Suddenly, while still in the meeting place, he was interrupted by a man who was deeply disturbed and yelling out, “What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you’re up to! You’re the Holy One of God, and you’ve come to destroy us!”
Jesus shut him up: “Quiet! Get out of him!” The afflicting spirit threw the man into spasms, protesting loudly—and got out.
Everyone there was incredulous, buzzing with curiosity. “What’s going on here? A new teaching that does what it says? He shuts up defiling, demonic spirits and sends them packing!” News of this traveled fast and was soon all over Galilee.
Directly on leaving the meeting place, they came to Simon and Andrew’s house, accompanied by James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed, burning up with fever. They told Jesus. He went to her, took her hand, and raised her up. No sooner had the fever left than she was up fixing dinner for them.
That evening, after the sun was down, they brought sick and evil-afflicted people to him, the whole city lined up at his door! (Mark 1:23-33)
When Jesus began his public ministry, the first miracle that got widespread attention was when he told a demon to leave a possessed man and the demon left. The response of witnesses was incredulity.
They said that Jesus gave “a new teaching.” Had no one cast out demons before? The difference was that Jesus’ words were backed up by actions. Jesus was more than just speeches—he was about doing something new and startling. Before Jesus arrived, casting out demons was a complex process, fraught by difficulty and ritual. Jesus just told the demon to leave—no theatrics, no formulas, no ritual. There was a power to Jesus that was unlike any of the other teachers they’d known up until then.
Jesus told the demon to be “quiet!” The only other place in Mark’s gospel account where Jesus used that particular verb was when he shut down a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Demons obeyed Jesus the same way the inanimate forces of nature obeyed him, or as a well-trained animal might obey its owner. Demons, like storms, were dangerous and powerful. For Jesus, they were nothing at all. Nothing is difficult for Jesus. Jesus doesn’t just offer us mere words. He offers us genuine solutions. He will move in and disrupt our lives—not just give us advice.