The Compelling Power of Christ
Topic: Authority of Christ Verse: Luke 6:17–6:19
“The Compelling Power of Christ”
Theme: Anyone struggling with sin and its consequences is able to come to Jesus and find forgiveness and cleansing.
I. It Compels People of Varying Pursuits – 17
A. The Fervent – the Pursuit of the Savior
- Having selected the Twelve men who would serve Him as Apostles, Jesus comes down the hillside to where He would provide what is called “The Sermon on the Mount” – “Jesus came down with them and stood on a level place …”
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- These men were particularly committed to the Lord – having been officially chosen by Christ to represent Him as Apostles.
- These would be recognized by all the other disciples as the men who were extensions of Jesus’ authority even as they were used to establish the church.
- Their interests were not merely their own spiritual need, but they became interested in Jesus’ needs being met – they served Him and were the particularly fervent.
- Although they struggled to be consistent, their general pursuit was to see the glories of Christ placed on display – He had become the point of their lives.
B. The Followers – the Pursuit of Spirituality
- The second group that surrounded Him was a result of the fact that He had called His disciples to Him as He prepared to select the Twelve – cp. v. 13a.
- As a result, “there was a large crowd of His disciples …” – a reference to those who were accustomed to following Jesus and listening to Him preach.
- They were a “mixed multitude” of people who were the regular followers of Jesus – people who considered Jesus “their”
- The word “crowd” [ὄχλος] – refers to a group of people gathered with a common interest – in this case, it was to learn whatever they could from Jesus.
- It was out of this group that Jesus had selected the Twelve.
- We do understand that many of these would come and go as they found what Jesus to be too difficult for them – yet as long as Jesus remained compelling, they continued to follow Him.
- Yet the characteristic of being “disciples” [μαθητής] conveys that there was sincerity and devotion associated with them – cp. Matthew 28:19-20.
C. The Frustrated – the Pursuit of Satisfaction
- There is still another group that were with Jesus – “… a great throng of people …” – different from the “crowd.”
- The term “throng” [πλῆθος] – the term where we get the English word “plethora” refers to “a large number,” or “abundance.”
- The term “people” [λαός] – is most often used by Luke to describe the inquisitive, but were to be distinguished from those who truly sought Jesus as disciples.
- We are told that they came from various locations – “… from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.”
- Hence, there were both Jews and Gentiles who were in this last group.
- This demonstrates that Jesus’ appeal extended beyond normal boundaries – people from all demographic groups – whether religious, pagan, common, wealthy, and even geographical, political, and cultural - realized they were in great need of something they didn’t have.
- So they came to Jesus frustrated with their lives and were hoping that they could find what would satisfy.
- What stirs your interest in Christ Jesus – is it worship, curiosity, or frustration?
- Assuming it is possible to move from one “category” to another, what would be the key to getting into the group that pursues Christ Himself and not just what Christ can do for you?
II. It Compels People with Vital Priorities – 18
A. The Desire to Hear
- The priorities of the people who gathered differed – not everyone was there because they desired to submit to the teachings of Jesus.
- We are told that there were some there who were “of Jerusalem” – presumably a reference to the Pharisees who were there as critical inspectors of Christ’s message.
- Nevertheless, we are told that the group had three priorities – some of them might possess all three of the priorities; others would possibly be there for only one of them.
- The first priority provided by Luke is that they “… had come to hear Him …”
- “hear” [ἀκούω] – “to listen with the purpose of learning from him.”
- Jesus was renowned for the teaching that He provided – teaching them not as the Pharisees, but as one possessing authority – cp. Mark 1:22
- His message was one of hope – that forgiveness of sin was available by the mercy and grace of God as sinners turn and repent – not by means of trying harder, giving more, sacrificing more, or depriving yourself of more.
- In contrast with the burdens that the religious leadership had heaped upon the Jews, Jesus message was one of:
- … liberty for those under the greatest bondage,
- … forgiveness to those who are shamed by their sin,
- … and reconciliation to God through grace – cp. John 5:24.
- Others were present who were eager to have their understanding perfected – who desired to abound still more in the teaching of Jesus.
- Still others were merely curious – having heard about Jesus, they wanted firsthand knowledge of the kind of teacher He was.
B. The Desire to Be Healed
- Luke continues and says that there were some who were there “… to be healed of their diseases …”
- Jesus’ power over the physical realm was perhaps what drew the greatest number of people who were desperate – people who had no hope that their suffering could ever be alleviated.
- Jesus Himself identified his healing power as one of the proofs that He was truly the Messiah – cp. Luke 7:20-22
- People came from all over because they were desiring the power that Jesus had been consistently providing over disease and sickness.
- These people wanted to be changed – they wanted their suffering to end and knew that Jesus had the ability to do that for them.
C. The Desire to Be Liberated
- Finally, we are told that there were those who were coming because of the absolute domination that they suffered under the power of darkness – “… and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured.”
- This is the ultimate power of Christ – over the dominion of Satan and His forces – Luke 4:33-37
- These folks were “troubled” [ἐνοχλέω] – a term that describes people whose lives were being “interfered” with or harassed by demons.
- Their only hope was to turn to Jesus and to seek deliverance from Him – and they found it.
- What responsibility exists in you to be a person who “hears” the Word of God?
- How can you prepare to listen to the Word of God properly?
- What does it take for a person to become willing to submit & come to Jesus Christ for the meeting of one’s need?
III. It Compels People through Verified Power – 18c-19
A. The Individual Pity Behind the Power – v. 18c
- 1. As we just have seen, those who came to Jesus were taught, healed, and finally “cured.”
- 2. The word used in the phrase “… were being cured” [θεραπεύω] – carries with it a coming alongside someone – it is the word from where we get “therapy.”
- 3. It carries the idea of serving someone – to restore someone to a state of being whole or well.
- 4. Jesus’ compassion for the individual caused Him to do whatever was needed to relieve the suffering of a person – whether restoring eyesight, healing a limb, restoring hearing, delivering them from demons, or any other malady – cp. Luke 7:13; Matthew 14:14
- 5. We recognize that the compassion of Christ Jesus has not waned – when a person approaches Him with the desire to be delivered – especially from sin – He has compassion – 1 Peter 5:6-7; Matthew 11:28; John 7:37.
B. The Indiscriminate Provision of the Power – v. 19
- It does not matter who one is or what one has done, the power of the Gospel is available to them.
- In our text, we are told that “all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.”
- Not only did Jesus have compassion for them individually, the grace of God went our indiscriminately – to all who sought Him.
- The power was so plentiful, that all someone had to do is touch Jesus and His power would bring healing to them – cp. Luke 8:44-47
- This notion of “power … coming from Him” is a reference to the power of the Holy Spirit made available to Jesus and how open God is to extending mercy and grace to anyone who seeks it – cp. Luke 4:14; 5:17; 8:46
- The invitation remains open to anyone who desires to find the forgiveness of sins – to come to the Lord Jesus Christ and know the power of God to forgive – cp. Romans 10:13.
- Do you ever question Jesus willingness to forgive you of your sin?
- How is Jesus’ compassion proven to you?
- Do you believe that Jesus has enough power to truly deliver you from your sin? What difference does that make in your life?