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Midweek Devotionals

Published weekly on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

Midweek Devotional 4/21/2015

Robert Chen

Dear Church:

LUKE 4:31-37

31He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. 32They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. 33In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34“Let us alone! 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.” 35But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. 36They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” 37And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.

To speak "with authority" for Jewish listeners does not mean that someone speaks loudly or convincingly or even with gravitas. Primarily, within the Jewish, religious context, to speak "with authority" means to speak as though God is speaking through you. It is to speak as though God is putting His words in your mouth. Hence the prophets of YHWH were said to have spoken with authority. And when such speaking is heard, the proper listener response is to react accordingly with due respect to what is said, commanded, taught, or requested.


Jesus taught. Jesus taught with authority. The listeners could not deny this.


People recognized Jesus' messianic authority. So did unclean demons. (By the way, there is no such thing as "clean" demons.) Demons all recognized Jesus' identity, even before Jesus' own disciples! They knew Jesus can destroy them, hence their fear of being destroyed. They knew that Jesus is the Holy One of God. Such knowledge, unfortunately, did not translate into repentance. And without repentance there is no hope of salvation. Therefore the unclean spirits were stuck: they knew who Jesus was but refused to bow their knees to Him. Knowledge of Jesus gave them fear; but lack of repentance made them objects of (eventual) destruction.


Destruction is for another day. Instead, Jesus the rebukes the unclean demons and commands them to come out of the man. The people who had spoken about Jesus' authority in teaching now marvel about his authority and power over the unclean spirits! Never had anyone seen such authority over demons before and the news about Jesus spread to "every place in the region."


This very authority and power shown by Jesus is now delegated to us. We are called to use the authority and power thus given.


It's strange but when we think about it, unclean spirits exercise authority and power too. If they didn't, they would exercise no influence over people's lives. But they do! Their authority is not a "delegated" authority from the Lord but an "usurped" authority, taken from people. Not stolen exactly but given over either directly or indirectly. Directly by incantation or ritual or some type of invitation; or, indirectly through sin (either by sinning or by being sinned upon). Either way, even demons have "legal" authority that'll remain until someone with greater authority comes along. And that authority belongs to Jesus, the King of Kings.


Let's pray: Lord Jesus, we thank you for the authority and power that you have. We thank you for the authority and power that you delegate to us in your name. May we recognize this authority and power and use your name that brings you honor and in ways that sets people free. In your name, Amen.