Mark 1:23-26 confronts the reader like an accidental shock. We’ve just read about how Jesus goes into the synagogue and begins to teach. You’re ready to read about what Jesus was teaching, or perhaps a sermon summary, but instead you get this surprising story about a demon-possessed man. This is a supernatural encounter that members of the physical world were able to witness. Jesus goes toe to toe with a representative from the forces of evil that will challenge him relentlessly from now on. Notice how the demons cry out first like a flock of scared birds. They knew who Jesus was, and certainly provided an unexpected element to the order of service that week at the synagogue. Demons faithfully declare the Lordship of Jesus at every encounter. This happens to the point where Jesus has to silence them. The standoff between Jesus and demons teaches us two things. Jesus is in control of everything, whether seen or unseen, and demons are quick to acknowledge what all of us should, namely the absolute Lordship of Christ.

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