RUINS OF THE SYNAGOGUE OF CAPERNAUM
READ MARK 1:23-26
The synagogue shown above was built in the third century A.D. It was the most beautiful landmark in the area. It’s walls were made of pure white limestone and decorated with hand crafted sculptural ornamentation. This was not the original synagogue where Jesus taught, but is located in the same area as the one pictured. Synagogues were places used to teach the scriptures – where people would gather and hear the priests deliver readings from God’s Word. It was a place of meeting, teaching and learning.
Jesus and His disciples made Capernaum their home base. It was a place for them to rest, to recharge and also a place for Jesus to teach. From there they would travel to the hill country and cities around the Sea of Galilee.
While they were there, a man approached Jesus and cried out in a loud, heinous voice,
“ Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.”
This man had been tormented with an evil spirit for some time. That very spirit – the devil himself – was the voice speaking to Jesus. He knew him personally, for only a few months ago, he had tempted Jesus in the wilderness.
Imagine the reaction of the crowds. They all thought this man was crazy. It wasn’t even his voice coming out of his mouth. The voice sent chills up and down their spines. The demonic creature within this man recognized Jesus as the Holy One of God – the true Messiah – the one who had come to defeat Satan and his minions.
We don’t know how long the man had been inflicted with this demon. We do know that the man was at the synagogue, where the Word of God was present. How often does the devil get into our places of worship and try to manipulate our thinking, our beliefs and our faith? It seems to be a favorite spot for him to hang out.
Jesus immediately responded to the voice,
“Hold thy peace, and come out of him.”
At those words, the man began to convulse and writhe as the spirit left his body. What a relief it must’ve been for this poor soul. To have the devil inhabiting your inner being for even a short time, would be impossible to bear. I would imagine that Jesus held this man in His arms after his seizure, to comfort him for a time, just as we can be confident of His arms wrapped around us.
The King James Version of the Bible says,
“And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.” Mark 1:26
That evil spirit actually tore through the man and came out. Jesus demonstrated His power over the devil once more.
I think the importance of this story not only demonstrates Jesus as God’s true Son, but also we should be warned that our places of worship are not devil proof. In fact, I think the devil finds great opportunities in the minds and hearts of those who worship. They are his most desired – the ones he wants to pluck out of God’s hands to join him in his misery.
Everyone is a target. We see Satan at work every day in our lives. Sometimes it’s obvious. Other times we haven’t got a clue as to his presence, but we do have the assurance that even the name of Jesus is strong enough to cast out demons.
Praise God for His strength and power over the devil and all his wicked ways.