Summary: Fourth in series on the Miracles of Jesus. The healing of a Demon Possessed Man.
Miracle # 4
“Jesus Heals A Demon Possessed Man”
According to the Gospels, Jesus had the power to cure not only physical disease but spiritual affliction as well.
The first person with a spiritual affliction that had an encounter with Jesus and is recorded by scripture was in the town of Capernaum in the district of Galilee. Jesus had just come from the Sea of Galilee where he had recruited the first four of his twelve disciples – Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John. They arrived in Capernaum on the Sabbath, and Jesus decided to go to the local synagogue (as was his usual custom), where he immediately began to teach.
The Background of the Miracle (vv. 21-22)
“Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. (22) And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
These verses tell us that the people were astonished or amazed at his teaching. The Greek word (ekplesso) literally means “to strike with panic or shock.” The teaching of Jesus packed a powerful punch. The unprepared listeners were so amazed by his teaching that they were unable to grasp the meaning of what was happening.
Jesus taught with Authority
The Old Testament prophets spoke for God. The said, “Thus says the Lord.” The Old Testament prophets were messengers of God speaking only what they had been given.
The Scribes of Jesus day preached about God. They stood on the authority of what previous great men had spoken about the meaning of scripture, it was second hand theology. But when Jesus spoke it was just the opposite.
Jesus spoke as God. Jesus spoke with authority because he spoke as the author of scripture. That why the people were amazed.
Jesus’ preaching was clear. Jesus took the deep truth of God’s word and made it easy to understand. Have you ever heard some intellectual speak and when he was through you did not know what he had said. Some times we think if it don’t understand what someone has said they must be brilliant. But that is not necessarily so. There is a saying here in the South, “Just because you can’t see the bottom of the river doesn’t mean its deep – it may just be muddy.”
“Once Harry Ironside was greeting by a visitor who said he had enjoyed the service, although he did not think Ironside was a great preacher. Ironside replied, ‘I know I am not a great preacher. But what is it about my preaching that brought you to that conclusion?’ The man answered, ‘I understood everything you said.’ This was an unwitting confession of one of the reasons for Ironside’s greatness.” [R. Kent Hughes Luke: That You May Know the Truth. Vol 1 (Wheaton, Illinois, Crossway Books, 1998) p. 149]
Jesus preaching was not only clear it was convicting. An alarming thought is that the demon had been in the synagogue before and had never been disturbed by what he had heard or witnessed.
It was in the context of Jesus’ authoritative exposition of the Word of God that a striking miracle occurred.
The Elements of the Miracle (vv. 23-26)
“Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, (24) 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!"
As Jesus taught suddenly a man yelled out interrupting his teaching. The voice belonged to a man that we are told had an “unclean spirit” – in other words a man possessed by a demon.
There are many in our “modern” age that try to explain away the presence of demon-possessed individuals in the ministry of Jesus as nothing more than misunderstood mental illness. These individuals say that Jesus just used the terms prevalent in his day, to explain these peoples condition.
Demons are created beings (fallen angels) that no longer inhabit the kingdom of light because they followed Satan (originally called Lucifer) in a great rebellion (Isa. 14:12-17, Ezek. 28:11-19, Rev. 12:3-4) which occurred in heaven before the creation of Adam and Eve.
Since this is the first mention of demon-possession I want to briefly look at what the Bible says about the origin of Satan and his demons.
"How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! (13) For you have said in your heart: "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;(14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (15) Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. (16) "Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: "Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, (17) Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.”