Healing and Release from "It" (Hunch 12)
Just then a man possessed by an evil spirit, cried out in the synagogue! “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!” "Be quiet!" Jesus said sternly. "Come out of him!" The evil spirit shook the man violently and left him with a shriek. All were so amazed and they asked each other, “What's going on? This new teaching is with authority! He even gets evil spirits to obey him.”
The man screamed: "What are you doing here, Jesus of Nazareth!” Jesus' reputation was known. This man was worried by the “carpenter’s son” from Nazareth. What would this new Rabbi say? He got in first, shouting loudly.
Jesus stopped him mid-sentence. The confrontation was over almost before it had begun. That evil spirit would not trouble the man again. “Be quiet! Come out!” And whatever "it" was, came out. Jesus took command and the people were amazed. They knew something wonderful was happening right there in front of them. The sad and frightened man had been changed. Quietly, patiently, Jesus went about the work God had given Him. He took command. He did not shout back but simply helped one scared out of his wits.
We don’t know who this man was but the town's people would have known him after that as the guy Jesus healed. Maybe he became one of Jesus' disciples. We don't know but we can be sure that the first people to read Mark's book knew him. They would know that this part of Mark's story had been carefully checked. Others travelling through Galilee would have visited Capernaum to get this man's story first-hand.
News had reached Capernaum about what Jesus had done the week before in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-37). This man also probably knew that John the Baptist had said: It's time the axe started cutting to the roots; if the tree is not giving good fruit it is for the chop, then the fire … you better get ready, He's on His way and He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. That was no pretty message. Some may well have been frightened by it, and so they would not want to meet Jesus. John's words were enough. Was this part of this man's trauma? An evil spirit controlled his life and his shouts show he was terrified. Was this the day when his useless life would be cut down? Had the Holy One come to give him the chop?
But that Sabbath, this man's life was changed. His fear was overcome. Jesus knew what troubled him and His Father had sent Him to lift people's sadness, to defeat people's anger, to lighten their load, to free them from the fear of judgment and death - there may be lots to be sad about, lots to be angry about and lots to confuse us. But that's never the end of it.