I Know Who You Are—The Holy One of God

A demon knew long before Peter did.

Luke 4:31-37 (ESV)

And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Ha! 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.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

Peter wasn’t the first person to confess Christ; this guy was. Of course, it wasn’t really him; it was the demon. But the demon knew something no one else knew – who Jesus really is.

This passage has a very simple message – one we seem to refuse to learn. Demons’ skills are way ahead of ours; we are virtually powerless against them. Only Jesus has power over them.

Charlie Daniels has a song where he challenges the devil to a fiddling contest – and wins. I sure hope he never tries that for real. He put his soul on the line and didn’t even ask God for help. The word “stupid” doesn’t even begin to describe this.

When Jesus gave the great commission, he said something surprising.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” – Matthew 28:18

Not, “you,” “me.” Even the original disciples were not given authority.

He has it all.

We get this wrong for a pretty good reason. We have powers no one could have even dreamed of a couple of centuries ago. Imagine traveling back in time and displaying modern technology.

The computer screen you’re reading this on wouldn’t just have amazed them; it would have scared them. Normal works of modern medicine would have looked like miracles to them.

Imagine their reaction to a simple powered megaphone. What would they have thought of a helicopter? You could have easily convinced them that you’re an angel.

But all of this is nothing in the presence of a real angel (good or fallen).

And their powers are nothing compared to the one to whom all authority has been given.

We need to respect this and also to take advantage of it.

Take prayer seriously.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.