It doesn't seem possible! It's just not Jesus' nature that he would openly and in the midst of a group of people that he was teaching at the time, that he would, in a stern and commanding voice, tell a man possessed with an evil spirit to "Be Quiet," does it? Somehow, the picture of "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild," just doesn't fit in with this particular encounter. It seems so abrupt and abrasive for Jesus to utter words of that caliber. Did the possessed man's questions to Jesus strike a nerve that deserved this stern rebuke? Couldn't Jesus have said it in a more pleasant way? Perhaps Jesus was having a 'bad day' and his patience was wearing thin! He was human, wasn't he?
The town of Capernaum on the Sabbath was probably like any other Jewish town on the Sabbath - religious people were worshipping in the synagogues. This presented an opportunity for Jesus, as it was then that he could teach many people at one time, in one place. Jesus took advantage of it. The people were awestruck by Jesus' words in comparison to what the priests had to offer. Jesus possessed an authority that no priest or teacher of the law would deem possible. His message was amazing to all who were within ear-shot. Could it be that what Jesus taught was that he wanted them to use their own minds, and not someone else's? Didn't he want them to "Think for Themselves," and not be mirror reflectors of someone else's thoughts? Doesn't he encourage everyone to Inquire, Probe, and Investigate, and to do it thoroughly? Deut. 13:14.
As Jesus was teaching this particular Sabbath day, a man who was attending the synagogue meeting cried out to Jesus: "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?" This same possessed man also made the following statement: "I know who you are - the Holy One of God!" The man makes the claim that "he knows God!" but what do his questions to Jesus testify about his actual knowledge of God? What ingrained thoughts about God would accuse God (Jesus) of coming to their synagogue with the intent of punishment and with the threat that Jesus would destroy them? The evil spirit-possessed man had a picture of God that was inaccurate. I wonder: How did he receive such a view of God, and who were the ones who taught him that false picture, those lies about Jesus? As God's representative, Jesus found himself in the position that required him to negate the erroneous attitude and beliefs of the demon-possessed man. I would entertain the thought that possibly other people gathered there at the meeting held a similar view of God because of their response to the actions taken by Jesus in regard to the man possessed with an evil spirit. Could it be assumed there were others present who were "possessed" with the wrong view of God also? Perhaps the man who posed the questions to Jesus was the only one brave enough to ask them. Could that be possible? At least he was straight-forward and had the courage to ask the One who could definitely answer the questions! Can't you just see him there in front of the entire group, perhaps shouting to Jesus as he talked? I would like to think that after this episode concluded, the man became a follower of Jesus. Perhaps for the man, this was his "Aha" moment! "Now I see; now I understand!"
Jesus handled the situation by speaking just six words to the man: "Be quiet! Come out of him!" There was only one thing that could happen then - the evil spirit had to vacate the man's body, more specifically, the man's mind. With physical shaking and a verbal expression, the evil spirit exits the man's body, much to the astonishment and amazement of those present. This event emits thoughts of wonderment and questions from the people. It's nearly unbelievable! The people ask: "What is this? A new teaching - and with authority! He gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him."
Jesus' command (his order) to the man was said sternly: "Be quiet!" This was done specifically due to the man's incorrect picture of God as One who would destroy people. Such, of course, is not the case. Jesus did not come to destroy mankind, but to save mankind from destroying itself. What mankind can do to fellow men is far worse than what God would ever think about doing.
How did this man become possessed with the wrong information about God? Who was responsible for his thoughts and beliefs about Jesus? Are there presently similar pictures of God to be found in the world of Christianity today? Would Jesus utter the same words today to certain people: "Be Quiet! You're misrepresenting my Father?" Would Jesus' concern for healing those possessed with wrong information lead him to say: "Come out of him, and don't ever enter his mind again?" If the evil spirit vacated the man's mind, would what was intended to replace it be called "new teaching," (new information) that God does not destroy? It has always been Satan's desire to produce destruction, not God's. This new teaching (new information) is accompanied by authority. This authority contains understanding and knowledge that is presented with evidence. Authority is a source of power! Jesus received this authority, this power from his heavenly Father, and it was his right to exercise that authority and power in this encounter with the man possessed with an evil spirit. Jesus was defending his Father's reputation when he drove the evil spirit from the possessed man's mind.
A true friend is jealous for his friend's reputation.
A true friend of God is especially jealous for God's reputation.
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