Let’s read Mark 1:23-26, four short verses loaded with truth.

Immediately, there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 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!” And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”

Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him.


This is a precious and unusual text where we have a lengthy passage with the recorded words of a demon. Since they are recorded, it is because there is much to learn from them. As Jesus was teaching, a man possessed by an unclean spirit immediately shows up. Mark uses the word immediately some 41 times in his gospel to draw our attention and focus so that we may link the events. The spirit is called an unclean spirit, which was a term that Jews of the time used for demons.


The Power of the Word of God

Did you notice that Yeshua did not initiate the interaction at all? The demon did, angrily and with surprise. Why is that? Luke, who relates the same event, gives us the demon’s first word which is ha — an expression of indignation and anger only used one time in the New Testament in Luke 4:34. Why couldn’t the demon stay quiet? What disturbed the demon and made it so uncomfortable? The presence of the Word of God.

What a precious lesson for us! This is what they feel when they hear the Scriptures, because we will learn from this passage that they cannot tolerate the presence of the living God, and so they must leave. They leave, which is a good thing, because they cannot tolerate purity and righteousness. We see the same thing in today’s churches. When the truth of the Word of God is taught, demons and tares leave. The Word of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit in us form the barrier that will not let their power cross over into our territory.

The title of this study is, “What Scares Demons?” If I had instead titled the message, “Who Scares Demons?” you would have known the answer right away. It is God and this is true. But what and not who, scares them? It is the Word from where God emanates, blesses, and protects us from the forces of evil. So, we have nothing to fear as long as we stay close to God. That is the first thing we learn from this text.


Trying to Diminish the Undeniable Divinity

Let us see what the demon says. It is also revealing. We know that whenever evil speaks, it does so to demoralize, to destroy and not to edify or encourage. Unfortunately, some people are like that too. They speak and magnify that which is contrary to righteousness, instead of those things which are uplifting and inspiring. It is demonic to do so.

Notice what the demon says and how it operates. While the people were being amazed by Yeshua’s authority in teaching, the demonic strategy was trying to diminish Yeshua’s power in the eyes of the people. This is the same plot we see in the Garden of Eden when the serpent attempted to usurp and play down God’s authority in Eve’s eyes. This is the same plot used today by cults which deny the divinity of the Messiah

The unclean spirit begins by saying; What business do we have with each other? Why does it speak in the plural (using the pronoun we) even though it is alone? We know it is alone because Jesus addresses it in the singular.

Was this demon speaking on behalf of the demonic world or was it trying to include all the listeners in the synagogue while adding that Jesus also came to destroy? Whenever evil speaks, its message is ambiguous and confusing. But Yeshua did not come to destroy but to save. The demon attempts to reverse the people’s opinion of the messianic mission. As they were all amazed and wondering about the Messiah, notice that the demon calls Yeshua Jesus of Nazareth, and adds, I know who You are. Perhaps the evil is in suggesting that there is nothing special about Jesus, implying that coming from that despised city of Nazareth, His lineage is mundane and ordinary.

Claiming that Yeshua is from Nazareth is a half-truth because He really comes from Bethlehem as the prophecy says, but the demon would not have wanted people to think about Bethlehem.


Acknowledging Yeshua’s Eternal Origins

In fact, His coming from Nazareth is actually one quarter true, for He really comes from eternity, from kedem, which is His preincarnate and post-incarnate dwelling place. Micah 5:2 tells us: But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity. That is from where Jesus really comes from – eternity!

This demon tries to reduce His omnipresence to a single city region called Nazareth. That is so typical. Evil will often be very selective concerning what truth they bring in. It chooses the lesser and makes you believe it, until you investigate further, but see that it is somehow forced to recognize who Yeshua really is – the Holy one of God. For while these demons despise the Messiah, they are afraid of Him and are compelled to recognize and obey Him.

This is confirmed by other encounters with demons. Mark tells us in 3:11: Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, “You are the Son of God!”

We read that every knee will bow to God and the Messiah at the very end, but here we see it has already begun. The forces of evil, as rebellious as they are, are forced to bow and recognize who Yeshua is. As James said, ‘Demons believe and tremble”. James 2:14

You see, believing in God is not enough. Demons acknowledge God’s existence, and they also know how powerful He is. But because they have no faith in Him, they tremble. It is one thing to believe in God. It is another to have faith and show the works of the Spirit in one’s life.

View Sermon : “What Scares demons”

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