Summary: An evil spirit visits church and Jesus cast it out. Jesus demonstrates a new kind of preaching and authority
When Jesus Speaks…..
If I say the name E.F Hutton….what comes to mind?
Teenagers I think you are off the hook on this one.
Let me say the phrase, When E. F. Hutton Speaks……People listen.
It was in commercial about an investment company, two people in a crowded place talking normally, one would say, “Well my broker is E.F. Hutton….”
Everyone in the commercial stopped walking, talking and was obviously trying to listen in on the conversation. The commercial wanted to illustrate that it was one to work with because their knowledge was sound and represented some level of authority related to successful investing.
Our scripture this morning is the official start in Jesus’ ministry. In the first 20 verses He is introduces as a adult, he receives the Holy Spirit and perhaps an expansion of his healthy abilities. He selected disciples who drop everything and responded to his call to follow him.
We can’t be positive of the time line but it sounds like this is the next Sabbath day. Jesus goes to Capernaum “first” synagogue to preach.
There are some differences between churches today and our worship and what was done in a synagogue. A synagogue was basically teaching institution established by the LAW and was to be established in any community that had 10 Jewish men.
The services had three parts. Prayer, reading of scripture and exposition or explanation of what was read. There was no singing and no sacrifice. The Temple was the only place for worship with psalms and offerings.
Synagogues were places of great influence because they were in the community with easy access while there was only one temple.
The synagogue had no permanent preacher. The ruler of the synagogue could call on any competent man to address the gathering and to explain scripture.
Humm…. Perhaps we could try that sometime. I have heard of churches that do.
I remember years ago when Renee and I were visiting her home church the pastor would look around and say, Brother Sam will pray for our worship this morning….At the offering time he would call out another name…..
Being a conservative Methodist boy, my stomach started knotting up when I looked a the bulletin and saw a reference to prayer. That feeling started me praying, “O Lord, Don’t let him call on me!” Every time we visited I looked at the floor, slumped in the pew out of fear of being asked to pray….
I am sure that most of the time in the synagogue they heard from their local teachers. Perhaps older men with a lot of knowledge and experience. Some one was going to teach on the Sabbath. It seems that your chances of being selected might be higher if you were a visitor to a synagogue….
We know that Jesus has a message and that we went to give that message in Capernaum. We don’t know if he asked to teach or was randomly selected. But He started teaching.
Let’s read part of the scripture again, “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.”
The people were amazed….amazed at what, a guest preacher – no, His age – no, his clothes or that he was a stranger….No
They were amazed that He taught with authority.
What was different than normal?
The normal teachers of the Law instead of reading a scripture and qualifying his comments with “according the Rabbi so and so this passage means….
Jesus teaches with “Personal Authority” He did not seem to need to build any support or defense for his remarks.
It seems that the people did not find a flaw in his style. They were amazed that he spoke plainly with out confusing citations and exact quotes. And it must have made since.
The scripture continues:
Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out,
(The story is getting good.) They went from a scripture class with a young gifted preacher to a sort of show. This kind of thing probably never happened around there.
This possessed man, a member of the synagogue shouts…Interaction, questions during the teaching were not uncommon in the services…it is a teaching experience.
But this man does not seem to want to talk about the message. He wants to know what is really going on. He has a personal question.
“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!"
The word “US” catches my attention. It can mean a couple of things. It could indicate several spirits but, it is seems more likely that it was one evil spirit and the human man. This spirit identifies Jesus by name and also by his position in the kingdom of God.