Summary: What happens when Jesus takes over a community?
In this passage, we read about a great move of God that took place in the city of Capernaum. This took place at the beginning of the second year of our Lord’s ministry - what scholars commonly refer to as the “Year of Popularity.” Year one of His ministry was a “Year of Obscurity” and year three was the “Year of Rejection,” but year two was the year when Jesus became popular with the people, and this awakening in Capernaum was the beginning of that popularity.
While Mark would leave us with the impression that this was our Lord’s first day in Capernaum, the other gospels would have us understand that Jesus had been teaching in the city for several weeks, using Capernaum as His “base of operation,” so to speak. As a result of His ministry among them the entire city of Capernaum was transformed by the power of Christ.
This is something that we would say we long to see take place in our community. But do we really? We sing songs like, “Revive us again,” and “Mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead,” but do we really?
All too often, I believe we are content with the “mercy drops” and satisfied to simply have the Lord break through every now and then to do some mighty things among us, but we really aren’t serious when it comes to really wanting to see Jesus actually take over.
It has been said that “half of knowing what you really want is knowing what must change in order for it to happen.” Perhaps we would do well to examine what took place in Capernaum when Jesus took over that city to see if that is really what we want to see happen in our own.
What happens when Jesus takes over?
1. Satan’s kingdom is shaken up - vs. 21-26
We are told that Jesus taught with authority, unlike the teachers of the law. Unlike the scribes, Jesus declared God’s truth boldly. An example is found in our Lord’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, where again and again, Jesus would state what had been commonly taught, then say, “But I say to you . . .”
Declaring God’s truth without compromise stirred up the kingdom of Satan. So much so, that apparently, a representative was sent to ask Jesus to leave Capernaum.
This is what we read about in verses 23-26. One can only imagine what set up the scene recorded here in Scripture.
Imagine what was going on in Capernaum. Jesus comes in and sets up shop. He is speaking and acting with divine authority. This, no doubt, got the demons in the city of Capernaum upset. After all, they had Capernaum right where they wanted it. They no doubt had people whose lives were given over to sin and immorality people enslaved to alcohol and drugs; marriages falling apart; children disrespecting their parents, husbands running around on their wives, etc. Yes, they had things under control . . . Until Jesus started taking over Capernaum.
So in order to address this crisis, they probably called a demon’s meeting to discuss what they should do. Perhaps their discussion included thoughts like, “Let’s just run Him off.” “Yeah, let’s see if we can scare Him and get Him to leave us alone.”
But I’m sure one of the older, wiser, and more level headed demons probably replied by saying something like, “Brothers, this is no ordinary prophet we’re dealing with here. We know who He is! He is the Holy One of God! No, we have no authority over Him and we will not be able to intimidate Him or scare Him. I’m afraid the only thing we can do is ask Him to leave us alone.”
This evidently made sense to the crowd, so they elected a representative from among them (no doubt one of the demons who was absent from the meeting) and sent him to the synagogue to ask Jesus to leave. This is what we read about here.
But Jesus would have none of it. His reply to the demon’s request was straight to the point, “Shut up! Come out of that man!” Immediately, the Bible tells us, the demon left the man. And not only was that demon dealt with, but Mark tells us in verse 34, that before the day was over, “Jesus drove out many demons.” When Jesus takes over, Satan’s kingdom is shaken up.
One of the greatest movements of God in modern history took place in what historians call the “Welsh Revival.” It had its beginning in 1904 in the village of New Quay in the church of pastor Joseph Jenkins. Deeply burdened about the indifference among Christians around him, and particularly concerned about the apathy of his own young people, he addressed them in a special gathering on a Sunday morning. He spoke to them about obeying the Holy Spirit.