Summary: A message on the authority of Jesus cleansing unclean spirit in the synagogue which fits a pattern on ministry given by Dr. James MacDonald at a conference I attended in 2008, 5 points of pattern: communication, opposistion, perserverance, friut, glory.
Mark 1: 21-28
The Devil Comes to Church Too
We have a whole lot of things going on in these verses. We have the deep desire to keep the Sabbath, the desire to be in synagogue, the desire to teach and preach, we have the desire of those who want to be taught and learn the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. We have the preaching of the word with authority to declare the mind of God. We have people being astonished by it. We have the fame of Jesus being spread far and wide. We have commands being given, “ Let us alone!” “Hold thy peace and come out!” We have statement of affirmation, “ I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.” We have a man in convulsions. There are people being amazed by what they have heard and seen. We have questions, “What have we to do with thee thou Jesus of Nazareth? “Art thou come to destroy us?” “What thing is this?” “What new doctrine is this?” What authority is this, that unclean spirits obey him? Who is this man? Oh yes, and one more thing we have, we have the devil in church!!!
Don’t be surprised by that. We have far too many folks in far too many assemblies who quietly attend services while formal, feel good, warm and fuzzy teachers and preachers go about their duties. As I was preparing this message a comment that was made to me months ago, following one of my messages, came to mind and that statement was, “good shootin’ Tex, I can still smell the gun smoke.” In other words, God’s word hit home, someone was challenged and even perhaps a life was changed. This world needs preachers and teachers who come with the Lord, faithful ministers and holy doctrine and with the convincing power of the Holy Spirit, so those who are sitting quietly in service begin to cry out, and ask, “What have we to do with thee Jesus of Nazareth?”
This unclean spirit cried out in pure agony at the presence of Christ. Make no mistake, the devil and all his minions believe and tremble and have a fear of Christ. They have no hope in Him or reverence for Him. We read what this unclean spirit asked, “what have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth, art thou come to destroy us?” “I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” This unclean spirit knows his doom. Even the devil here states the humanness of God ,in the man Jesus ,and His deity as well, the Holy One of God. He wants nothing to do with Jesus, he fears being saved by Him and yet dreads the thought of being destroyed by Him.
What has caused this demon to cry out? The power and authority of God’s word! When God’s word is taught and preached with authority and the power of the Holy Spirit, nothing that attempts to keep us from the truth and the beauty of the gospel can stand against it, nothing or no one! So we see Jesus rebuke this spirit in this man, and now it knows it can no longer cause further pain and mischief within this poor man. It yields to the power of the word and the authority of Jesus. It could not touch Jesus but in its fury at Jesus it disturbs this poor man so badly that he convulses. The spirit knows it is doomed, but yet he wants to cause as much harm and pain as it can before it leaves this poor soul. Just as Jesus taught with authority he also healed with authority. The spirit obeyed and left the man. And they were all astonished who witnessed this.
When they heard and saw this, there was no doubt, that this man was possessed and it was very evident that the devil was forced out by the authority of Jesus. So now the questions are flying, what new doctrine is this? Who is this, that even spirits obey his commands? Then they begin to think, hey, this must be of God, maybe we should begin a friendship with this man who can control evil spirits. Great idea huh, don’t you think so too?
We see that immediately because of this removal of the unclean spirit in the synagogue, the fame of Christ spread near and far, and it was concluded that he was a teacher come from God. Now when folks heard of this we know that some did choose to form a relationship with Jesus and His teachings and ministry, and of course some did not. The curing of a demonic man by simply speaking the words brought astonishment then, and it would have the same effect today I imagine. When the word is given with authority of God and by faith and by the convincing of the Holy Spirit, lives are changed, transformed as we see in this passage. Today lives can and have been and will continue to be changed when the truth is spoken.