1Cor. 9:5 Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas (Peter)? Peter was married. So we should either assume that he wasn't the first Pope, or let all those poor Catholic priests, bishops, and popes get married!

    4:40-41 Religion Prevents

    It says in verse 40:

    Luke 4:40 And while the sun was setting, all who had any sick with various diseases brought them to Him Why does Luke mention that the sun was setting? Because it was Saturday: it was the Sabbath day until sundown. The people had to wait until the Sabbath was over until they came to Jesus. Religious tradition kept them from the long walk and the healing.

    Why can't people realize that religion doesn't bring man to God? Religion prevents man from ever meeting God. Religion teaches that man must obey a set of rules to appease an angry God. And many of those rules actually keep men away from God.

    How many religious people do we know that are prevented from coming to Christ because of their religion? God doesn't want the religion of man - God wants a relationship with man.

    4:42-44 The focus is the preaching

    I find it interesting that when Jesus encountered sick and demon-possessed people, He met their need and healed them. But He says, "That's not why I'm here. I was sent to preach the kingdom of God - that is My purpose." He taught about the Kingdom of God, mostly announcing the King and correcting people's misconceptions about the Kingdom.

    Today, many parts of the church are focusing on miracles, on healings, on supernatural signs and wonders. What will be our focus? My desire is to follow the example of Jesus. When those who need healing come in, we'll pray for their healing. When those who need a miracle come in, we'll pray for a miracle. But our focus will always be what Jesus focused on: preaching the kingdom of God.

    5:1-11 The Fishing Expedition

    The crowd is crowding around Him, making it impossible for those a few rows back to hear. So Jesus gets into a boat and tells Simon to push it back a little from the shore. Simon's been working all night, and is probably exhausted, but then again, you've gotta figure that he owed Jesus a favor for healing his Mother-in-Law!

    After the teaching, this carpenter tells this professional fisherman where to fish! They had fished all night and caught nothing, but they obeyed anyway. Wouldn't you know it? They caught a ridiculously huge amount of fish!

    Then Jesus tells them, "From now on you'll be catching men." He equates the fishing trip to their ministry.

    Look at the illustration, and relate it to your own experience:

    1) They had fished all night and caught nothing. Maybe you've done that witnessing. Stood at the mall and handed out tracts. Gone to Lion's Park and tried to share with people. And you caught nothing.

    2) After getting no results, they finally threw in the towel: they gave up. They were washing their nets. Many of us in this room are at that point now. "Believe me, I tried all night: I got nothing. Zero. Nada. I just don't have the gift of evangelism."

    3) Notice that they didn't go right from washing the nets to catching the fish. First, there was a Bible study. Jesus got in the boat and taught first, before sending them out.

    4) When the Lord got in the boat and told them where to fish, that's when things started jumping. There were so many fish, they didn't have room enough for them all. The nets were breaking, the boats were sinking.

    People, when the Lord is instructing us where to fish, this is the result. If we're catching nothing, it's either because we're trying to do it by the sweat of our brow, or we've just plain given up. Either way, it's wrong. We've had the Bible study, we've heard the teaching of Jesus. Now let's be willing and available to fish when and where He tells us to. That'll be a fishing expedition we'll never forget!