Preaching: Practical and Powerful (Luke 4:14-34)
God had one Son and He made Him a preacher. Everywhere Jesus went, he preached. In every age of the church, preaching has been God’s principal means for the awakening of sinners and the edifying of saints.
The Jews were amazed by His teaching, but doubt and unbelief overtakes them. They are delighted with doctrine stated, but disgusted with doctrine applied. When Jesus applies the text to their hearts, they are enraged.
The widow believed Elijah before she saw a miracle. Naaman went down into the river before he was made clean. But the jews wanted to see the miracle before they would believe. What was the difference? Why did Zarephath and Namaan believe, but the Jews did not? The difference was their sense of their own neediness. Both Zarephath and Namaan knew their desperate circumstances, and wanted nothing more than to be made well. The Jews did not believe they were the poor, captive, blind, oppressed sinners that Jesus tells them they are.
– Does the doctrine that describes us as poor, captive, blind, and oppressed sinners disgust you? In what manner can this doctrine, when applied, result in delight rather than disgust?
Jesus shows that He has power in His preaching (verses 31-32), over evil spirits (verses 33-37), and over sickness (verses 33-41). Jesus shows that He has authority over the physical as well as the spiritual. Even the demons recognize that Jesus is the “Holy one of God” and the “Son of God.” Like Satan in the wilderness, his demons attempt to deceive by citing some truth. We see this expressed today in cults like Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Demonic knowledge is a mere head knowledge, while Christian knowledge is a deep heart knowledge.
– What are the distinctions between “demonic faith” and genuine faith?
Where did Jesus get such power and authority? “[He] went away to a secluded place” (verse 42). Jesus found His power and authority by meeting and communing with His Father. At that time, His disciples were looking for Him because He was bound to one spot at a time on the earth, but we live in a day of greater grace. No longer is Jesus bound to one spot, but He is now seated on the throne and is everywhere through His Holy Spirit. The same power that Christ had is now provided to us in full measure through His Spirit.
– If Jesus is God and omnipresent, how could He be confined to one spot at a time on the earth?
– How are we living in a day of greater grace?
– Is the same power that Jesus had through the Spirit provided for us today? Explain.
– What can you do practically to know this power more fully?