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Mark 1 v 23 - 28

We read in the previous verses to this that those who heard the words of Jesus at the synagogue were amazed at what He said. When Jesus acted, they were astonished! In the synagogue there was a man in the grip of an unclean spirit and Jesus healed him. The Jews and all the Ancient World believed strongly in demons; for the Jews they connected them with the story in Genesis 6 v 1-8 (look up 2 Peter 2 v 4,5 to piece together the belief in fallen angels who continued to plague the world). The demons were malignant beings, intermediate between God and human beings, who were out to do harm. The Jews reckoned that there were more than seven million of these demons who lived in the desert and were especially active in the midday heat and between sunset and sunrise. We may no longer believe in demons, but it is important to recognise that every Jewish person did. If you recall this as you read the stories of Jesus curing those demon-possessed it will help you understand more fully what these miracles meant to the Jews and how it altered their perception of who Jesus was. There are still exorcists today, employed by the Anglican and Catholic Churches. I have listened to interviews with them and seen YouTube clips of their exorcisms. It is a dark world and one thing which struck me was that atheists won't become possessed, ''The devil doesn't worry about them'', one exorcist stated. No, it appears to be those marginally involved in the Christian faith with threadbare Christian understanding who are most vulnerable. We can also read in this passage that the demon within the poor man knew who Jesus was and Jesus quieted it because He didn't want people being told by a demon; He wanted them to discover that He was the Holy One of God by themselves! There are many today that assume that demons and their ability to possess human beings is pure imagination and those cured by Jesus were mentally ill. Firstly, we can say Praise the Lord that there was healing of whatever form! Secondly, Jesus clearly knew about demons and would speak to them as He did here. We might say that He did this because of the understanding by all the onlookers that it was demon possession and that the sufferer would only be made well if Jesus took this tack. I would say that the straightforward approach is at times the best in studying scripture, which in this example means that demons and demon possession were real and still are today.


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