And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her. 31 And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them. 32 When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city had gathered at the door. 34 And He healed many who were ill with various diseases and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was. 35 In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. 36 Simon and his companions searched for Him; 37 they found Him, and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38 He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” 39 And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.
By this time of our Lord’s ministry, His status as God’s Son had been publicly proclaimed in dramatic fashion by several reputable sources. Human, divine and demonic people and forces who would know.
- John the Baptist
- The Father (baptism)
- The Holy Spirit (baptism)
- Satan (temptations)
But it wouldn’t be until Jesus proved Himself to be the Son of God that people begin to take notice. It only matters what others say about us if we can prove them right. Think about it? If you ask a friend to recommend a mechanic and they refer a guy who’s sworn to be the best in the business, you won’t really believe it till he works on your car to your satisfaction. If he doesn’t meet your expectations, you won’t think he’s the best.
With His healing and preaching ministries, Jesus is proving to the people that He is who and what others say He is. It’s that proof, that evidence, which becomes the foundation of the Christian movement continuing to this day. Realize the stunning act of grace Jesus showed by validating who He was. He’s God! Our Lord didn’t need to prove anything to anybody. Certainly not to people He knew would call for His crucifixion. Jesus didn’t have to prove who He was to them, and He doesn’t have to prove who He is to us. But He does.
He keeps revealing Himself to spiritually broken and sinful people all the time. Many respond favorably while most reject Him. This passage helps us understand three actions of Jesus took to prove He was the Son of God. To show He’s Divine. It also reminds us how He continues to graciously prove Himself today.
Jesus proved His divinity by His sovereignty over disease. (29-31)
And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her. 31 And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them.
I received the second dose of the COVID vaccine this past Monday. That should put me around 95-98% resistant to getting the virus. But what about reports we’re hearing of people who received the vaccine testing positive? And what about its effectiveness against variant strains coming out? As much as science can do, it’s not sovereign over disease. We don’t know the severity of Simon-Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever. But, it must have been bad for the disciples to bring Jesus to her. Given all He’d been doing; preaching, healing the sick, and casting out demons, how exhausted the Lord must have been. They likely wouldn’t bother Him for a mild case of the flu.
Here’s how His sovereignty over disease is proven.
- Her healing was instant and thorough
She was immediately and fully made well. So well, in fact, that she got up and waited on them. She started serving them. Probably making a meal,we don’t know. When was the last time you had a bad fever and didn’t feel drained for days? The obvious question those gathered would ponder is, if Jesus rules over disease, is there anything that’s not under His sovereign reign? For them the answer was, “Nothing.” And if there’s nothing that He’s not sovereign over, it proves Jesus’ divinity, that He’s Divine, God.
Imagine the level of fear disease exerted over people then. Aside from some very basic cures and treatments, most people were completely defenseless if they were struck with a disease. A broken bone could be set and some natural topicals applied if available. However, anything serious was virtually a death sentence. Aspirin wasn’t even discovered until 1897. To get more to the point, Jesus proved His sovereignty over nature by healing Simon’s mother-in-law. Without medication or any therapeutic, He just did it. He would expand His portfolio of sovereignty over nature by walking on water and calming the sea, and other miracles. But make no mistake, Jesus was proving His divinity to others by showing His sovereignty over diseases.
Jesus proved His divinity by His authority over demons. (32-34)
When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city had gathered at the door. 34 And He healed many who were ill with various diseases and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.
Have you ever wondered why so much demonic activity is presented in the gospels and epistles?
- Demons mentioned 4X in OT and 50X in NT
- Demon-possessed mentioned 0X in OT and 14X in NT
Here’s why. Demonic activity increases as God’s activity increases. And the crescendo of God’s activity to that point in history was Jesus’ ministry followed by the establishment of His church. The next wave of unprecedented demonic activity comes after the church is raptured and the Tribulation begins. Passages describing that time teach there will be an unleashing of Satan’s army that’s unimaginable for us. Through Jesus’ earthly ministry until His crucifixion, the presence of demonic enterprise was at a fever pitch.
They did everything in their power to frustrate Jesus’ determination to show that was the Son of God. But His authority over them defeated their agenda; exposing their limitations. As our Lord’s sovereignty over disease expressed His rule over nature, Jesus’ authority over demons demonstrated His rule over all spirit forces.
- Evil and holy
Again, a role for God and God alone. In Ephesians, Paul attests that these powers are at work in the church age too.
6:11-12, Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
I can share first and second-hand evidence of their reality. Though I’m not one who sees a fallen angel around every corner. Church leaders who fail to teach people about them, or even mention their existence aren’t doing members any favors. Particularly for new believers who often encounter severe spiritual warfare for the first time. Again, the greater message from the passage is Jesus’ authority over all spirit forces. He can cast them out, or invite them into the believer’s life.
Here’s Paul’s testimony…
2 Corinthians 12:7, Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!
It’s not beneath the Lord to use every spiritual means at His disposal to keep His people humbly committed to Himself.
Paul went on…
(8-9) Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Folks, not recognizing demonic activity is ultimately a failure to give the Lord glory for His complete authority. Too many Christians have bought into Hollywood’s doctrine of demons rather than scriptural truth. Biblical ignorance or naiveté about demons are strategic weapons in our spiritual enemy’s hands. What we don’t know can and does hurt the church. This pandemic has been a battle ground of spiritual warfare. We can appreciate the precautions being taken to limit the physical impact of COVID-19 on our church family. And, We should!
But we should also be aware of the spiritual challenges we face, and address them with equal attention. The Bible is clear, demonic influences also take advantage of spiritual weakness in the Body of Christ. In the same way viruses move against compromised immune systems. I am calling on every member of this church to adopt the highest standard for spiritual warfare set in God’s word. This brings us back to Ephesians 6.
Paul goes on to call believers to take up:
- The Gospel of peace
- Faith and…
- The Spirit and…
Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
Jesus has all authority over demons, we don’t. But we do have the spiritual equipment to fend them off. The question is, “Will we take it up?” Do we use the equipment of spiritual warfare God gives us?
[Jesus proved His divinity by His sovereignty over disease, by His authority over demons]
Jesus proved His divinity by the priority of His mission. (35-39)
In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. 36 Simon and his companions searched for Him; 37 they found Him, and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38 He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” 39 And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.
- …for that is what I came for.
Jesus proved His divinity. He proved He was God, Savior, and Lord. Because He prioritized His mission above all else. He knew what He came for; the purpose of His incarnation. And He let nothing keep Him from fulfilling the mission. Along the way Jesus healed the sick, preached the gospel, cast out demons, and even raised some from the dead. But He was headed to the cross. Christ was determined to die for the sins of humanity.
- Innocent for the guilty
- Sinless for sinners
The sacrifice the Father demands for our transgressions, which we could not provide. Jesus’ priority wasn’t popularity.
- Everyone is looking for You.
He wouldn’t settle for such a mundane achievement. It wasn’t the accumulation of worldly goods. Jesus was staying at Simon’s house.
- 30 years old and no place of His own
His priority wasn’t to be accepted by the religious elite. Jesus spent His early ministry going into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons. Don’t miss this, He was casting out demons that were in the synagogues. He was preaching in their synagogues and casting the demons out of their synagogues. Demonic forces will occupy desecrated places. Part of Jesus’ missional priority was to make right what had been made wrong; with true worship. Corrupted practices by religious elitists were open invitations to demonic occupation of their houses of worship.
I don’t imagine Jesus’ ministry of exorcism in those sacred spaces won Him many friends among the local rabbis. He was really interrupting their routines; confronting corruption is never popular. Jesus’ priority wasn’t to be comfortable.
- Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby….
The Lord was always on the move. Preaching, teaching, healing, confronting, and ssaving souls. That was His priority; saving souls. He applied all those methods for reaching the lost, but His priority was and is saving lost souls. Only God can do that. Only the Divine. Jesus proved His divinity by the priority of His mission, to save the lost.
Let’s wrap this up by bringing what Jesus did down to our level. Jesus proved that what others said about Him was true; He was the Son of God. He showed that by His sovereignty over disease (nature), His authority over demons (the spirit realm), and the priority of His mission (to save). He proved to be who others, and He claimed to be. When we claim to be Christ-followers, when Jesus claims our souls as His own, we must prove it. We must give evidence that we are who we say we are. As a church and individually.
The legitimate path that proves we are Christ-followers is through His word. Practicing what He preached, what He taught, and what He commanded His disciples to do. When I go to the gym, I see people proving how strong they are. When we were in Georgia a couple weeks ago, we stayed in a small town near our son’s place. It’s a wealthy community. People proving their financial success in really noticeable ways. They need others to know they have money. What are we trying to prove? We aught to be trying to prove we’re Christians. Not to become saved but because we are saved.
Listen, if Jesus, who didn’t need to prove anything, humbled Himself to show who He was, shouldn’t we humble ourselves and prove who we are?So that people might accept Him. What do you have to prove? Prove you’re a believer so others may believe. Make this your priority.