Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
October 29, 2006
32 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.
33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,
34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.
35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.
36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.
37 And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.
1901 ASV Translation:
32 and they were astonished at his teaching; for his word was with authority.
33 And in the synagogue there was a man, that had a spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice,
34 Ah! what have we to do with thee, Jesus thou Nazarene? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.
35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no hurt.
36 And amazement came upon all, and they spake together, one with another, saying, What is this word? for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.
37 And there went forth a rumor concerning him into every place of the region round about.
- I. The Reaction of the People of Capernaum.
- A. The words that capture their reaction are translated "astonished" in 4:32 and "amazement" in 4:36.
- 1. The word of 4:32 indicates the response of a person when something has been said, or done, that simply cannot be fitted into that person's "frame of reference." [See Matthew 19:25 where Jesus' denigration of the wealthy so contradicts the disciples' ingrained thinking that they simply cannot "handle" it.] This word is used 13 times in the New Testament and 11 of those times it is "His doctrine" that blows their minds. The implication here is obvious: His teaching was 180 degrees out of sync with their understanding. Grace is 180 degrees out of sync with their perversion of the Law. Anytime the "Law" is used in an attempt to make people "be good", it is being undercut. The Law has only two purposes: first, to convict men that they are sinners; and, second, to punish the guilty by means of "Justice" by the execution of a legitimate reaction to sin. But, the first century synagogue was all about teaching people not only how to be good, but why they were superior to all of the "law-breakers" somewhere "out there." The mean-spirited arrogance of the self-righteous is never seen by those practicing it -- though they have no trouble at all seeing it in others.
- 2. The word of 4:36 indicates the response of a person when the thing(s) he has just experienced are extremely "out of norm." He does not necessarily have any "problem" assimilating it, but it does come across as extremely unusual. The word is only used 3 times in the New Testament, all by Luke, and all when an act of power has been observed. This word is added by Luke to this account because the teaching had led to a demonic eruption that Jesus had immediately squelched.
- B. The rationale of the people for their reaction: "...His word was with power."
- 1. This statement is made in 4:32 before the confrontation with the demoniac. I make this point because the recognition of authority existed before the proof of it was actually given.
- 2. The question is this: What was it about Jesus' teaching that carried its own authority?
- a. The answer seems to be that "Truth" is so prevalent in the creation by the God of Truth that, though deception abounds to a vast degree, any statement of truth has an immediate and innate-to-the-hearer harmonization with reality. The argument has been put forward that the "way of learning" for human beings is a process wherein God-created "categories" within the mental processes of human beings form a "shape" (as it were) that things in experience "fit" so that when a thing is experienced, it finds a "shape" within that generates true understanding.
- b. The reality seems to be that people are born with "empty shapes" within and their life-times are used matching experiences to those shapes. The problem is that there are too many who, having forced a "fit" that was not legitimate, go around telling others that "this" experience fits "that" shape -- when it does not. Jesus simply capitalized upon the creation-reality and spoke truth so that the "fit" was unforced. "Unforced fits" come across as authoritative truth.
- II. The Reaction of the Demons.
- A. A reaction of significant emotion -- indicated by the loudness of his voice.
- B. A reaction of ignorance -- indicated by the question of His intent.
- C. A reaction that arose directly out of their "frame of reference" -- it is inherent in their "frame of reference" that one "destroys" one's opponents.
- 1. Luke deliberately "pits" the concepts of Jesus' "being filled with the Holy Spirit" and the man's "possession of a spirit of an unclean demon."
- 2. This deliberate contrast automatically means there is a fundamental contrast between the ways the "spirits" conceive of "Life".
- a. This question was "automatic" in that Jesus was in Capernaum (the village of Nahum) and, because this was so, the issue automatically arises as to how "God" is going to respond to the "unclean".
- b. But the deeper question is "why" God responds to the "unclean" as He does. The "unclean" consider the "destruction" of their opponents primarily because the opponent is a block to their ability to impose their "black hole" mentality upon others while the "holy" consider the "destruction" of their opponents primarily because the opponent is a destroyer of "Life" for everyone touched by him. In either case, the "destroyer" is an enforcer of something, but the "somethings" are "opposites". In the final analysis, "Death" is the destruction of the "person" in favor of the "unity" of the "agenda" and "Life" is the destruction of the "agenda" in favor of the "unity" of the "persons". The difference is that which exists between "the freedom of bondage" and "the bondage of freedom". When one is involved in "the freedom of bondage", he is "free" to pursue a total commitment to someone else. When one is involved in "the bondage of freedom", he is enslaved to the notion that he should never have to consider anyone else. The former is a house united; the latter is a house divided.