From God's fullness we have all received, grace upon grace
Lectio Divina: “without having done him any harm”

Lectio Divina: “without having done him any harm”

Gospel reading: Luke 4.31-37

[Jesus] went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, ‘What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!’ And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.


In throwing him down before the other people in the synagogue, it seemed the unclean demon’s intention was to cause the man harm. But when Jesus rebuked it/him/them, the demon came out while the man was preserved from harm, before and during the exorcism.

Sometimes with the healing miracles I wonder whether the person healed had actually benefited. Had the lame man lost his livelihood as a beggar? Was the man born blind suddenly overwhelmed with light and colour and images that he couldn’t process and didn’t understand?

But that is evidence of my own weakness, doubt, scepticism, cynicism, pessimism, in the face of things I don’t know or understand.

Because Jesus is the perfect healer. More perfect than the most steady-handed surgeon cutting a tumour away from healthy tissue without harming it in any way. More perfect than the most skilled psychiatrist guiding a patient through letting go of their deepest neurosis. More perfect than the bravest of fools, whispering in the ear of a megalomaniac ruler that they are but mortal. He sees the true need for healing, of body, mind or spirit.

The perfect healer…

…as we need healing – because perhaps we do need a ‘thorn in the flesh’ like that which tormented Paul (see 2 Cor 12.1-10)

…and as we let him heal – resisting the temptation to cry out ‘Let us alone!’ as did the man with the unclean spirit (v34)


Since April 2020, I have been jointly hosting a shared Lectio Divina group on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings. These are my reflections only, during the prayer session and as I wrote them up. Please see my separate commentary and leaflet for more information about shared Lectio.