Back in the book of Mark today. Still in chapter 1, and as I said before, Mark is hard hitting and fast moving. Where the other Gospels are giving details on the virgin birth, genealogies, or artistically pointing us to the son of God, Mark is giving us a just the facts history of what was happening during the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. With just enough background on John the Baptist preparing the way, then Jesus baptism, a sentence on His temptation, then John is arrested for preaching the Kingdom of God (or some reason related to that – being too honest with a certain being outside of that kingdom), we’re off with Jesus finding disciples and preaching, of course, the Kingdom of God.
Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. Notice, when you read the bible, that every Sabbath day you find, Jesus is in the temple or in the synagogue. There is a lie very nearly accepted as fact by many that Jesus was against organized religion. Jesus was not at all against organized religion, He in fact fully participated in it His entire life. Even when the religious leaders were hot on His case and looking for reasons to kill Him, He was in temple on the sabbath.
And also notice here – just as Peter, Andrew, James and John saw some reason to follow this carpenter from Nazareth, those same religious leaders who would later turn on Him saw something in Jesus that they allowed and invited Him to teach in the synagogue. Jesus was clearly becoming known around this town of Capernaum.
The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law. In other words, Jesus taught and preached not on the authority of Moses, or Elijah, or Abraham, or anybody else. He taught in His own name. Many places we see it where Jesus says something like “You have heard it said….but I say…” Like where Jesus says – “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28 NLT He doesn’t rely on the authority of those who comes before him, doesn’t just quote scripture, He is making His own rules on His own authority. This was stunning to those in the synagogue, nobody had ever been so bold. “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God….For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.” John 1:1-2, 17-18 NLT. Jesus doesn’t have to rely on the word given before because He is the very word of God in and of Himself. The authority He claims is the authority in Himself, God incarnate. In fact He later told the religious leaders bluntly “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” John 5:39 NLT. So Jesus taught, but very unlike anyone who had ever taught before.
Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Now there is a huge verse in the bible that is so often just read past and barely noticed. Think about one thing for a minute – how often had this man been in this synagogue, being taught the word of God, and this demon living inside of Him had never been disturbed?? This guy probably came every Sabbath, listened to the teaching like a good Jew, living every day with a demon controlling him.
But Jesus shows up, teaching on His own authority, and all of a sudden – Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? First of all, who is “us”? And why does this demon react as it is? What did Jesus teach about, all the time? He taught the Kingdom of God. Jesus was the word made flesh, coming to exorcise all of our personal demons, save us from all of our sins, but we miss the bigger picture. The BIG PICTURE here is this – Jesus came down to earth to reclaim the world for Himself. There are really only two kingdoms – the Kingdom of God, and the Satan’s kingdom based on violence, rivalry, and accusation. Jesus preaching the Kingdom of God was declaring to the satanic forces that their time was up!!
Later on Jesus would say ““I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.” John 14:30-31 NLT. The ruler of this world which Jesus is talking about is Satan. As we see in Cain vs Abel, the world began with the influence of Satan, that sin crouching at Cain’s door, which God warned him about but which overcame him anyway. Cain started the first city, laying the foundation for our world based on the satanic forces of power and force, rivalry and accusation, blame and shame. Society arose from that city, named Enoch after Cain’s son, and empires were formed, empires died, all based on the same satanic foundation. We see in Isaiah 13 & 14 the great prophet personifying the empire of Babylon as Lucifer, the morning star, the imitator of Jesus Christ. The whole overarching story of the bible, Babylon vs Jerusalem.
So, again, the question the demon asks – Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? “Us” is all the demons of the world, all the forces of Satan. I think I’m safe in saying that we all have our demons, right? We all have something inside us that we just can’t shake, can’t get rid of. Something that hurts, something that we don’t even want to acknowledge is there. There is a bigger picture, but as we know, all politics is local, right? So we simplify this, we declare Jesus is Lord and He will save us, he will free us from our own personal demons.
And all of that is true. But the bigger picture is this – Jesus came bring and preaching the Kingdom of God. He came into this synagogue and announced to this demon that He was coming to destroy all of satans little demons. He came declaring war in the spiritual realm. This demon, so happily holed up inside this man for who knows how long, got the message immediately.
Not just this demon, not just your demon, but for all the satanic forces, Jesus came to establish the kingdom of God right here in this world. Satan thought he had won on Good Friday, when all the darkness of the world converged and crucified the Christ. But then Sunday came, the cross became not just a tool of execution but the very throne of Jesus, the glory of God revealed in an empty tomb and walking savior.
Notice that those who were threatened by Jesus were the first to recognize who He was. They will do everything they can to suppress His true message. The spiritual forces, along the empires they produce, will deceive with their own message that is just close enough that many will accept the counterfeit as the real thing. That morning star flashing across the sky will deceive, but when the Son comes up He will overpower all.
“Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law. Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him. 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!” The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.”
Mark 1:21-28 NLT