Silencing the Devil’s Stock in Trade

That evening at sundown they brought to Jesus all who were sick or oppressed by demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. – Mark 1:32-34

Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Island, Canada - June 2015

An impressionistic version of Buchart Gardens in Victoria, BC, Canada. Photo taken June 2015

I’m thinking he got it from an Adam Sandler movie. One of my four sons on one occasion made a point of shushing me as we were in a lively discussion. I was wanting to make a point, and he would put his hand in my face, close his fingers to his thumb, and vocalize a syllable that defies being put into writing. It wasn’t scatological. I am simply unable to write letters that adequately convey the sound he made. I just know he would not allow me to speak. It was a bit frustrating as you can imagine, and though it sounds disrespectful, it was at least somewhat in good-natured fun. The issues at stake were of arguable importance. We were two adults having a lively conversation.

I’m not certain what sound Jesus made in the face of the demons, but  Jesus would not allow them to speak. It is clear, moreover, that the stakes were higher than a lively discussion about politics, politeness, or what sports team is the best. Jesus, in stopping Satan’s minions from speaking, was preventing the caustic, destructive, and deceptive outpouring of lies, accusations, and false teaching that is the devil’s stock in trade.

We can thank God that Jesus shut down Satan, and showed him to be the thief, liar, and accuser that he is. Jesus is all about freedom, and on this occasion he is making certain that those on that day who had heard him teach, experienced his healing touch, and seen his miraculous powers at work would not have their day ruined by the demons false teachings and deceptive words.

I’m not always as confident as Jesus is in the face of satan’s lies. But I am confident that Jesus silenced his foes for a while, and allowed those gathered there in Capernaum a moment of peace, and a time of the refreshment of healing grace. I’m thankful when he brings that into my life, and the lives of those I love as well.

Note: I will be working through the Gospel of Mark for these next few months, paralleling the focus of our Good News series at St. John.

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