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.
Mark 21 begins the account of Jesus’ ministry. He enters the synagogue and starts teaching on the Sabbath day. The account says that He was different to the teachers of the law, and the people were amazed at His authority. An evil spirit shouts out to Jesus; it knows who He is and it is afraid. It challenges Jesus because it knows who He is and the power He possesses. Jesus shuts it down and it comes violently out of the man as Jesus commands. The people are even more amazed at His authority.
There are two points which stand out to me: the evident authority of Jesus; and the challenging appearance of the evil spirit. The spirit does not shy in fear of Jesus, it knows full well who He is and it doesn’t want its domain interfered with. It is given no mercy by Jesus, who casts it out of the man, screaming and violent.
It seems to me that this is still the way that satan acts today. Evil is not silent in the presence of God, it challenges and rears up. It is quite happy where it has control over people and Christ is not part of their lives. When Christians are active and souls are being won it’s then that satan challenges and makes trouble. This makes life harder for us when we feel and see the opposition to what we are doing. But Jesus has the authority over all of this, we need to engage His power through prayer and all the armour of God, and fight back. The evil won’t go quietly, but it will go.
Sometimes I feel that satan is challenging the things I do for God. He makes me tired, he distracts me, he tells me that what I do is not effective, he tells me that I could have more money if I worked instead. But I won’t let him win. When I’m challenged at least I know I am a threat to the evil one. ‘I can do all things (that God wants me to do) through Christ who strengthens me’ Philipians 4:13.
Strengthen me today Lord Jesus to defeat the challenge of the evil one and use your authority to do the things you give me to do. Amen. Hallelujah.
Written by Dimity Milne