The Book of Luke, Healing the Sick – Lesson 47
Last week we studied the event in the synagogue of Capernaum where we were given the account where Jesus Christ rebuked the spirit of the unclean devil that inhabited a man.
He commanded the unclean devil saying “Hold thy peace and come out of him.”
37And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.
We continue with the Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry in Capernaum as we read in :
Luke 4:38-41, And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 39And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. 40Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. 41And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.
So Jesus left the synagogue after the extraordinary event concerning the demon possessed man, and went to the home of Simon, whom we know as Peter, where Peter’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever.
Peter most likely had invited the Lord to dinner after the Sabbath services in the synagogue.
The other gospels do not mention that his mother in law had a high fever and this is another reminder that Luke as a doctor pays attention, moreso than other gospel writers, to details like this.
God does not leave out an author’s individuality in the writing of scripture.
Apparently the Holy Spirit reserved this observation for a doctor.
So on behalf of Peter’s mother in law, “they (which seems to include Peter and other family members) besought him for her which means they requested that Jesus heal her.
In the Gospel of Matthew we are told of this event and Matthew tells us that Jesus touched her and in the Gospel of Mark we are told that that Jesus took her by the hand and lifted her up and she was healed.
In both cases touch is emphased but Luke reports that a word of rebuke was spoken to the fever.
39And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her:
Here we see once again, it is the word of the Lord which is powerful.
Not only does this high fever leave Peter’s Mother in Law instantly, but there is no weakening left in her because of the fever, no time required to gain strength, because we are told that she immediately began to minister to the Lord.
In the Lord’s healing there was never a need for physical therapy or strength regaining.
There was never a need for a recovery room when the Lord healed.
This healing took place on the Sabbath day after Jesus had taught in the synagogue, so there was not normal workday activity taking place.
Sabbath, according to the law, is from sunset on our Friday to Sunset on our Saturday.
The seventh day begins and ends at sunset and does not begin at midnight as we are accustomed to.
God uses his clock, the sun to begin and end his days.
So as sunset approached and passed, the Sabbath ended, which immediately brought many to the door of Peter’s house, hoping for healing.
Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
These were not people with minor ailments, various aches and pains, but people with serious maladies of various types, people who had to be brought by others.
We see in the gospels on many occasions that those who experience the healing hand of our Lord Jesus have been brought to Jesus Christ by others.
This shows us the importance of Christians helping others to Christ.
It shows the inability of the lost to come to Christ without the help of others.
God draws those whom he saves but he may draw them though you!
But until the Sabbath ended, the people were not allowed by the law to perform labor by carrying the sick to Jesus.
So Luke tells us that at sunset, the people of Capernaum who had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him.
Every type of illness was healed, instantly and completely by Jesus Christ, no case being too hard.
Demons, too, were being cast out, like the exorcism which Luke reported in the synagogue earlier that day.
Here, too, the demons identified Jesus as the “Son of God,” but were rebuked and silenced, and commanded to come out.
Luke 4:41, And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.
Jesus did not desire or permit the praise or testimony of these unclean enemies.
Jesus preached so
that people would believe his word, not the words of demons.
Luke 4:42-44, And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. 43And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. 44And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.
It would seem that Jesus performed healings far into the night.
The people began to arrive at sundown, and Jesus, in this passage, is now said to “depart to a lonely place” when the day came.
So early on the next morning, when He had healed all who were present, Jesus slipped away to a lonely place to pray.
Luke does not specifically mention prayer here, but Mark does in:
Mark 1:35, And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
Later, in chapter 5, Luke does describe the prayer life of the Lord Jesus:
Luke 5:16, And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
But it was not long before the crowds found the Lord.
When they realized that He was leaving them, unlike the people of Nazareth, they attempted to keep Him with them.
The question is, Did they love him in Capernaum or did they love his healing services?
No one would want such a healer and teacher to leave!
But Jesus responded to their appeals to stay by referring to His calling, to His priorities:
Luke 4:43, And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.
Jesus knew that He had been called to preach the kingdom of God.
Just as Isaiah’s prophecy, read by our Lord in the synagogue at Nazareth, emphasized the importance of preaching, so Jesus stressed the priority of proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom over miraculous healings.
For the gospel brings eternal healing.
Not only does Jesus view preaching as having priority to miracle-working, He also views it as necessary for Him to preach throughout Israel, and not just in a few favored or welcoming places.
Jesus’priorities were prayer and the preaching of the Word.
Miracles played a minor role in His ministry, but prayer and preaching were His priority.
Because of this He knew He must leave Capernaum and preach elsewhere, even though the people begged Him to stay.
We know that this priority of prayer and preaching was also passed on to the apostles because this too was their priority when they appointed seven men to serve tables.
Acts 6:3-4, Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. 4But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
But this passage again points out the reality of the hardness of the heart of man.
On the surface it appears that the people of Capernaum stood head and shoulders above the people of Nazareth.
Didn’t they want him to stay, in contrast to the attempt by the people of Nazareth to kill him?
The Nazarenes drove Jesus from their synagogue, and would have killed Him if they could.
The people of Capernaum begged Jesus not to leave their presence.
On first glance it may be thought that those of Capernaum were better than the Nazarenes?
But most likely if these two groups of people had been interchanged, I think that each would have acted exactly as the other, given the same situation.
Both the Nazarenes and those of Capernaum initially responded to Jesus’ teaching with awe and wonder.
Both would have urged Him to stay in their midst, except for the fact that Jesus purposely caused division in Nazareth.
He purposely pointed out the hardness of heart of the Jews and the divinely purposed blessing of the Gentiles through the unbelief of Israel.
Had the events which occurred at the synagogue in Capernaum taken place in Nazareth (which was precisely what the Nazarenes hoped for, Luke 4:23), the people would have loved Jesus, and begged Him to stay.
Had the events which happened at Nazareth occurred at Capernaum, I believe that the people of Capernaum would have thrown Jesus from their synagogue and sought to kill Him, just as the people of Jerusalem would later do.
The only thing which was different in Nazareth from Capernaum was what Jesus did and said.
The people were the same.
There is one thing which the demons, the Nazarenes, and those of Capernaum all shared in common: wonder, curiosity, amazement, and unbelief in this man Jesus.
The reason that I can say this is because of the words spoken by our Lord later on about these cities including Capernaum.