Jesus Doesn’t Negotiate With Spiritual Terrorists

Text: Mark 1:21-28

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” —Colossians 1:13

Some time ago, I was on an airplane when two children were getting quite rowdy. Their mother spoke in French as she tried to get them to settle down, to no avail. Then the mother finally snapped. She said one word in her native tongue and all of a sudden those kids dropped everything, sat up straight, and acted civil for the rest of the flight. That mom’s authority was not to be trifled with! “I’ve got to learn more French,” I thought to myself. To this day I have no idea what that French word was, but as an envious parent, I long to know this mystery. I’d love to have that tool in my parenting toolbox!

People were often “astonished” with Jesus because “he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:21-28).

Early on in His ministry, Jesus visited a synagogue and was teaching, when a man with an evil spirit began crying 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.” The demon itself testified of Christ’s deity, perhaps wishing to garner a continued audience with Jesus in an effort to further oppress the man and delay any exorcism. Let’s not understate the response. Jesus immediately rebuked the unclean spirit, “Checking his insolence, despising his flattery, and refusing to receive a testimony from him; and which he wanted not, lest it should be thought he had a familiarity and confederacy with him,” noted John Gills. In other words, Jesus doesn’t negotiate with spiritual terrorists.

“Be silent, and come out of him!” Jesus swiftly commands.

Convulsing and crying out with a loud voice, the unclean spirit came out of the man. The people were all amazed, questioning among themselves, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” The fame of Jesus then spread throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

Jesus taught with authority because, as the Son of the living God, He had been sent to Earth with authority from the Father (Matthew 11:27, John 3:31-35). He demonstrated this authority in the miracles He performed and the demons He cast out. This authority was illustrated in how the angels served Him (Matthew 4:11). This authority was on display when He announced the presence of the kingdom of God and commanded men to repent and believe (Matthew 4:17). It was highlighted when Jesus commissioned His followers to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). The name of Jesus has such authority that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord (Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10). This same Jesus is for you and not against you.

Jesus has no confederacy with that which seeks our demise. He doesn’t even entertain a conversation where the dialogue is intent on disgracing us. He doesn’t negotiate with spiritual terrorists! And there is nothing in our past, present, or future that is left untouched by His authority. When unclean spirits try to condemn us, the cross speaks a different language. When shame tries to hijack the narrative of our lives, the authority of His blood tells a different story. When feelings of doubt, despair, anxiety, or uncertainty press us to shrink back in fear, the indwelling Holy Spirit reminds us that we are not left to ourselves in this world of struggle (John 14:16-18).

Oh, Your love bled for me
Oh, Your blood in crimson streams
Oh, Your death is hell’s defeat
A cross meant to kill is my victory

We have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His authority. Jesus will never, ever entertain a conversation involving your condemnation with those unclean spirits from the other side.

Take comfort in His authority as you seek to abide in Him this week.


Heavenly Father, thank you for the victory you have given your children over the influences of darkness. Thank you that Jesus makes no confederacy with those unclean spirits that would seek my demise, but rather rebukes them. May the authority of Jesus Christ and His redemption song resound over everything in my life this week. In His name, Amen.

Questions for Reflection and/or Family Discussion:

  1. If you had the authority to rid the world of one evil, what would it be?
  2. Why were the people in the synagogue amazed at Jesus’ teaching?
  3. What do the unclean spirit’s words reveal about Jesus? (Mark 1:24)
  4. What area of your life do you need to surrender to the authority of Jesus?
  5. What is one way you can show submission to Christ’s authority in your life this week?

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