What have we to do with thee - Or, What is it to us and to thee? or, What business hast thou with us? That this is the meaning of the original, τι ἡμιν και σοι, Kypke has sufficiently shown. There is a phrase exactly like it in 2 Samuel 16:10. What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? צרויה בני ולכם לי מה ma li v'lacem beney Tseruiah, What business have ye with me, or, Why do ye trouble me, ye sons of Tseruiah? The Septuagint translate the Hebrew just as the evangelist does here, τι εμοι και ὑμιν ; it is the same idiom in both places, as there can be no doubt that the demoniac spoke in Hebrew, or in the Chaldeo-Syriac dialect of that language, which was then common in Judea. See on Matthew 8:29; (note).
Art thou come to destroy us? - We may suppose this spirit to have felt and spoken thus: "Is this the time of which it hath been predicted, that in it the Messiah should destroy all that power which we have usurped and exercised over the bodies and souls of men? Alas! it is so. I now plainly see who thou art - the Holy One of God, who art come to destroy unholiness, in which we have our residence, and through which we have our reign in the souls of men." An unholy spirit is the only place where Satan can have his full operation, and show forth the plenitude of his destroying power.
See also Luke 4:31-37.
And they went into Capernaum - For the situation of Capernaum see the notes at Matthew 4:13.
Straightway - Immediately. On the following Sabbath.
The synagogue - See the notes at Matthew 4:23.
And taught - In the synagogue, the presiding elder, after reading the Scriptures, invited anyone who chose to address the people, Acts 13:15. Though our Saviour was not a “priest” of the Levitical order or an “officer” of the synagogue, yet we find him often availing himself of this privilege, and delivering his doctrines to the Jews.
He taught them as one that had authority - See the notes at Matthew 7:29.
A man with an unclean spirit - See Matthew 4:24. It is probable that this man had lucid intervals, or he would not have been admitted into the synagogue. When there, one of his fits came on, and he suddenly cried out.
Let us alone - Though only one impure spirit is mentioned as possessing this man, yet that spirit speaks also in the name of others.
They were leagued together in the work of evil, and this one knew that if he was punished, others would also share the same fate.
What have we to do with thee? - See the notes at Matthew 8:29. By this the spirit meant to say that, if Jesus cast him out, he would use an improper interference. But this was untrue. The possession of the man was a direct assault upon God and his works. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, and Jesus had a right, therefore, to liberate the captive, and to punish him who had possessed him. So Satan still considers it an infringement of his rights when God frees a “sinner” from bondage and destroys his influence over the soul. So he still asks to be let alone, and to be suffered to lead people captive at his will.
Art thou come to destroy us? - Implying that this could not be the intention of the “benevolent” Messiah; that to be cast out of that man would, in fact, be his destruction, and that therefore he might be suffered still to remain. Or it may imply, as in Matthew 8:29, that the time of their destruction had not come, and that he ought not to destroy them before that.
I know thee who thou art - Evil spirits seem to have been acquainted at once with the Messiah. Besides, they had learned from his miracles that he was the Messiah, and had power over them.
The Holy One of God - The Messiah. See Daniel 9:24. Jesus is called “the Holy One of God” because:
1.Jesus was eminently pure.
2.Because Jesus was the only begotten Son of God - equal with the Father. And,
3.Because Jesus was anointed (set apart) to the work of the Messiah, the mediator between God and man.
And Jesus rebuked him - Chided him, or commanded him, with a threatening.
This was not the man that Jesus rebuked, but the spirit, for he instantly commanded the same being to come out of the man. In all this, Jesus did not once address the man. His conversation was with the evil spirit, proving conclusively that it was not a mere disease or mental derangement - for how could the Son of God hold converse with “disease” or “insanity?” - but that he conversed with a “being” who also conversed, reasoned, cavilled, felt, resisted, and knew him. There are, therefore, evil spirits, and those spirits have taken possession of human beings.
Hold thy peace - Greek, “Be muzzled.” “Restrain thyself.” “Cease from complaints, and come out of the man.” This was a very signal proof of the power of Jesus, to be able by a word to silence an evil angel, and, against his will, to compel him to leave a man whom he delighted to torment.
And when the unclean spirit - Still malignant, though doomed to obey - submitting because he was obliged to, not because he chose - he exerted his last power, inflicted all the pain he could, and then bowed to the Son of God and came out.
This is the nature of an evil disposition. Though compelled to obey, though prevented by the command and providence of God from doing what it “would,” yet, in seeming to obey, it does all the ill it can, and makes even the appearance of obedience the occasion for increased crime and mischief.
Mark 1:27, Mark 1:28
And they were all amazed - The power of casting out devils was new to them.
It was done by a word. Jesus did it in his own name and by his own authority. This proved that he was superior to all the unclean spirits. In consequence, Jesus‘ fame spread throughout all the country, and the impression became prevalent that he was the Messiah.
This principle bears with equal weight upon a question that has long agitated the Christian world,—the question of apostolic succession. Descent from Abraham was proved, not by name and lineage, but by likeness of character. So the apostolic succession rests not upon the transmission of ecclesiastical authority, but upon spiritual relationship. A life actuated by the apostles’ spirit, the belief and teaching of the truth they taught, this is the true evidence of apostolic succession. This is what constitutes men the successors of the first teachers of the gospel. DA 467.1
Jesus denied that the Jews were children of Abraham. He said, “Ye do the deeds of your father.” In mockery they answered, “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” These words, in allusion to the circumstances of His birth, were intended as a thrust against Christ in the presence of those who were beginning to believe on Him. Jesus gave no heed to the base insinuation, but said, “If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God.” DA 467.2
Their works testified of their relationship to him who was a liar and a murderer. “Ye are of your father the devil,” said Jesus, “and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.... Because I say the truth, ye believe Me not.” John 8:44, 45, R. V. The fact that Jesus spoke the truth, and that with certainty, was why He was not received by the Jewish leaders. It was the truth that offended these self-righteous men. The truth exposed the fallacy of error; it condemned their teaching and practice, and it was unwelcome. They would rather close their eyes to the truth than humble themselves to confess that they had been in error. They did not love the truth. They did not desire it, even though it was truth. DA 467.3Read in context »
Never did Christ deviate from loyalty to the principles of God's law. Never did He do anything contrary to the will of His Father. Before angels, men, and demons He could speak words that from any other lips would have been blasphemy: “I do always those things that please Him.” John 8:29. Day by day for three years His enemies followed Him, trying to find some stain in His character. Satan, with all his confederacy of evil, sought to overcome Him; but they found nothing in Him by which to gain advantage. Even the devils were forced to confess: “Thou art the Holy One of God.” 8T 208.1
What language could so forcibly express God's love for the human family as it is expressed by the gift of His only-begotten Son for our redemption? The Innocent bore the chastisement of the guilty. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18. 8T 208.2Read in context »
Over the winds and the waves, and over men possessed of demons, Christ showed that He had absolute control. He who stilled the tempest and calmed the troubled sea spoke peace to minds distracted and overborne by Satan. MH 91.1
In the synagogue at Capernaum, Jesus was speaking of His mission to set free the slaves of sin. He was interrupted by a shriek of terror. A madman rushed forward from among the people, crying out, “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.” Mark 1:24. MH 91.2
Jesus rebuked the demon, saying, “Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.” Luke 4:35. MH 91.3Read in context »