The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Luke 4:31-37

Lent III

1. The same account is found at Mk. 1:21-28 which should be studied too. On this occasion Jesus made His first appearance in a synagogue in the north, just as in Jn. 5 He made His first appearance in a synagogue in the south. On this occasion Jesus drove out a demon. In Jn. 5 He healed a lame man.

2. Twice our text tells us (vss. 32 and 36) that the people were amazed at Jesus' teaching which was authoritative. Mk. 1:22 states that His teaching was with authority and not like that of the scribes. The scribe teaching was flowery, empty and vain. Jesus' teaching was simple, full of grace and truth and carried His Father's authority.

3. Jesus had defeated Satan in the desert (Mk. 1:12-13; Mt. 4:1-11). But Satan tried his best during Jesus' ministry to wreck His work. Therefore cases of devil-possession occurred with higher frequency during Jesus' days on earth. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (I Jn. 3:8) and to overcome the one who had the power of death, the devil (Heb. 2:14). In the book of Acts there are very few cases of devil-possession. In Jesus' day the people could recognize devil- possession. See vs. 36 of our text. Furthermore, it is clear from Lk. 10:17-20 that the seventy knew that they were dealing with demons. We cannot deny the possibility of miracles and devil-possession in our time. But it is difficult to prove an occurrence. This writer thinks that miracles and cases of devil-possession have practically ceased.

4. At Mk. 5 and Lk. 8 in the account of the devil-possessed man, we read that many devils possessed one man. But in our text only one demon is said to have been in one man. The demon said: " know who You are." Therefore, when he says: "What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?" the demon-possessed means the other people and himself. "We" and "us" does not mean "we demons" but "we people." The demon possessed the man and spoke through the man but the demon-possessed identified himself with the other people.

5. Some scholars think that the question "Have you come to destroy us" should be read as a statement: "You have come to destroy." Either way the demon-possessed is portraying Jesus as a destroyer of mankind, not the Savior of mankind. Satan uses the demon-possessed as a missionary. Does Satan do that today? Yes. For example, he comes to us and whispers in our ear: "Did Jesus really save you or is He phony?" or he may say: "Jesus does not really care about you. Don't believe those preachers."

6. Very likely this demon-possessed man came to the synagogue every week. The unauthoritative teaching of the scribes did not excite the demon. But when Jesus spoke in the synagogue the devil struck back and cried out in the synagogue.

7. The devil and his demons are always unclean, obscene, with no truth in them. This demon overpowered this man so that he had to do the demon's will. When Jesus said: "Be quiet and come out of him" the demon did not obey the first command but had to obey the second command.

8. Jesus said at Lk. 10:19: "Nothing at all will hurt you." Vs. 35 of our text says that the demon came out violently but did not harm him. The devil left very reluctantly but had to do Jesus' will and not do harm.

9. Jesus forbade the demon to speak because the demon was accusing Jesus of being a destroyer of mankind, not the Savior of mankind.

10. The demons confessed that Jesus was the Holy One of God, the Son of God. That is more than the Jews admitted. James 2:19 says: "The demons believe but tremble." Their faith is only knowledge. They do not agree to the Truth, nor do they put their confidence in it.

11. This miracle proved Jesus' divinity (cf. Mt. 11:5). That's why news about Jesus went into the surrounding district of Galilee.

12. Jesus did not come saying: "I am the Holy One of God. I am the Son of God." He taught the people and did miracles so that they came to the conclusion that He was the Holy One of God and His Son. For example, Jn. 4:25.26 and Lk. 24:31.

The Sermon Outline of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Luke 4:31-37

Lent III

THEME: Who Is This Holy One Of God?


The sentence "You are the Holy One of God" occurs only twice in the N.T., at Jn. 6:69 in the mouth of Peter and here (and its parallel, Mk. 1:24) in the mouth of a demon. There is a similarity and yet there is a great difference. This reminds us of what James 2:19 says "You believe that there is a God but their belief in the purpose of His coming is quite different. That's what this sermon is about.



This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Cindy A. Beesley and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.

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