Thursday, February 3, 2011

Commands of Jesus: "Be quiet! Come out of him!"

The Commands of Jesus: Be Quiet! Come out of him!
Mark 1.21-28 – Jesus is teaching in the synagogue and the people begin to recognize his teaching authority.
He is confronted by a man possessed by an evil spirit.
The man asks, “What do you want with us?”
Jesus speaks a word and the evil spirit comes out of him.
Again the authority of Jesus is recognized, this time in his command over evil spirits.
No matter what the people knew to be true of Jesus, they saw him as a new kind of teacher.
His authority is recognized and the word of the unique nature of his authority spread.
In verses 29-33 we see that Jesus heals many of physical and demonic issues.
In verse 40-42 he heals a man of leprosy (again, through a simple statement, “Be clean!”)
In verses 2.1-4, the crowds gather even more.
In 5.1-20, Jesus heals a man possessed of many demons (legion, for we are many).

What stands out in each of these episodes is Jesus’ authority over the powers of Satan and sickness.
There were Greco-Roman and Jewish healers and exorcists. But Jesus’ exorcisms were distinctive – no lengthy list of gods, recites no formulas or incantations, uses no magical paraphernalia to cast his spells. A simple word of rebuke (Mark 1.25).
Recognition of Jesus by the demons – early on, only the demons grasp Jesus’ full identity. Jesus always rebukes these proclamations.
Spiritual warfare – one of the keys to gaining supernatural power over an opponent is to invoke his name (Jesus’ own strategy, in Mark 5.9). They are not confessing Jesus, it was a defensive tactic.

Ask: Why do you think these demons confronted Jesus in this way? Perhaps they knew that judgment was on the way.

What do these episodes reveal about Jesus?
His mercy? His power? His authority? (Yes to all of these)
His healings were signs that he was accredited by God (see Acts 2.22).
Also, it seems that his power was displayed to attack the devil and it was a sign that the power of God was with him (see Acts 10.38).
What we see in this passage (and others like it) is that Jesus is battling Satan on his turf. The NT reveals that Satan in the prince of this world and his judgment is coming with the victory of Jesus, see John 12.31 and John 16.11.
These victories over Satan and his “spirits” show Jesus to be the Son of God.
We see that because Jesus can drive demons out, the kingdom of God has come near (read Matt. 12.28).

What can we learn about this command of Jesus? This (most likely) is not a command that directly applies to us. If we are believers in Christ, we cannot be demon possessed. But these episodes can reveal something about Jesus and how we relate to him.
Jesus reveals the power of God with great authority. His assault on Satan (on his turf) shows that Jesus is inaugurating his kingdom.

We have no need to fear the demonic, because Jesus has overcome the power of Satan. He is still in the world, and has power, but he cannot possess us, only harass us. And yet we need to remember, great is he (Jesus) that is in me, than he that is in the world (1 John 4.4).

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