Mark 1:23-24 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."
There are insiders and outsiders, its not hard to tell the difference, the insiders have special knowledge, sometimes even a special language, it helps them to know who belongs and who doesn’t. Today is a day much of the country is talking about football, it is important at this time to have enough knowledge so that you do not ask = How many homeruns did they get this inning? Its important to know which teams are playing – and some of the special knowledge can come in when you explain why the Los Angeles Rams became the St. Louis Rams after the St. Louis Cardinals went to Arizona. It may also mean knowing which players belong to which numbers, and many other things. Fans are expected to know these things, knowing these things makes you an insider, and outsiders look to insiders for explanations.
But we are not here to talk about football, we are here in church, and it would be expected that because we are here, we are church insiders. We have the special language and special knowledge that relates to the church – and the church is all about the salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, through the forgiveness of sins. Much of what they church is about is ,as it were, about knowing the players, who is who – and chief among the who’s who, is Jesus Christ. So, what can you tell me about him?
This is the big story in the gospels, telling all about Jesus Christ, and how he is the Savior of the world. So why is it, that in our lesson, the insiders are astonished at Jesus teaching, but do not comprehend who he is, and a man with an unclean spirit, not only comprehends who Jesus is, but why he is here?
Consider, if you will, that this didn’t happen on a street corner, but it happened in the Synagogue. Consider also his question = "What have you to do with us?" Who is the us? There is only one man mentioned. Consider if you will, what it is that we need salvation from – its not just one thing, but it is a cluster of things – sometimes we talk about it as the world, the flesh, and the devil; – sometimes we talk about it as sin, death, and the devil. So that if Jesus frees us from our sins, but not from the power of the devil – we are not really free, are we?
And now here is the million dollar question, while everyone else is wondering who Jesus is, why is it that the unclean spirit, not only knows who Jesus is, but confesses it?