Jesus Drives Out an Impure Spirit
21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
When Jesus comes on the scene, something new happens. Our hope, our longing for change, takes on a different shape. Hurting people, sinful temptations, human brokenness, and disease are confronted with authority.
The people in this story recognized Jesus’ authority in regard to two specific things: his teaching and his power over impure spirits (demons). There was something about Jesus that made him different from the other religious teachers of his day. In fact, this is the first thing mentioned in Mark’s gospel about Jesus’ public ministry: it was a ministry of authority.
We often long to witness the authority of Christ confronting diseases, financial hardships, broken friendships, and injustices of all kinds today. But we do not pause as often to consider the spiritual dimensions of our suffering. The apostle Paul reminds us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). Rather, we contend with demonic powers that want us to think that our circumstances, not our hearts, are the problem.
It’s worth noting that Jesus’ teaching, not just his healing, triggered a reaction from the crowds. But “being amazed,” by itself, is not a response to authority. Jesus’ teaching demands either submission or rebellion. He calls us to bring our hurts, our diseases, and our hearts under his authority. How will you respond?
A prayer of praise
Lord Jesus Christ, you bring new life to the sick and new energy to the weary. Refresh us with the life-giving power of your Holy Spirit, so we may live to praise your name; now and always. Amen.
A prayer of confession
Healing and forgiving God, we confess to you before this congregation, the times we have failed to recognise you in those whom we meet. We confess to you the times we have walked away from those who need your healing presence. We confess to you the times we have hurt and failed others. Be gracious, be merciful and heal us, in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZugvUQ4m90U
Glory in the highest to the God of heaven – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpJ6jHPKavk
There is a God who knows your name – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXsiWoyjw60
A Sending out prayer
Go forth from this place into the world, seek out the lost and lonely, care for those who are hurt and sick. Go in the name of Christ to love and serve the Lord.