Mar 1:23-27 ESV – And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
This is an interesting story of Jesus casting an unclean spirit (read: demon) out of a guy in the synagogue. This demon had knowledge and faith in Jesus that no one else had.
- He knew his place. The demon’s first words to Jesus were, “What have you to do with us…?” The demon knew his place compared to Jesus: lesser. The demon knew that he was a lowly created being. Yes, he had the power to control this poor afflicted soul. Yes, he could torment others and use this man as a puppet. Still, this demon knew that he was a nobody compared to Jesus. Why is that? It’s because…
- He knew that Jesus was the Holy One. He speaks and asks Jesus if He’s come to destroy him. He knows that Jesus is God and that Jesus has the power to destroy him on a whim. His faith is astounding, compared to all the pious religious folk around him. This demon knew he was nothing and knew that Jesus was Everything. That knowledge alone didn’t save him.
- “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder!” (James 2:19). James points out that demons do have an element of faith. Actually, they have 2 out of 3 elements of faith:
- They have knowledge: they know who they are and Who God is!
- They agree that the knowledge they have is true. They have knowledge and mental assent, but they lack the last element of saving faith:
- They don’t trust in Jesus to save them. This makes sense, seeing as they have already lived in heaven and cursed God in spite of seeing Him in His majesty. They have no reason to trust Him.
Let this serve as a warning for us: saving faith in Christ is more than just knowledge and agreement; it is trusting Him. Unlike the demons, we have just cause to trust Him. Do I have more faith than this demon?