“Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, ‘Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are – the Holy One of God!’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’ And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.’ And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region of Galilee.”
This is Jesus’ second miracle. The first was at a wedding in Cana of Galilee before he went to Capernaum (in John’s gospel, he records this). The first was done rather secretly, like behind a stage. Only a few people in the background knew what was going on at that wedding. In contrast, this second miracle happens ‘on stage’, in front of all the people gathered in the synagogue. Jesus was center stage, teaching. And the man cries out, changing the scene, bringing the attention off Christ for the moment. The people sitting in the synagogue, the audience, then get to watch a physical manifestation of 2 spiritual beings converse: the lesser subject, and the Almighty God who had the authority. Both beings are cloaked in costumes of human form. But one is a hijacked suit. The other was custom made by the Maker Himself. They are as opposite as can be – one crying out in fear, One commanding with authority. It is a good reminder for me that (1 John 4:4)
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you in greater than he who is in the world.”
God is greater. There is no doubt about that. This demon might have been louder, screaming out, convulsing this poor soul whom he held hostage – but God’s power is great. Jesus rebuked him – “be quiet, and come out of him!” And the people acknowledge in amazement this new power they have not seen before. This man, Jesus, not only teaches with authority, but He actually has and demonstrates this authority that they have never seen before.
Do we as Believers remember to acknowledge this with the same awe? We know God is our Savior and Father; we know all things belong to Him. But in that knowledge, do you remember that He has all authority on heaven and on earth, that our lives are to be submitted to Him willingly, without fear but with loving obedience. Do we live in the knowledge that He is the ultimate authority of evil powers as well? Or do we live in fear of the direction things are turning in our world? If we truly acknowledged and made ourselves aware of God’s ultimate authority, we could live with No Fear of anything!
There’s one other thing to touch on – how do people’s free will come into this scene? If God has the end say, if He is ultimately in control of all, what choices do we have? Well, we can either be subject to God’s authority and protection – or we can be vulnerable to the other power in this great act, Satan. Ephesians 2:1-9 says:
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Our free will does not mean that we -or any created thing! – can usurp God’s Power. He is and always will be in control. We are free to choose what authority we will be subject to (Matthew 6:24) “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Jesus also said that the person who is not for Him is against Him. There is no fence to sit on. But here is the good news about that: when we are hopeless and helpless and slaves to the wrong power, there is a greater power that can free us. The demon did come out of the man. Yes, our free will means we choose who to serve. Unfortunately, when people choose the wrong side, changing your mind is something that becomes difficult, eventually even impossible. But God. Like there in Ephesians, the best two words with hope, power, and the ability to re-write the current script of our lives.
What authority are you subjecting your life to?
If you are under God’s authority, does it show?
What fears do you need to overcome in Christ’s power?
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21)