In the Gospel today, in the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel, we see the whole town gathered around Jesus as he cures their illnesses and exorcises demons. That seems nice. Jesus is popular. He shrugs this off. This is not His purpose. But we’re amazed at His enthusiasm.
Preaching about this today, I spoke of His purpose in establishing the Kingdom of God by disestablishing the kingdom of Satan. But it’s not just about exorcism. You have to know that exorcism infuriates Satan and his minions. Jesus is targeted now by Satan like never before. Jesus is baiting Satan to do this. After Judas is possessed at the Last Supper, it will all end with all of hell broken out against Jesus on Calvary. Satan was baited by Jesus to do just this. Now Jesus stands in our place, the innocent for the guilty, taking the brunt of everything Satan has and, in this way, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. And then Jesus rises from the dead to bring us to life. Hah!
You would think that Satan, so very extremely intelligent, would not allow himself to be baited by Jesus. But there it is. Baited. However intelligent, Satan has no wisdom. So he continuously frustrates himself. His punishment in Genesis is not that he crawls on his belly, but rather, literally, with all due historical philology, he writhes along on his writhingness. This is the very image of being frustrated. Intellectual frustration on a spiritual level is the worst suffering there can be.