28: The Holy One of God
It was the sabbath day in Capernaum. All work had come to a halt. The fishermen's boats were drawn up on the beach. The farmer's plow stood waiting by his furrow. The blacksmith's fire was put out.
On this day of the Lord, the people walked through the silent streets toward the synagogue—fishermen and farmers, merchants and shepherds, rich people and poor people, men and women. A colorful crowd went into the house of prayer.
After they had prayed, Jesus stood up to read the Word of God, just as He had in Nazareth.
He also addressed some words to the congregation. But in Capernaum there was no whispered scorn and anger. The people listened reverently, in joyful amazement. What they heard that day was news to them.
The prominent rabbis and scribes had never spoken the way Jesus did. They usually talked about the laws of Moses and other strange laws that they had instituted themselves. Anyone who did not obey those laws would be punished. The scribes and rabbis placed burdens almost too heavy to bear on the people.
This rabbi, the one called Jesus, took those burdens away. He did not threaten the people.
He offered comfort to all who were distressed because they had not kept God's law. He spoke of God's love for poor sinners. He brought the joyful news of God's grace for all who repented of the evil they had done. He promised rest to all who were tired and burdened.
The people had never before heard such glorious words. They were deeply moved. It was still in the synagogue. Only the voice of the Savior was heard.
Suddenly another voice began to shriek, frightening the people. It was a harsh, grating voice.
A man had stood up. His eyes were flashing angrily. Apparently he could no longer bear to listen to Jesus' words about love and blessing. Angrily he shook his fist at Jesus. With fear in his voice he cried, "What do You want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us?
I know who You are: You are the Holy One of God!"
The people looked fearfully at the man who had so rudely broken the spell in the synagogue. They knew who he was. He was a most unhappy man that no one was able to help. He was possessed by the devil. An evil spirit had penetrated his soul and now had the man completely in its power. The poor man was a slave to the devil that lived within him. That devil tormented him daily.
The evil spirit had spoken out against Jesus. The man himself did not know what he was doing. The evil spirit used his hands and his mouth to do whatever he wanted.
Jesus, who knew what was going on, was not angry with the man. He had compassion on him. Jesus had come to strip satan of his power. That was why this evil spirit was now raging against Him.
Jesus stood up. His voice was strong and authoritative as He said, "Be still and go out of him."
The unclean spirit had no choice but to obey. It seemed as if he were ripped out of the man. He threw the man to the floor and scattered the people, but he did not harm the man further.
The man lay on the floor silently. When he stood up, he seemed to have awakened from a deep, frightening sleep or a nightmare. He looked around in amazement.
His eyes were now clearer than anyone else's and could see more. He was fully healed. He could return to his home as a free and happy man.
The people of Capernaum who had witnessed this miracle looked at Jesus in amazement and awe. "Who is He, then," they asked each other, "that even the evil spirits obey Him?"
They knew the answer: Jesus was the Holy One of God. That was all they talked about from then on. In all the surrounding towns and villages, people were told about Jesus' great power.