And they went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, "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 the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
- Mark 1:21-28
Our Lord Jesus Christ is God Incarnate – God come to earth in human flesh. And why did He do that? To set us free from all those things that hold us back from being what God intends us to be – that is, to be in complete communion with Him. In St. John’s Gospel, Christ is called “Logos,” the “Word.” God’s Word has power to set us free and to transform our lives. When Jesus taught He spoke with authority. He, as the Word, spoke the word of God as no one had spoken it before. When the Rabbis taught, it was necessary for them to quote other authorities. The prophets spoke with authority not their own, and they would begin their statements with, “Thus says the Lord.” When Jesus spoke He needed no other authorities to support His statements. He was authority Incarnate – the Word of God made flesh. When He spoke, God spoke. When He commanded even the demons obeyed.
We receive another lesson from this Gospel. We hear the demons acknowledge the power of Jesus – they knew who He was. But belief isn’t enough – just because they knew who He was, didn’t mean they had faith as we understand faith. And even faith, without carrying it out in works of love, isn't enough. Our faith must be made “incarnate” by doing what God commands. Even the demons we read about in the Gospels confessed a sort of faith, but they certainly had no love. Scripture tells us that true faith works through love. Our faith is made perfect in love because love directs our lives toward the supreme good which is God Himself, as well as towards the good of our neighbor, who is created in the image and likeness of God.
Faith is a free gift of God, and it is the conforming of our will to the whole truth that God has revealed. The Lord gives us His Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds so that we may grow in His truth and in the knowledge of His great love for each of us, which He has shown by coming to us as the Incarnate Word.