No Talking

“Be quiet and come out of him!”  Jesus spoke these words in response to a demon who had just screamed out at Him in the synagogue of Capernaum (Luke 4:31-37; Mark 1:21-28).  The demon had taken as hostage the body and mind of a local man, and it had no doubt reduced his life to constant torment and misery, not to mention the anguish of the man’s family who had to witness the suffering of their loved one.  While the Gospels make frequent references to demons or unclean spirits, Luke uniquely describes this man as being possessed by “the spirit of an unclean demon.”  Luke might well have said “spirits” or “demons,” for this instance is similar to the narrative in Luke 8 regarding Legion where the nouns and pronouns toggle back and forth between the singular and the plural.

By the demon’s own confession, this minister of Satan knew full well that Jesus of Nazareth was the Holy One of God.  “The demons also believe, and shudder,” (James 2:19).  I haven’t taken the time to count them up, but I imagine that among explicit confessions of Jesus as God’s Son recorded in the Gospels, there are more made by demons than those that spring from human hearts and lips.  Demons had no need to tune in to “Who Was the Historical Jesus?” on the History Channel or A&E in order to make up their minds.  They were similarly completely convinced of Jesus’ supreme power and authority and His ability to destroy them.  Jesus did not stoop to answer the demon’s questions; He just ordered him to “shut up and get out.”  And that is precisely what happened.  The demonic voice was muted, and this tormenting, unclean spirit was cast out.   

Notice that there was no debate; no discussion; no consultation or negotiation; no “our people will get with Your people, and we’ll hammer this thing out!”  When Jesus spoke in command to the demons, just as when He spoke to the created order in nature, it was an irresistible word.  When the Triune God said, “Let there be light,” light had to be.  When Jesus said, “Hush, be quiet!” to the raging storm, the surface of the Lake of Gennesaret could do no other than become as smooth as glass.

So, it is clearly demonstrated that the Christ can speak in irresistable fashion, where choice and decision are removed from the equation.  And, yet, to those who are created in the image of the Divine, Jesus speaks in terms of an appeal.  “Come to Me,” “take up your cross and follow Me,” and “enter through the narrow gate” are not issued as mandates, but invitations.  He loves us enough to let us choose to be chosen; He allows us to elect to be elect. 

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”  No battering ram.  No picking the lock on the door of our heart.

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”  No handcuffs or chains.  No taking us kicking and screaming where we do not want to go.

He entreats us.  He draws us.  We decide.