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Let's open our Bibles to the fourth chapter of Luke's gospel.  As you know, we are working our way through the gospel of Luke.  We have come to the last brief section of chapter 4 and we'll be looking at this again.  We began our look last Sunday.  And just by way of introduction to sort of set our minds into this text, the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world, claimed to be God, claimed to be the promised Messiah, claimed to be the Redeemer and Savior and Deliverer of sinners.  He didn't just claim it, He proved it.

It would be simple to make the claims that Jesus made. Anybody could make the claims.  It would be impossible to verify them by proof the way He did.  There's been only one life in all of human history where the power of God was released as in the case of Jesus Christ.  He verified His claims by His power.  The four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are the history of His claims and proofs.  They are both recorded history and recorded evidence.

John writes in chapter 20 of his gospel, verse 31, "These have been written," referring to the record of the life of Jesus, ”These have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing you may have life in His name."  The claims of Jesus and the evidence that His claims were true lead one to salvation.

Luke, of course, records the claims of Jesus and records the evidence very carefully.  Luke is a masterful theologian and also a masterful historian.  History, I think, is his special interest and the details of his gospel make it the longest of the four gospels.  Back in the very introduction to the gospel in chapter 1, Luke introduced his gospel by saying in verse 4 that his goal was that we might know the exact truth about the things that you have been taught.  And he says in verse 3 that he wrote in consecutive order.  Here is Luke the historian giving us precise and exact truth, laid out systematically and consecutively so that we work our way through the life, the ministry, the claims and the evidences for Jesus as the promised Savior.  Luke's investigation is careful and his writing is precise.  We never expect to find anything that is treated lightly or haphazardly or off-handedly.  Everything here has immense and careful precision in its presentation.  And that goes for this passage at the end of chapter 4 from verses 38 to 44.

At first reading it seems a bit disconnected and disjointed like somehow it was put together by a committee picking from here and there and everywhere and throwing together rather loosely some final thoughts at the close of a chapter.  But it is not that at all.  Again we find here the amazing, inspired, careful precision of Luke as he pulls together a summary of the necessary elements of the ministry of Jesus to demonstrate Him to be in fact the Messiah.

Now keep in mind that the book of Luke is written to convince us that Jesus is the Savior.  The New Testament is written to convince us that Jesus is the Savior.  And the Old Testament was written to convince us that Jesus is the Savior.  The Old Testament looks forward to the Messiah, details what the Messiah will do and who He will be and Jesus comes in perfect fulfillment of all of that.  The gospels record that.  The rest of the New Testament comments on that.  The high point of Scripture then is the gospels.  The gospels record the life of Jesus, which is the fulfillment of the whole Old Testament.  The gospels then provide all the information upon which the book of Acts, the epistles and even the Revelation build.  So this is the high point of divine revelation.  Here is the great moment in history when the promised Redeemer arrives.

Now Luke has given us immense proof.  He has given us a wealth of evidence that Jesus is the Messiah and Redeemer God.  It all started in the first chapter with the testimony of an angel to Zacharias.  And then Luke was careful to tell us the testimony of Zacharias, the Old Testament priest, and his wife Elizabeth, the testimony of Joseph and Mary, as well as the testimony of two old saints in the temple by the name of Anna and Simeon.  You have angelic testimony.  You have human testimony.

Then you have the amazing evidence that Jesus is the Messiah that is brought by the virgin birth.  Never before and never since has a virgin without a man been able to produce a child.  But in this case, that was true because the Spirit of God planted that life within the womb of the virgin Mary.

There is further angelic testimony that Luke records in which the angel tells Mary that the child will be the Son of God and the promised King.  Then comes the birth of the forerunner to the Messiah, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, John the Baptist.  Then comes the unique event at the age of twelve in the life of Jesus when He demonstrates full awareness that He was the Son of God and was in the temple because He needed to be about His Father's business.

Then came the declarative testimony of John the Baptist as He begins His ministry and proclaims that this is the Lamb of God who has come to take away the sin of the world.  And then Luke records the testimony of the Father God Himself who at the baptism of Jesus speaks out of heaven and says, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."  And the further confirming testimony of the Holy Spirit who descends upon Him.

And then Luke records another evidence that Jesus is the Savior.  After forty days of fasting Luke tells us the story of Jesus being led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit into conflict with the devil, over whom He triumphs totally and vanquishes His enemy completely.  And then Luke closes out His evidences in the first three chapters by giving us the genealogy of Jesus from Adam through Abraham through David right on down to Mary.

The Messiah has come.  The angels give testimony to it.  Men and women give testimony to it.  John the prophet gives testimony to it.  Jesus Himself affirms it.  God the Father declares it.  The Holy Spirit indicates it.  The triumph over Satan proves it.  And Jesus is in the promised messianic line.  All of that by the time you come to the end of chapter 3 is a mass of evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, but all of it is preliminary to Jesus' ministry.  It is evidence before the actual ministry of Jesus even begins.  But when it does begin, when He begins to preach and when He begins to heal people and when He begins to raise the dead, and when He begins to exercise power over the world of fallen angels, the supernatural demons, the evidence becomes irrefutable and it mounts and mounts and mounts.  As the miracles multiply, so does the evidence, so that anybody that rejects the evidence of the New Testament is guilty not only of a heinous spiritual crime, but of a crime against reason.  The evidence is absolutely conclusive.

Now Luke does a wonderful thing to help us.  Not so much in the anecdotal fashion, although there is an anecdote here, there is a story here, as in the categorical area.  And in these last verses from 38 to 44 he shows us that there are three realms in which the Messiah had to demonstrate His power.  There are three categories that are critical to proving Himself to be the Messiah.  One is a natural category.  The second is a supernatural category.  And the third is an eternal category.  If Jesus is the Messiah, it must become clear then that He has power over the effects of sin on the natural world, that He also has power over the effects of sin on the supernatural world, and that He has power over the effect of sin on the eternal realm.  That is to say He must be able to overturn our fallenness physically, the effects of sin on our bodies which is decay and disease and death.  He must be able to overturn the power of demons in the supernatural world who have created a monstrous, deceptive corruption that has become the soul proprietary occupant of the mind of unregenerate men and women.  Thirdly, He must be able to overpower that eternal judgment upon which all of us have fallen by birth, having been born, as it were, into the kingdom of darkness, being subjects to Satan all our life, headed for eternal hell.   A Messiah must be able to break the power of Satan over us to extract us out of that damned kingdom of darkness and deliver us into the kingdom of God, the kingdom of light, the kingdom of heaven.

So the Messiah must show power over the natural, the supernatural, and the eternal realms.  This text pulls together the indication that He indeed has that power.  Just reviewing what we said last time, Jesus demonstrates, first of all, in verses 38 to 40, power over the natural realm, that He can in fact break the debilitating, decaying, diseasing, and deadly impact of sin on our human bodies, on our physical flesh.  In verse 38 He arose and left the synagogue there in Capernaum.  He entered Simon's home.  Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, very serious illness. The family made request of Him on her behalf. They knew well of His healing power.  He had been in Capernaum before and exhibited it and His reputation was mounting, as verse 14 earlier indicated.  He went in and standing over her rebuked the fever and it left her and she immediately arose and waited on them.  Verse 40 adds, from that one anecdote, the general reality of His healing power. While the sun was setting at the end of that Sabbath, all who had any sick with various diseases brought them to Him and laying His hands on every one of them He was healing them.  And here Luke is showing us that Jesus is the Creator God who has total power over all diseases in all people and can heal all illnesses all the time.  This demonstrates His power over the effect of sin on our natural bodies.

We learned last time, and I'll briefly review it, that whenever Jesus healed He healed with a word or a touch instantly.  It was very critical for Jesus to make sure that any healing was connected to Him, that it was immediately connected to Him.  It couldn't be progressive.  It couldn't happen days later, weeks later.  It couldn't be a process or there might be another explanation.  When people were healed they were healed instantaneously.  Someone asked the question about the incident in Mark chapter 8 where Jesus speaks to a blind man.  He first touches the blind man and asks him what he sees and he sees, “I see men as trees walking.” And after, you remember, He spits and touches his eyes and he sees clearly and someone says, "Is that a progressive healing?"  And the answer is no.  What was happening was Jesus first touched him and asked him, "How do you see?"  And he gave Jesus the definition of his blindness.  He said, "I see only in this way. I see men like trees moving."  In other words, it's a blur, I can't tell the difference between a tree and a man.  That was the condition of his blindness which Jesus instantaneously healed.   It was necessary for Jesus to heal with a word or a touch instantaneously so that it was clear that He was the source of that healing power; that He was the Creator God and that is distinctively His power.  He delegated that power to His apostles, you remember, and disciples who preached His gospel and who declared His deity and His messiahship. But He always healed with a word, He always healed with a touch, and He always healed instantly.

He healed totally.  There's no recuperation process.  There's no rehabilitation.  I just read you Peter's mother-in-law was healed.  Immediately she got up after having a high fever with no weakness, no necessary recuperation.  She was as healthy as if she had never been ill and immediately went about doing her duties to serve dinner to a large crowd of people on that Sabbath afternoon.

Jesus also healed everyone.  Jesus healed organic diseases.  That is He healed those real diseases of every kind that strike people.  He also raised the dead.  And He did this constantly through three years of ministry.  He did it everywhere, in every setting in every circumstance, in public areas, in large crowds in all kinds of places.  He never had to stage it, it occurred at all places, at all times, in all locations.

I remind you of what I told you.  For all of human history since the Fall and the entrance of decay and the entrance of death and disease and the entrance of demons and the dominion of Satan, since all of that began back in Genesis 3 there had never been such an explosion of power on the earth.  I told you that there are no miracles between the Fall and Abraham, 2,200 years. You don't have any healings.  You don't have any overpowering of demons for 2,200 years from the time of Abraham; 2200 down to about 750, the time of Isaiah, a 1,500-year period, the Bible records twenty healings or twenty miracles that relate to the body.  And from Isaiah in about 750 B.C. to the time of Christ, the Bible records none, zero.  There are those very rare and uncommon occasions from Abraham to Isaiah when God, in revealing Old Testament truth, used miracles to point to those who were His spokesmen and His prophets.  But it was very, very rare.

You come then to the time of Christ and there's an explosion of miracles that can't even be counted by the thousands and tens of thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands.  As the New Testament era winds down, however, Christ goes back to heaven, the disciples are martyred.  By the time you get to the end of Paul's ministry, Paul is sick, Timothy is sick, Epaphroditus is sick, Trophimus is sick and Paul says, "I left him sick."  That miracle power fades away.

The healing explosion makes it very clear that this was an absolute unique moment in history.  The Messiah had come and Jesus was the Creator God who had power over the physical effects of sin, who had power over the mental impact of demonic deception.  And He demonstrated that power by healing and casting out demons.  This is good news.  He can ultimately save us from the effect of sin on our bodies.  He can give us that new body Philippians 3:20 talks about, like unto the body of His own glory.  No such gift of healing ever existed before Jesus, or since.  It was unique to Him and His apostles.

That brings up the question, and it's a very important one: Does God do miracles today?  Basically the answer is no.  This kind of explosion of miracles belonged to the unique time of the Messiah's arrival and the time of the writing of the great record of His arrival in the New Testament.  This is not a miracle time.  We shouldn't be expecting miracles.  Miracles were extremely rare in all of redemptive history, all of human history before Christ.  And we should find them to be so rare even today.

Does God do healing miracles today?  Well let me say this, He can do whatever He wants anytime He wants.  He doesn't have to check in with me or you to find out if He has permission. And it may be that on some rare occasion, similar to what He did in the time between Abraham and Isaiah, it may be on some rare occasions that God may do something that we would call miraculous.  And by that we mean a suspending of natural law. Certainly He can do that if He chooses to do it.  There's no way we can put any limits on what God will do.  But that is not normal and that is not to be expected and that is not common place.

There was a book some years ago by a false healer in America called A Miracle a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.  And he changed the title to A Miracle a Day Keeps the Devil Away.  The book sort of pledged that God was obligated to do a miracle every day for everybody who claimed one.  This is not a day of miracles.  Don't expect God to suspend natural law.  And don't expect that anybody alive on the planet has the ability to heal people.  That gift of healing was unique to Christ and the apostles to whom He delegated that power.  And even the apostle Paul at the end of his ministry doesn't have that ability.

That asks the question then: Should we pray for God to heal people?  If this is not the age of miracles and if nobody has the gift of healing, should we pray to God to heal people from illnesses?  And the answer is of course, you pray to God for whatever is on your heart.  "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much," James 5:16 says.  "You cast all your care on Him because He cares for you."  You have that privilege.  You can go to God and you can pray and He assumes and expects that you're going to pray about those burdens and those matters that are on your heart.  And He promises to heal your prayer and He promises to answer your prayer.  He may not always answer it the way you want it answered, but He will answer it according to His will.  But, does this mean that we should expect quadriplegics to get out of their wheelchairs?  Does this mean that we should expect people with severe birth defects to be instantaneously rid of those defects?  Do we expect people who have had the impact years ago say of polio or other illnesses today, nerve illnesses, muscular illnesses that have left them physically disabled and to some degree deformed, to instantaneously as the result of our prayer be whole and jump out of the wheelchair and walk away?  No.  Do we expect a diseased heart that is at its very end of function while a person is lying in a hospital bed only hours from death to jump out of bed and run down the hall because they've been instantly healed?  Do we expect someone with sockets, empty sockets, with glass eyes to all of a sudden find those glass eyes pushed out by the arrival of real eyes?  Do we expect our dear, precious deaf people over here all of a sudden in response to our prayers to immediately and instantaneously hear everything?  No.  And we're just really kidding ourselves if we go around expecting that and then blaming people if it doesn't happen for a lack of faith.  This is not the time of miracles.

But does God hear and answer prayer?  Yes and He does it in a providential way.  Let me see if I can give you some illustrations.  Recently a dear friend and someone who preached in our pulpit on several occasions, Dr. James Montgomery Boise, died.  He found out he had cancer and within seventy some days he was dead.  He went from health to death in just that matter of a few months.  And of course, his congregation back at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, were saying to him, "What do we... How do we pray for you?  Can we pray for God to heal you?"  And his response was, "Certainly you can pray for God to heal me, but I believe the same God who can heal me could have prevented me from ever having cancer.  It's His purpose.  If He chooses to heal me, that's fine.  If He chooses to take me to glory, that's fine.”

Physical healing in this world isn't the ultimate anyway. It's only a postponement of the inevitable.  And I remember back a few years ago, as well as you do, when Patricia had her car accident, my wife Patricia.  That little Honda was flipped going, I don't know, fifty miles, fifty-five miles an hour, flipped over three or four times and landed on its roof down an eight-foot drainage ditch on the roof, pressed the roof. Patricia and Melinda, my daughter, were in the car, pressed the roof up below the headrests, in the process crushed her head and neck.  And you remember a C2 was an explosion fracture, that's above the respiration line, and if the spinal cord is damaged there, the body stops its respiratory function and you’re dead.  C3 was also fractured and other bones down her back were broken.  Her collar bone was broken, her hand was broken. The nerve was destroyed to the point where she was paralyzed in that arm.  We prayed, you prayed, the whole church prayed, people all over the world prayed and she has, if you see her now you see no marks of that.  She had no surgery.

And when you ask: "Was that a miracle?"  My answer is I don't put it in the category of a miracle.  A miracle is a suspension of natural law.  Let me tell you what happened.  God superintended her in that accident.  He may have had some angels there. That we know the Scripture says God will do.  God protected her so that in that accident even though all of that was crushed, the spinal cord was never touched, which was an amazing thing God providentially ordered. And then she was in the car upside down in that condition totally unconscious.  A person comes by to help her who happens to be a professional paramedic who knows exactly how to deal with her.  And with great care to make sure no damage is done to the spine, she was cared for, put into a helicopter, sent to a trauma center where the finest trauma people took care of her.  There was a halo...steel halo put on her to protect her neck from being moved.  And the body began the process of healing in a wonderful way because God providentially protected the injury from severing the spinal cord. God also graciously energized that body in ways, I'm sure, that He can do and that nerve grew back so that she had the use of that arm that once she didn't have the use of and nerves will do that.  That's not a miracle.  Nerves have the capacity to do that.  God providentially ordered that that should be done.

Without suspending the laws of nature God can work through the human body.  God can work providentially in the whole accident environment.  God can make sure that the guy coming by is a very astute paramedic who knows exactly how to take care of her.  God can put her in the hands of a fine neurosurgeon over at the Huntington Hospital to make sure she gets the very best kind of care.  And the end result is that she's whole and healthy.  Was God involved?  You better believe He was involved.  Was that a miracle?  Did somebody walk in the hospital room and say, "I know you have a broken neck and a severed spinal cord but I heal you, get up and walk?"  No, no.  Am I supposed to believe that if God didn't do that somehow she didn't have enough faith or God doesn't care about me?  This is not the age of miracles.

But listen, does God control every issue in our lives?   Absolutely.  Absolutely. And did God order all those circumstances to be assured that she would have more years to serve me and her family and the Lord?  Yes.  And God providentially orders all those issues of life.  Do we have a right to pray to God to do that?  Of course we do and He hears and responds to those prayers.  That is entirely different than walking up to someone who has a broken neck and is a quadriplegic and saying, "In the name of Jesus get up and walk."  That's completely different.  That Christ can do.  That He delegated for a brief period of time power to do to His apostles, but that is not to be expected as a normal course of things.  That's why, you know, it's interesting to me that we have these wonderful dear friends in wheelchairs here and they're not at some charismatic church trying to get healed.  Most of them have been there.

God has a purpose in this.  And Dr. Boise was right.  The same God who could heal him from that cancer through the use of medicine and through God's way of working through the wonderful restorative powers of the body was the same God who allowed him to get it in the first place.  I think back just a few years ago when I had those blood clots and you remember that.  I didn't realize at first how serious it was.  I found out later how serious it was.  I was wandering all over the place trying to get help.  I called George Sanders and finally found him, I think at Wendy’s down in Virginia or somewhere, you called me back, on a family vacation.  I said, "George, I think I need help."  I didn't know if I was dying or not but I knew I needed his help.  He recommended me to a doctor.  He said, "He'll be able to help you."  I had gotten misdiagnosed.  In the process my lungs were filling up with blood clots.  I didn't know what to do but I knew I was in really bad shape.  I got to this doctor. He took one look at me. He knew exactly what was wrong with me.  Did exactly what needed to be done, did it efficiently, did it right, turned me over to the right people, got me in the hospital.  They... They worked on me rapidly in sort of a trauma fashion.  And here I am, none the worse for wear.  It came and it went.  And, you know, I have a great debt and always will to my friend George, a fellow elder here at the church.  I also have a great debt to Dr. Morrow who was God's providential man to step in and know exactly what to do for me at the right time.  And God prevented those things from going through my heart.  If they go through the heart, a large one, you're dead before you know what hit you.  I believe God can order all of those things.  God has control of every exigency of every element of every variable in the entire natural realm.  And He can order all of those to achieve His own will.  That's providence.

So what you want to ask for is the providence of God, the goodness of God when you pray, that if God would see fit for His own glory and to put Himself on display and for the good of His kingdom to heal somebody, do it.  But it's always according to His will, right?  So by providential, sovereign protection, by restorative energy in the body, by medicine, by the appropriate care, by the protection, angelic protection, by God ordering the circumstances and making sure certain things don't happen, God hears and answers our prayers.

And so Jesus, what He was doing was very different than that.  He was displaying creative power.  And only He did it and it only happened during His ministry.  He is the Messiah.  He has power over the natural world and He can completely overpower the natural effect of the Fall and sin.

Secondly, He had power over the supernatural realm, power over the supernatural realm. The Messiah must also break the power of demons, who control the world system that blinds the mind and corrupts the thinking and fills people with deception.  He can give us a new body, we know that, but can He give us a new mind?  Can He protect our mind from the corruption and ignorance and darkness and filth of the demonic system?  Yes He can.  Does He have power over those fallen angels who disguise themselves as angels of light, 2 Corinthians 10, and they ply deception and lies and 2 Corinthians 10 says that they...they...they build fortresses of ideologies and ideas and concepts, philosophies, psychologies, world views, and it's in everything.  It's in the music and the media and the literature, it's everywhere, this lying deception.  And they build this massive system with which they corrupt the minds of sinners.  Ephesians 4:17 says that people without God their minds are futile. That's empty.  It says their understanding is darkened. And in 2 Corinthians 4:4 it says their minds are blinded so they can't see the truth or believe the truth.  And that goes clear back to Isaiah, doesn't it?  Isaiah 6: They'll hear but won't understand, they'll see but won't apprehend.  And this force of demons have created world viewpoints and perspectives and religions and ideas and concepts that pollute the mind.  Can Jesus overpower that?  Can Jesus break the hold of the evil system of deception?

Well look at verse 41, "And demons also were coming out of many crying out and saying, 'You are the Son of God.'" As Jesus went and preached He literally shattered the demonic world.  They like to be clandestine.  They like to stay hidden.  They like to do their work covertly.  They like to be behind the scenes.  They like to where a gray flannel suit and appear very, very normal.  They don't want to reveal themselves.  But under the preaching of Jesus when He stepped into the scene, they knew exactly who He was.  He traumatized them.  He terrorized them.  Remember they were living inside people.  Demons take up residence and they...and they literally possess people and they dominate their thinking and they torment them.  And they stay there in a hidden fashion.  But when Jesus showed up they were screaming is what that word is, kraugazō.  It means to scream, involuntary shrieks of terror like the demon in chapter 4 verses 31 to 37.  They are unmasked.  They are rebuked and they scream, "You are the Son of God."  They knew who He was.  I told you earlier that these foolish people, even these cults like the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses who don't believe Jesus is God, even the demons know that. But they don't.  "You are the Son of God."  They know it but, by the way, they try to invent religions that deny it.  This is an involuntary comment.  They don't want to say that if they can help it.  They don't want to necessarily take the side of the truth concerning Jesus Christ.  Oh I suppose on occasion they do.  Certainly we could say there are many false teachers in Christianity today who would say Jesus is the Son of God, but are lying and deceiving and led by demons.  But generally they stay kind of in the background.  But these demons are unmasked and they scream, "You are the Son of God."  Here is demonic testimony, the testimony of fallen angels to Jesus being the true Son of God, Messiah.

But notice the next line, "And rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak because they knew Him to be the Messiah."  Now listen, can Jesus exercise power over demons?  Here it is.  He rebuked them. He would not allow them to speak.  Here it is. He has power not only over the natural, but over the supernatural.  He not only has power to rebuke a fever as He did in the case of the mother-in-law of Peter, but He has the power to rebuke a demon.  He has the power to shut that demon up, to silence that demon so that that demon can no longer speak.  And while, as I said, demons for the most part are content to be hidden and they work to devise religious schemes that deny that Jesus is the Son of God, on occasion they will speak the truth.  Here they speak it involuntarily.  But whenever they speak the truth, Jesus would want them silenced.  Why?  It just confuses the issue.  I don't think anything is more confusing than to have a demon-possessed person affirming Christ.  Jesus doesn't want that publicity.  It reminds me of Acts 16 where Paul preaching... Paul and Silas in Philippi and they're preaching and a demon-possessed woman comes out and says, "These are true preachers, they're preaching the true gospel, they're preaching the true gospel."  And Paul shuts that demon up because that might lead some people to think that these people are supporters of Christ, that these demon-possessed people are supporters of Christ, that they're preaching the gospel, that they're part of this group. And Jesus silences them.  He doesn't want their publicity.  Also, they knew Him to be the Christ and if they were to be proclaiming that He was in fact the Christ and the Messiah, it could start a premature kind of mob approach to force Him into taking power over the Romans. They did this a couple of times during His life. This was not the time to be declared as the Messiah.  He didn't want to start some huge uprising.  Right in the middle of all these miracles it could have happened.  He didn't want demon testimony to who He was.

But the point... The major point here that Luke is giving us is that He absolute authority over the demons.  He told them to be quiet and they...that was the end. They were quiet.  This is the testimony that Jesus has the power over the natural world, the effects of sin on our bodies, and the effects of sin on our minds in the supernatural world.

You know, sinners don't just wander around, and this is a good thing to keep in mind.  Sinners don't just wander around independently having their own thoughts.  They are literally the victims of demons. They may not all be possessed by demons.  They may not all be dominated and tormented by demons who dwell in them, but they all have bought into demonic lies, one way or another.  They're all blinded, ignorant, empty-minded, because the god of this world has blinded their minds.

It is critical not only that we have our bodies delivered from the curse of sin, but that our minds be free.  We want to have the full mind of Christ.  We want to have our minds purged and purified.  We want to think the way God thinks.  So these demons in an involuntary way scream out the truth.  Jesus doesn't want the truth from demon-possessed people and He doesn't want them precipitating some mob effort to force Him to become the Messiah so He rebukes them.  But more than that, He rebukes them to show us that He has total power over them.  That's critical.

Darkened minds, blinded minds devoid of truth, corrupt minds, reprobate minds, those are the playgrounds of demons.  We're talking from sophisticated religious cults all the way to immorality, all the way to insanity, all of that is the playground of demons.  It's all ideas, thought patterns raised up against the knowledge of God.  And men need their minds delivered from those supernatural influences and Jesus proves that He can do it.

Someday we'll have a body free from the effects of sin. Someday we'll have a mind free from the effects of demonic deception.  Finally, thirdly, if Jesus is the Messiah He has to have power over the eternal realm.  He has to have power not only in the body and the mind, but the soul.  What can He do about this eternal problem?  We're headed for eternal hell.  We're members of the kingdom of Satan, as it were, the kingdom of darkness, and we're headed to an eternal hell.  Well verse 42, "When day came," this would be Sunday after the Sabbath, He had been healing all that afternoon in the house where... I should say He was healing that afternoon in the house, Peter's mother-in-law. Later in the day as the Sabbath came to an end, He was healing all that multitude of people that kept coming and coming. That probably went on all through the night.  Finally the next day comes. He leaves.  He went to a lonely place.  Mark 1:35 tells us it was still night. It was just before the daybreak and...and Mark also says that He went to pray as He often did after this tremendous explosion of power.  He went for communion with the Father for restoration from the crushing presence and pressure of these crowds.

But He didn't get very far and found His place of seclusion until it says, "The multitudes were searching for Him and came to Him."  They found Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them.  They... They saw what He had done, power over the physical world, power over the spiritual world, and they wanted to hold onto Him. This display of power over disease and power over demons drew them back to Him.  And He... This continued. Look at chapter 5 verse 1, "It came about that while the multitude was pressing around Him and listening to the Word of God..."  Verse 19: "Not finding any way to bring Him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let this man down through the tiles."  Chapter 6 verse 19, "The multitude was trying to touch Him for power was coming from Him and healing them all."  In chapter 8 verse 19, "His mother and His brothers came to Him and they were unable to get to Him because of the crowd."  In verse 40 of chapter 8, "As Jesus returned the multitude welcomed Him for they had all been waiting for Him."  And then in chapter 12 verse 1, amazing, "So many thousands of the multitude had gathered together that they were stepping on one another."

This is how it was for Him, one massive crowd after another.  Listen, if you can heal people and deliver them from physical illness and you can deliver them from the dominating power of demons, you are a valuable person.  And the crowd knew it.  But there was something more. This was not the end, this was a means to an end, verse 43, "He said to them, 'I must preach.'" It isn't all about healing.  It isn't all about deliverance from demons.  It's all about preaching the kingdom of God.  "I have to preach the kingdom of God and I have to preach it to the other cities also," which means He had been preaching it to them.  "For I was sent for this purpose."  Yes, I can overpower the effects of sin on the body, yes I can overpower the effects of sin on the mind, but there's something even more important and that is to overpower the effects of sin on the eternal soul by preaching a gospel that when believed removes you from the domain of Satan into the kingdom of God.  That was the issue.

He doesn't rebuke their interest in the miracles. He wanted them to be interested in the miracles.  That was perfectly understandable.  I mean, who... What else could you say when you saw for all intents and purposes disease banished from all of Palestine during His ministry?  When you saw thousands upon thousands and thousands of people being instantaneously healed and delivered from demons?  It was perfectly understandable that they were interested in those things. They were also essential proofs of His power and His deity and they needed to be seen and understood.  They were parabolic.  They showed His power to give new life to the body, to give a new mind. They showed that and that was what He wanted to show.  But importantly He had also to preach the kingdom of God: That you didn't have to stay in the domain of darkness.  You didn't have to stay in the kingdom of Satan.  You didn't have to be headed to the Lake of Fire prepared for the devil and his angels and all who follow him.  You could come to the kingdom of God.  You come... You could come into the sphere of blessing, the realm of salvation.  You could come from where you were in the midst of the darkness of sin into the light of the glorious gospel of Christ.  You could be delivered from hell and taken to heaven.  That was the message that a believing sinner could be delivered from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God, from the, as it were, domain of hell into the domain of heaven.  The kingdom of God simply refers to the realm of salvation.

Yes He had power over disease.  Yes He had power over demons.  And yes He had power over dominion, over the dominion of the devil.  He could transfer sinners out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God.  And in the battle to free men's souls from sin and hell, He had to be able to do that.  He had to move them from judgment to glory, from hell to heaven. That's the good news.  With that you can go back to chapter 4 verses 18 and 19 and remember that when Jesus came to preach, He preached a wonderful message of the gospel to the poor, and release to the prisoners, of sight to the blind, and freedom to those who are oppressed.  He could deliver you from your spiritual poverty, from your spiritual prison, from your spiritual blindness, from your spiritual oppression.  He could deliver you into the glorious kingdom of God.  He said, "I must preach this."  Euaggelizōmai is the word for “the gospel.”  I must preach this gospel, this good news. That's what that means.  And I have to preach it to other cities, He says in verse 43.  "For this purpose I was sent."  And that, by the way, He repeats, chapter 9 and chapter 10 and particularly He says that in John 5; John 6; John 8; John 9; I think again in John 17.  "I came for this purpose, I came for this purpose, I came for this purpose.”  I was sent, actually, apostellō, as an apostle, a messenger.  God sent Jesus to show that He could overpower the effects of sin in the body, to show that He could overpower the effects of sin in the mind.  But more importantly to show that He could overpower the effects of sin eternally by moving people out of the domain of the devil into the kingdom of God.  And Jesus said I have to preach that in other cities, and verse 44 says, "And He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea."  He was in Galilee at the time, but Galilee was a part of Judea.  Judea is the whole land of the Jews.  He was in Galilee when He said it, but He covered Judea and the synagogues of Judea through His ministry where He preached this great message.

This is the Messiah, folks. This is the singular Deliverer. This is the Redeemer of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, able to break the bondage, to shatter the hold of death and demons and the devil's domain.  And Luke amasses this summary material at the end of the chapter to fix it in our minds. And we'll see those three categories dealt with throughout the ministry of Jesus as He deals with disease and death, as He deals with demons, as He deals with the domain of darkness.

This is a mighty Savior, is it not, who can save His people from their sins and all of its effects.

Father, thank You again for the wonderful morning we've enjoyed, for the Word, for the music.  We commend it all to the Spirit. It's gone into our hearts, it's gone into our minds, but it needs energizing by the Holy Spirit who can quicken it to the transforming of our lives, for which we will praise You in Christ's name.  Amen.

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Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time
Since 1969


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