INTRO: The method of Jesus in dealing with demoniacs was not that of
the Jewish exorcists. While it is said (Mt 8:16) that He “cast out the spirits
with a word,” it is abundantly clear that the word in question was not
ritualistic but authoritative.
Lk 4:35 we have a typical sentence uttered by our Lord in the performance of His
cures: “Hold thy peace, and come out of him.”
In Mk 9:29 we have Christ’s own emphasis upon the ethical element in dealing
with these mysterious maladies: “This kind can come
out by nothing, save by prayer.” In Mt 12:28 Jesus gives His own
explanation of the method and power used in His cures: “But
if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon
In Lk 9:1 the terms “authority” and “power” are used in such a way as to show the belief of the evangelists that to cure demon-possession an actual power from God, together with the right to use it, was necessary. This group of passages gives the New Testament philosophy of this dread mystery and its cure. The demons are personal evil powers afflicting human life in their opposition to God. It is beyond man unaided to obtain deliverance from them. It is the function of Christ as the redeemer of mankind to deliver men from this as well as other ills due to sin. Miraculous cures of the same kind as those performed by Christ Himself were accomplished by His disciples in His name (Mk 16:17). The power attributed to “His name” supplies us with the opportunity for a most enlightening comparison and contrast.
immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about
Galilee. 29And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue,
they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
Also in Luke 4:31-37
came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. 32And
they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. 33And
in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and
cried out with a loud voice, 34Saying, Let us alone; what have
we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us?
I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. 35And Jesus rebuked
him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown
him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. 36And they
were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this!
for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come
out. 37And the fame of him went out into every place of the country
As a general rule of thumb, even though Mark is the shortest gospel, it
has the longest miracle narratives.
Mark is writing to show that Jesus is the Servant.
One of the characteristics of a servant is his activity and his ability
and his power; therefore, Mark emphasizes the powerful working of the Servant
more than the other gospels.
What do you want in a servant? Speedy
service. That is why Mark’s key word is “immediately.”
thing that we see is the repetition of the word “authority.” Therefore the
idea of the passage is Jesus’ authority.
We need to notice that this is a Sabbath miracle.
Jesus is working on the Sabbath on purpose to make the point that the old
system is over and a new one is here.
b. Context of Mark
Remember the purpose statement of Mark in Mark 1:1 “The
beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” where he lays
out that he will prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
In the first half of the book, the emphasis is on showing Jesus to be the
Messiah. The climax is when Peter makes the statement in 8:29, "You
are the Christ" (i.e. Messiah)
In the last half of the book, Jesus is shown to be the Son of God. The
climax of that section is when the centurion looking at Jesus hanging on the
cross says, "Truly this man was the Son of
God!" So it helps to
understand the context of the whole book as we look at this miracle.
Luke 4: 18 Jesus quotes Isaiah and says that He is here
To preach the gospel to
It is only the needy who
to proclaim release to the captives,
In context of Luke -
captive of Satan
and recovery of sight to the blind,
Physical and Spiritual
to set free those who are downtrodden,
Bring justice - captive
To proclaim the favorable
year of the Lord.
Ultimate Sabbath rest -
The center point is the main point, which in this case is belief or Faith
The recovery of sight to the blind refers not just to physical blindness,
but also to spiritual blindness. But
it will be illustrated in healing physically blind people. It would be a sign
that the Messiah was present. The
surrounding points show us how Jesus would bring about that belief – through
His words and works.
After recording that event, Luke records the performance of this miracle
where Jesus teaches with authority (His words) and sets a man free who is held
captive by demons (His works).
And since this miracle immediately follows the quotation from Isaiah
(Luke 4:18), I think we what we have here is the illustration for Jesus’
sermon and Luke’s gospel.
This is also in keeping with Jesus’ statement in Luke 4:19 that He was
here to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.
This was a reference to the year of Jubilee – the Sabbath of Sabbaths.
In Lev 16 the year of Jubilee is discussed in detail showing the benefits
to the individual who was freed from debt, whose property was returned,
etc. In Isa 61 the context has a national
Here in Luke, the reference to Elijah and Elisha ministering in the
Gentile nation of Zarephath and the cleansing of Naaman the Syrian show the
context has expanded to have a universal
Jesus is bringing the ultimate Sabbath, the ultimate rest, to those who
believe in Him--Jew and Gentile.
The leaders of Israel, the scribes and Pharisees did not teach with
authority. They always quoted
someone else. They would say,
“Hillel says, .....” or “Shamai says, ....” It is the same today in
Most writers for theological journals have hundreds of footnotes in a 20
page article. That is not
necessarily bad. It just means they are reading all the available literature on
the subject so they can deal with all the arguments.
It is just that we are fallible. We
often don’t know for sure what the right answer is (even though some act like
they do). Jesus was different. He didn’t quote anyone.
He just quoted scripture and explained it.
And when he explained it, if you were open and teachable, you just knew
he was right.
William Taylor says there are three ways in which Jesus’ messages were
Originality and hence more authority
Jesus’ illustrations were abundant and simple
His applications were clear and pointed
"Jesus made no reference to any authority other than himself. Yet
his words were so insightful, so true to the experience and inner convictions of
the men and women there that they nodded their heads, "Of course!" and
knew what he said was true.
His words had that "ring of truth," acknowledged by all who
heard him speak. It was self-authenticating truth, corresponding to an inner
conviction in each person who heard him, so that they knew that he knew the
secrets of life." (Ray Stedman, http://www.pbc.org/dp/stedman/mark/3303.html)
demons recognize Jesus’ identity and his authority and they confront Him.
In Luke 4, at his first public address, Jesus claimed to be the Messiah
and the synagogue leaders wanted to throw Him off a cliff.
Here we see the demons call Jesus the “Holy one of God.”
This phrase is an allusion to the phrase "Holy One of Israel"
used often in Isaiah and Jeremiah.
The demons recognize what the audience does not. They know that Jesus has
the right to judge the spirit world. Men
sometimes say, “I don’t believe all this stuff about Jesus.”
The spirit world knows it’s true.
Only the fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
In the context of Mark, this confession by the demons has special
significance. In Mark 1:1, Mark
begins by stating that this is the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Mark tells his readers right up front that Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus
is God. As you read through the
book, you see that the disciples don’t really know who Jesus is.
But here in this miracle, you see that the demons know who Jesus is.
This passage sets up the irony that while his own disciples don’t know
who He is, the demons do.
The demons think Jesus has shown up to judge.
In Matthew the demons ask if Jesus has come to judge “before the
time.” They think it is a little
quick. Perhaps they know something about the timetable of the end times.
He rebuked them and told them to be quiet.
This is the same word used later in the stilling of the storm.
Thus we see that Jesus has the ability to still the supernatural forces
and the natural forces. It may be significant, but Jesus doesn’t engage in
very long discussions with demons during any of His exorcisms.
Some have rather long conversations with demons before they cast them
out. I wonder if that is wise.
The demon has to come out at the command of Christ.
He must obey.
The demon tries to get in one last shot on the way out, but the man was
left unharmed (according to Luke - the physician 4:35).
Perhaps this shows us that although the demons recognize Jesus’
authority and power and have to submit, they submit unwillingly.
The witnesses were amazed at His authority. They were amazed at His words
before, and now at His works.
What word is used to describe Jesus’ teaching?
“New” He is not quoting
other scholars. The whole area heard about this.
Jesus has the power and authority to judge the spirit world
because He is the Holy one of God - the Messiah.
I need to believe that Jesus possesses inherent power because of
who He is.
Amazement is not enough. Faith
is essential. All the people were
amazed, but not all believed.
What is Jesus doing when the demon manifests itself?
He is teaching in the synagogue. The
devil comes to church too. We often
think that if I can just go to church, I’ll be safe there.
From the emphasis in the passage on authority and the demon’s
reaction to Jesus, we see that Satan is active in attacking the authority of
Holiness and Sin are incompatible.
When Jesus showed up, the demons reacted.
I need to be aware and warned of how controlling the demon world
If demons are subject to the authority of Christ, I should be too.
Theirs is involuntary, mine is voluntary, but I can and should submit.
This exorcism is a very visible demonstration of the physical
dimension of salvation. We are freed from the power of Satan.
Jesus spoke with authority and without quoting the scholars.
The Pharisees and scribes always quoted their teachers, thinking their
tradition had settled the issue of truth. I don’t want to be pharisaical.
I don’t want to be too dependent on my tradition, thinking it’s got
all the answers. I want to be open to the teaching of scripture and teach with
its authority. As we deal with the
charismatic controversy, I think we need to keep this in mind. Try to forget
your tradition and examine the arguments with as much of an open mind as