Introduction: The Spirit-Empowered Ministry of Jesus
Scripture is designed to bring us into a relationship with our loving Father through the work of Jesus, who calls us to discover the abundant life of the Kingdom in Him & through the Spirit.
Last time, we saw Jesus preaching and teaching in the power of the Spirit.
He preaches that the long-expected Kingdom of God is now present in Him; his life and work in the Spirit reveal what that means.
With authority & in the Spirit’s power, he displays the arrival of the kingdom of God now.
Snapshots from Luke’s Gospel:
Often, we display photos at family gatherings of celebration & remembrance. We reflect on & talk to others as we view the images.
Spend some time meditating on these snapshots from Luke’s album.
Explore the Text: The Spirit-Empowered Ministry of Jesus 4:31-44.
Ministry in the Power of the Spirit: the Kingdom of God Can Transform People Trapped at the Margin of Life in a Fallen World.
The potential of our new life in God’s Kingdom is revealed as heaven and earth meet in Jesus as he lives in the power of the Spirit.
Acts of power accompany Jesus’ teaching and preaching.
In Acts, Luke shows how the work of Jesus in the power of the Spirit continues in the story of the early followers of Jesus.
Casting out Demons—Confronting the kingdom of Satan (4:33-37)
For the Kingdom of God to advance, the kingdom of Satan in this world must be effectively confronted in power (see Eph 2:1-2; 6:12).
Jesus casts out demons by the power of his authoritative word.
In 4:36, the people are amazed at the authority and power of Jesus in casting out demons by his commanding word.
Earlier, they were amazed at the authority & power of his teaching.
Jesus Heals Physical Suffering in a Fallen World (4:38-44;)
Jesus goes to the home of Simon Peter and heals Peter’s mother.
One of the aspects of life in a fallen world is sickness and suffering.
Others come to the house and find healing through Jesus.
Life is transformed physically & spiritually as God’s kingdom advances.
We often spiritualize the Kingdom of God & deny the good Creation.
The blessing of the scientific approach to disease and healing.
The problem: Faith in medicine, but blind to God’s healing.
When Jesus leaves Capernaum, the people are upset & want him to stay.
NOTE: As Jesus continues to move, he takes time to withdraw and pray (Mk. 1:35-39; Luke 5:15-16 mentions that Jesus frequently withdrew from the crowds, went to the wilderness, and prayed).
Jesus’ Heals with Love for the Outcast in a Fallen World (5:12-16)
A leper who lived as an outcast risks death by coming to Jesus.
He throws himself at Jesus’ feet.
Jesus touches the leper and speaks a healing command: “Be clean.”
The importance of touch to someone so isolated.
The profound holiness/cleanness of Jesus makes the leper clean.
Jesus Forgives, but the Religious Authorities Are Unhappy! (5:17-26)
People seek Jesus and a way to him!
Four friends refuse to give up & overcome obstacles.
Jesus heals in the power of the Lord (Spirit, vs.17).
The religious specialists are skeptical of him & his understanding of what God is doing.
They question his ability to forgive sins: “only God can forgive sin.”
Jesus knows their hostile thoughts & commands the lame man to get up & walk as proof of his authority (word of knowledge or prophecy, see 1 Cor. 12-14).
In contrast, the people are astonished & in awe of these power encounters.
Jesus Calls Disciples to Be-With-Him in the Kingdom Mission (5:1-11)
Jesus Spends Time with Some Hard-Working Fishermen
According to Luke (and in John), Peter already knows Jesus
Jesus teaches from Peter’s boat and then displays his power.
After a long night of failing, Jesus asks Peter & his friends to do something that seems foolish to these experienced specialists. (5:4-11)
Peter expresses his skepticism but says he will obey.
Obedience to Jesus’ command is critical (see John15:9-17, on the intimate relationship between obedience and love).
The result astonishes Peter, but it does much more.
Peter recognizes himself as sinful and asks Jesus to leave him.
Peter does not see himself as worthy of being with Jesus.
An essential starting point to understand the grace & love of God: we are not worthy to stand in His holy presence.
Jesus invites Peter not to be afraid but to follow him (Mk. 1:17).
Jesus does not deny that Peter is sinful!
Jesus changes us to work with and through us.
Peter obeys Jesus and leaves everything to be with him.
Jesus spent three years training them for their work.
Luke’s Gospel closes (24:45-49), & Acts begins (1:4-8) with the risen Jesus commanding these men to wait for the outpouring of the HS.
Conclusion: Jesus comes amid the realities of our lives and invites us to follow him—following Jesus implies a transformed life.
Forgiveness & acceptance & are critical in God’s Kingdom
He knows the small details of our lives.
His loving acceptance is more potent than my self-rejection.
As Jesus trains you, he asks you to deny yourself & follow him in loving obedience.
Changes must be made to enjoy being with him and prepare us for our mission.
Lewis: This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal. It is different from the temptations that met us at the beginning of the Christian life. Then we fought (at least I fought) against admitting the claims of the eternal at all. And when we had fought, and been beaten, and surrendered, we supposed that all would be fairly plain sailing.
This temptation comes later. It is addressed to those who have already admitted the claim in principle and are even making some sort of effort to meet it. Our temptation is to look eagerly for the minimum that will be accepted. We are in fact very like honest but reluctant taxpayers. We approve of an income tax in principle. We make our returns truthfully. But we dread a rise in the tax. We are very careful to pay no more than is necessary. And we hope—we very ardently hope—that after we have paid it there will still be enough left to live on. —from “A Slip of the Tongue” (The Weight of Glory)