Dr. Chuck DeVane, Pastor
Lake Hamilton Baptist Church
Hot Springs, Arkansas
March 5, 2017
31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. 33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Ha! 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.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 37 And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
38 And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.
40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
— Luke 4:31-44, ESV
The fastest growing form of media in our day seems to be the documentary. You can find them in theaters, on cable and satellite television, and on the new and popular podcasts. They are engrossing because they tell true stories, or at least stories based on truth. They feature real people, real events, and the real drama of something done that was unusually good or bad.
Unfortunately for Christians, there were no documentary cameras in Jesus’ day. But in the aftermath of our Lord’s public ministry, death, and resurrection, four men pulled out inspired pens to document His story. Luke’s, the most meticulous Gospel, included early and graphic glimpse of a certain days in the life of Jesus Christ. The previous text tells of a bad day Nazareth, but our present passage is more positive. Let’s look at a good day in the life of Jesus Christ.
A Day in the Life of Jesus Christ
A day in the life of Jesus Christ would most certainly include teaching and preaching the word of God, for this was clearly the purpose of Jesus’ public ministry. Our Lord said Himself, “I was sent for this purpose,” the purpose of preaching. People who don’t like preaching, which is most people in our day, would not have wanted to be around Jesus, because Jesus was a preacher.
Jesus preached the word of God about the kingdom of God with the authority of God because He was, is, and always will be God. He preached good news, or the gospel, never sugar-coating sin but never failing to love sinners and offer forgiveness. Jesus was really fair and balanced, unlike the legalists who see sin in everything and unlike the liberals who redefine sin out of the vocabulary. We need more preaching like Jesus’ preaching in our day.
On a more controversial note, Jesus was also an exorcist. Everywhere He went He encountered one “unclean demon” (a redundant term, actually, like stupid men) or another, and He always cast them out. Evil cannot remain in close contact with the Lord, so when Jesus came in, evil spirits were forced out.
Angels and demons do indeed exist, in large but finite numbers, as part of the created order of God. Demons are actually fallen angels who left their first estate, the glory of God and ministry to the people of God, by their own free and selfish will. The ones we encounter in the Gospels knew the exact identity of Jesus Christ. I suppose that during Jesus’ three-year public ministry, every demon in the universe descended on Israel to combat the Messiah. How’d that work out for them?
Jesus liked His downtime, to be sure, and we will look more at that in a minute. Mostly, however, Jesus loved being around people. Our Lord loved to meet, eat, greet, laugh, sing, dance, and do all the things people love to do when they get together. Christ shared Himself, His time, and His resources with others, which is the essential meaning of Christian fellowship.
Good fellowship often centers on a particular place, and Jesus’ hangout was Simon Peter’s house in Capernaum. Rejected by His hometown of Nazareth, Jesus made Capernaum, a strategically located fishing village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, His home base. From there He crisscrossed Galilee and made His occasional pilgrimages to Judea. But it wasn’t the geographical place that made Capernaum special to the Lord, it was the gracious people, and their fellowship.
No day in the life of Jesus would be complete without a visit from the Great Physician. Jesus, God Omnipotent, could heal anyone, anytime, from anything, and He often did. Our Lord’s healing miracles were much different from the phony televangelists of our day. Jesus healed instantly (with rare exception when He needed to put some distance between Himself and the healed), organically, totally, and verifiably. He healed mothers-in-law, mutes, blind, deaf, even the dead, regardless of their faith or lack thereof, and collected no money for it. In this episode He makes a clean sweep of demons and diseases before the sun goes down.
Jesus could heal in this way because He was, is, and always will be God. Oral Roberts never was nor ever will be God. Neither is Bennie Hinn nor his contemporary ilk of so-called faith healers. They do not speak for God. Nothing that the televangelists and most mega-churches do resemble even remotely a real day in the life of Jesus Christ.
You need not be around Jesus if you did not like to pray, for prayer is a passion of the Christ. Jesus prayed with people, over people, but mostly away from people. He did not make a show of it, much like His healing, which is why He can often be found retreating to solitary places to pray. Luke does not mention it expressly here, but the parallel text in Mark reveals Jesus went out on this early morning specifically to pray.
Nothing brings personal peace, nothing summons the power of God, nothing contributes to the well-being of the people of God, like prayer. This is why Jesus did it so often and taught us how to do it.
These twenty-four hours in the life of Jesus Christ end where they began, with Jesus off to preach once more. Our Lord loved the routine of His holy life, praying and preaching and helping and resting and getting up to do it all over again. This is the exemplary life of Christ, before He sacrificially laid it down for us.
A Day in Your Life with Jesus Christ
You cannot see an actual documentary featuring real footage of Jesus Christ. You cannot listen to Him preach, hear what He really sounded like, nor see what He really looked like. But you can and should tune into the preaching of Jesus Christ every day.
Read the Bible. Every word is the word of God pointing to the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of His very words are quoted too, of course, but every word of the Bible, from Moses to Malachi, from Matthew to the Revelation, is God preaching His heart to your heart. Do not neglect it, nor the faithful preaching of godly pastors and teachers in your local church.
Preach the Bible, in obedient actions and plain words. Don’t judge others, let the word of God and the preaching of Jesus judge them. Live it and tell it so that others may respect it and believe it.
Though there is not a devil behind every bush, nor will you ever experience the kind of demonic intensity that Jesus experienced, devils do abound. Exorcisms abound, too, and according to our Catholic friends, twenty-first century episodes now rival the first century.
But you don’t have to be an exorcist to be an every day follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are saved, He has already done the exorcism for you, for no demon can dwell in a vessel of the Holy Spirit. Nothing evil can touch you, except for something the Lord may allow for now in exchange for His ultimate glory and your ultimate good later. Be comforted and walk boldly.
Before the flamboyant coach Jim Valvano died of cancer, he gave one of the most inspirational speeches ever. Valvano said every day should be spent thinking, laughing, and crying. What makes a person think, laugh, and cry? Other people do, but only if you spend some quality time with them.
Every day spent with God should be a day spent with the people of God. That’s why we should labor for the salvation of every member of our family, so we can enjoy not only family time, but Christian fellowship. That’s why we witness to our friends, so that they can come into the kingdom of God. That’s why we congregate in churches and find our best friends, like Jesus did, from an inner circle within the church. Fellowship makes life with Christ worth living and sharing with others.
This point proves to be somewhat controversial in our day. I can confidently say that Jesus can heal you today of your sickness or disease exactly like He healed people during the days of His public ministry. But, He probably won’t.
Jesus healed out of love, compassion, and a desire for the well-being of people. But mainly, Jesus healed to show His authority, God’s authority, which lent authority to His words. He gave this same authority to His Apostles so that the gospel would spread. In the Old Covenant, God gave such authority to Moses and Aaron, Elijah and Elisha, and perhaps a sacred few elsewhere. The fact of the matter, and no so-called modern faith healer can prove otherwise, is that miraculous healing is quite limited and rare. But take heart, God is still God and healing does still happen, especially in response to fervent prayer.
Like Jesus, we should pray. We should pray early in the morning, late in the evening, and at all points in between. We pray because we believe, because we love, because we anticipate a response of some kind.
And when we pray, Jesus is praying with us. He is not just with those few He met in the first century, but with every saint of every age. The Bible teaches us that Jesus is constantly interceding, praying, with and for us, just as if He were in the flesh. Never worry about inarticulate or short or messy prayers, Jesus Himself will clean it up for you and make it a means of grace for God to do something good and holy in your life.
Wash, rinse, dry, repeat. This is how we get clothes clean. You wouldn’t want your wardrobe any other way.
The Christian life is a life of holy habits. It is lived out in a daily grind in this earthly life before we meet our Heavenly Father face to face. Make sure you are spending this day with the Lord Jesus Christ, being what He would have you to be, doing what He would have you to do. Then, get up in the morning and do it all over again.
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