Luke 4:31-37 (ESV)
31 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. 33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Ha! 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.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 37 And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
While Jesus was in his hometown of Nazareth, he taught in the local synagogue, and when he traveled to Capernaum he did the same thing. Luke recorded that Jesus’ teaching struck the Jews in Capernaum out of their senses, just like it did the Jews in Nazareth, because he taught with authority. When Jesus spoke, he didn’t rely upon the traditions of men to support what he said, but depended only upon the Scripture and his own understanding of the text. This was different from the typical sermons the scribes delivered in the synagogues. In this particular Capernaum synagogue, a demon-possessed man lived. While Jesus was speaking, the demon cried out to Jesus, asking, “What do you have to do with us? I know you are—the Holy One of God.” The presence of Jesus threatened the demons. Jesus simply rebuked the evil spirit and commanded, “Be quiet, and come out of the man.” The demon threw the man down on the ground and came out again. Everyone there was absolutely amazed. They recognized that the authority of Jesus was unlike any they had ever seen before, as demonstrated in his words and actions.
One of the demon’s most interesting questions was “Have you come to destroy us?” The spirit was unclean, and Jesus was the Holy One. When Jesus stood before the demon, the forces of evil literally met the force of good. Jesus’ power horrified the evil spirit (v. 34). But when Jesus faced off with the demon, no big battle was necessary. Jesus spoke, the demon left, and the man emerged from it all entirely safe. Jesus had the power to remove the demon while keeping the health and integrity of the man intact because Jesus was and is in control. Although it can feel eerie to think about unseen powers around us, there is something within the human soul that senses a spiritual battle out there. We know innately that good and evil exist. Soon, the forces of light and darkness will encounter a final face-off. If you are a Christian today, no matter how the armies of wickedness press in on you, be encouraged because you are on the winning side. For now, God’s children are called to resist darkness. Ask the Lord for help to make the best choices. Jesus is holy, and he desires that his followers be holy as well.