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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Mark 1:23-28 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, 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. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him. And immediately His fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee. (Also See Luke 4:31-37)

This seems to be a rather unique case involving a person that is possessed by an unclean spirit. The fact that he was admitted into a Jewish synagogue tells us that he wasn't constantly under the influence, or control, of this unclean spirit. His possession by this demon seemed to be intermittent. The New Testament gives little insight into the origin of unclean spirits, nor does it describe their nature and characteristics. For instance, the demonic possession of the Gadarene, described in Luke 8:26-40, is entirely different from that experienced by this Jewish man in Capernaum. But this we know - the possession of a man or woman by an unclean spirit was not a physical or mental disease. These evil spirits actually invaded the bodies of human beings, and at times, took possession of them and controlled their speech and other bodily functions. These seemed to be evil beings that belonged to, and were under the control of Satan, who directed them in his mission to destroy the influence of both God and Christ Jesus.

Although in biblical times they possessed certain powers over human beings, in all instances these unclean spirits recognize God and His Son, Jesus Christ, as having superior power over them. It seems that one of the main reasons for God allowing these unearthly beings to exist is to teach all people that He, not only has power over all His earthly creation, but He also rules over all beings that exist in the spiritual realm. We take comfort knowing that there is but one Supreme Being to which we are held accountable, and that Being is God, to Whom all Christians have access through His Son, Christ Jesus. These examples teach Christians of all ages that faith and obedience to God, and the acceptance of His Son as our Savior, is the only sure protection men and women have from the power of Satan and any of his demonic followers.

Jesus, and His disciples, on the Sabbath day after entering the city of Capernaum, entered into the synagogue, and, as Acts 13:15 indicates, Jewish men were asked to speak if they had anything that was worthy of being brought before the assembly. Jesus took advantage of this opportunity to proclaim God's plan of redemption, so He taught. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes (Vss. 21-22). The teaching of Jesus was different than that of other Jewish teachers. He did so with confident authority from God. It seems that scribes merely recited, or read, the Law of Moses and prophecies of God's inspired messengers, before the assembly, and did so without complete understanding theirtrue meaning.

And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? This passage assuredly tells us that these ethereal spirits of Satan truly recognize the authority that God and His Son Jesus Christ had over them. Recognizing that Jesus was the Holy One of God, they knew without any doubt that He could destroy them. Here, for all of God's children to understand and believe, the power of Jesus Christ over Satan is demonstrated. He commanded the unclean spirit to release his hold on this man, and come out of him. Unable to fight against the power of Christ Jesus, the demonic spirit reluctantly came out of him. All present on this occasion were amazed by this new doctrine, and the power Jesus demonstrated over the unclean spirits. Let everyone know assuredly that it was for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8b). And immediately His fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee. We must accept Jesus' doctrinal power today!