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.-Luke 4:38-44, ESV
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.
Sent by the Father and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Jesus is a man on a mission. He worked while it was still day because the night was coming (John 9:4). He is wisdom incarnate and therefore numbered his days. God did not send His Son into the world to merely live among His creatures. The Lord of Glory (1 Cor 2:8) entered into history to accomplish a goal and win a prize. Before the work of creation, Jesus was foreordained (1 Pet 1:20) to accomplish the work of redemption for people chosen by the Father (1 Pet 1:2). Jesus had a specific purpose that all of human history would rely upon or perish. That is not hyperbole. Jesus was sent by the Father to suffer for His people in life and death and win their salvation. Upon the completion of Jesus’ work, He would be crowned with glory and honor as the resurrected and eternal King of all (Phil 2:9-11). That is why Jesus wouldn’t settle down in any one place. He was on a journey from the day of His birth, and even death couldn’t stop Him from simply visiting along His path to glory.
From Demons to Diseases.
Jesus heals everyone who comes to Him. Everyone. This is probably the most endearing characteristic of Jesus in our culture today. The image of Jesus kindly healing each person who appealed to Him is a wonderful truth for the Christian to celebrate. Even secular society around us appreciates this aspect of our King’s first advent. Jesus standing with outstretched arms, ready to receive all who would come, is a beautifully true and powerful picture.
Both dangerous Demoniacs and faith-filled old ladies fighting a fever are welcomed equally by the Great Physician. All suffering is not equal, but it is all real. Peter’s mother-in-law was sick, and the gut-wrenching uncertainty of her ability to overcome disease naturally weighed heavy on his heart. Is a fever the most terrible of diseases? No, but it was truly terrible for that older woman and her family that loved her so dearly. Jesus would not overlook even the smallest infirmities because He comes to take all upon Himself to cure us all.
The man possessed with a devil is not so far gone that he is out of Jesus’ reach. Christ can and will heal all who come to Him. Jesus does not avoid those who suffer most in this life at the hands of physical and mental illness. Our Saviour is not a two-bit con man selling snake oil and a prayer. He is the Healer, and none who feel hopeless are without hope when they embrace Him. Jesus can heal, He does heal, and His healing is absolute.
The Problem of Finitude.
The crowds of people loved Jesus and genuinely desired His friendship and daily presence, but Jesus could not stay. He loved them in too. His love for them was far deeper than they could know, but Jesus had a mission to accomplish. Did Jesus have competing loves? Surely He loved His friends, but did He choose to never stay in one place too long because His love for ministry was edging out His love for those beloved neighbors? No. In fact, it was Jesus’ love for His people that drove Him to keep moving on and never settling down. Christ wasn’t choosing to move on and minister in other towns because He had competing loves. His work of redeeming those neighbors required His unshakable commitment to His itinerary. It saddened His friends to see Him leave, and he felt the bittersweet emotions of wishing to stay today but staying the course to attain His final goal for tomorrow.
Have you ever wished you could be in two places at the same time? Can you imagine the frustration Jesus might have felt? Frustration could be the wrong word to describe the feeling, but He is God incarnate, and therefore according to His divine nature, He knows what it is to be infinite, yet according to His human nature, He knows what it is to be finite. His friends in Capernaum could use His continued presence and teaching, but Jesus must also travel to the surrounding cities. Jesus’ ascension will ultimately solve that problem of finitude through the outpouring of the Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9) on the day of Pentecost. Still, for now, Jesus is in Capernaum today and Bethsaida tomorrow.
Same story, different day.
Preaching in the synagogues was a common occurrence for Jesus in the early days of His ministry. Friend or foe, neither could deter Jesus from His march on the gates of Hell. He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), and even the Devil himself was powerless to stop the conquering King. Day after day, He would heal the sick, preach the gospel, and faithfully perform all that the law of God required of Him. His ministry pace was dizzying, but He was able. Christ healed diseases, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, strength to the lame, cleansed lepers, cast out devils, and so much more. Day after day, He repeated His work without complaint. His people never went a day without needing Him, so He never took a break from being the Saviour of the world. Thankfully, He never will.