Mark 1:24 “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.”
Matthew 8:29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
The two above verses are responses of demons to Jesus during his public ministry–in which he often cast out demons. In Mark 1, there is just one demon possessed man and one demon making this interesting statement. In Matthew, there were 2 demon possessed men possessed by many demons that apparently made these men strong and violent. In both of these instances–the demons seem to know something about who Jesus is and where He has come from.
In my previous post, Jesus . . . what are you doing here? I discussed the fact that the only precident in the Old Testament that we have of someone saying “I have come” + a statement of purpose comes from angels (Daniel 9:22-23, 10:11-14; Numbers 22:32). So when Jesus uses this formula a number of times in the gospels–he is communicating that he has come from the heavenly sphere to earth for particular purposes–all of which have far reaching eternal implications (i.e. “to cast fire on the earth” or “to seek and save the lost”).
In these two verses–the demons use a very similar formula to Jesus’ “I have come” statements. They ask Jesus, “have you come . . . to destroy us/torment us before the appointed time?” Thus it appears that these demons know that Jesus has come to earth from heaven. They also seem to know something of who He is–“the Holy One of God” and “the Son of God” respectively. “Holy One of God” is a title never used to describe prophetic figures or angels, rather it is used of the LORD (Jeremiah 50:29; Isaiah 30:11). Thus “Holy One of God” highlights Jesus’ God-nature–for who is holy but God alone (1 Sam. 2:2).
In both instances, the demons fear Jesus. In Mark 1:24, there is one demon asking Jesus, “have you come to destroy us?” Why does this demon switch to the plural if he is only one demon? This demon knows enough of who Jesus is as “the Holy One of God” to know that He has the power to destroy the entire demonic order–he seems to know that Jesus could destroy all demons (Gen. 3:15)! In Mark 8:29, these demons know of a future appointed time when the demons would face torment (Jude 1:6; Rev. 20:6-10; 1 John 3:8)–they also understand Jesus to be the source of that torment–the understand Him to be the great eschatological judge (Rev. 19:15)!
Jesus cast out demons becuase he came “to seek and save the lost” and to reclaim the world from its false ruler! In casting out demons he shows that He is the messiah promised in Gen. 3:15 come to crush the head of serpent. Furthermore in going to the cross He would “disarm” the entire demonic order (Col. 2:15) making them powerless over the children of His kingdom. Though this world has fallen, Jesus came to redeem it and defeat its false rulers! Indeed Jesus came to show His love for sinners by dieing on the cross for them but more than that, He established His kingdom in the hearts of believers by paying the penalty for all who would believe. In trusting in Him, we become a part of this new kingdom and will reign with Him for ever!
What the demons say about Jesus ought to cause us to check our own hearts because apparently you can know a great deal about Jesus and still hate Him. To know who Jesus is and hate Him is demonic. If you know who Jesus is and have put your trust in Him, you will love Him and work to spread His kingdom!
Interestingly enough, Jesus lets the demons in Matthew 8:28 go into a herd of pigs–this results in a mass suicide of pigs as they run off a cliff. The pig herders then go and gather a mob together to run Jesus out of town! Why did Jesus allow these demons to go into the herd of pigs? We could make a number of logical guesses–Jesus is Lord of creation and can do whatever He wants with the pigs and with the demons. But perhaps, Jesus, as He so often does, wanted to reveal the true hearts of these pig herders and towns people. The pig herders apparently loved financial gain/worldly possessions more than the work of God–they witnessed a profound miracle in which Jesus shows his power over evil and yet they want Him gone. Jesus freed these men from demonic oppression and in so doing opens the doors wide for entrance into the Kingdom of God, and the pig herders want nothing to do with Him because they lost their pigs. Following Jesus is costly, and if you love money or anything else more than Him, you have no place in His Kingdom.
Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? If you do, you will love His work? Is the advance of His Kingdom your fervent desire? Its not enough to know who Jesus is–even the demons know that and shudder (James 2:19)–you must love and promote His Kingdom and His kingdom works.