Mark 1:21-41; Luke 4:31-41
“Be silent and come out of him!”
Jesus was teaching in the local synagogue at Capernaum, the home town of Peter and Andrew. The people gathered in that congregation would have already been somewhat familiar with Jesus by now, and they would have been very familiar with one another, since most of them had lived there all their lives. But within their midst was a man possessed by a demon.
Whether this man was well known to the others or a stranger is not clear, but his condition became obvious to everyone once he began to cry out in terror at the sight of Jesus. “Go away!” he cried, “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!” Jesus’ response to this was both immediate and absolute: “Be silent and come out of him!” was all that he needed to say. The demon instantly threw the man down with a shriek and came out, leaving him unharmed.
Shortly after this incident, Jesus went to Peter’s house where Peter’s mother-in-law was lying sick in bed with a fever. Although Jesus’ exact words are not recorded, Luke’s gospel tells us that he rebuked the fever and that Peter’s mother-in-law was instantly restored.
“Come out of him!” – The demon who had shouted in fearful defiance for Jesus to “Go away!” was impelled to come out at his command; it had no choice but to obey. The same was true of the fever, it too could not withstand the rebuke of the Lord, for this was a command from God himself – the same God who commanded the light and separated it from the darkness, and who established the boundaries of the sea upon the sand. (Genesis 1:3-10)
“Be silent!” – Each time Jesus encountered a demon, he silenced it. He did not engage in arguments with them, or scold them, or respond to any of their questions – he simply commanded them to be silent. The gospel writers tell us that he didn’t allow them to speak because they knew he was the Messiah. As we continue to study the words of Christ, we will see that this was a consistent pattern with Jesus – he wanted people to believe in him by faith through direct revelation (Matthew 16:16-17) and not by word-of-mouth, especially not by word-of-mouth from demons! He wanted the message of the gospel to precede the revelation of who he was, for though he truly was the Messiah that they were waiting for, he knew he was not the one that they were expecting.