Last week Jesus was amazing the worshippers with his teaching when a man with evil spirits interrupted the service. Before we leave that dramatic scene in Mark 1:23-27, let’s explore this rather curious subject of demons or evil spirits or unclean spirits.
When I was a child, I had a child-mind picture of this passage and other passages about demon possession. I could see the victim writhing on the ground and when Jesus gave the word, little red creatures with pointed ears and long tails would come running out of the man’s mouth.
I have come to realize that though they are invisible and do not take on earthly form, demons or evil spirits have great strength to bring a man down and inhabit him, to bind him with physical defects, insanity, and self-destruction. Demons have knowledge and speak through the voice of the one they inhabit.
Scripture is replete with examples of evil spirits just as we have examples of God’s Holy Spirit overcoming evil. If we are to believe that God has a host of heavenly angels to bring protection and messages of hope, we must also realize that Satan has his host of fallen angels to perpetuate evil.
This plays out today when a husband beats or abuses his wife out of fits of anger or a teenager succumbs to the habit of drugs in a desperate effort to numb the pain of depression. Or we see it when Satan persuades men that they are following the commands of their “god” to do away with all infidels. Thus we witness mass slayings, beheadings and the like.
Paul reminds us to;
10 Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against…the powers of this dark word and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:10-12
Paul goes on to urge us to “put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand.” The armor includes truth not lies, righteousness not evil, the gospel of peace not hatred, salvation not destruction, and the word of God not the word of the world.
In the midst of the armor parts is one more – “the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.”
Faith. Our faith comes out of our belief in God and his Son, Jesus Christ. One time Jesus was asked, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” No doubt the people thought he would say something like, “Do good deeds, be nice to people, pay your bills, etc.” but;
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this; to believe in the one he has sent.” – John 6:29
It doesn’t start with doing, but believing. Jesus told Nicodemus;
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
We are not to just know about him, as the evil spirits did, but believe in Him, trust Him with our hearts, our minds, and our will. Heavy stuff today, but good stuff, everlasting stuff.
Well, those synagogue-goers had quite a lot to digest that Sabbath morning–– great teaching and a living example of God’s power through his Son.
Next week we will see that Jesus’ day was far from over. He was just beginning.
~ Joyce ~