The Authority of Jesus (Luke 4:31-37)

The Authority of Jesus (Luke 4:31-37)


Jesus began his ministry with high praise, but his rejection in his hometown is where we left off last week. Here we see the recognition of his authority.

Read Luke 4:31-37

This is the first of five accounts Luke provides of Christ healing on the Sabbath. It is significant that the day of rest and worship included great acts of mercy and compassion. This was radically different from the religious norm.

When we picture authority today, it is often attached to abuses. Americans love to disgrace authority figures. We need to recover a picture of Christ-like authority.

Jesus Taught With Authority (31-32)

Jesus doesn’t change his course. Having been rejected in Nazareth, he goes back to Galilee teaching in the synagogues on the Sabbath.

Once again, Jesus is on the roller coaster of experiencing acceptance following rejection. This time, they were specifically amazed by his authoritative teaching.

Hughes Once Harry Ironside was greeted by a visitor who said he had enjoyed the service, although he did not think Ironside was a great preacher. Ironside replied, “I know I’m not a great preacher. But what was it about my preaching that brought you to that conclusion?” The man answered, “I understood everything you said.”

Jesus continues to speak with plain authority today. The same Spirit that empowered him then, fills believers now. The Holy Spirit actively communicates the benefits of our salvation through the revealed Word of God.

How do you respond to Jesus’ authority?

If you do not submit, his teaching will become rebuke.

Jesus Rebuked With Power (33-35)

The demon-possessed man knew who Jesus was, fearing his power to destroy him. He flattered Jesus, acknowledging his connection to God.

But Jesus would not listen to his fawning and empty commendations. Although the demon intended harm (Mark 1:26), he was unsuccessful.

Calvin believes the demoniac sought to stir up doubt about Jesus. If he were connected to them, the people would turn on Christ. The deception worked with the scribes and Pharisees who suggested that Jesus was only able to cast out demons because he was the prince of demons (Ref?).

Demon-possession is entirely concentrated around the gospels and Acts. Satan brought the full force of his power, but Jesus has authority over spiritual darkness. He defeated evil.

We should not fear demonic possession, because Christ has defeated all his and our enemies in his life and death.

The response…

The People Were Amazed (36-37)

The crowd recognized Jesus was different. He spoke with “authority and power”. He was unlike typical rabbis who quoted tradition. Today this looks like copious amounts of footnotes and lengthy bibliographies. Jesus spoke on his own authority. He didn’t rely upon the interpretation of others.

There have been, and always will be, imposters in the world. Claiming divine authority and gifting to cast out demons (always longer and more dangerous) and heal the sick (infrequently).

Bock One proponent, for example, has acknowledged that the rate of success in contemporary requests for healing is about two percent.

You’re not called to do what Jesus did. In fact, you can’t!

You can agree with the crowd that Jesus spoke with authority and power, but the real question is: Do you submit to it?

Christ brings freedom to those in bondage to sin. Submit to him and experience everlasting peace!


  1. Jesus Taught With Authority (31-32)
  2. Jesus Rebuked With Power (33-35)
  3. The People Were Amazed (36-37)

The way we respond to his authority must be more knowledgeable than the crowd and more sincere than the demons.

Because Jesus Christ has authority and power over every physical and spiritual realm, we can trust him to fulfill his promises to save us!

Rather than living in fear of our spiritual enemies, let us place our hope and trust in the One who defeated them. Then, let our knowledge of Christ and submission to him bear the fruit of compassion that he showed.