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19. Good News for the Sick
F. Other Accounts of Exorcism

a) A Synagogue Witnesses a Healing

“Then he (Jesus) went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority. In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, ‘Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!’ ‘Be quiet!’ Jesus said sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, ‘What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!’ And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.” (Luke 4:31-37)

Jesus frequently taught in the synagogue, the place where Jews gathered to hear the Word of God from the Scriptures of the Children of Israel. On one occasion a man with an evil spirit was present in the synagogue and listening to Jesus. He recognised Jesus for who He was and cried out to Jesus to let him alone. Was it the man who spoke or the evil spirit within the man, representing a plurality of evil spirits in him?

In any case the demon recognised Jesus as his great adversary, the adversary of all evil power. He understood correctly that Jesus was the Holy One of God, God’s unique representative and presence here on earth. Jesus commanded the evil spirit to leave the man. The evil spirit obeyed, knocking the man down before the people worshipping in the temple, yet leaving him unhurt.

Why did Jesus ask the evil spirit to be silent? Elsewhere we read how, in similar encounters, the spirits recognised the Holy One of God as the Son of God and the Messiah. In simple response to the question, Jesus did not want the evil spirit’s testimony to Himself. (See Glossary, Messiah, Son of God.)

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