Jesus breaks one of the 10 Commandments today, which becomes a serious signal that something important is up with this “Jesus of Nazareth”. Jesus heals on the Sabbath, a clear violation of the command of God. A man possessed with an unclean spirit declares Jesus to be the Holy One of God, but is silenced, rebuked, and called out of the man.
Three possibilities: 1) Jesus is in fact who the spirit says he is, “the Holy One of God” and is therefore above and beyond human law. 2) Jesus is radically reinterpreting the Law, or 3) Both.
I believe it is “both.” This kind of authority and power is dealt with by Luke in a curious and shocking way. He tells the story very plainly and without emotion, almost like a good news reporter, as if it is not a big deal. Of course it is a big deal, and a shocking one, to any good Jew. “He did WHAT?? He HEALED on the Sabbath?? Is he MAD?” Instead Luke remains calm in telling the story.
Luke also focuses on the amazement of the crowd. He ends with “And a report about him began reach every place in the region.” What we discover about this Jesus of Nazareth is that he is no ordinary rabbi – he is more than an astounding teacher – more than a rabble-rouser going around stirring up the authorities. Instead, we discover a man who seems to above the law – divine – who cares for the people in a deep and profound way.
Of course Luke takes it a step further than that even. For Luke, he portrays Jesus as more than a man who heals the lepers or paralytics, the unclean spirits and the blind. Jesus also comes to save those on the fringes in a different way – the prostitutes, the foreigners, the non-Jews, the folks struggling to follow the Law.
In this way, we see the Holy One of God at work. We see someone who has authority over the sin itself, and who is saying “It is OK. I am here to lend a hand. You too can be blessed by God.”
Jesus turns out to be an enormous comfort to the lost, the poor, and the helpless. The only people he really comes down hard on are those misusing their power and authority, like the Sadducees and Pharisees. It all culminates in a darn good story – pure GOOD news!