TO PREACH GOOD NEWS TO THE POOR
Luke 4:14-30, Key Verse: 4:18
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, …”
1. Where did Jesus start his ministry (14a,16a)? When Jesus was full of the power of the Spirit, what did he do first (15)? What does “as was his custom” imply (16)? Why did Jesus choose to read Isaiah 61:1-2 (17)?
2. Read verse 18. What do the words “the Spirit of the Lord is on me” mean? What is the good news that Jesus proclaimed (Lk 2:10-11)? To whom did he proclaim it?
3. What is the good news for prisoners, the blind, and the oppressed (Jn 8:34,36; Lk 13:16; Heb 2:14-15)? What is “the year of the Lord’s favor” (Lev 25:8-12,17)? How does the good news renew people personally and a society?
4. How was Isaiah’s prophecy fulfilled by Jesus (20-21)? What did Jesus want them to realize and why? How did they respond (22)?
5. How did Jesus understand their rejection (23-24)? In what ways did Jesus challenge them based on what God had done through Elijah and Elisha (25-27)? Why did the people become so furious (28-30)?
JESUS SAID, “I MUST PROCLAIM THE KINGDOM OF GOD”
Luke 4:31-44, Key Verse: 4:43
“But he said, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’”
In this passage we learn about Jesus’ teaching ministry and healing ministry. Mainly we see that Jesus really wanted to save sinners by teaching them the good news of the kingdom of God. This passage appropriately begins with Jesus teaching in the synagogue and also ends with him teaching in the synagogue. In between these two events he healed many people, one by one. Let’s learn about Jesus’ teaching and healing ministry and how he cared for many people, and what Jesus taught.
Part I – Jesus’ teaching was hindered by a demon
Look at verses 31 and 32. “Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.” Here we see that Jesus’ teaching was unique and moved the hearts of the people. The people were refreshed to see and hear Jesus’ message. Most likely, these people were not used to hearing a message that had authority because it was usually spoken by the religious leaders. We can catch a glimpse at how they were, in terms of spiritual guidance, when we look at Matthew chapter 23. Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees and called them “blind guides.” Their teachings should have lead others to God, but in fact Jesus said that their teachings only raised “sons of hell.” Somewhere, the Pharisees got off track and lost focus on the kingdom of God. They were probably corrupted by their power, so their message had no authority. Jesus’ message was full of authority. Jesus taught them with a shepherd heart to lead them to salvation. Jesus’ motive was only to do the work of God. Where the religious leaders sought their own power, Jesus sought to do the work of God. Jesus lowered himself to the level of a servant. He was humble and he could connect with the people. The people felt his love when he spoke and they wanted to follow him.
However, not everyone in attendance at the synagogue was happy with Jesus’ teachings. There was a demon possessed man who heard Jesus’ powerful message and the demon was very upset after hearing it. The demon tried to interrupt Jesus’ teaching, screaming and yelling at the top of his voice. Telling Jesus to “Go away!” and carrying on a lot. Demons try to hinder the work of God, they just want Jesus to go away. I personally have witnessed several times demonic activity happen during a sermon in a church service. Demons do not intend to sit quietly during a message and behave. They know that God has limited their time in this world, and that they will be sent to the bottomless pit. Until that time comes they are disruptive and mischievous. Maybe demons are tagging your social media account right now with disruptive messages trying to hinder you, but you must fight the spiritual battle with Jesus’ help.
What did Jesus do with the demons who hindered his delivering the word of life? Look at verse 35a. "'Be quiet!' Jesus said sternly. 'Come out of him!'" The demon could not but obey the Messiah's command. But the demon was cross-tempered. When the demon came out, he threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him (35b). To Jesus this one person was very important, and Jesus had compassion on him. Jesus knew he was there to be healed. Jesus was a good shepherd to him and healed him of his demon possession.
When the people saw this, they were even more amazed! They said, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” Initially, the demon tried to hinder Jesus. But Jesus cannot be hindered, he always wins. Instead of hindering the work of God, the news about Jesus only spread more throughout the surrounding area. When we walk with Jesus he gives the victory in the end. He gives us victory in our spiritual battles. He also helps us overcome all kinds of difficult circumstances such as health issues, relationship problems, financial problems, difficult job circumstances and many other things. At times we may be hindered or troubled, but it is at that time we must turn to Jesus and ask for his help. Jesus can turn our grim situation into something good.
Part II – Jesus heals many one by one
After Jesus left the synagogue he went to the home of Simon. His mother-in-law was there and suffering from a high fever. There was no vaccine or treatment available. They asked Jesus to help her. We see in verse 39, Jesus bent over and rebuked the fever, and it left her. No doubt she felt so much better and was very grateful to Jesus, her miserable fever was gone. If it continued it could even have been fatal. What did she do when she was healed? She began to wait on them. She showed her thankfulness in this way, she was saved by Jesus and then she served Jesus. How meaningful it is that those who are saved by Jesus serve Jesus. Jesus’ grace should prompt us to serve him and serve others. Peter’s mother was probably a very good hostess, she made good food was very gracious and hospitable. This was her strength. What are your strengths? Find out what they are. You must use them to serve Jesus!
Now let’s look at verse 40, “At sunset the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.” At the end of the day is a time when most people relax, turn on the football game, and fall asleep on the couch. Jesus had been preaching and healing all day, but he continued healing many people after sunset. Unexpectedly, as if they had had appointments, the people brought all kinds of sick people. Among them were many demon-possessed people. Many sick people were too pitiful even to look at. But Jesus laid his hands on each one, and healed them.
There are many examples of Jesus helping people one by one. Once, Jesus was passing by a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was carried out. He was the only son of his mother. When Jesus saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry." Then Jesus touched the coffin. The dead man broke the cover of the coffin and began to talk. Jesus gave him back to his mother, and she was overjoyed and thanked Jesus. In another passage, Jesus had a Bible study with a spiritually thirsty person Nicodemus who was a Pharisee. On the surface it seemed Nicodemus did not need much. But in John chapter 3 we see Nicodemus wanted to understand God, but he couldn’t. He had a pragmatic way of thinking that could not understand spiritual things. He really liked Jesus’ miracles mostly, but he did not have eternal life and he wanted it. Although the gospel of John only gives us a glimpse of their interaction, it was most likely a long Bible study. Nicodemus had some complex questions, much like I did when I first studied the Bible, and we would have long Bible studies. Jesus was patient with Nicodemus and taught him about the kingdom of God. Jesus taught him how to have eternal life, through faith in God’s son. We see that Nicodemus then followed Jesus throughout the gospel of John, even appearing at the end of John’s gospel during Jesus’ burial. He became a real follower of Jesus.
Jesus helped each of these people one by one. Jesus is the good shepherd that left the 99 to rescue one lost sheep. Each person is important to Jesus. At times it seems that we cannot do much. We are burdened even to take a phone call or to volunteer our time. But we must reach out to others and love them in the name of Jesus. James 1:27a says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress...." If we want to be someone who practices what we believe, then we must help others. Even those who cannot help themselves. One person at a time. Based on this passage God inspired me to reach out to one person who is an old friend I learned has fallen on hard times. At first when I heard about his difficult circumstances, I thought it was sad and then I simply forgot. But then I was reminded about him in this passage to reach out to him. I overcame the awkward feelings I had to reach out to him after so long. I pray for Terry and pray that God will open the way to share the good news of the kingdom of God with him.
In this passage Jesus also had to silence many demons who proclaimed publicly that he is the Son of God. He had to silence demons because their testimony is invalid, and Jesus wanted people to believe in him by faith not based on the testimony of demons.
Part III Jesus came to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God
At daybreak the following day, Jesus went out to a solitary place. Then what happened next? The people were looking for him, and they found him. They waved at him and probably said “hey Jesus! How are you doing?” Really, they were trying to keep Jesus from leaving them. Jesus had reached celebrity status. They thought Jesus was too important of a person to leave their town. Maybe they even had a few proposals for Jesus, like running for mayor, or building a hospital and have Jesus be the head. Their ideas were centered around Jesus’ good works and ability to heal people. They wanted Jesus all to themselves and their town. They misunderstood Jesus’ true purpose coming to the world. How did Jesus help them know his purpose and mission? He taught them in verse 43, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” Jesus reveals his main purpose was to teach about the kingdom of God. Specifically, to bring the good news of the kingdom of God. So then, his primary purpose was not to perform miracles. We see in verse 43 that Jesus was “sent” to this world, with this purpose, to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God. Jesus was determined to fulfill his purpose and carry this message to the other towns. In fact, his message was carried out to the other towns and to the whole world through his disciples as Jesus commanded them.
We may want to experience something amazing through Jesus, like a miracle, but it may not help us experience the kingdom of God. Gideon said during our Bible study, at times he wishes he could just lay hands on people and they would be healed, and many people would hear about it and come to the ministry. He would become famous, with a televangelism ministry and a couple of private jets and a few books. Don’t forget the shiny new suit. But he really knows that his purpose is to preach about the good news of the kingdom of God, and he resists other temptations. We are all like this, wanting something spectacular that appeals to our senses, something we can see and experience. Also we usually want it now not later. We want to get an A without studying. We want job security without hard work. We want our problems to go away without learning anything from them. We can easily fall into the trap of making our faith based on what we get from God and his blessings. Jesus performed many miracles and healed many people, but that could only solve their immediate problem. Even once, Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one returned to thank him. Only one was changed on the inside and gave glory to God. One out of ten thanking God is not a good statistic. I wonder what that statistic is among Christians in America, where we have many churches.
The greatest miracle of all is that our names are registered in heaven. That we have eternal life in Jesus. Eternal life, that’s amazing! It is in fact a miracle. One day far away from now, we will be celebrating not our 80th birthday, but our 80 million birthday. That will be a lot of candles to blow out. We can spend our days serving God and singing his praises. We can have the time to learn many different instruments to praise God with. According to Revelations 21:4 God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” There will be no more division, hatred, discrimination, poverty, stress or anxiety. There will be no more need to feel like we have to try harder to compete to keep up with the other person, who looks much farther along in life than we are. We won’t feel pressure to buy a nicer car because ours is old and not sporty, or to buy a bigger house, or to work out to lose weight. If you can accept that the kingdom of heaven is as real as Jesus said it is, it makes our present problems look small. And as Paul said we can know, “our labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Cor 15:58) This is true hope, and is something to look forward to. We can work hard for God knowing we have this hope. We can pray to be a missionary to help lost people. We can easily forgive that person we really don’t want to forgive. This is the good news of the kingdom of God. A true miracle is that Jesus has given us this salvation by his atonement for us on the cross! We are all sinners, but the good news is that Jesus delivers us from our sins, and saves us from the power of death.
We also learn in this passage that we should not try to keep Jesus all to ourselves. Jesus’ message of the good news of the kingdom of God is for all people and we should share his message. Let’s share this message of good news with our friends, classmates, coworkers, and family members.