“Amazement came over them all, and they kept saying to one another, ‘What is this message? For He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they come out!’ And news about Him began to go out to every place in the vicinity” (Luke 4:36-37, HCSB).
After Jesus was baptized by John and then tempted by the devil for forty days, He officially began His ministry. Jesus started out by teaching in synagogues in Galilee near His hometown of Nazareth..
When He came to Nazareth, the people of the town, His neighbors and friends, didn’t like His teaching and drove Him out of town and tried to throw Him off a cliff. So Jesus went to Capernaum, a town in Galilee that seemed to become the home base for His ministry.
There Jesus taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath and the people “were astonished at His teaching because His message had authority” (vs. 32).
Now Dr. Luke does not elaborate on the exact nature of the authority that Jesus demonstrated through His teaching in Capernaum. So hold that thought and we will come back to it.
While Jesus was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum, a man who was possessed by a demonic spirit cried out for Jesus to leave him alone: “What do You have to do with us, Jesus–Nazarene? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God” (vs. 34).
Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and it made a big show of coming out of the man by throwing him down right in front of Jesus.
Then, the people were incredulous! They were astounded! What’s happening here?
“What’s the message?” they asked.
One thing we know about Jesus’ message was that it had authority. This likely means the authority of His message was not derived merely from the the traditional religious authorities of the past or present, but His message came directly from God. Matthew records it this way: “When Jesus finished this sermon the crowds were astonished at His teaching, because He was teaching them like one who had authority, and not like their scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29).
Another thing about Jesus’ message was that apparently it must possess and occupy your heart and life. The demon who possessed the man had to leave before the message of Jesus could be received!
And, what’s interesting about this story is that while the crowds wondered about Jesus and His message, the demon who possessed the man knew exactly who Jesus was, the Holy One of God, a title that Peter also conferred upon Jesus while He was teaching in Capernaum (see John 6:69).
When you encounter Jesus, what’s His message for you? And is the message received?
Yes, Jesus can save you!
Certainly, Jesus can heal you!
Undoubtedly, Jesus can deliver you!
But His message must occupy and possess your heart and life to the extent that it transforms your will into His Will for you. You must be completely surrendered to Jesus to receive His M\message so that He can exercise His power and authority and blessing over your life.
It’s a message of submission and transformation. And when the message is received, it’s abundant life.
I think this is the message He was speaking at Capernaum and it’s the message He is speaking to us today!