Mark – God is on our side!
We can pretend we have authority by confidently saying words that seem good and right in a conversation of confusion and wondering. We can “fake it til you make it” in a world that accepts lies and deception. We can even go for a while allowing others to think we know what we are saying and doing is the way to go. But soon, it all falls apart if we are not doing what God wants, following His way which is perfect, with sincere hearts that seek Truth in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus begins his ministry by going into the local synagogue to teach. People are amazed. Why? Scripture tells us that other teachers did speak with the authority that Jesus possessed. Jesus was “real”.
Here is the kicker…Satan was right there in the middle of it all in the synagogue congregation! He had fully possessed a man, who cried out for Satan who controlled him, “Why are you interfering with us?” (Notice the plural form.) Was this sudden outburst fear in being found out? Was this anger at the possibility of not being able to fool people and keep them from God anymore?
AND consider this evil spirit, from Satan himself, he KNEW who Jesus was! Let that soak in. “I know who you are–the Holy One of God”. Satan, the fallen angel, knew God’s Son well. He knew him from being in heaven with God. Satan, who is alive and well today, wants to be God. He still wants to be God and have power over people. Now, here is God’s Son, come down willingly from heaven, to mess with what Satan thinks he has power over…God’s people.
Mark 1, NLT
Jesus Casts Out an Evil Spirit
21 Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law.
23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.
27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” 28 The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.
GOING DEEPER STILL…
(With the help, research and wisdom of Warren Wiersbe)
Our Lord had set up His headquarters in Capernaum, possibly in or near the home of Peter and Andrew (Mark 1:29). You may see the remains of a Capernaum synagogue when you visit the Holy Land today, but it is not the one in which Jesus worshiped. The people assembled for services on the Sabbath as well as on Mondays and Thursdays. Being a faithful Jew, Jesus honored the Sabbath by going to the synagogue, and when He taught the Word, the people were astonished at His authority.
We will discover as we read Mark’s gospel that he delights in recording the emotional responses of people. The congregation in the synagogue was “astonished” at His teaching and “amazed” at His healing powers (Mark 1:27; also note 2:12; 5:20, 42; 6:2, 51; 7:37; 10:26; 11:18). We even find Mark recording our Lord’s amazement at the unbelief of the people in Nazareth (Mark 6:6). There is certainly nothing monotonous about this narrative!
We wonder how many synagogue services that man had attended without revealing that he was demonized. It took the presence of the Son of God to expose the demon, and Jesus not only exposed him, but He also commanded him to keep quiet about His identity and to depart from the man. The Savior did not want, nor did He need, the assistance of Satan and his army to tell people who He is (see Acts 16:16–24).
The demon certainly knew exactly who Jesus is (see Acts 19:13–17) and that he had nothing in common with Him. The demon’s use of plural pronouns shows how closely he was identified with the man through whom he was speaking. The demon clearly identified Christ’s humanity (“Jesus of Nazareth”) as well as His deity (“the Holy One of God”). He also confessed great fear that Jesus might judge him and send him to the pit. There are people today just like this demonized man: in a religious meeting, able to tell who Jesus is, and even trembling with fear of judgment—yet lost (see James 2:19)!
“Hold thy peace!” literally means “Be muzzled!” Jesus would use the same words when stilling the storm (Mark 4:39). The demon tried one last convulsive attack, but then had to submit to the authority of God’s Servant and come out of the man. The people in the synagogue were amazed and afraid. They realized that something new had appeared on the scene—a new doctrine and a new power. Our Lord’s words and works must always go together (John 3:2). The people kept on talking about both, and the fame of Jesus began to spread.
Our Lord did not encourage this kind of public excitement lest it create problems with both the Jews and the Romans. The Jews would want to follow Him only because of His power to heal them, and the Romans would think He was a Jewish insurrectionist trying to overthrow the government. This explains why Jesus so often told people to keep quiet (Mark 1:44; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36–37; 8:26, 30; 9:9). The fact that they did not obey created problems for Him.
Do you believe that Satan still exists?
Do you believe he sits in our churches, working through God’s people to confuse and cause trouble?
Do you believe he could work through each one of us?
If you answered yes to all three of these questions for reflection then pray this prayer with me….
Dear Heavenly Father,
We are reminded that you told us in your word that our real war is not with your people (flesh and blood) but with evil who lurks around your church grounds, seeking to destroy what you are doing in and through your people. Help us to be aware and alert to yield only to You, to listen only to You, to do only what YOU tell us to be and do. Help us, with your authority and help, in Your Name, to resist the temptation to yield to the fallen angel of evil.
In Jesus Name, Amen