This teaching in Luke 7:1-23 was given by pastor Barry Forder at Calvary Portsmouth on 8th January 2023.
As we continue our study in the Gospel of Luke, it becomes increasingly apparent that the Holy Spirit was directing and orchestrating all that happened. Luke’s Gospel could easily be called ‘The Acts of the Holy Spirit as recorded by Luke!”
- 2:25 – The Holy Spirit was upon Simeon
- 2:26 – The Holy Spirit revealed that Simeon would see the Messiah
- 2:27 – Simeon was led into the Temple at the right time by the Holy Spirit
- 2:40 – Jesus grew in the power of the Holy Spirit
- 3:2 – John was led of the Holy Spirit to begin his ministry
- 3:16 – John declared that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit
- 3:22 – The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at His baptism
- 4:1 – Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit
- 4:1 – Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit
- 4:14 – Jesus returned from the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit
- 4:18 – Jesus begins His public ministry by stating that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him (quoting from Isaiah 61:1)
In chapter 7 we see two astonishing miracles where Jesus heals a Centurion’s servant and then raises a widow’s son from the dead!
The purpose of these miracles was to testify and bear witness to Christ’s Deity.
Hearing of these things, John the Baptist, expecting the Messiah to come and deliver Israel (which He will do, but not until His Second Coming), sends two of his disciples to ask Jesus if He is the One… is He really the Messiah who will deliver Israel and establish once again the throne of David?
Back in Luke 4, at the Synagogue in Nazareth Jesus declared His mission: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18)
Jesus’ response to John’s disciples is intentionally an emphatic demonstration and fulfilment of this God-given mission: “Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached”. (Luke 7:22).
Throughout scripture, the preaching of the gospel goes hand-in-hand with signs and wonders. The miracles are the confirmation and evidence of the truthfulnes and trustworthiness of the gospel and of Jesus’ Divine nature.
In John’s gospel Jesus, speaking to His disciples stated: “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake“ (John 14:11).
Speaking to the Jewish leaders Jesus said: “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” (John 5:36).
It was the same in the early church. In the book of Acts, signs and wonders (very often healings) accompanied the preaching of the Word to validate the message and convince the hearers, leading to the growth of the church.
Signs > Preaching > Church Growth
Acts 2:1-13 > 2:1-36 > 2:37-41
Acts 2:43 > 2:42 > 2:47
Acts 3:1-11 > 3:12-4:3 > 4:4
Acts 8:6 > 8:6 > 8:12
Acts 8:26-29 > 8:35 > 8:38
Acts 10:3,10,44 > 10:34-43 > 10:47
Acts 14:3 > 14:1-3 > 14:4
Acts 19:11-15 > 19:10 > 19:18
The church today has, to a large degree, forgotten that Jesus said that signs and wonders would accompany the preaching of the gospel.
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover“ (Mark 16:15-18).
Jesus did not just expect us to convince the world with compelling arguments – although we do have compelling arguments! Jesus knew the world would need to be just as convinced today as it was during the 3 1/2 years that He ministered in and around Galilee. Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in submission to His Father’s will, healed the sick and set the captives free. Jesus told His disciples that they would be given the same power for the same purpose… to show the Father’s love and convince the world that He is the Saviour of the world.
The early church believed in, and expected to see, miracles, and knew that sicknes was part of the ‘works of the devil’ Jesus had come to destory! ( 1 John 3:8).
The Apostle John stated: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 12).
The Apostle James stated: “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed“. (James 5:13-16).
Sickness and death only came into this world as a result of the Fall in Genesis 3. Sickness, like death, was never God’s intention for man. There will be no sickness in the New Heaven and New Earth. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would not only carry our transgressions, but also pay for and carry our sickness. “…by His stripes we are healed”. (Isaiah 53:5).
One pastor put’s it clearly:
“If sickness were the will of God, then every doctor would be a ‘lawbreaker’ and every nurse defying the Almighty. Every hospital would be a House of rebellion, instead of a place of mercy. If sickness with the will of God, then instead of supporting hospitals we should be seeking to close them down! But I believe the scriptures are clear – God is on the side of health. I believe in doctors and nurses; I thank God for the medical profession; it is on the side of health, just as God is on the side of health. Yet some Christians are amazingly illogical. Declining prayer for healing, they say, ’it is the will of God that I am sick.’ Then the next day they go down to the doctor’s to get out of the will of God! If you really believed that it was God’s will that you were sick, you would never take any medicine or go to a doctor but, if we are honest, we don’t really believe that. God is a good God. The devil has propagated the idea that God puts sickness on people, because he knows that it will put the world off God, if they believe he is callous and uncaring. We have so swallowed this wrong concept of God”.
So why don’t we see miracles today like we read about in Luke’s gospel, or that took place in the early church? One of the reasons is that, like those in Nazareth, our unbelief becomes a barrier to the working of the Holy Spirit.
We need, like the Centurion in Luke 7 vs 2-10, to have an unshakable faith in the Word of God, that one word from Jesus will bring healing.
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:23-24)
To be continued…
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study.