This will TOTALLY date me as a very old soul.
Does anyone remember the old Flip Wilson character named Geraldine, whose favorite saying was, “The devil made me do it!’ If Geraldine were a Real Housewife today, this would be her tag line. She’d be in a sparkly dress. Holding an apple with a bite out of it.
The subject of demons that make people do things is sprinkled all throughout the New Testament. Jesus had his hands full with people who were possessed. He encountered demons in the marketplace, at the seaside, on the hillside, and in the center of town. Every time he met one, he cast it out. One time he cast a legion of demons into a herd of pigs, then sent them running into the water to drown. Jesus didn’t mess with demons. Or pigs, for that matter.
On this occasion, he encountered a man with an evil spirit in the Temple. You may find that shocking….one might think that the holy place is the last place one would find a demon. But trust me, they are there.
Mark 1 (Common English Bible)
21 Jesus and his followers went into Capernaum. Immediately on the Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and started teaching. 22 The people were amazed by his teaching, for he was teaching them with authority, not like the legal experts. 23 Suddenly, there in the synagogue, a person with an evil spirit screamed, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are. You are the holy one from God.”
One can almost infer that the demon recognized the Messiah before the people did. They were “amazed,” while the demon correctly identifies him as the holy one from God. It has been said that there are no atheists. The fact that the demons always knew that Jesus was the Son of God lends credence to that statement.
25 “Silence!” Jesus said, speaking harshly to the demon. “Come out of him!” 26 The unclean spirit shook him and screamed, then it came out.
This sentence is linked back with the earlier remark that Jesus was “teaching them with authority.” It is always part of the gospel narrative to keep connecting Jesus of Nazareth with God. Mark is reiterating that Jesus receives all of his power and authority on earth from God in heaven. Even the power to cast out evil spirits.
27 Everyone was shaken and questioned among themselves, “What’s this? A new teaching with authority! He even commands unclean spirits and they obey him!” 28 Right away the news about him spread throughout the entire region of Galilee.
It was at this point that the people begin to understand what the demon already knew. Jesus brought a new teaching. Jesus was the authority. Jesus had the power to cast out evil.
Jesus was indeed the son of God.
This raises the question of authority for us. Whose authority do you submit to? Who has enough power in your circumstance to change things around you? Where do you bow the knee in submission to something greater than yourself?
There is all kind of evil in this world. There is all manner of evil coming out of our sources of entertainment, “news,” popular culture, celebrity, and politics.
Submit yourself to the one who teaches with real authority, and you will be able to cast out the other things, with his help. Only then will you be saved.