January 14, 2020

Good Works for the Ani

Luke 4:31–44

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Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Demon

31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. 33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Ha!1 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.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 37 And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

Jesus Heals Many

38 And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.

40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

Jesus Preaches in Synagogues

42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, 43 but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.2


[1] 4:34 Or Leave us alone
[2] 4:44 Some manuscripts Galilee

Good Works for the Ani

Key Verse | Luke 4:43

[B]ut he said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose."

Bio | Stephane Rovelo

My name is Stephane Rovelo, and right about now I am getting back in the swing of things at school and reteaching my eighth grade students everything they forgot over the winter break! #Blessed. I am married to my ezer, Kristine, and we have two hilarious kiddos, Eleanor and Stephanie. You can find me most days at school teaching students that space is real and that the earth isn't flat. I also serve at Wake, Watermark's ministry for students in sixth–eighth grade. I've been fortunate enough to work with the same group of students from middle school to high school! 

Central Truth

Jesus not only talked about God's love, but He worked to show and share it with others as well. 

Devotional | Luke 4:31–44

So here we are with Jesus having just read from Isaiah 61:1-2 and proclaiming good news for the poor. The Hebrew word for poor, "ani", means more than just a person of low income. Ani can refer to social...

So here we are with Jesus having just read from Isaiah 61:1-2 and proclaiming good news for the poor. The Hebrew word for poor, "ani", means more than just a person of low income. Ani can refer to social outcasts, those with disabilities, women, children, or those just generally oppressed. Jesus is emphasizing that the kingdom of God is particularly good news for these people.

What does Luke decide to write about next in verse 31 and following? He provides stories of Jesus demonstrating what the "good news" actually looks like in reality! Jesus heals a man oppressed by a demon, as well as Simon's sick mother-in-law and others who were "sick with various diseases." Jesus demonstrates the importance of not only knowing Scripture, but also letting our actions carry out God's love and wisdom.

Like Jesus, many of us know the good news and can probably even point to a specific Scripture verse explaining what the gospel is. But knowing is only half the battle! We are called to go out and share the good news with the world and show what it looks like. We might not be able to heal the sick or cast out demons on a regular basis, but we can represent God's love in simple actions such as cleaning up after ourselves, being present for people who are struggling, and even by loving those who don't seem super lovable (Matthew 5:46).

Luke chooses to focus his gospel on Jesus' parables and teachings, and he offers us insight into what it looks like to follow Jesus. The way the narrative is written also seems to point to an excellent lesson: following Jesus is a journey, and we learn as we go. Journeys are full of mistakes and unplanned setbacks. Gain what you can from each lesson and continue on! 

And for those of us who have not yet taken those first steps . . . won't you come along and join the journey?

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Discussion Questions

1. To understand Luke 4:31-44, we must first read and understand the rest of Luke 4. In order to understand the rest of Luke 4, we need to read Isaiah 61:1-2 for some context on this verse. Isaiah is a prophet who warns about the eventual destruction of Israel, but he also explains that God would send a king from the line of David to establish His earthly kingdom. Why would Luke decide to use this moment to serve as a springboard for Jesus' public mission?

2. Luke 4:34 mentions a demon that claims to know who Jesus is. Taking this idea into consideration, is simply knowing the story of of Jesus enough to complete our salvation? Use John 5:24 for reference.

3. In Luke 4:43 we eventually see Jesus mention the need for Him to leave and preach the good news in other places because He was sent for that purpose. In Matthew 28:19-20, we see a similar calling coming from Jesus to His followers. What are some practical ways that you can answer the call?

8 Comments available

greg jones 7 months ago

I’m not sure where synagogues came from out of the Old Testament, but Jesus likes teaching in them.

Same with the unclean spirits they show up in the New Testament as well and Jesus casts out many.

Marcus Peters 7 months ago

Simply knowing Christ isn’t enough for salvation, Romans 9:9-10 speaks into this I think. I most of my life to today I thought “If I do Christian things, then God and others will love me and I get to go to heaven”. But that was hard to believe when an addiction had built up a stronghold of shame in me. I did not find freedom from my addiction until I confessed with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and I am in desperate need of God’s mercy. Since I pray, confessed, and shared that with my community, the Holy Spirit has brought me freedom from my addiction, healing to my marriage, and a growing relationship with the living and active God.

michael mcgowen 7 months ago

Well God you sure do have a lot of genuine people at watermark I like your verse in Isaiah 61:1-2 all this sin baggage makes me feel like I’m in prison, and God it seems like I would have to go back in time to become white as snow but you have written you can do anything thank you Jesus for your Holy people

Michael Scaman 7 months ago

Jesus kept the lid on broadcasting explicitly he was ‘son of God’ and ‘Messiah’ Indirectly he prayed to ‘his Father’ but not until his trial did he say yes Song of God, Messiah and coming again.

Not until Peter confesses ‘thou art the Christ’ does hardly anyone say this and direct publicity from demons is problematic.

At his trial and after the resurrection, what was hidden is proclaimed

Sue Bohlin 7 months ago

Thanks, Stephane, and bless you for teaching “electric chihuahuas”!! You cracked me up by mentioning “cleaning up after ourselves” as a way to represent God’s love–yep, you work with middle schoolers! Ha!

I understand that in that culture there was a belief that naming someone was an attempt to show authority over him or her, thus the demons screaming “You are the Son of God!” But reality doesn’t work that way; NOBODY has authority over the Son of God, He’s the one with authority, and the demons had to obey Him. This is comforting because it may be 2020 in the U.S., but demons are still very active in oppressing people. I’m grateful we can take refuge in Jesus to be free from demonic harrassment.

Hugh Stephenson 7 months ago

GM Stephane! Excellent devo. I love your explanation of “ani”. It expands my understanding.

In Prodigal, re:gen and Forgotten Fathers the participants are usually believers. If not, we quickly come alongside them and help them understand who Jesus is and why He came.

The challenge we face is that for many Jesus is Savior but not the Lord of their life. Me too.

A few years ago, I saw I had to answer these questions,

“If Jesus is not the Lord of my daily life then who/what is?

Image? Reputation? Material success? Body image? Fantasy sports? Hunting? Kids success? Even good works?”

The key issue every alcoholic/addict was self-centeredness. So, it was clear I needed to understand thatHis call and therefore my purpose was to die to self.

With Jesus as my shepherd I am beginning to more fully understand how to surrender to His plan for my life.

Michael Scaman 7 months ago

The devil quotes Psalm 91 but stops short of saying ‘you will tread upon the lion and the cobra, trample the serpents head’ which is the work of Messiah

Context, context, context !!

And after saying the Messiah will do this there are the songs of the shepherd king in 95 and 100 with enthrongment Psalms in between. All fitting of the nations coming to Jesus as their Shepherd king with Israel

Michael Scaman 7 months ago

The work of the Messiah is important as described in Luke 4, quoting Isaiah 61 (and the ultimate year of Jubilee)

It also shows up bookending book 5 of the Psalms at the start in Psalm 107 and at the end Psalm 146 147 Book 5 is about ‘coming home’ and ‘entering the promised land’ being poetically Deuteronomy and the work of Messiah is fitting in bookending that.

Finding the lost, freeing the captives, opening blind eyes, healing broken hearted…

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