A man with an unclean spirit got into the synagogue and no one noticed until Jesus began teaching. Interestingly that the man got in without being stopped by the authorities.
Therefore, just because people are in the synagogue or in a church, they can still have an unclean spirit. We automatically assume that everyone in God’s house has good intentions. Whatever subject that Jesus was preaching touched a sensitive button in the man with an unclean spirit. Unlike other episodes of unclean spirits, this man did not foam at the mouth or act violently or try to physically hurt himself. He lashed out against Jesus. “What have you to do with us? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” If Jesus had answered his questions the answer would have been “Yes.” “I have come to destroy evil, death, and the indifference of those who are filled with pride.” We discover much about a person from their preaching. A true preacher becomes transparent. We can see his inner-self—his spiritual side—what he/she holds most sacred. Authentic preaching is like getting spiritually naked in front of a congregation. That’s precisely what Jesus did. He reveled Himself in His teaching. That’s why the people were impressed for “He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” Jesus had the gift to move hearts. That’s why the people believed Him. However, among those present was an evil heart—a person who did not want to change. Someone who felt threatened by the truth. eHHH
Jesus preached the truth. The truth makes some folks uncomfortable. Jesus challenged people to change. Obviously, the man with an unclean spirit did not want to change. People who are getting what they want, who are oppressing others, who are acting unjustly, usually do not want to make any changes. The Gospel message is just as challenging today as when the message of liberation was first announced. The reason is simple, we continue to have unclean spirits among us, all over the world. No culture, no language, no country has a monopoly on unclean spirits. Wherever they are welcomed, they abide. Consider that one man with an unclean spirit spoke out. But he might not have been alone. He spoke in the plural: “What have you to do with us?” Others in the synagogue might have felt the same rancor towards Jesus. The rest kept their mouth shut to see what would happen. Cowards protect themselves by hiding behind loud mouths. Historical oppressors did much damage with those they could manipulate to do their dirty work.
Evil seeks to hide—does not want to be discovered. We can picture the scene: Jesus saw the man with the unclean spirit and walked to him. If we can sense much by people’s faces, imagine the awareness that Our Lord had. He detected the spiritual sickness of the man. At the same time, Jesus heard the cry for help, looking beyond the words of hate. “Quiet! Come out of him!” “Shut your mouth!” Or similar words that we use to get someone to stop spitting out poison. That’s usually what fits of rage provoke—one profanity after another. Unclean spirits cause a loss of control—to say things we regret—or do not really mean. Perhaps Jesus embraced the man to remind him that he belonged. Folks who are angry sometimes feel like they don’t belong—that no one loves them. Their needs are not being met. The most necessary is the need to love and to be loved. After all the yelling, kicking and convulsing—the man was ready to surrender. He might have fallen into the arms of Christ or walked over to Him or been welcomed by his family. The unclean spirit was cast out because the man was willing to let it go. If change is to happen, we must be willing to surrender to the One who can give us true healing. Whatever is not from God must be cast out! Past hurts, regrets, the stuff that keeps us awake at night. Time to surrender ourselves.
Jesus is ready to receive us with open arms. No questions. The same miracle can happen to us if we are willing to change.