God’s Word Vs. Unclean Spirits

Mark 1: 21-28
1Sam 1:9-20 / 1Sam 2

He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
(Mark 1:22)

No evil spirits can prevail
Against the power of God’s Word;
Have faith, the Gospel will not fail,
It is the Holy Spirit’s sword;

Jesus went to Capernaum with His followers, and when the Sabbath came, He went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an unclean spirit 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 quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey Him.” His fame spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. (Mark 1:21-28)

Reflection

This encounter with an unclean spirit is the first of four exorcisms that our Lord Jesus would perform in the Gospel of Mark, and would establish His reputation early on in Galilee as an authoritative preacher. His teachings were backed with action, as only God could expel evil spirits. The demon had immediately recognized Jesus (“I know who you are – the Holy One of God”) and wanted to make His identity known – perhaps to derail His divine mission. But Jesus ordered him to shut up and be cast out of the possessed man.

Demonic possession is a real phenomenon, and is particularly common among those who worship Satan. This extreme condition obtains when a person has made the decision to reject God and all sacred things that pertain to Him, and instead offers his allegiance to Lucifer in exchange for wealth, power or other worldly pursuits. Although such an utterly desolate state may develop over a long period of time, it can happen to anyone who takes his relationship with God for granted. It often starts when one dallies with seemingly “harmless” preoccupations or places that are actually unclean. We know that bars, casinos, nightclubs and massage parlors are verboten to followers of Christ because these provide occasions to sin. Indulging in pornographic materials in magazines, videos, or the internet is one dangerous pathway to impurity. Even merely admiring another woman’s beauty (not one’s wife) can lead to impure thoughts and ultimately to sin. Thank God we have the Bible to remind us constantly about the danger of falling into the snares of the devil. St. Paul exhorts us to strive always for purity: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things… put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil.4:8,9b).

The power of God’s Word in Holy Scriptures continues to conquer evil in this world up to the present time. We have His authority in our hands, in the Holy Bible. It contains all the powerful words of God that we can employ against the forces of darkness. Read your Bible every day, and the Holy Spirit will guide and protect you. Remember, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (Jn.15:3-4).

We have nothing to fear from evil forces, Lord, because You have already defeated Satan. But we still need Your constant reminder to be vigilant, and to keep our minds chaste, so that Your Spirit alone may take residence in our lives. Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with Your presence. Amen.

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