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.
Understanding And Applying the Text
The first time Mark records Jesus teaching is in Capernaum. Capernaum was on the western shore of Galilee. It was large enough to be called a “city.” It had its own synagogue. Jesus taught there many times. Capernaum was important to Rome. It contained a customs station. Stationary and itinerant Roman officers collected taxes there.
The exact location for Capernaum is unknown. There are two spots that lay claim to it, Kahn Minyeh and Tell Hum.
Jesus’ teaching was not like what they were accustomed to having. He did not mess around. Jesus had the authority of expounding the scriptures definitively. He was its true author. He was the word of God. In them, He explained the coming of the kingdom and the Satan’s defeat.
While Jesus was teaching there came a sudden outburst. A man with a demonic spirit started shouting and disrupting Jesus. “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” Demons quake in the presence of divine holiness.
The phrase, “What do you have to do with…” was an idiom that distanced the speaker from the person being addressed.
The man addressed Jesus as Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but Nazareth was His hometown.
The man also calls Jesus the “Holy One of God.” This is an allusion to the name written on the breastplate of the High Priest. (Exodus 4:34)
Jesus did not answer the question. He answered the problem. He commanded the demons to be quiet and come out of the man. Jesus used strong terms. This showed Jesus’ power to establish His kingdom in the face of evil.
Once Christ commanded the demon to come out, it had no choice. It had to come out of the man. But leaving the man was like a withdrawal from drugs. The man went into convulsions. But the demon came out.
Men were amazed. They were so amazed they asked each other what is the meaning of this new teaching. This man, Jesus, does more than speak with authority. He commands demons and they do obey him.
Jesus’ fame spread through the region.
The people in Capernaum asked the question we must all answer. Who is Jesus? What are we going to do with Him? Your answer determines your destiny.