I love the Gospel of Mark. It’s my favorite. Mark doesn’t waste words. It’s action-packed and everything seems to happen at full speed.
The Greek word “euthus,” variously translated “immediately,” “as soon as,” “instantly,” “suddenly,” and “right away,” can be found over forty times in Mark’s sixteen chapters. “Immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). “Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:18). “Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean” (Mark 1:42). “Immediately he got up, took the mat, and went out in front of everyone” (Mark 2:12). “Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction” (Mark 5:29).
Another reason I enjoy the Gospel of Mark... Jesus always wins! “Demons” and “unclean spirits” are mentioned two dozen times and Jesus is always triumphant over them. In the first of many miracles mentioned in Mark, Jesus, with a simple spoken word, sets a man free from demonic bondage. Jesus defeats the enemy, and a man’s life is reborn.
The setting for this story is a synagogue in Capernaum. Capernaum, on the northwestern shores of Galilee, was the home of the fishermen, Peter and Andrew, and Zebedee’s sons, James and John. It was the Sabbath day, and Jesus, an itinerate rabbi, was invited to teach. “They were astonished at his teaching because he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not like the scribes” (Mark 1:22). Jesus expertly revealed relevant, timeless truths as He read from the Old Testament scroll. Spellbound, the congregation was listening attentively, leaning forward to miss nothing.
And then... It was like an unexpected clanging cymbal! Startled, the crowd turned to see the disturbance. I suspect that the man looked homeless, dirty, and probably dangerous. His eyes were sunken and vacant as he glared at the alarmed crowd. When he spoke, the words came from deep in his throat. If fact, it wasn’t the man speaking, but the evil spirit within him “cried out, ‘What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!’ ” (Mark 1:23-24).
The Master knew the demon, cast out of heaven as one of Lucifer’s prideful minions. What had surprised the crowd had not surprised Jesus. The crowd was worried. Jesus was not.
Jesus also knew the man, his failures and his hope-filled dreams, his history and his future. Jesus looked compassionately at the man but spoke directly to the demon. “Jesus rebuked him saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw him into convulsions, shouted with a loud voice, and came out of him” (Mark 1:25-26). Like a whipped pup, the defeated evil spirit slipped away into the darkness.
Surely, the man, unshackled from the invisible chains, fell into Jesus’ embrace, sobbing with thanksgiving. “Amazement came over them all, and they were saying to one another, ‘What is this message? For he commands the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they come out!’ And news about him began to go out to every place in the vicinity” (Luke 4:36–37).
What was his name? What happened next? What’s the rest of the story? Here’s my guess. From that moment on, the man’s life was fully devoted to Jesus. Everywhere he went, he told the story of his miraculous emancipation. Many years later, his children and grandchildren gathered in the cemetery. On his tomb stone were etched the words, “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36, NKJV).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.