“And He healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.” ~ Mark 1:34
It would have been astounding to see/hear demons declaring Jesus as the Son of God, supernatural beings buzzing about announcing that Jesus is the Messiah: the Holy One of God. Surely, that would have been a convincing spectacle: who would dare challenge Jesus? Jesus, however, saw things differently.
If He had wanted to make a spectacle, He would have had the heavenly host of angels announce His Deity wherever He went. Jesus certainly didn’t need devils to identify Him as God’s Son. The devils knew Jesus’ identity, but they didn’t know His mission (Matthew 8:29, Mark 1:24). They thought He had come for judgment, but Jesus had come for salvation.
Accordingly, in Mark 1:38 Jesus declares that His purpose for coming among men was to preach, that is, to declare to the world that Salvation was now available through Him: that He would be the Way for man to have fellowship with God again (John 14:6).
Therefore, some time after Jesus had miraculously healed the people in Capernaum, as described in our text (above), He rebuked them strongly. Because the miraculous restoration of physical health that they had seen and/or experienced had not brought about a change in their spiritual health:
- “Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not… And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” ~ Matthew 11:20, 23-24
The people were unwilling to repent. For all the great miracles He had performed and all the great teachings He taught (Mark 1:21-22) the people lacked the faith needed to accept Jesus as their Saviour and repent of their sins.
Jesus’ mission was one of spiritual healing, not physical healing. For Jesus, faith was foremost, not physical health. The people brought their sick to Him for healing, but they never brought their hearts to Him, in faith, for Him to remedy their relationship to God. Therefore, despite the great miracles they had seen/experienced, many of them were doomed.
So, Jesus silenced the devils; the people didn’t need more spectacle, they needed faith!!! If miracles didn’t produce repentance, neither would the declarations of devils. For the great spectacle they would have caused, for the (even more) numerous the crowds that would have followed; no one would have come any closer to having faith in Him, it would not have accomplished His purpose of salvation.
Likewise, if we have no faith in Jesus to begin with, then miracles are useless to us. Without faith, miracles are just entertainment: they bring us no closer to God. Conversely, with faith we have ALL we need, miracles or not. And we know this truth, because Jesus told us that this was His purpose for coming. When someone accepts Jesus as his /her Lord and Saviour, Jesus’ goal has been accomplished in them. Faith in God causes us to want to fellowship with Him and fellowship with God grows our faith. As we come to know God, we gain faith in Him because we are learning His true character.
- “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” ~ Hebrews 11:6
If the people of Capernaum refused to believe Jesus when He identified Himself as the Messiah, do you think they would have believed it if the devils declared it?? Certainly not, it would just have been a bigger spectacle. Likewise, anyone who refuses to accept Jesus as Saviour now, will reject Him even if demons jumped up and declared him to be the Son of God. Because we don’t receive the gift of salvation through spectacular experiences; we receive salvation by God’s grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
However, there will be a time for declarations. When Jesus returns, a Host of loyal angels will announce His coming, not a cacophony of doomed devils. Jesus will return to gather the Believers, those who were made spiritually whole through faith in Him (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Yes, it will be spectacular, but it certainly won’t be a show for entertainment, it will be a show of His awesome power as rightful ruler of the universe: as the Lamb that was slain ascends to His Throne (Revelation 5:5-14) then…
- “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” ~ Philippians 2:10-11