In Mark 3:11 and elsewhere, demons identified Jesus but he silenced them. Why?

Jesus did not want to receive testimony from the demons but wanted people to conclude he was Messiah by his works and person
62% (8 votes)
The demons worshippied him and acclaimed him hoping for mercy, but he did not wish to discuss it
0% (0 votes)
Jesus did not want to make it easy for onlookers to assume he was in league with them
8% (1 vote)
Other
31% (4 votes)
Total votes: 13
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Ed Vasicek's picture

In Mark 3:11 (ESV), we read:

 

And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 

We see this pattern repeatedly in the Gospels.   In the case of the demons who were legion (Mark 5:1-17) and the pigs (first case of deviled ham), there was quite a bit of discussion.

 

Why in this case, do you think?

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture

Editor

I attached an excerpt from my sermon notes on Mk 1:34, surveying the litany of positions on the issue. I agree with #1 in your survey, above.

 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

I chose other but I think my view may be somewhat similar to the first option. Jesus was selective in how He revealed Himself. He did not just open the floodgate of revelation about Himself. He healed people and told them not to advertise it, He spoke in parables, and even His miracles were done with a certain degree of exclusivity. I am a presuppositional apologist so in my mind it would not have mattered either way. Those that did not believe would not have believed no matter what they saw. I believe we see this clearly with the rich man and Lazarus. Even if someone from the dead came to see them they would not have believed if they did not accept God's revelation in His word.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Thanks, Tyler and Josh.  Both of you have pondered this, I see. 

 

I know from my Jewish Roots studies that if one claimed to be the Messiah, he was ruled out a priori.   People were to

CONCLUDE that a particular godly man was the Messiah.  This may or may not come into play.

 

Peter's confession (You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God) was approved by Jesus, but he never mouthed the words "I am the Messiah."  To the Woman at the well who spoke about Messiah coming, Jesus said that "I am he," and the answers at his trial are likewise affirming the claim without making it.

This, however, may have nothing to do with the silencing of these demons.

 

"The Midrash Detective"

Lee's picture

The devil and his minions are incapable of communicating truth ("...he was a liar from the beginning...") even when spouting factually true statements about God / Christ / Scripture (observe the Gospel narratives of Satan's temptation of Christ).  Intrinsic deceit is unable to bear witness of the truth.  Christ evidenced that in His silencing of any demonic affirmation.  Paul did the same thing, for all practical purposes, in his silencing of the demon-possessed woman of Phillipi in Acts 16.  

Lies cannot affirm/confirm truth.  Never have; never will.

Lee

Jay's picture

The devil and his minions are incapable of communicating truth ("...he was a liar from the beginning...") even when spouting factually true statements about God / Christ / Scripture (observe the Gospel narratives of Satan's temptation of Christ).  Intrinsic deceit is unable to bear witness of the truth.

The verse referenced:

And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 

I don't see how the unclean spirits are doing anything other than 'bearing witness of the truth' here.  Other demons did the same:

As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. (Acts 16:16-19).

James says that the demons 'believe and tremble'.

Am I missing something here?

Satan can and will speak the truth - facts that are true - when it serves his ends.  He did cite the right Bible verses to Jesus in the temptation - he just distorted it to make it serve his own end.

***

I voted other - Who knows?  Does it matter?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Lee's picture

Jay wrote:

Satan can and will speak the truth - facts that are true - when it serves his ends.  He did cite the right Bible verses to Jesus in the temptation - he just distorted it to make it serve his own end.

***

I voted other - Who knows?  Does it matter?

Pretty sure that is what I said--factual truth intended to accomplish deceit.  Satan's desired end is always deceit.  Unacceptable as a testimony to the truth. 

Lee

Jay's picture

I misunderstood your post.  Thanks for clearing that up.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells