Flashback Episode — Silencing Evil Spirits: Mark 1:21-28

Read the Transcript

If you ever wondered how Jesus preached, you may be surprised to learn that the gospels tell us. Both Mark and Luke share an event that includes a phrase and a healing that demonstrate Jesus’ uniqueness and how He communicated differently from the other religious leaders at that time.

Perhaps this event stands out in my mind because I am a developing speaker, and who better to learn from than Jesus. While I cannot be identical to Jesus in this regard, there definitely are some things that stood out.

Perhaps you are a speaker, or you have a message you want to communicate to others. Either way, let’s read the passage and learn what made Jesus’ teaching different. We’ll be reading from the gospel of Mark, chapter 1, starting in verse 21, and we’ll be reading from the New International Version of the Bible:

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.”

Let’s stop reading there. Did you see what I saw that made Jesus’ teaching different?

It’s found in verse 22, where it says, “He [Jesus] taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Even before the plot thickens with the demon-possessed man, the people recognized that Jesus was different. While I don’t know this for certain, I imagine the teachers of the law in this synagogue used a few verses from the scripture, before using other rabbi’s explanations to build their message. In this way, they are simply repeating those who came before them.

However Jesus likely shared a portion of scripture before sharing a truth about God, God’s love, a parable-story, or some other deeper thought. I imagine Jesus sharing scripture as a way to describe God, rather than sharing scripture before sharing what others think about that scripture.

Also, the verse says Jesus spoke with authority, which I might be tempted to think simply means that He spoke confidently, but then we have the demon-possessed man showing up which shifts the focus of this event.

It appears that this healing happened to back up what the people were already thinking: specifically that Jesus spoke with authority. Not only did Jesus sound different when speaking, He communicated so powerfully that demons obeyed Him.

This leads us into the next verse, verse 28, which says, “News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

I’m sure if you saw a miracle like this, you would spread the word as well!

Skipping down a few verses to verse 32, which happened that evening, let’s continue:

32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

This event focuses in on Jesus’ power to heal the sick and demon-possessed. In the verses we skipped over, Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law who had a fever, and these two healings prompt a steady stream of people bringing their sick relatives to Jesus to heal.

Of note is that word spread that afternoon about Jesus, but the people waited until after sunset to bring their friends, family, and relatives who needed help. Jesus didn’t shy away from healing on the Sabbath, since He healed the demon-possessed man in the morning at the synagogue, and Peter’s mother-in-law in the afternoon, but the people waited. It wouldn’t always be this way, but in these early months of Jesus’ ministry, the people wanted Jesus’ help in a way that would not upset the legalistic culture of the Pharisees and religious leaders.

Also, it is amazing that the first demon – with a crowd of witnesses present – would validate the claim that Jesus was God’s “Holy One”. It is one thing to discount the disciples’ belief, and the belief of the crowd, but when Satan’s angels make that claim, it is worth taking note.

Part of me wonders why Jesus would stop the evil spirits from speaking following this event, but I have a few thoughts about why this might be.

First off, Satan is a master liar, so everything that he or his angel’s say is suspect. He doesn’t have to lie, but he can easily choose to do so. This fact immediately makes whatever he says irrelevant, because whether it is the truth or a lie, it cannot be trusted.

Secondly, Jesus is interested in the focus and glory of these healings to go to God. He did not heal or cast out demons to get recognition for Himself; He was continually pointing people upward to God. While the demons were stating the truth, they were trying to take the focus away from God and place it onto Jesus.

Thirdly, the people had a popular belief about who the Messiah would be and what His role would take. However, this was not an accurate picture of the type of Messiah Jesus came to be. With a large enough crowd too early in Jesus’ ministry, the people’s preconceived ideas could derail what Jesus wanted to do in favor of them pushing for their belief in who they thought He should be. If this happened, Jesus would have been the cause of a massive uprising, and the Romans would have sent a portion of their army to quickly squash what was happening.

Jesus needed time to help people understand He was not like any of the other self-claimed messiahs that had come before, and that His view of the Messiah role was much broader than the Jewish stereotype.

This leads us into our challenge as we close out this podcast episode:

Regardless of what evidence you use to support your belief in Jesus, keep Him as first and most significant in your life; study the Bible and the gospels for yourself in a prayerful manor so you can learn more about who He was and what He is like; and with all that in mind, never chicken out of where God wants to lead you to, in your life with Him!

Flashback Episode: Season 2 – Episode 7: Cam focuses in on how Jesus communicated differently, and on why He may have silenced the demons who wanted to expose who He really was.

Join the discussion on the original episode's page: Click Here.