Key Text: Mark 1:21-39 & Luke 4:33-41
A man who was in the synagogue and who had an “unclean” spirit cried out loudly, confessing/declaring Jesus to be the Hoy One of God. Stating that evil spirits and unclean demons were disassociated with Christ. Asking if Jesus were then and there going to destroy/torture the demon before the expected time, ref. Mt. 8:29.What about demon possession? Demon possession does not appear to be identical to any disease known to medical science. Some of the symptoms produced involved seizures, blindness, loss of speech and deafness. Jesus addressed demons as distinct from the person possessed. Has demon possession ceased or is it present in our time, but now unrecognized? The New Testament leaves the possibility wide open. Consider the following which happened after the resurrection of Christ…
Acts 16:16-18, “Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved. She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her! At that moment the spirit left her.”
The Pharisees claimed Jesus and demons were in league with each other. Mark 3:11, Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” Mark 3:22. But the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is obsessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons. The devil used every possible weapon in his arsenal against Jesus including his demonic angels. The demons are limited! Matthew 8:29, “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” James 2:9, You believe that there is one God, Good! Even the demons believe that- and shudder.
Jesus commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man and not to speak. The demon did not say another understandable word. The demon cried aloud, uttered a loud wail, shaking the man, and came out. The synagogue audience was greatly impressed/amazed by what they had seen! They were puzzled by what they had seen. They recognized that Jesus was a teacher of new things. They saw that Jesus had great authority which extended even to the spirit world.. The news of this great revolutionary Teacher quickly spread throughout
Galilee by word, person to person.
New Testament demonology differs from other ideas by its negation of the power of magic rites to deliver people from the possession. Magic which is clearly separable from Christ’s faith at the specific point of exorcism. Ancient Babylonian incantation texts, forming a surprisingly large proportion of the extant documents, address the supposed activities and powers of demons. These beings, who are not trusted and prayed to in the sense in which deities are, command confidence and call for prayer and are dealt with by magic rites and formulas. Even the Jewish non-canonical writings contain numerous forms of words and ceremonies for the expulsion of demons. But in the New Testament there is no magic. The deliverance from a demon is a spiritual and ethical process of Christ. Are you in Christ? This is why it was important to Jesus for his followers to be in God’s Kingdom, which he and John were proclaiming.
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