El Shaddai DWXI Prayer Partners Fellowship International
Daily Gospel Reading - January 12, 2010 PDF Print E-mail

Mk 1:21-28

 

The Cure of a Demoniac


21[Jesus and his disciples] came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath [Jesus] entered the synagogue and taught. 22The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. 23In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; 24he 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!” 25Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” 26The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. 27All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” 28His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

Jesus' Power Over Unclean Spirits

The power that Jesus shows in driving out the unclean demons is not so much an apologetic proof of his mission or divinity as a manifestation that the dominion of God is now being established over the “dominion of Belial,” freeing human beings from the subjection of the devil.


Ancient peoples believed that things beyond human control—earthquakes, diseases, fertility—were due to non-human persons, not to natural causes. They believed in demons who were considered superior to human beings and caused them harm. To drive out demons was an action a man could not do by himself; an outside agent had to be involved. It could be God who is more powerful than demons, or other demonic forces. Jesus’ detractors claim that he drives out evil spirits not by the authority of God but by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons.


Jesus’ power over demons is essentially a function of his place in the hierarchy of powers. He is higher than the demons. The demon claims to know who Jesus is—that he is the Holy One of God. This is not a confession but an attempt to gain power over Jesus through knowledge of his name. In the world of magic widespread at the time, to know the identity of one’s opponent is to have power over him. The demon, however, fails to control Jesus and is ordered to submission. Ironically, the demon’s failed attempt to “know” Jesus reveals the great divide between him and his conqueror. Jesus is “holy,” in contrast with the demon who is “unclean.” The unclean one seeks to destroy the human person; the “Holy One of God” comes to heal and to save.

 
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