March 26 Evening Verse of The Day

1:34 many demons. The extent of demon possession in Galilee’s Jewish population (v. 32 note) is startling, though the Gentile or pagan influence in Galilee must not be forgotten.

he would not permit the demons to speak. This is the first instance of what has been called the “messianic secret” (v. 43; 3:12; 4:10, 11; 5:19; 8:30; 9:9). The revelation of Jesus as the Messiah had to begin discreetly and proceed by stages so that the plan of God for the death of His Servant would not be jeopardized by any excesses of popular enthusiasm.[1]

1:34 did not permit the demons to speak Jesus continues to veil His true identity (compare note on v. 24). Jesus’ true identity so challenged the religious leaders of the time that it led to His execution. Mark’s Gospel notes that Jesus is aware that the unveiling of His true identity, as God’s Son and the Messiah, will lead to His death (2:20; 8:31).[2]

1:34 not permitting the demons to speak. See notes on v. 25; 3:11, 12. they knew who He was. The demons’ theology is absolutely orthodox (Jas 2:19); but though they know the truth, they reject it and God, who is its source.[3]

1:34 — … He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.

Jesus does not need the testimony of evil spirits to corroborate His identity or to vouch for His holy character. We might be impressed with such supernatural witnesses, but Jesus dismissed them.[4]

1:34 “He healed many” This verse is the first of many in Mark (cf. 1:34, 43–44; 3:12; 4:11; 5:43; 7:24, 36; 8:26, 30; 9:9) which have often been referred to as “Mark’s Messianic Secret.” Jesus tells the disciples and those He heals not to tell about His teachings and acts. Jesus did not want to be known merely as a healer or miracle worker. These were only signs that pointed to His Messiahship, which at this point in His life had not been fully revealed. Jesus came to (1) reveal the Father; (2) give Himself as a sacrifice for sin; and (3) give believers an example to follow. The healings and deliverances were only signs of His compassion for the weak, sick, and outcast. This was also an OT predicted sign of the ministry of the Messiah (cf. Isa. 61:1).

 “was not permitting the demons to speak” This is IMPERFECT TENSE (cf. v. 24). See Special Topic on the Demonic at 1:24.[5]

34. He healed many who were afflicted with various diseases, and he cast out many demons. Mark is very brief here. In the light of the preceding context he conveys the thought that Jesus healed all (see verse 32; cf. Matt. 8:16; Luke 4:40) the many (verse 34) sick people that were brought to him, no matter what happened to be the nature of their illness. Luke, as we would expect of this doctor, pictures the procession of the sick being brought one by one to Jesus, who, paying due attention to, and lovingly placing his hands on, each in turn, healed them all (4:40). Mark, in harmony with Matthew and Luke, states that Jesus similarly cast out many demons. Matthew adds that it was “with a word,” namely, the word of effective command, that the evil spirits were driven out (8:16).

When Mark now adds, But he was not allowing the demons to speak, because they knew who he was, this must not be interpreted to mean that the evil spirits never said anything at all. Luke explains what is meant. At first the demons cried out, “You are the Son of God.” Cf. above, on Mark 1:24. Immediately they were rebuked by Jesus, and thus prevented from saying any more about this.

Now what these demons, by means of the vocal organs of the possessed, were saying was the truth. They actually “knew who Jesus was,” namely, the Son of God, the long expected Messiah. Similarly, for example, the outcry of the demon-possessed girl described in Acts 16:17 was true; so true, in fact, that what she said (“These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation”) has been used as the text for an ordination service; theme: “The word of the devil!” Nevertheless, two questions arise. The first one is: Why did these demons loudly proclaim this truth? Was this caused by an irresistible fascination which the person of Jesus cast upon them? Was it due, rather, to a malicious and sadistic desire to get Jesus into trouble, since they may have known that if already at this time the truth with reference to Christ’s identity were accepted by the masses, this would cut short Messiah’s contemplated program and would bring him to death sooner than would have been the case otherwise? An indisputable answer has not been revealed. The second question is: Why did Jesus silence them? A possible answer has already been suggested, but see also on verse 44.

While Mark and Luke end their respective paragraphs with this prohibition addressed to the demons, Matthew (8:17) sees in the cures performed by the Master a fulfilment of the prophecy of Isa. 53:4, “Surely, our diseases he has borne, and our pains [or: sorrows] he has carried.”

1:35–39 Christ’s Pre-dawn Prayer; Simon’s Exclamation and Christ’s Answer; Christ’s Ministry of Preaching and Demon-expulsion throughout all Galilee

Cf. Luke 4:42–44; and with Mark 1:39 cf. Matt. 4:23–25

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, went out, and departed to a lonely place; and there he was praying. 36 Simon and those who were with him went in search of him, 37 and having found him said to him, “Everybody is looking for you!” 38 And he said to them, “Let us go elsewhere, to the next towns, that I may preach there also; because for this purpose I came forth.” 39 So he traveled throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.[6]

34. Jesus healed many who had various diseases, and he drove out many demons. The term poikilai (‘various’) indicates that there was no physical sickness that Jesus did not and could not heal. Mark relates healings of fever (1:29–31), skin disease (1:40–45), paralysis (2:1–12), atrophied muscles (3:1–6) and continual blood loss (5:25–34), and of people who were deaf and dumb (7:32–37), blind (8:22–26; 10:46–52), had epilepsy (9:14–29) or had died (5:21–43). In the exorcisms of evil spirits, Jesus would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was, a silencing that Mark already noted in verse 25. The problem was not primarily the inappropriate nature of the witness but the knowledge of the demons that he is ‘the Holy One of God’ (1:24), ‘the Son of God’ (3:11), the ‘Son of the Most High God’ (5:7), indeed ‘the Messiah’ (Luke 4:41, the parallel passage to Mark 1:34). The time and manner of the revelation of Jesus’ identity as Messiah and unique Son of God is Jesus’ own prerogative, revealed only to those close to him (8:29–30) and understood only in connection with Jesus’ crucifixion. See Introduction 4b.[7]

34. Once again, the Lord refuses to accept demoniac testimony to his Godhead. All such testimony is non-voluntary, an unwilling recognition by the powers of darkness of an empirical fact, and therefore it corresponds to no morally or spiritually transforming discovery. Jesus is prepared to await the revelation to be made by God himself that alone will enable every disciple to say with Peter, ‘You are the Christ’ (8:29). James 2:19 shows that such grudging acceptance of God by the demons as an unwelcome reality is far apart from true Christian faith: though demons may well admit, they do not trust, but only ‘shudder’. That is not the biblical ‘fear of the Lord’ (Ps. 19:9).[8]

1:34 he would not let the demons speak. Jesus’s power over the demons was absolute. He cast them out with a modicum of verbiage (every word was filled with power), and he closed the mouths of the demons. This has two purposes: to bind Satan in his house (3:27) by shutting the mouths of demons and casting them out of people, and to keep his messianic nature from the people because they could not understand that in his first coming he is to be a suffering servant rather than a conquering king.[9]

[1] Sproul, R. C., ed. (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1416). Ligonier Ministries.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., Whitehead, M. M., Grigoni, M. R., & Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Mk 1:34). Lexham Press.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Mk 1:34). Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Mk 1:34). Nelson Bibles.

[5] Utley, R. J. D. (2000). The Gospel according to Peter: Mark and I & II Peter: Vol. Volume 2 (p. 25). Bible Lessons International.

[6] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark (Vol. 10, pp. 70–71). Baker Book House.

[7] Schnabel, E. J. (2017). Mark: An Introduction and Commentary (E. J. Schnabel, Ed.; Vol. 2, p. 60). Inter-Varsity Press.

[8] Cole, R. A. (1989). Mark: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 2, p. 117). InterVarsity Press.

[9] Osborne, G. R. (2014). Mark (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.; p. 31). Baker Books.

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