Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
Fake news is nothing new. It’s been a part of politics, governmental and business communications since day one. Thomas Edison blatantly spread misinformation about Alternating Current (AC) to promote his inventions and financial interests that were directly tied to Direct Current (DC.) Edison’s most prominent back and investor, JP Morgan, spread false rumors on Wall Street about AC current and the solvency of his primary competitor, resulting in a collapse of Westinghouse stock price.
False news not only takes place in the physical and financial worlds, it takes place when it comes to spiritual reality and life. This impure spirit yells out that Jesus had come to destroy them, including everyone who can hear his blood-curdling shriek.
Jesus doesn’t try to negotiate with the spirit, have a dialogue with it, debate it, get into a social media battle with it. Jesus does what we really don’t like in modern 21st-century life: he faces it, deals directly with it. He doesn’t just command it, and he commands it sternly.
Jesus doesn’t beat around the bush but addresses and attacks the problem head-on. And his solution is not a band-aid, he doesn’t just look to minimize behavior, but he goes to the heart of the problem: the impure spirit.
When Mary Ann was diagnosed with breast cancer, the doctors didn’t tell her to just ignore it, or put a band-aid on it. They went right at it aggressively and directly with multiple procedures and radiation. There are certain things in life you don’t mess around with. Cancer is one of them, and so are impure spirits.
They were amazed at how his teaching and authority were more than just words. His words had substance. They were more than just an intellectual exercise, they were more than an interesting set of words that flowed together. They were more than a phrase to tweet and post to social media. Jesus’ words had power to crossover into the world we live in.
Jesus was remarkable in every sense of the word, and then some. His words touched people in a deep and intense way. He spoke and people listened.
But the other side was his ability to directly intervene in the lives of people. His miracles didn’t stop the sun or rain down fire from heaven. His miracles were for the benefit of people. When he multiplied the loaves of bread and fish, it was to feed the hungry. When he walked on water, it was not to show off or produce a viral video. It was for the benefit of his disciple and their trust in him.
When he commands the unclean spirit, he not only heals this poor, unfortunate man, but it confirms his words and claims in front of a large crowd of people. Not only were his words wrapped in authority, so were his actions. His miracles were not to get a crowd but to be the mark of authenticity to who he was and what he said. The miracles were evidence for all to see that backed up his claims about himself and what he said.
When he threw out the impure spirit, he didn't quote anyone else or call down power and authority from the outside. The right, authority, and power for the orders to the impure spirits came from within. It came from Jesus personally.
When it comes to who or what you’re going to believe, there are many choices. There are gurus that say life is an illusion. There are people telling us that life has no meaning. There are prophets that proclaim a God of fear. And there are others saying that God can only be found by fixing ourselves, jumping through an impossible set of hoops in order to bribe God into liking us.
And then there’s Jesus. Jesus is without a doubt the most unique person in the history of the world. Jesus not only claimed to be God but proved it through his miracles of healing and raising people from the dead. He stood up against evil and hypocrisy wherever he went. He spoke in such a way that still captivates, inspires, and motivates people even in our negative and cynical days.
For my money, Jesus beats everyone else hands down. It’s not even close. So, our choice is simple; listen to and follow Jesus or someone else. Who’s your choice?