Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Holy War Declared

Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him" (Luke 4:35).

What about demonic possession? There can be no doubt but that the Bible presents us with a real demonic realm, a host of fallen angels who hate humanity and who seek to destroy us because we are made in the image of God. We are so familiar with the stories of Jesus casting out demons that we often miss an important aspect of their uniqueness.

The miracles Jesus did were not really unique. The prophets of the Old Testament had also multiplied food, healed the sick, and raised the dead. One thing they had not done, however, was cast out demons. Moreover, in the rest of the New Testament after Jesus’ resurrection, we see few cases of demonic possession and the subject does not occupy much attention in the epistles.

It would be an error to think that people in Jesus’ day were all concerned about demons and demonic possession. Quite the contrary. Everything in the gospels indicates that the people were amazed when it developed that someone was demon possessed. They were not used to this, especially when it was good synagogue-going people who turned out to be demon possessed!

The concentrated demonic attack during Jesus’ ministry was part of Satan’s attack on the kingdom. Moreover, it was the work of Jesus to expose the spiritual corruption of the world and bring to light the demonic influences prevalent among the people. It was the work of Jesus to deliver a death-blow to Satan and his legions. Thus, Jesus declared holy war on the realm of unclean spirits.

There were others at this time who were attempting to cast out demons, and we have records of their extensive rituals. Jesus, however, threw out demons by the authority of His word alone. The people were amazed at this, saying “What is this teaching? With authority and power, he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” (Luke 4:36). Jesus had announced the coming of the “year of God’s favor,” and it was time for Satan’s forces to be defeated.

C. S. Lewis once said there are two errors we can make about the devil. One is not to believe he exists, and the other is to believe in him too strongly. Where do we see these two tendencies in the modern American scene? Use today’s study to keep matters in perspective.