"'Away from us!' the demon cried, When Christ, the Lord, drew near. 'Our dark, disordered world is lost When You, the Light, appear!'
"But Jesus spoke with God's own pow'r; 'Come forth!' was His command; For evil cannot bear the Light Nor sin the Truth withstand."
It must've been mind-boggling to walk in the world of the Savior. The Scripture is silent on this, but one might imagine a friend of Jesus who grew up with Him in Galilee—someone who tagged along with Him on some apprentice duties for Joseph or ran a domestic errand for Mary. Perhaps Jesus had a long-time friend who was part of the 5,000-plus-person crowd that got fed that day at the Sea of Galilee. Or maybe one of Jesus' friends was a wedding guest at Cana when He turned water to wine. Either miracle would have left one scratching his head, wondering, Who is this guy?
As remarkable as these miracles were though, surely nothing would have been weirder than seeing Jesus' interaction with the demons. Here's Mark's record of Jesus getting in the face of demonic powers in a Capernaum synagogue sometime after He had been in the wilderness, battling Satan's temptations.
"And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, '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.' But Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be silent, and come out of him!' And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him" (Mark 1:23-26).
Interesting how the man with the unclean spirit appears immediately (a favorite time stamp of Mark's) after Jesus was teaching—teaching "as one who had authority, and not as the scribes" (Mark 1:22b). Was it the power and authority of Jesus' teaching that provoked a response from the unclean spirit? The spirit or spirits, addressing Christ as both "Jesus of Nazareth" and the "Holy One of God," appear to be fearing for their existence. With the declaration of Jesus as God's Holy One, the demonic power is silenced and demanded to withdraw from the afflicted soul. This the corrupt spirit does but not without additional distress to the man.
"And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, 'What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.' And at once His fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee" (Mark 1:27-28).
The author of this hymn, Rev. Dr. Herman Stuempfle Jr., drew inspiration from this episode in Mark 1. Here we have the Jesus who turns water into wine, who feeds a multitude with a few fish and some bread, who heals bodies, who commands nature and, yes, who even dictates His will to the invisible spirit world—and it obeys! Of these things and others like them, how could bystanders refrain from proclaiming it to others? Mark later writes, after yet another miracle, "And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, 'He has done all things well" (Mark 7:37a).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, the works of Jesus that stupefied the world around Him were nothing compared to His ultimate victory over sin, death, and the devil. Grant us faith to follow and courage to listen to Your Son. In His Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber. It is based on the hymn, "'Away from Us!' the Demon Cried," which is found on page 541 in the Lutheran Service Book.
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