Dr. Mark Scott wrote this treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson. Scott teaches preaching and New Testament at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Missouri. This lesson treatment is published in issue no. 3 (weeks 9-12; March 1-22, 2020) of The Lookout magazine, and is also available online at www.lookoutmag.com.
Lesson Aim: Bring your heartaches and brokenness to Jesus for his healing.
By Mark Scott
Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:35). Jesus was ordained by the Holy Spirit at his baptism (Luke 3:22). Jesus returned from his wilderness temptations by the devil in the power of the Holy Spirit (4:14). And Jesus preached his ordination sermon anointed by the Holy Spirit at his hometown early in his ministry (4:18). This sermon set the parameters and tone of his ministry.
Anointed by the Holy Spirit | Luke 4:14-20
Following a grueling battle with Satan in the wilderness to test what kind of Son Jesus would be, Jesus arrived in Galilee, the place of almost half of his ministry. News about him spread rapidly. His teaching had authority and everyone praised (glorified) him.
Jesus returned to his boyhood home of Nazareth. When the Sabbath came he went to the synagogue as was his custom. For whatever reason, he was allowed to read the Scripture for the service. Without the benefit of chapter and verse divisions Jesus found his way to Isaiah 61. Was the text he read the planned Scripture reading for the day or was it Jesus’ selection?
Either Jesus chose to read selected lines from Isaiah 61:1, 2 or Luke only recorded portions of it from the Hebrew text. One phrase missing was, “he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted.” One phrase added was, “And recovery of sight to the blind.” Jesus found the basis for his ministry in this messianic text. Jesus had been anointed (daubed, smeared, or rubbed—the verb forming the root of the word for Messiah) by God to preach, liberate, and heal. He would be the one to usher in God’s special jubilee. The rest of our printed text will deal with his healing, but notice that the text begins (4:18, 19) and ends (4:43) with preaching. Thomas Goodwin said, “God had one Son, and he made him a preacher.”
Anointed to Destroy the Works of the Devil | Luke 4:31-37
When Jesus finished his Scripture reading and returned the scroll to the presider, he made an awesome claim. “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (4:21). A short but powerful sermon. The response was positive (v. 22) but short-lived when Jesus applied the message beyond the borders of Israel (vv. 23-30). The sermon was too convicting. The crowd wanted to throw him off the precipice.
Having been rejected in his hometown, Jesus got busy living out his claim of being the fulfillment of Isaiah 61. He went down the well-worn path from Nazareth to Capernaum. Per 4:16 he attended and taught in the synagogue. But in this synagogue he encountered a man possessed by a demon. David Garland was correct in saying that the demonized are to be more pitied than judged (see Mark: The NIV Application Commentary). The demon within the man knew that the gig was up. The demon knew who Jesus was, what Jesus came to do, and what little time he had left before he would be eternally condemned.
Martin Luther wrote in A Mighty Fortress is Our God, “One little word shall fell him (i.e., the devil).” First John 3:8b says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s works.” Sometimes before healing can start all the infection has to be cleaned out. Jesus gave a twofold command. “Be quiet. . . . Come out of him.” With the authoritative word the demon threw the man to the ground—“convulsing him,” according to Mark 1:26 (English Standard Version)—and then left the man without injuring him. Needless to say the people were amazed. For a second time we read that the news about him spread.
Anointed to Restore to Wholeness | Luke 4:38-44
While still in Capernaum Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon Peter (a very short distance). Peter’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever. In the ancient world a fever was viewed as the sickness instead of the indication of sickness. Jesus bent over her (note the tenderness—and Mark 1:31 adds that he took her by the hand) and rebuked (same word used earlier about what Jesus did to the demon) the fever. The healing was so complete that she began (and continued) to serve.
This healing ministry of Jesus was repeated again and again. People were healed and demons fled. But anointing can drain off. Jesus knew that he was depleted. So he retreated to a solitary place and prayed (Mark 1:35-39). The prayer refueled his anointing and out on the road he went to preach. In fact, preaching the good news and relieving suffering where he found it was at the heart of his mission.
Lesson study ©2019, Christian Standard Media. Print and digital subscribers are permitted to make one print copy per week of lesson material for personal use. Lesson based on the scope and sequence, ©2019 by Christian Standard Media. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.
Image: Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.