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The Scriptorium

Deeds and Words

Our witness requires both. Luke 4.33-37

Luke 4: Part 2 (2)

Pray Psalm 143.1, 2.
Hear my prayer, O LORD,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous.

Sing Psalm 143.1, 2.
(Divinum Mysterium: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
Hear my earnest prayer, O Lord! Give ear to my pleas for grace!
In Your faithfulness and righteousness, look upon me with Your face!
Enter not to judgment with Your servant, Lord, with Your loving servant, Lord:
None can stand before Your Word.

Read Luke 4.31-37; meditate on verses 33-37.

1. What did the demon fear?

2. What did Jesus say and do? How did the people respond?

Jesus preached that He had come to introduce regime change to the world, to liberate those who were captive to sin and the devil, and free them into the renewal of forgiveness and everlasting life. He had bound Satan, so all demons were frightened and helpless before Him. We hear the terror in this demon’s voice: “Let us alone!” (v. 34)

Jesus’ response was typical: “Shut up and get out!” (v. 35) The spiritual forces of wickedness in high places were defeated foes. There would be no negotiating with them. No allowing them a refuge or reservation for their presumed authority. They were done. Finished. And this was but the beginning of their rout and destruction.

Jesus’ teaching and works always went hand-in-hand. He taught with authority, and He backed up His teaching with works of liberating and restoring love. And He has sent us into the world to do the same (Jn. 17.21).

The people, who had known this demon-possessed man for some time, were astonished to see the power of Jesus’ words (v. 36). Nothing they had ever been able to do helped this man. Jesus spoke and he was restored. We’d be astonished, too.

But this is what Jesus has done for all who believe in Him. By His Word and Spirit, He has freed us from the rule of Satan into the Kingdom of life and light. We should be amazed every day. And then we should spread the report of His restoring Word and power to all the people in our Personal Mission Field (v. 37).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Head knowledge is just that. It is stuck in the head. It doesn’t ooze out into a life, into hands that do good works to glorify our Father in heaven. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5.16; Eph. 2.10).

The demons knew Who Jesus was. “I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Lk. 4.34). They may have even given a better testimony than some of us might’ve done. With a loud voice, no less. They said the right words, but their actions bespoke the antithesis.

This we must take to heart: Knowing Who Jesus is, but not acting upon it, is just demon-speak. When the knowledge of Jesus doesn’t cause regime change in our hearts and lives it is merely an idea to be toyed with. Something that we say but do little about. It is lukewarm easy believism. Jesus said, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3.15, 16).

Jesus also said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” And then He will declare to those who were only hearers but not doers of the word (Jms. 1.22), ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt. 7.21, 23).

James wrote, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble” (Jms. 2.19). This he wrote in the context of faith and works saying, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead…a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (Jms. 2.17, 24).

We are to do what the demons did not do, and that is to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2.12). Taking what we know of God and living it out.

Deeds and words—the wondrous knowledge of Jesus moved from head to heart to life—establish us in the Kingdom of goodness, to be salt and light in our Personal Mission Field (Matt. 5.13, 14).

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
a good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever” (Ps. 111.10; Ex. 20.1-17).
“LORD, I hope for Your salvation, and I do Your commandments” (Ps. 119.166).

For reflection
1. Why are both deeds and words important for our witness?

2. Head knowledge is important; but why is it not enough to express true faith in Jesus?

3. What opportunities will you have today for a balanced witness for Christ?

Christ did this miracle in the demoniac to confirm by an external seal that power was given to him over Satan, and that it was true what he had preached, that he was sent to deliver all those that believe in him from their sins and from death, and to restore them to perfect felicity. Johannes Brenz (1499-1570), An Ecclesiastical Exposition upon Saint Luke 4.3

Pray Psalm 143.3-6.
Pray that the Lord will protect you today against the enemy of your soul, that He will revive and renew you, and will empower you with His Spirit as you cry to Him throughout the day.

ng Psalm 143.3-6.
Divinum Mysterium: Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
See, the enemy pursued my soul; he has crushed and cast me down.
He has made me sit in darkness, Lord, like those dead and in the ground.
Thus my spirit faints within me, Lord, faints within my weary soul,
and my heart is no more whole.

I recall the days of old; on Your works I meditate –
all the wonders of Your mighty hand, works both small, O Lord, and great.
Lord, my thirsty soul cries out to You! To You, Lord, I reach my hand
in a dry and weary land.

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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