When Jesus laid out God’s program of action for his life, he said:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4.18)
The first act of Jesus’ ministry was to show people what “release to the captives” entailed.
Ministry in Capernaum
Jesus escaped the mob in his hometown and came to Capernaum. He spoke in a synagogue and the first thing the worshipers noticed was the way Jesus spoke.
Luke recorded their reaction to him, “They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority” (Luke 4.32).
When Jesus read from Isaiah 61 and applied the message to himself, he knew that his speech would be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
His message was full of authority and power, because the Spirit worked through him to bring good news to the poor.
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross gave another reason why Jesus’ words were so powerful. Rudy referenced one of the many times when Jesus told crowds that his actions were fully aligned with the will of the Father.
Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise” (John 5.19).
On another occasion Jesus revealed the reason for power behind his words. He said, “Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him” (John 7.18).
These three passages show us why it is so important to pay attention to Jesus words.
(1) They were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
(2) Jesus never operated outside of the guidance and direction of the Father. His words and actions were always aligned with God’s purposes.
(3) Jesus’ sole desire was to honor the Father and bring him glory. His words were aimed toward that purpose.
When we read the words of Jesus in the Gospels, we come into contact with the powerful and authoritative word of God. The habit of prayerfully reading the Gospels each day will fill our hearts with God’s message for our lives.
Release to the Captives
From the time when Jesus walked the paths of Galilee to the present day, Jesus has set captives free.
Luke recorded one such deliverance event.
— Luke 4.33-34 – In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,
“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.”
Demons can’t hurt God, but they can oppress humans who are precious to God. Even though this man came to the synagogue, a demon controlled his actions. The demon knew he faced a reckoning with Jesus.
The response of the devil and demons to God’s agenda through Jesus was to resist him with all their power. That was the case in the synagogue. The demon didn’t want to release his control the man.
In the ancient world, to know someone’s name was to have control over that person. The demon tried that trick with Jesus, but he was no match for the Son of God.
— Luke 4.35 – But 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.
At Jesus’ rebuke the demon had to release the man who had been captive to his power. The proof of the man’s freedom was how he was thrown down without being harmed.
I have been in the presence of a very godly minister, when God used him to release a person from demonic control. In a very calm and quiet voice he told the demon, “You are not needed and in the name of Jesus you must go.”
It was very evident that the person had a demon, and that the demon was sent away. The person was freed from demonic oppression that day.
Here’s a caution: Jesus performed his deliverance ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. I asked my minister friend to help in the case I mentioned, because he is the most Spirit-led person I have ever met.
Power comes from a relationship with God through the Holy Spirit. The only way we can serve God’s purposes with power and authority is through the work of the Spirit.
— Luke 4.36 – They 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!”
People were amazed at Jesus’ words and deeds of power. It is important to note that amazement does not always lead to faith.
The crowd in Nazareth was astonished at Jesus’ words, but turned on him and attempted to kill him.
A prayerful, humble response to the words and deeds of Jesus will lead us to faith.
Rudy Ross explains the connection with Elijah and Elisha in Luke 4.25-27. We were asked by a listener to the video for Rudy to give a further explanation. His thoughts will be well worth your time. The video can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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