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An Explosion of Miracles Luke 4:38 - 44

March 17, 2019 Speaker: Jim Galli Series: The Gospel According to Luke

Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Luke 4:38–4:44

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      38 Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her. 39 And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them.
      40 While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them. 41 Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.
      42 When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them. 43 But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”
      44 So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

This little passage is a continuation from last week.  The events all take place on the same sabbath day and at first these seem like a list of dis-connected events.

But Luke and the Holy Spirit who inspired Luke, have what we would currently call in our vernacular, an agenda.  And that agenda is to show by Jesus actions that the claim that He made at Nazareth which was rejected, is in fact;  true.

So perhaps the best place to begin is with a review of the passage in Isaiah 61 that Jesus quoted at Nazareth.  Let me read that again from

Luke 4: 18 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
            BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
            HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
            AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
            TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,

      19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

And you will recall that Jesus then claimed to be the person who Isaiah was speaking of.  ie. the Messiah, the Christ of God.  He told them;  “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

And the folks at Nazareth said;  You can't fool us,  we know who you are, we know your family, you're Jesus Josephson.  They didn't believe.

And neither should we.  Unless . . . unless God begins to miraculously unfold Jesus identity as a match to the prophecy we read.

Let's list the things, the traits Isaiah said would be those of Messiah.

Preaches the good news to the poor.  And what is the good news?
Release to the captives.  Recovery of sight to the blind.  Set free the oppressed.  Proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

Those identifiers are spiritual mostly, but also physical.  

Messiah must be someone who can set people free from the captivity of Satan who has a claim and a hold on them because of sin.  He sets the prisoners, the captives, the oppressed free.

Freedom from the bondage and the oppressive hold, the guilt, and the claim of ownership by Satan, because of sin.  He must be able to break those bonds.  To cancel and eliminate the debt of sin.

And He must be someone who can open spiritually blind eyes.  Most people don't know they're captive and held.  Not only that, most people love the sin that holds them in Satan's grip.  That spiritual blindness to their own condition must also be removed by Messiah.

How do we know Jesus can operate in that realm?  Well, the first tip is that the demons are terrified in His presence.  The demons freak out and He actually has to command them to be silent about who He is.

And we saw that last week and we'll see it again this week.  Demons, fallen angels who joined Satan's rebellion, are totally subject to the demands of King Jesus, Son of God.  They render immediate obedience and set free their captives on Jesus demand.

Last week we considered the power of His words, His logos.  His speach, His preaching was with authority.  These stories complete the words with actions that prove the words.

38 Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home.

Simon the fisherman isn't a disciple at this point.  We'll see his call next week in chapter 5.  For now, Simon is friend, and he is a substantial resident and business partner in a fishing business based in Capernaum.  

His house is near the synagogue and the morning service is finished and a group of folks, with Jesus, have moved over to Peter's home for the usual Sabbath day afternoon meal.

Archeologists think they have found this very house.  They think it's probably Peter's house because centuries and layers of churches were built on top of this place, and when they dug down, they found a first century house.  

So they make the assumption that the first century church met at Peter's house.  Totally possible.

But in all the activity of a movable feast, there's a concern, a sadness, a problem.  Peter's mother in law, his wife's mother, is sick.  Very sick.

Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her.

We're so used to modern medicine that we don't worry much about a fever.  Watch it, take aspirin, wait it out.  And if things get dire, we go to the emergency room.  At least we did when we had one.

But in ancient times, if your body didn't win the battle, you could die.  Easily.  Dehydration comes quickly and things can get serious.  And they were helpless.  So they ask Jesus to help her.

39 And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her;

What an interesting choice of words.  He rebuked the fever.

Now we might rebuke something that is alive.  We might occasionally rebuke a child, or the dog.  Or each other.  But why does Jesus rebuke the fever?  That seems a little odd to us.

So think about this.  Jesus came down from above.  He came to a fallen world, ruled by Satan, a world that is cursed, it isn't how He made it in the first place.  The creation is under a curse.  And often when you see Jesus rebuke something, He is actually speaking to the cursed condition.  

He never made the world with disease.  When the wind is about to fill the boat with water and sink it, the angry storm, is part of the curse.  He didn't create the world to have angry storms.  That's part of the curse, and He rebukes the wind.  He rebukes the storms and the diseases and the demons who are evidence of the curse.

When you think of it that way, it makes sense.  He's angry with the sin and the disease and the storms and all the effects of the curse.  He has come to ultimately purchase back this world out of it's curse.  But for now, He rebukes the effects of the curse that He will later reverse.

I wish we had His exact words that He spoke to the fever.  I'd love to know what He said to the fever when He rebuked it.  Fever, I order you to be away.  Leave this beloved mother of Israel, fever.  Be gone.  

I can rebuke a fever all day long and nothing happens.  Words from this man's mouth formed everything that is.  He tells the seas thus far can your proud waves come and no further, and the boundaries are set.  By His words.  So one little fever is like nothing to the Creator of the worlds.  But do note;  the controlling factor that regulates cause and effect are His words.   and she immediately got up and waited on them.

This is the first recorded miraculous healing.  And we need to stop and consider just this one type of miracle.  Isaiah said;    The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,  And by His scourging we are healed.

The miracles that Jesus did are the main proof that of all the people who have shown up and claimed to be Messiah's, He actually was.

The healings that Jesus did were miracles of creation.  When you speak and shriveled limbs that never walked, never worked become normal, that is creating flesh and bones, millions of healthy cells out of nothing, by words.

Eyes, born blind, suddenly have all of the mechanisms restored, from nothing, to see.  Bodies that were deceased, dead, were restored to life.  By words from the mouth of Jesus.

Every miracle healing that He spoke into existence replaced dead cells with new living cells that came from nothing.  His words did that.  Thousands of times.  

And when He did that, there was nothing else to do.  No week of bed rest waiting for full strength to return.  No physical therapy trying to get the new parts to interact with the old ones.  No limits.  No gradual steps to the healing process.  It is instantaneous, and complete.  Just like our salvation.

And He did that thousands of times.  Thousands.  John tells us the incredible scope of the numbers and also the reason for all of the miracles.  He says;  21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.

The unrecorded miracles and healings that proceeded out of the mouth of Jesus were so vast, so many that the world couldn't contain all of the books that would be written.

He did thousands of healings, day after day, the people would come, the crowds would crush in.  There is no written record of every single one.  But;  John says the record we have is enough . . .

John 20:30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

The recorded miracles are enough.  And the world will be judged on the information that IS written down.  Not one person on judgement day can say; the evidence wasn't enough.  It is.

Consider something else.  From creation to Abraham, there are no recorded healing miracles.  Zero.  From Abraham to Isaiah there are about 20 recorded events of a miracle healing in Israel.  Twenty.  

After Isaiah until Jesus;  zero.  And then Jesus bursts on the scene and heals thousands of people.  Mostly unrecorded, but we will see many that are recorded for us.  And His healings come from His touch and His words, and they are creative.  Not different from creating the worlds by His words.

After He leaves, the disciples can do some healings while the church is being formed in it's infancy.  Healings and miracles remain the source to cause belief in God doing something radically new.  The miracles establish the church as from God.

But within 60 years, we see sick apostles who aren't healed.  Timothy is sick.  Epaphroditus is sick, near unto death.  Others are sick and not healed.  The age of the formation of the church is closing.  The miracles vanished, and the ancient church fathers record that for us.

The miracles are the main source that define Jesus as the Christ of God.  In John 14:11 He says if you can't believe from the words, believe because of the works.  The miracles.  "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

That's why Satan, when he goes after christianity to work to destroy it, one of his main concerns or methods to combat christianity is to remove the miracles.  Get rid of the miracles.  Liberal christianity attacks the main source where belief is grounded.  Get rid of the miracles.  That's a satanic ploy.  Make the miracles go away, and real christianity with power, also goes away.

And in the last 200 years, the church has been decimated.  The cause is from within.  Cancer from within the church itself consumed her.  The scholars, the super smart guys said the miracles never happened.  If that is true, this becomes a fairy tale with nice platitudes.  But no power to change.

The miracles showed us that Jesus has the power to change.  He has the power to create new life where there was previously only death.  He speaks and the worlds were created.  He speaks and virus germs flee away and Peter's mother in law is restored.  Instantly it is done.  And she immediately does what mothers of Israel do.  She serves her family.

Jesus is who He claimed He was.  How do we know.  He speaks, and it is so.  He leaves a trail of creation every where He walks.  He speaks and miracles happen, death becomes life.  Over and over and over.

Now then, I will caution you about miracles.  The record, even in this book, but also in scrolls and manuscripts we have of the church fathers as the church was formed and grew exponentially is that the miracles were for the purpose of God doing something new.  They establish the church independent and seperate from Israel.  God is doing something new.

They came and they went.  It's history.  It's recorded.  You can study and find out, less than a hundred years after Jesus and the age of miracles was over.  They had a purpose.  The purpose was that God was doing something radically different.  Judaism was set aside and God was concentrating new life within the church.  

The church was exploding, not so much for the jews, but for the gentiles.  God was taking salvation to the gentiles and miracles are the evidence, the proof.

A poor illustration, but they were like the ether that makes a cold diesel engine start.  Once it's running, no more ether.  Kindling and paper starts the fire in the fireplace, but when the fire is roaring on it's own, we don't put more kindling in.  Training wheels are for a very short time, and then they come off and the real fun starts.

Miracles served their purpose and they vanished.  I'll just say it point blank.  The faith healers today are charlatans who have as their motivation, power and money.  The age of miracles ceased and they didn't start up again in 1960.  Our miracles today are different than what Jesus did.  Phony baloney.  Hocus pocus.

But further caution.  Someone is coming who will lead the entire world into perdition and judgement.  How, you say?  He does it because God will grant Satan certain powers, he has some of them now, but God will allow Satan the powers to accomplish miracles that lead the whole earth into worshipping Anti-christ.

People dabbling in so-called miracles today are just paving the way for that.  So I caution you.  The miracles recorded in this book are there for us to marvel at the Christ and believe.  History tells us when they ended.  The next event of miracles, in the bible, is . . . the anti-christ.  

And those miracles are nothing like what Jesus did.  Jesus created life out of nothing every time He did a miracle.  Satan's miracles are not like that.  Fire out of heaven showy miracles.  Not life giving.

Does God still perform individual miracles today?  Of course He does.  Every time someone believes this book and is regenerated from death to life, that's a miracle.  And I believe He often answers our prayers miraculously.  Providentially.  For His purposes and His glory.

OK, back to our story.  Jesus rebukes the fever and this lady is instantly on her feet and she's in the kitchen helping Peter's wife, her daughter and she's serving these folks their sabbath afternoon repast.

Vs.40  While the sun was setting, we need to stop just here for a moment, because this is an important story point.

This happened on the sabbath which goes for 24 hours from friday afternoon until saturday afternoon.  So where are we as the sun is setting?  Sabbath is over.  

All these folks with sick relatives and broken toenails and everything in between were restricted by the sabbath from coming to Jesus for healing.  But as soon as the sun is setting, all of a sudden it's like ants on an ant hill.  The people come streaming to him from everywhere.

While the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him;  It's like a line of people formed outside of Peter's house.  Every ailment in the district, they get in line.

There's a lesson here for us on a spiritual plane.  Right?  Know anyone who is sick?  Any loved ones with the illness of sin and death.  We need to do exactly what these folks did and bring them to Jesus.  It says;  They brought them to Him.

and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them.

Unlike the faith healers who form two lines, you folks with inner ailments that no one can see, get in this line.  You folks with blind eyes and withered limbs, get in this line.  You folks with leprosy and cancer that are in wheel chairs, get in the line with the blind and the lame.  Work on your faith while we heal the folks in the other line that have one leg that's shorter than the other one.

All the people in the line where nothing visible changes, they get miraculously healed, right?  And the folks in the other line, well, the purses get opened to prove the faith and the healers get rich, oh so rich, but they go home just as broken as when they came.  Often more broken, because . . .  The money and the faith, apparently, not enough.  

That isn't how my Jesus rolls.  and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them.   Nobody in that line went home broken and sick.  He healed every one of them.  And it wasn't based on their faith or anything else they brought to the table.  It was magnanimous and free.  Total healing.  Complete healing.  New tissue and cells restored to perfect health healing.  Creator of the universes healing.

      41 Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.

There's our word again.  He rebukes the fever, and He rebukes the demons.  Both things are a direct result of the fall, and not intended in the original creation.  Cursed things brought about by the curse.

What was one of the things listed in Isaiah's little list that we began with, that Messiah will do?  Release to the captives and He sets free those who are oppressed.

Folks, that's all of us.  The wages of sin is death and we are born into that.  Born dead.  Born captives.  Born in an oppressed cursed world run by Satan, and held in his captivity by sin.

He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoners free.  
His blood can make the foulest clean.  
His blood availed for me.

That happens inside our hearts, unseen, although I'll qualify that.  If it really happens, ultimately, there has to be a changed life everyone can see.  But this is spiritual reality.  We are quickened by His Spirit from the dead and His Holy Spirit takes up residence inside our hearts.

That's why I get in trouble around here when I question whether people are really redeemed.  Really saved.  OK, you make the claim, but why aren't you here in the fellowship of the saints who are coming to be refreshed and edified by the word of God.

In these folks cases, the evidence is visible, in a way.  The demons come out of them, shouting and crying out!  You are the Christ!  And then He rebukes the demons and their obedience is immediate and complete.

And just because the demons come out, doesn't indicate a lasting salvation either.  It was a miracle He performed.  But then later He tells of a case where the demon comes out and the vacuum isn't filled by the Spirit, and later on, after that heart is swept clean, the demon returns with 7 others and reclaims that empty house.

He has power to order the demons out.  He can accomplish release and freedom from captivity.  He can set free the oppressed.

42 When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place;

When day came.  The line formed at sundown.  How long into the night did Jesus keep healing these folks.  Each one, it says, was healed.  Where was the end of that line.  1:00 AM?  3:00 AM?  We aren't told, but the way Luke tells the story, it sounds like perhaps there isn't as long of a gap between the end of that line and the new day.  It just strikes me that way.

Hopefully Jesus gets some rest.  Remember, He is fully human.  God in a man's body that gets weary and needs rest like any other person.  

But Jesus gets up early.  When day came.  That's dawn, or perhaps even a bit before the dawn.  Jesus gets up quietly and dis-appears to a secluded place.  Other places in the scripture tell us it was for alone time with His Father.  

He rises before the crowds and goes to a hiding place to be alone.  If Jesus needs to get His batteries charged by spending time alone with God, how much more so us?

and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them.

The Bible speaks often of this group called . . . the crowds.  Ultimately there are times when there are crowds in the multiple thousands.  The 5000 fed were the men, but add in women and children and Jesus had crowds in the 20,000's.  Or more perhaps.

But I'll ask the same question I was in trouble for before.  When it was all over, how many were in the upper room, waiting for the Holy Spirit with the disciples?  Not 20000.  Not 2000,  not even 200.  There were about 120 left after the "crowds" dispersed.

The crowds, when we see them in the gospel, are there for what they can get.  Their interest in Jesus is what they can get for themselves.  That's different from a love relationship.  Totally different.  We warn our daughters about people who show interest for what they can get.

Jesus isn't fooled by crowds.  We're told He could see inside every man.  He knows what the crowds want.

Later he feeds them.  They want to force Him to be king because He's got the best food program, the best relief program, the best medical coverage program, they've ever seen.  But it's all about what they can get.

This morning they want Him to be Mayor of Capernaum.  They try to keep Him from going away from them.

Wow!  This is successful evangelism!  Successful mission!  God's doing a mighty work in these folks.  Right?  

I would argue, the ones who were in the upper room when it was all over, those folks received a mighty work.  The rest, they're just there for the circus show.  Do a trick Jesus.  But then they're gone.  

I'll admit that I'm pretty cynical about the whole mega-church movement.  A lot of people there for what they can get?  A few perhaps who are actually born again.  Tonopah's probably a good place for me.  I'd no doubt wreak havoc at most mega churches.

My cynicism is based here.  A cast of thousands comes for the miracles.  After the cross, 120 are left.  

We've seen it here even in little tiny Tonopah.  People come and a few of these chats of mine are enough.  They leave.  It doesn't surprise me.  These folks want Jesus to stay and be Mayor.  

      43 But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”

I'll remind you of Luke's agenda.  Jesus is living out Isaiah's words that He quoted in Nazareth.  

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.

“I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.”

They want Him to stay for the wrong reasons and He tells them, He has to go and fulfil preaching the good news of release from captivity to everyone

Just like Isaiah said He would do.  44 So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Jesus came to set prisoners free from sin that captures and holds them.  The miracles are proof that He is who He says He is.  But preaching is also a proof.  

The miracles have the result of proof that He is Messiah.  But preaching the good news is what ultimately gives new life to those whose ears are opened and eyes see spiritually.

That's why miracles vanished, but preaching has remained to this day.  The Word of God gives life, not miracles.  The miracles were for a distinct purpose in a distinct time.  They had a job to do and they did it.  Preaching has been continuous for 2000 years.

Miracles do not give life.  In fact I'm quite sure that some that were healed that day and other days, miraculously, were in the crowds that turned on Him and shouted Crucify Him.  

Paul in his letter to the Romans says;  Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  Faith doesn't come by miracles.  It comes to those who hear the Word of God.  This book remains the source of all spiritual life.