For a while Jesus lived in Capernaum, a village on the coast of the Sea of Galilee, and He frequently taught in the synagogue there. The people who heard Him were amazed at His teaching because He taught “as one who had real authority” (Mark 1:22). That means Jesus came across as if He was absolutely certain of what He was saying. This is another proof that Jesus was God in the form of a human being. Naturally, God knows what He is talking about. Jesus never said, “I may be wrong, but let Me tell you how I feel about that subject” or, “Your opinion is as good as Mine.” If He had said those things, we’d know He really wasn’t God.
Once, right as Jesus was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum, a man who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting at Him. The evil spirit was actually the one speaking, using the man’s mouth, and he said, “Why are you bothering us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One sent from God!” (Mark 1:24). Jesus, to whom God the Father had given authority over everything, including evil spirits (see John 3:35), commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man, and it did. From this incident, we can learn several things about Jesus and evil spirits.
If you’re born again, you don’t have to worry about evil spirits getting inside you or possessing you, because Jesus lives inside you by the Holy Spirit. This man who was possessed by an evil spirit wasn’t born again. The Bible tells us, “The [Holy] Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world [the devil]” (1 John 4:4). Evil spirits are no match for Jesus. The evil spirit we just read about was afraid that Jesus was going to completely destroy him and all his fellow evil spirits.
This evil spirit also knew who Jesus was, calling Him “the Holy One sent from God” (Mark 1:24). Evil spirits like to brag about what they know, but in doing so, this particular demon showed how stupid he was. He said something in the synagogue that his boss, the devil, didn’t want anyone to know! I wonder if he got in trouble with the devil for shooting off his mouth!
Regardless, when the demon-possessed man was delivered, the news spread quickly in Galilee. God the Father was advertising His Son because He wanted people to listen to what Jesus was telling them. Believing Jesus’ message was the only way people could have their sins forgiven.
Next we read about Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law who had a very high fever. The news of that miracle also spread quickly, and when evening arrived, many sick and demon-possessed people came to Peter and Andrew’s house seeking help. According to Matthew and Luke’s Gospels, Jesus healed and delivered every single one of them (see Matthew 8:16; Luke 4:40-41). This not only again proves that Jesus was the Messiah sent from God, it also shows us that Jesus loves everyone who is sick or possessed by evil spirits. He loves them enough to heal and deliver them.
Q. In the final verses of our reading today, we read that Jesus arose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness to pray. Why would God need to pray? What do you think Jesus prayed about?
A. While Jesus was on earth, He was following His Father’s orders. One reason He prayed was to receive those orders. From what we read today about Jesus’ prayer time, it seems He received direction to leave Capernaum to preach in other towns (see Mark 1:38).
Q. We know that no true Christian could be possessed by a demon. But why is it that only some unsaved people become possessed by demons?
A. No one knows for sure. However, it is quite likely that many unsaved people who become demon-possessed open the door to possession by continually thinking wrong thoughts and giving in to temptation. An evil spirit can’t get inside any person it wants. Becoming demon-possessed is normally a gradual, progressive thing that begins when a person yields to the suggestions of a demon.
Application: Just as elephants shouldn’t be afraid of mice, we shouldn’t be afraid of the devil and evil spirits. They’re afraid of Jesus who lives in us!