Teaching in the Synagogue of Capernaum Authenticated by Healing a Demoniac (Mark 1:21-2 and Luke 4: 31-37)
The main point of this passage is to display to us Jesus’ power and authority. In this passage, we see that Jesus has authority in the teaching of God’s Word and Jesus has authority over demons.
The people were astonished at Jesus’ teaching because His word possessed authority. In contrast to their rabbis, who merely cited the opinions of other rabbis, Jesus’ teachings had inherent authority, the authority of God himself (cf. Matt. 5:22). His authority is authenticated in the following verses as Jesus casts out a demon.
We also see that even the demons know who Jesus is, and the power that He has over them. The demon recognizes Jesus as the Holy One of God who has come in the power of the Holy Spirit to triumph over demonic powers. This is a messianic confession that Jesus silences.
So if Jesus is truly God’s Holy One, Why would Jesus silence a demon for telling the truth? This is because, although the statement was true, the intentions behind it was false. The demon knew that the Israelites had a misconception about how the messiah would return. They thought that the messiah would return in full power as a military leader and over throw the Roman empire and establish Israel as a national power once again like in the times with Solomon, King David’s son.
Therefore, Jesus does not want these people to be hindered by a false misrepresentation of him. Jesus did not want people to believe and worship Him because of what He could do for them, but because He was God and deserved all honor and praise.
There are two comforts that we can gain from this conversation between Jesus and this Demon:
1.) Demons cannot do anything apart from God’s sovereign permission
2.) Demons are not free to do more than our loving father permits, and God will turn it for our good.
The first rule that demons cannot do anything apart from God’s sovereign permission is the most relevant to these passages in the Gospels. We see this when the demon has to listen to what Jesus says for him to do. Furthermore, demons cannot even speak without the permission of Jesus: “He would not permit demons to speak” (Matt. 1:34) how much less may they do anything more harmful without permission.
The second rule is that demons are not free to do more than our loving father permits, and God will turn it for our good. Although the demon meant for his recognizing Jesus as the Holy One of God, to cause people to accept him as a messiah that will lead with military power. Jesus uses it to display not only his power over God’s Word, but his authority and power over unclean spirits. Therefore, the people were wondering where this man’s authority to teach the way he teaches comes from and the demon provides Jesus with a demonstration of his power. As a result, Jesus’ teaching did not stay in the Synagogue of Capernaum, but went out into every place in the surrounding region.
Therefore, we know that demons will mean things for evil against us, but God will use it for our good and His glory, because He loves us.