A Clash of Powers

January 15, 2021

31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbath. 32 They were astonished at his teaching because his message had authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man with an unclean demonic spirit who cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Leave us alone! What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—​the Holy One of God!” 35 But Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be silent and come out of him!” And throwing him down before them, the demon came out of him without hurting him at all. 36 Amazement came over them all, and they were saying to one another, “What is this message? For he commands the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they come out!” 37 And news about him began to go out to every place in the vicinity.

Luke 4:31-37

Written by Ron Hutson from the Brentwood Campus

Those of us who have served in the military understand that without accurate intelligence, an operation is doomed to failure. Before any engagement with the enemy, commanders seek to gather as much information about their opponent as possible. They need to “know their enemy.”

Jesus battled with Satan and his demons in the wilderness for forty days, after which He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit and taught in their synagogues. At one point He traveled to His hometown of Nazareth. As was His custom, Jesus entered the synagogue and read about the coming Messiah from the book of Isaiah, telling them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The people present were filled with wrath and attempted to throw Him off a cliff, but Jesus passed through them and left the city.

Jesus then returned to Capernaum and taught in their synagogue for many Sabbaths. The people were astonished by the authority with which He spoke. On one Sabbath, there was a man present who had an unclean demonic spirit. Luke described the confrontation between this demon and Jesus in verses 33-35. The demon cried out, “Leave us alone! Have you come to destroy us?” Then he proclaimed, “I know who You are—the Holy One of God.” This demon knew his enemy.

Jesus rebuked him, demanding that he be quiet and come out of the man. The demon threw the man to the floor, came out of him and did not hurt him. Those present in the synagogue were amazed at what they had witnessed. Jesus spoke with power and authority, and the demon complied.

Paul told the church in Ephesus that they were in a war with the devil and the spiritual hosts of wickedness. They were to put on the whole armor of God and be prepared to engage the enemy every day.

The demonic spirits of evil may not expose themselves as vividly today as they did in the Capernaum synagogue, but nevertheless they are still present. They are subtle in the way they manifest themselves, working behind the scenes as innocent bystanders. We have to “know our enemies” so when we confront them, we can defeat them.

The discord, strife, hatred of others and anger that is prevalent in our country today is the work of Satan. Paul instructed the Ephesians to “take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This offensive weapon was used to destroy the evil forces the church in Ephesus faced. We too are in a spiritual war with the powers of evil in the world, and the only weapon that will defeat them is the power of God’s Word.

Questions to Ask Yourself
My personal prayer: Father, help me to focus my attention on You, and use the power of Your Word to defeat the “wiles of the devil.”

Missions Prayer
Pray for hospital chaplains in our city and around the world as they minister to patients and health care workers. Pray for hope, endurance, and fruitful gospel conversations.