Monday, May 13, 2013

Jesus vs demons - part 2

Mark 1:21-28
21 Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. 
22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
23 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,
24 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”
25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”
26 And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.
27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”
28 And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.

Here is one of the first times we see Jesus in a showdown with a demon.  It isn't very much of a battle, but there are some interesting points we can get from this.

First of all, notice the setting...inside a synagogue on the Sabbath day.  The setting is not a mental hospital, or a prison for the insane.  It is a normal religious gathering, with Jesus doing the teaching.  This confrontation took place in the middle of something similar to a "church service" full of very religious people.

Demons are not relegated to primitive cultures, or to the seedy underworld under a full moon..  They operate in all kinds of settings, including church services, and sometimes even in church leadership (more on this in another post).  In this particular instance, it was a religious meeting where Jesus Himself is doing the teaching.  (That is a very interesting fact to consider when thinking about this subject.)

This was not an isolated case either.  Demonic manifestations were a regular occurrence whenever and wherever Jesus was ministering.  We see things like this taking place all through the gospels.  Jesus was stirring up a lot of trouble in the spirit realm. and it appears that the kingdom of darkness was not really prepared to deal with Him.

 If we are following the example of Jesus, we should expect to witness things like this on a regular basis (or at least every now and then).  Casting out demons is one third of our commission.  Remember...every time Jesus sent out anyone to represent Him, He gave equipment and authority for three activities:  announcing the gospel, healing the sick, and casting out demons.

Mark 16:17 - These signs will follow those that believe:  in my name they will cast out demons...."  

Notice that he said "in my name they will cast out demons."  They = those that believe = believers = us!  Notice that He didn't say "they will pray to me and I will cast out demons."  He said that believers will cast out demons in His name...on His behalf.  Jesus has shared His authority with all believers, and it is up to the believers to use it.  Now, let us take a look at the way Jesus used authority.


Jesus ended the battle in this story with one sentence spoken in authority.  "Be quiet, and come out of him."  It was a forceful command.  In the original language, the phrase "be quiet" literally means "be muzzled."  Jesus told the demon to put a muzzle on it.  He was telling the unclean spirit to "shut up and get out."

Jesus did not pray a long religious prayer.  In fact, He didn't even pray at all.  Instead, He gave an order.  He knew His authority, and He used it.  He spoke, not to the man, but to the spirit that was exerting control over the man.  Jesus evicted the demon, and set the man free.  This is the example we should follow.  Instead of kicking the person out of the meeting, we should kick the demon out of the person.

Now you may be saying to yourself  "yeah, but this was Jesus."  You need to remember that this is the exact same authority that belongs to every child of God.  If you have been born again into the family of God, if you have believed and received Jesus as your savior, then you have this same authority right now as you sit there reading this.  Let Jesus be your example, and start learning to use your authority!