21 Then they went into Capernaum, and just then, he entered into the synagogue and was teaching during the Sabbaths. 22 And they were overwhelmed by his teaching, because he teaches them like one who has the right, and not like the scribes do. 23 And just then there was a man in their synagogue with a unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 saying, “What is there between us and you, Jesus, Nazarene?” “Have you come to destroy us?” “I know you, who you are, the holy One from God!”
making a difference
Jesus and his disciples did not start their ministry as opponents of the religious establishment. They went where any other religious teacher would go: to the local synagogues. Jesus taught from the same Scriptures, and ministered to the same people that the other rabbis did. But the excellent message that Jesus taught, and the way he taught it (like he has the right to do so) led the people to compare him and his message to their usual teachers. There was such a difference that the people were overwhelmed.
And there was an even more impressive reaction. There was a man in the synagogue who had an unclean spirit. That spirit violently reacted to Jesus’ presence. That spirit knew that God was going to send him to Gehenna, where he would be destroyed in the final judgment. That spirit probably knew that his own master, Satan, had just failed to overcome Jesus in the spiritual warfare time of testing in the Judean desert. So, that spirit was highly intimidated by Jesus’ presence, and reacted violently toward him.
Most of us want to make a difference with our lives. We do not want to just skate through life with nobody noticing us. But are we prepared for the kind of difference we might make? If someone is impressed by our words, those who are demanding their respect will probably resent that. Also, those who are sold out to something besides God’s kingdom may just recognize the kind of threat we really are to them. Conflict will come.
Jesus and his disciples went into Capernaum and dared to make a difference there. They did not have to go looking for spiritual warfare. They just got involved in ministry, and the conflict found them.
LORD, give us the desire to make a difference, and the courage to deal with the resulting conflict.
 σαββατον (1:21; 2:23f, 27f; 3:2, 4; 6:2; 16:1f, 9).
 εξουσια (1:22, 27; 2:10; 3:15; 6:7; 11:28f, 33; 13:34).
 literally, “What to us and to you?”
 απολλυμι (1:24; 2:22; 3:6; 4:38; 8:35; 9:22, 41; 11:18; 12:9).