Monday, March 11, 2013

The Demon in the Synagogue: The Power of the Word of God

The synagogue is the place where the Jews worshiped their God. But do you know that the first exorcism that Jesus performed was in a synagogue? It sounds paradoxical: casting out demons in the house of God!
In the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark it says that ‘ there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit’ (Mark 1:23). How can a demon-possessed survive in a religious place as a synagogue? Why nobody dealt with this evil-spirit in the synagogue until Jesus walked in? Probably he appeared perfectly normal so that nobody knew he was a demoniac? Or did they just let him be there since they were not able to do anything about it?
This story tells us three things about the nature of demon-possessed people.
1. First, they may look and behave like normal people.
2. Don’t expect to find them only in weird places like grave yards, dark gullies of down town areas, or mental asylums.
3. They can look very normal, could be hanging around religious places like churches and Christian fellowships
There is yet another important aspect in this whole story. It is the evil-spirit that reveals itself. This clearly means that nobody knew that this man has evil-spirit. Or nobody told Jesus that this man has evil-spirit. Evidently, nobody asked Jesus to get involved. The evil-spirit created the scenario on its own.
When Jesus was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum, the man with the evil-spirit couldn't stand the truth of God that Jesus preached anymore and it spoke out revealing itself. It cried out saying: 'What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.'
The people in the synagogue were amazed by the authority of Jesus, they exclaimed that he has authority that is so different from the authority that their scribes had. However, though that was the response of the normal people, the evil-spirit had become so fearful at the authority of Jesus displayed in his teaching. When the man with the evil-spirit heard the powerful teaching of Jesus, it cries out of fear! The evil-spirit immediately realized that their end has come. The evil-spirit knew that the end of the evil has come when it cried out, 'Have you come to destroy us?' They knew the answer to that question is certainly, 'yes!'
The onlookers were surprised indeed. They were curious to know how Jesus would handle the situation. The evil-spirit that cried out in the middle of the sermon interrupted the teaching.
Exorcisms were not new to Jews of Jesus' day. There were lots of Jewish exorcists in Jesus' time who used various means to drive out the demons. Some would use certain prayers or incantations. Some used certain medicines, or stones with magic powers.
This exorcism is different. Jesus did not use any such but commanded the evil-spirit to come out. And it came out immediately! The words of Jesus alone is sufficient to drive the demon out of that man.
For me, this story is not very much about the evil-spirits and exorcism. It is about the power of the Word of God. As the Word of God is preached with divine authority, the kingdom of Satan begins to shake. No evil can withstand the power of the Word of God.
Usually we tend to identify the evil-spirit only if it is manifest. However, the Word of God has the power to uncover everything that God abhors. It has the power to cleanse every mind of everything that displeases him. The Word of God has the cleansing power and every Christian should be cleansed every day by the eternal Word of God.

Being the light of the world

'You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that t...