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.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Mark 1:21:
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