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Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

February 3, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Epiphany

Passage: Luke 4:31–4:44

+++In the Name of Jesus+++
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 4:31-44
Date: February 3rd, 2019; Epiphany 4; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.
  • In our Old Testament lesson we heard the account of God calling Jeremiah to be his prophet to the nations.
  • We learn that God appointed Jeremiah to be a prophet before he was even born!
  • But, he was reluctant.  Jeremiah objected that he was too young and didn’t know how to speak.  
  • He might have also been hesitant because it often didn’t go well for God’s prophets.  
  • Calling people to repentance isn’t easy or popular work - it can lead to persecution -  and even death.  
  • But God wouldn’t take Jeremiah’s “no” for an answer.  
  • God said to Jeremiah, “Go where I send you. Speak what I command you. Don’t be afraid - I am with you and I will deliver you.”
  • Then the Lord put out his hand and touched Jeremiah’s mouth and put his words into his mouth - and said, “See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
  • And God didn’t equip Jeremiah with a great army, or political power, or any other worldly resource to accomplish all of this.
  • God gave Jeremiah his Word.
  • That Word had authority and power to topple kingdoms, to tear down, to restore, to build up, to plant.
  • God accomplished great things by putting his Word on the lips of Jeremiah and the other prophets.
  • But it all led up to Jesus.
  • Jesus is far more than just a prophet.
  • Jesus doesn’t only have the Word on his lips, in his mouth - he is the Word in the flesh. 
  • He teaches with the authority of God - because he is God.
  • Understandably the people of Capernaum in the synagogue were astonished at his teaching - they hadn’t heard anything like it before.  This was no ordinary sermon.
  • His message was that everything that they had learned from Scripture up to that point - is fulfilled in him.  
  • He is the promised Messiah they are waiting for.  He is the promised One who has come to deliver and restore his people.  
  • The people were astonished and they were hanging on to every word he spoke!
  • But all of the sudden there was a terrible interruption.
  • A man possessed by an unclean spirit could no longer tolerate what he was hearing.  He could no longer endure being in the presence of the Holy One.
  • This unclean spirit knew that his time was coming to an end, and in fear blurted out, “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.”
  • What the unclean spirit said is true. 
  • Jesus is God in the flesh, the Holy One of God, who has come to destroy evil, sin, and death and to be the Saviour of the nations.
  • It’s interesting that the world does not recognize Jesus for who he is, yet evil spirits do.
  • Evil recognizes Jesus for who he is and scrambles to cause separation between us and our Lord.
  • Disruptions, distractions, pride, complacency, doubt, despair, anger – whatever it takes, Satan and his legion work hard to disconnect us from God and his salvation for us.
  • Jesus had no time for this demon’s disruption, “Be silent and come out of him!” our Lord demanded.  
  • And once again, the truth about Jesus is revealed.  
  • He is the Son of God with all power and authority.  At Jesus’ Word the demon was gone.
  • The people were amazed and reports about what he had done spread quickly.
  • From the synagogue Jesus went to Simon’s house.
  • Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever and they asked Jesus if he could do something for her.  
  • And once again, the truth about Jesus is revealed.
  • He is divine.  He is all powerful.  He rebuked the fever and immediately Peter’s mother-in-law was up and serving them.  
  • God's Word does what it says.  It is filled with power and authority.
  • When word got out about the Word of Jesus, the whole town sought him and came to him with their diseased and possessed.
  • And our gracious, merciful, and loving Saviour healed all of them and tried to retreat for a while into a desolate place.
  • But the people clamoured after him for more, they sought him and came to him - and they would have kept him from leaving them.  
  • After witnessing all of these miracles, I wouldn’t want Jesus to leave either!
  • But Jesus left town.  
  • He had to carry-on to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns a well.  He was sent for that purpose.
  • He wasn’t just a miracle worker or healer.
  • Jesus wasn’t sent into this world to just temporarily fix it.  
  • He was sent for the purpose of fully redeeming the world for eternity.  
  • He was sent for the purpose of fully redeeming you!
  • The same Word that silenced demons, that healed people, that raised people from their grave - comes to you.
  • Jesus is the powerful and authoritative Word made flesh, and he says to you: “I forgive you all of your sins”. “This is my body given for you, my blood shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins”.
  • That same Word - with the same power and authority - comes to you to forgive you, to heal you, to restore you, to raise you up from death to life. 
  • God's Word does what it says. 
  • You are forgiven.  You are blessed.  Your death has been defeated and on the Last Day you will hear the power and authority of Christ’s Word when he will say, “Arise” - and we will arise to eternal life.
Thy strong Word bespeaks us righteous;
Bright with Thine own holiness.
Glorious now, we press toward glory, 
And our lives our hopes confess. Amen.
(LSB #578, v. 3)
+ + +
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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February 17, 2019

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany