Gospel Lk 4:31-37
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.He taught them on the sabbath,and they were astonished at his teachingbecause he spoke with authority.In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice,“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!”Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”Then the demon threw the man down in front of themand came out of him without doing him any harm.They were all amazed and said to one another,“What is there about his word?For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,and they come out.”And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
This reading comes early in the Gospel of Luke, in the fourth chapter. The chapter begins with Jesus going into the desert, to fast and pray for 40 days, in preparation for his public ministry. After his time of prayer and fasting, he goes first, to his home town of Nazareth. Jesus preaches in the temple there, but the people reject him. They are surprised that Jesus, a carpenter and the son of Joseph, could preach with authority and grace. Still they are curious. They want to see him perform signs, almost as a test. But they are full of jealousy and doubt. Jesus knows this. They refuse to believe that Jesus is really the Christ so, “They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill … to hurl him down headlong.” (Lk 4:29) But Jesus escapes with ease.
Next Jesus goes to this town of Capernaum, where again people are astonished at his teaching. But here, he is not mere spectacle of curiosity. Rather the people are astonished “because he spoke with authority.” They acknowledge his authority in his words. Then, as confirmation of his authority, he preforms a great sign. He commands an unclean demon out of a man. The demons recognize what the people of Nazareth refused to acknowledge. The demons cry out, “you are the Holy One of God!” Not only that, the demons obey him! At the word of Jesus, the demons leave the man in peace.
What about us? Do we recognize the authority of Jesus? Do we obey? For if we don’t we are truly fools! Even the worst enemies of Jesus recognize his power and serve him.
You alone are the Holy One! You alone are the Lord! You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ!