Jesus, Scourge of demons

It is fascinating to see the way demons acted around Jesus.  According to Matthew 8:29, for example, when Jesus merely shows up where a demon-possessed man lives the demons inside him say, “What do you want with us, Son of God?  Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”  Then, because they seem to know he is going to cast them out, they beg him to let them go into a nearby herd of pigs.

In another instance Jesus was teaching in the synagogue when a demon-possessed man burst out with, “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:34)  Jesus sternly commands the demon to come out and after the demons throw the man down they leave him unharmed.

One of the impressions that people immediately had of Jesus was that he had authority.  His teaching was authoritative, but also his command of demons.  The Pharisees could not deny that he had extraordinary authority and power over demons but because they were unwilling to acknowledge that Jesus came from God they blasphemed against the Holy Spirit by attributing Jesus’ ability to cast out demons to his being in league with Satan (Matthew 12).

The demons knew better, of course.  The sheer terror they experienced at the presence of Jesus on the occasions mentioned above indicate that they saw Jesus as their legitimate ruler, despite giving allegiance to Satan, and that they knew they were going to be judged by him and found wanting.  This suggests that Satan also knows that he is going to be condemned to a fiery hell but, like his servants, the demons, he continues to fight on.  Yet, when confronted by the Son of God, he must submit to his authority.

Jesus depicts this as tying up the strong man and taking his possessions (Matthew 12:29).  Jesus is the stronger man than Satan or his demons and perfectly capable of controlling him as he pleases.  He allows Satan to have a certain sway over the earth at this time, but a day of judgment is coming (Revelation 20) in which Satan will be cast into the lake of fire forever.  He will not be able to resist.

So why are we so scared when it comes to dealing with anything demonic?  Apparently we have bought into the very lie the demons would have us believe, that they are too powerful to resist and too scary to stand strong against.  But when we (scared as we may be) insist in the authority of Jesus that they submit to Jesus, they must submit.  We must be convinced of that, and they will be too.

There is curious case of the Jewish exorcists, the sons of Sceva, who sought to cast out a demon “in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches” (Acts 19:13ff).  This resulted in the demon attacking them and overpowering them through the human he possessed.  This teaches us that we must have real belief in the power and authority of Jesus to be the scourge of demons.  They want us to be afraid and cower before them, and they will resist submitting to Jesus, but they will have no choice, and if we know that, we will be victorious over them as well.

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