It Obeyed.

A man possessed by an evil spirit was in the synagogue.

— Mark 1:23

Scripture shines a light on the audacity of Evil in this scene. Arrogantly, the demon accompanied its Carrier into the holy place and watched Jesus teach. A killer. A thief. A destroyer. Who can tell what it was planning or what had already been done. No doubt it had gone with the man before to the synagogue and listened to the Prophets being read, as it went with him everywhere. To his home. To the market. To social gatherings.

You get a glimpse of this audacity when you consider the group of young Islamic radicals who flew commercial airliners into the World Trade Center. These men were mere carriers, just as the man in the synagogue. Coming through our borders. Training in our institutions. Living among us for years. Devising a plan during all this time.

Demons are with us today. Devising plans. Walking among us.

Like nomads, they move from person to person, keeping themselves hidden while using human bodies to undo us. Seeing through dimmed human eyes, they look upon us as prey. This man was gone for the moment, God only knows where, as the demon spoke to Jesus. Maybe he wasn’t. He could have been there the whole time, terror-stricken by the Nazarene, but unable to tell why. This man could have been long gone, in some waiting place for days, weeks, months while the demon used his body. Or, he could have been present, but with a fresh sense of power, growing disdain, need to destroy. We can only say for sure that the demon was there.

In Hebrews 13:2, “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” We must watch ourselves, because we are unkind. Selfishly, we bump our way through many others in line to get to the front. Who knows whose shoulders we are bumping on the way. God, open our eyes to see who else is living and walking on the Earth. Down our sidewalks. Who else is sitting in our living rooms. Give us the vision and the grace to see these angels and to treat them with love.

If we are warned to be ready for the visit of angels, shouldn’t we also expect demons? They too entertain us, or rather use us for their entertainment. We must withhold hospitality from them. Guard our invitations. Set up a perimeter against them.

The good news about this demon being in the synagogue was Jesus, the Lord of Angels, was also there. As though it had been cornered, it spoke out. Like one holding hostages, surrounded, it had no place to go. Holiness had arrived. Jesus did not force some great display of authority over it. He told it to leave and it obeyed.

I pray, Jesus, that you will accompany me. Help me to guard my invitations so that I’ll not let the Enemy in. Be with those I love, so that they’ll resist such an invasion. Be with Your people, make us holy, keep us strong. Speak among us to drive out the demonic influence, the plans being devised, the breaking apart of families and communities. Don’t let the Destroyer have his way with us. I am not asking for the authority to speak against him. I just ask that You would speak among us, use Your might, Your holiness, to captivate him.

Guide us with the peace of knowing You are capable to keep us. Send us out with the knowledge that we are not the only ones obeying You. Even the demons do so.


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