Jesus’ Authority Over Darkness – Luke 4:31-37, Rob Harlan, Teaching Team

Jesus’ Authority Over Darkness Luke 4:31-37

Context: Just before this, Jesus is rejected at his hometown of Nazareth, where he was nearly thrown off of a cliff. 

Luke 4:31-37 “31 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![b] 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.”

  1. V31-32 “31 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.”
    1. Jesus comes to a town Called Capernaum, which would become his home base for ministry. Matt 9:1 calls this “His own city.”
    2. He was teaching on a particular Sabbath and they were astonished at his teaching because His word possessed authority.
      1. Why would they be so astonished by Him teaching with authority?  If we look at the parallel account of this in Mark 1:22, it as the phrase “and not as the scribes” – in other words, the people were simply not used to authoritative teachings. 
      2. Typically, a scribe would often quote other scribes as they taught the scriptures.  Some have said that the multiplication of authorities quoted in a technical sense would tend to take away from the real authority of their teaching.
      3. Is there a place in the Bible where there are teachers that DO take authority?  Prophets of old taught with authority as they would declare with authority by professing what they say with a “Thus says the Lord.”
      4. Yet, Jesus didn’t even say thus saith the Lord!  He would start his teachings with truly, truly I say to you. 
      5. This was shocking to them, and probably seem inappropriate and out of place in a synagogue on the Sabbath. 
  1. V33-35 “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![b] 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.” 
    1. The actions of this demon possessed man feature centrally in this story, but what is demon possession? 
      1. The Bible does not teach on what demon possession really means or what it is, but the implication by the word “possession” is that the person now belongs to and is ruled by this unclean spirit.
      2. The historical accounts imply that the person’s personality is not longer present and in control and is replaced by that of the demon. The words spoken by the demon possessed are actually coming from the demon.  As we can see in the demon possessed man in the tombs of the Gadarenes, the demoniac of Gennesaret.  “We are legion.” 
      3. Luke 11 Jesus taught that when a demon goes out it seeks out it finds itself in a wilderness and tried to return to its original host, bringing with it seven other spirits even more evil than itself. 
      4. The nature of demon possession is that of brutal bondage to something that is stronger than you. 
    2. The demon-possessed man decides to disrupt the teaching of Jesus with this declaration.
    3. In V 34 The word Ha in the original is “ae.” This is translated Ha! Which is probably very accurate, as it is a word of exclamation.  
    4. The demon decides to state that Jesus is the Holy One of God.  This is very similar to “Son of God” which is actually what Mark tells us these demon-possessed people would OFTEN cry. 
      1. Mark 3:11 “And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
    5. The demon seems to be interested in identifying who Jesus is, which is interesting as one would think a demon would NOT want people to believe in Jesus. 
  1. V35-37 “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.”
    1. Jesus responds with a rebuke in the form of a command to be silent and to come out of the man and so ends the possession. 
      1. The demon throws the man down in the midst of them and came out. 
      2. Mark states that the demon cried out in a loud voice and convulsed the man and then came out.  

Application

  1. Walk in Authority – If you are a believer, you are to be like your master and teach with authority.
    1. Unlike Jesus, we have not authority on our own, but when we are in Him, we have authority through his name when we stand on the authority of the Word of God.  
    2. Older men to younger men, older women to younger women, and if you are a parent you teach your children, and when you have opportunities to witness, you teach the nations.  
    3. We are commanded to teach with authority. 1 Peter 4:11 “whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God…”
    4. This gives all of us who are believers great encouragement that when we are given an opportunity, God will be with us to back up what we say with power and authority.  His Word will not return void Isaiah 55:11. 
    5. This doesn’t mean things will just be easy all the time or that no one will be able to hurt you.  The disciples, most of them, were martyred, and also Stephen.  But the power to convict was still there, and it changed the world. 
  1. The Opposition of the Enemy:  Don’t think for a second that the enemy will stand idly by as you teach with power.  
    1. Mark 3:11 gives the impression that this is a regular thing “whenever unclean spirits saw him…” 
    2. Satan opposed Christ in the wilderness for forty days in the wilderness. 
    3. We also know that is was Satan who put it into the heart of Judas to betray Christ…This head of all the unclean spirits was behind the crucifixion itself.  
    4. His goal is to stop the teaching or at least distract from the teaching.  
    5. Look at what is happening in this passage:  The enemy cannot stop the truth, so the enemy will try and spread the truth so as to get control of the message. Would you ever believe that the devil could put on a suit and be a preacher and deceive millions?  That’s the Word of Faith movement. 
    6. 1 John 4:4 “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
  1. The kingdom of Darkness Will Fall
    1. Isn’t interesting that demon possession is so powerful.  We see these poor miserable souls tortured by something that they cannot control.  This is really a powerful picture of SIN.  
    2. But in the presence of Christ the evil is exposed – IN the church and in your LIFE.  There is no evil that can go on without being exposed in the presence of the Word of God, and that is what Jesus was, the incarnate Word of God. 
      1. Do you need to have your sins exposed?  That is one of the reasons preaching the word of God is so important – 
        1. The word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
        2. Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:11
        3. It is by the foolishness of preaching 1 Cor 1:21 to “save those that believe.”
        4. 1 Cor 14:24-25 “24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.”
        5. James 5:16 “16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
  1. If you are saved this morning than the kingdom of darkness is coming to an end in your own heart, not matter what mistakes you have made. 
    1. Phil 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
    2. Practical – is anyone in bondage to a demon or a sin? Come Christ, come to His body the church – Confess this to someone who you trust and take it to the Word of God – memorize the portions of Word of God that will set you free and trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to rescue you. 
  1. So what does this passage mean for our future?  It means The Kingdome of darkness is coming to an end.  This pattern of this world is passing away and when the Kingdom of Heaven is fully Manifested, Christ will be King – He will cast Satan out! 
    1. Just as Christ cast out the evil that had become resident within this poor man in the synagogue, Jesus will cast out the evil, along with the evil one out of this world into outer darkness.  Christ will then sit on the thrown and rule supreme.  He will wipe away every tear and pain will be no more. 
    2. Rev 11:15 “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 
    3.  1 Cor 7:31 “and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.”
    4. Rev 21:1 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
    5. If we know that Jesus will cast out all evil from this world, what kind of people should we be?  We should be those that live with confidence, Joy, and faith in the one who will do it.