And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.Mark 1:21-28
Mark started his account by saying, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” After 24 verses, for the first time, someone testified on Jesus’ identity. . . and it comes from a demon! And it is not just they happen to know that He is indeed the Son of God, they are very certain for they called Him “the Holy One of God.” To make it vividly clear, the demons are shaking for they are talking to the Only Son of God.
What is the reason behind their fear? Because Jesus taught at the synagogue with authority. Why is it important? Because as Mark shows us who Jesus is by Jesus showing us Himself displaying his authority. When Jesus speaks, there is no footnote (“You have heard that it was said” see Sermon on the Mount). His words are counted as true with no opposition and astonishment from the crowd. He is heralding His own kingdom. He is preaching something they have never heard of. He is proclaiming a message that will topple the lies the demons have built. Jesus exposes the business of the demons by announcing the agenda of His kingdom. It is, at this time, to show the authority of the Son of God. They fear Him because of the authority He has in judgment for they thought He will destroy them. No wonder they fear Him. Jesus, the Son of God is Judge!
On the other hand, the crowd is astonished. It is their first time to hear the gospel of the kingdom of God. He is beyond comparison when he teach. His theology is not from someone else. In his sermon, they never heard “according to rabbi. . .” this and that. It is the very definition of “mind blown” that even the scribes looked like silly grade schoolers compared to this esteemed Teacher. If the demons shivered because their lies are exposed, the crowd is astonished because it is their first time to hear the truth! The Son of God made God’s power visible that even the demons listened to Him (and were terrified). Jesus, the Son of God is a Savior.
Now, I would like to give a difference between the response of the crowd and the demons. One one hand, the demons know exactly who Jesus is and it terrifies them; on the other, the crowd, who barely know Christ were astonished by Him. Their knowledge of Jesus Christ made the whole lot of difference in responding to His authority. The demons are reminded of their hopelessness against a Righteous Judge, the crowd is rekindled in their hope of a Savior..
This pericope somehow gave a clear recollection of my childhood memories watching “The Lion King.” There was a scene when the hyenas (Shenzi, Banzai and Ed) were discussing that they are in the bottom of the food chain because Mufasa, the King of the Land, banished them from entering the Pride Rock territory. Scar, the jealous brother of Mufasa, overheard the conversation and was insulted by hyenas that Scar is not as terrifying as Mufasa. Everytime they utter the name Mufasa they are tingling with fear unlike of Scar’s. The utterance of Mufasa’s name brings fear to the hyenas and hope to the pride (group of lion).
Like the film, the utterance of Jesus showed the glorious picture of who He is: Savior and Judge! The crowd is amazed for what a Savior He is, and the demons were terrified by what a Righteous Judge He is.