So, we have all this build-up that makes us think this man will be a world-changer, a life-changer, and a history-changer. The first thing he does is go back home, and they toss him out on his ear. His first foray into ministry gets rebuffed. He is rejected, his life is threatened, and it’s a bust—a total failure.
Our “Great Guy” then heads to Capernaum—another town in Galilee. And, just as he had done in Nazareth (he doesn’t seem phased by his episode in Nazareth), he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach the people. Just as in Nazareth, they were amazed at his teaching because his words had authority.
So, this wacked-out guy comes into the synagogue, of all places, DURING THE MORNING TEACHING, of all things, and screams at Jesus: “Go away! Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Well, you have to stop to wonder, where in the WORLD did THIS come from?
So, a couple of things I’m noticing here about the demon-possessed guy:
1. He initiated the confrontation. Jesus was minding his own business and the business of his Father.
2. He is defensive, as if he expects something harmful to happen to him.
3. He calls Jesus the Holy One of God. Interesting that the people of Nazareth didn’t call him that.
Is this for REAL? How can we know whether or not to believe this? Was the guy really demon-possessed? Well, to me it has the ring of a testimony from an eye-witness. Isn’t it interesting that the demon seems to know him better than the people do? The demon recognizes who is, and the people don’t. Jesus is not intimidated by the spirit, of course, but speaks to him fearlessly, and with authority. We’re meant to see right off the bat that his authority is not just over kings, and not just to raise up the poor and the humble, to overturn government, and set prisoners free, but also to challenge and conquer the spirit world, even ridding the earth of its evil. This is another step higher than even what has been prophesied.
The people are impressed. They don’t know anything about the prophecies, but they know what they just saw. Jesus has upped the ante, even from what has been foretold, and the people aren’t quite sure what to make of it, but the grapevine is alive and well, and the news, for now, is positive.