saying, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!"Mark 1:24(NASB)
The first twenty verses of Mark's gospel catapult us through the tumultuous ministry of John the Baptist, Christ's baptism and His temptation in the wilderness, into the beginning of His public ministry, with the calling of His first disciples, on the shore of the Galilee.
We are immediately plunged into a confrontation with the scribes, on a Sabbath day. Jesus entered the synagogue at Capernaum and astounded the people with His gracious words and authoritative teaching, which even amazed the Jewish leaders.
During this energetic introduction to Christ's ministry the drama intensified when a man in their synagogue, who had an unclean spirit, shouted out in the middle of the service: "What business do we have with each other.. Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-- You are the Holy One of God!"
None of Mark's readers could continue pleading ignorance about Christ's identity after this unexpected outburst so early in His ministry, which stated clearly Who Jesus was. The testimony this demon-possessed man was compelled to make, during that Sabbath service, stated plainly Who Jesus was and where He was from. He was both the Ruler who came to serve and the Servant who will come to rule. His authority came from His Father in heaven and His teaching came from the Word of God.
The carpenter of Nazareth, Who had recently set up his base at Capernaum was identified in no uncertain terms. He was Jesus of Nazareth - the Holy One of God, Who was feared by demons. He was an inspired teacher with great spiritual awareness. His conduct was compelling, His pronouncements were true, His authority was unique and very different from that of the scribes and Pharisees.
Jesus had already left His hometown of Nazareth, when threatened with death by the people who lived there. They had already rejected His claim to be the fulfilment of Scripture, when...during a Sabbath day meeting He boldly announced, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind.. to set free those who are oppressed and to proclaim the favourable year of the Lord".
Why did the demon-possessed man cry out in this way? Why did he reveal the identity of Christ so early in His ministry? Well, Jesus is the incarnate Word, and the word of God is living and powerful. It is authoritative and disconcerting. It uncovers hidden evil by placing its finger on the pulse of fallen humanity - and God's word is sharper than any two-edged sword.
In recognising the purity of the holy One of God, the demonic man responded with an abusive remark. It was an admission that light has no fellowship with darkness and evil cannot commune with good. He confessed that righteousness cannot partner with lawlessness nor unbelievers with a holy God.
The demon-possessed man initially identified the Lord with a derogatory label.. "Jesus of Nazareth". This term that was meant to belittle the Person and Work of the Son of Man, but he had to admit the true identity of the heavenly Man in their presence - "the Holy One of God!", for Jesus was the Son of God - GOD the Son.
The demon also acknowledged the purpose for which Jesus came. The Son of God was revealed in order to destroy the evil works of the devil and his many wicked accomplices. But Christ's time had not yet come. The destruction of sin and Satan, death and hell was to happen at the cross - but first Jesus must reveal Himself as the authoritative Word of truth.. the incarnate God - the Holy One of Israel, Who came to save sinners from their sin.
The voice of the demonic man was heard in the synagogue, that day.. but the words that were spoken came from the demon itself. This demonic being knew Who Jesus was. He recognised the Person of Christ and He knew the work He had come to do.
His 'confession' demonstrates that even demons 'believe' and they tremble. But Christ was not sent in the likeness of angels to give help to heavenly beings. Jesus came in the likeness of man.. to redeem the descendant of Abraham - and ALL who believe on His name WILL be saved.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus is the holy One of God, Who came in the likeness of human flesh, so that He could live a life of purity and truth, and offer that perfect life as the acceptable offering for the sin of the world. Thank You that He came to destroy the works of the devil and that His work on the cross and resurrection from the dead has won victory over sin, Satan, death and hell. Thank You that there is nothing in heaven, or earth or under the earth that is able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, in Whose name we pray, AMEN.