Jesus teaches in the Synagogue (1:21-22) A demon confronts Christ (1:23-24) Jesus casts out the demon (1:25-26) The people are amazed, word of Jesus spreads (1:27-28)
Capernaum was a fishing village on the Sea of Galilee and home to Peter. It would serve as the base for the ministry of Jesus. The Synagogue was a meeting place for Jewish religious worship and scriptural teaching. The Synagogues developed out of necessity during the Babylonian captivity, as the Jews were exiled and dispersed, and could not worship at the Temple. Synagogues were commonplace in Jewish communities by the time of Jesus. The Synagogue had no permanent teachers or speakers, and Jesus was permitted to teach there as an adult male. There was something notably different about how Jesus taught that amazed the disciples and the audience. Jesus preached boldly with the authority that was given to him from God. He taught scripture as it was meant to be taught, as the absolute authoritative Word of God. He knew it, believed, he loved it, and he lived it, and it shone through to those he spoke. He knew how to give the Word to the people in a manner they could receive it as truth.
This demon was in the synagogue and served as a hindrance in the way of teaching and exaltation of God’s Word. The bold proclamations of Christ forced it to cry out and reveal itself. It spoke in the plural, indicating the demon was speaking on behalf of the man and itself. The demon knew who Jesus was. It addressed Jesus in his earthly title as “Jesus of Nazareth”. It asked, “What have you to do with us?”. The demon had been in quiet, controlled possession of the man. It wanted to be left alone to do evil as it pleased, and keep the man captive. It asked, “Have you come to torture us?”. It was tortured by the truth of God, and by the presence of Jesus himself. It called him the “Holy One of God”. Holiness cannot exist with unholiness. It pained the demon to be near Christ, who was divine, perfect, sinless, and commissioned to do the works of God.
Jesus rebuked and silenced the demon. He had no patience for evil, and gave it no opportunity to speak. There was no ceremony needed to cast the demon out, only the powerful words of Christ. The demon had to submit to his authority. He commanded it to leave the man, and it did so, crying out loudly and convulsing the man it possessed. The dramatic exit of the spirit reflects its attempt to cause a final distress on the man, but also its own grievance at being expelled.
The people were amazed. They called his teaching new. It was different than anything they had heard before. They wondered at his ability to cast out evil, and that a demon obeyed his command. They had never seen anything like it. So they began to ask each other and themselves, who this man was. They told others what happened, and quickly his fame spread across Galilee.
In a stagnant church, true authoritative teaching amazes the people. For preaching to be effective and pierce the heart, it must come from absolute certainty and reverence. When the Word of God is not given its proper reverence, it does not achieve its intended result. Preachers should preach as Jesus did, bold and fearless, and unafraid of the truth and who it might offend. Speakers of the Word should never shy away from what is true. True preaching shines light on the darkness, and exposes evil. There are demons in today’s church. They strive to interrupt the true preaching of the Gospel. They try to manipulate doctrine and confuse issues of morality. There can be no patience for evil. Evil does not respect patience, it merely takes advantage of it to root itself. When evil is committed in the church it must be silenced. It must be repented of, and if will not be corrected, it must be cast out. The modern church sits in peril because it has failed to silence and cast out evil when it first spoke and revealed itself. We should call upon Christ to help our churches expel the evil that corrodes it today. True preaching ignites the church into revival, confessing the wonder of Jesus and who he truly is, and desiring to spread his truth.