Two accounts of Jesus driving out an impure spirit:
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One Reply to “Jesus Drives out an Impure Spirit”
Both accounts of this story in Mark and Luke provide details of how Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach. This stands out to me because Jesus was not a Pharisee, he was not one of the Sanhedrin or, as far as I can tell, one who had positional authority. Synagogues were established to provide the Jewish people a place to practice their faith and to learn. Jesus enters and teaches with an authority that surprise and amaze the people.
Then the man with an impure spirit enters. This alone is interesting. Why would a man with an impure spirit find his way to the synagogue? Perhaps this was Satan’s way of misleading those who would gather, especially on the Sabbath. I wonder if people enter our churches with the same intent, whether conscious or not. Let that rattle around in your mind for a while! His question is interesting as well, “What do you want with us?” Who is “us” in this case? This demon, one who apparently represents demons, recognizes Jesus immediately and, according to Luke, shouts at Jesus to get out! He declares that Jesus is the Holy One of God in front of all those present. Jesus’ reaction is to shut him up “sternly” by commanding “Come out of him!”
Luke adds that the spirit came out without hurting the man, but I wonder how he was transformed that day, how the veil of darkness was lifted. I wonder about this man and about possession of demons, something to consider learning more about as we deal with people who come from all walks of life, who seem to have a mind that is so far from our reality that we cannot relate. Perhaps mental illness as we know it today is related to Biblical demon possession. I don’t know how this all works and I’m not sure it makes sense to devote much effort beyond knowing that the name of Jesus makes Satan tremble. The closer we are to Christ, the greater our ability to discern those who are with God and those who are against him.
“All the people were amazed” and the news about Jesus began to spread. I hope I would certainly try to find this man and listen to what he had to say. The next passage tells us about another miraculous encounter, but I wonder what happened just after the demon left. Did Jesus simply continue teaching? Use the encounter as a smooth segue to refer to Isaiah or Exodus? We only get snippets, ancient sound-bites, glimpses into the story, but it seems reasonable that Jesus was there for some time before he left. I’m sure he would have my attention by now! Just the image of Jesus casting out the demon then speaking any words that follow is a bit overwhelming. Can you imagine? I don’t picture Jesus make this some sort of side-show, he was merely maintaining order and discipline. Perhaps this is why we move onto the next story, Jesus doesn’t want this to become the focal point. If we look too closely at the man who was healed, we take our eyes off of the healer–that would be a mistake.