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Mark 1:21-28 Possessed Man in a Synagogue

Posted by adventbiblestudy on October 27, 2012


Mark 1:21-28 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 began shouting, (24) “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One sent from God!” (25) Jesus cut him short. “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.

 

Half way through chapter one Mark has already told about Jesus’ baptism, temptation in the wilderness, His first sermon in Galilee, calling His first four disciples, and now Jesus walks into a synagogue where He is met by a demon possessed man.

 

Imagine, meeting Jesus for the first time. He takes you to church where a possessed man confronts Him. What is a demon possessed man doing in a synagogue? It appears the demon had no trouble recognizing Jesus. He looked right at Jesus and shouted, “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One sent from God!”

 

What did the evil spirit mean by, “Why are you interfering with us?” If the spirit knew who Jesus was, why did he refer to Him as, “Jesus of Nazareth,” and not the Son of God? Later the demon explains he knew Jesus as, “the Holy One sent from God!” It seemed to make no difference to the demon if the people knew who Jesus was. As a new believer, I can see a number of questions in these few details. Why inside of a synagogue? What was the evil spirit doing there? Why didn’t the people inside recognize the evil spirit? Did God try and warn them about the evil spirit? Is this why Jesus entered that synagogue at that time? Is there a deeper meaning to the evil spirit inside the synagogue? Why did the spirit shout, “I know who you are–the Holy One sent from God!” If the goal of the evil spirit was to lead people away from Jesus, why did he announce who Jesus was? Did he know it would not make a difference? Or did the demon make a mistake?

 

Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. This is even stranger. Why did Jesus order the demon to be quiet? Why would Jesus want to hide His identity inside a synagogue? Some times actions speak louder than words. Was that the lesson Jesus was teaching that day? The evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.

 

Imagine witnessing this scene inside a church, the one place most people feel safe from demons. Instead, Mark points out an evil spirit confronted and shouted at Jesus in a synagogue. What would be your reaction if you saw this scene in front of you in the church you had been attending for years? Do you think you may have known the possessed man? Do you think you would have known the man was possessed? If the Jews inside the synagogue were true believers, would they have been warned? What was their reaction? Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!”

 

The people were amazed. They questioned what they just heard with their ears and saw with their eyes. But Mark did not record any indication they accepted who Jesus really was. If they did not recognizee the evil spirit, did they recognizee Jesus? The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee. But, what was the news? Marks records it as, “the news,” not the, “Good News.”

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