… the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further. — Excerpt Luke 5:35 (NLT)
It’s a term we don’t hear so much today, let along understand. It’s a term that is ill-understood by Christians, and often ridiculed by non-believers. Demons? They’re only found in stories and tales of fiction, aren’t they?
Yet, throughout the New Testament, we hear of Jesus delivering or freeing people from being demon possessed, or another term is to be possessed by an evil spirit. Are people today possessed with evil spirits? If we believe the Bible, as we should, then the answer must be, Yes!
As we read the Bible, we might be inclined to think that these incidences were purely due to medical conditions; and many people were, indeed, cured of problems that today would be deemed to have a medical and physiological problems – epilepsy (Mark 9:17-29), muteness or inability to speak (Luke 11:14), deafness (Mark 9:25), blindness (Matthew 12:22), for example.
Of course, today’s understanding of medicine is far more advanced than in the days of Jesus, but even so it is interesting to hear what the medical authorities of the day made of such events. We only need to read the Gospel of Luke, who was a medical doctor, to learn what they understood.
Once when he was in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon – an evil spirit – cried out, shouting, “Go away! Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”
But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. At that, the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further.
Luke 5:33-35 (NLT)
There is no lack of clarity here, no mystery as such. It was very clear that the man was demon possessed, and Jesus delivered him from the demon. Jesus had authority over the demon. Absolute authority. There was no questioning His authority. The only question was, “Why are you interfering with us?” The demon knew who he was dealing with: “the Holy One of God!”
The demon knew full well who Jesus was, the Son of God. The demon had no doubts whatsoever. Many people around at the time doubted, and even those who followed Him had doubts. Even the closest disciples – the twelve chosen by Jesus – had doubts at many times. But not so the demons, they just knew.
We may not believe in demons today. Indeed, as we read in the third module of the Discipleship Series, ‘Go! And Make Disciples,’ modern society seems to believe more in magic and mystics, ghosts, and ghouls, than they do in the truth of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Not so the demons themselves, they just know the truth.
So, where do we stand today. We know that when Jesus, the Son of God, walked the earth He had authority over the demons. But what about today? Now that we are been handed the baton, and we are the disciples of Jesus and His representatives here on earth, what about the demons? Are they free to do as they please? Not at all!
Go out and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!
Matthew 10:7 (NLT)
That was how Jesus sends out the twelve apostles – His closest disciples – and that’s how He sends us out today. We have the same authority as the disciples. To “heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons.” We may not understand it, we may doubt it, we may not see it or experience it with our own eyes; but there is no denying the words of Jesus.
It’s as much a mystery to me as it is to many. But we must rely on our faith, as simple and as small as it may be, we must merely believe. We may say, “Lord I believe, but forgive me my unbelief,” as we read in Mark 9:24. And we may ask for discernment to recognise evil spirits when they are present. We all recognise the spirit of adventure, the spirit of fun, or the spirit of mischief in various individuals; may we recognise also the spirit of evil when it is present, and may we take authority and deliver the possessed.
May we pray: Thank You, Lord, that You give us authority to cast out demons. We may not understand it, we may not see it. We humbly ask that You open our eyes to the truth. We ask this in the precious name of our Saviour, Christ Jesus; Amen.
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