SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
“Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, 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!” Luke 4:33-34
Memory Verse Luke 4:36b (NIV)
“ALL THE PEOPLE WERE AMAZED AND SAID TO EACH OTHER, “WHAT WORDS THESE ARE! WITH AUTHORITY AND POWER HE GIVES ORDERS TO IMPURE SPIRITS AND THEY COME OUT!””
In the previous edition we looked at what Jesus did after the people in his hometown had rejected him. Jesus went to Capernaum and the people received him with joy. We learnt that sometimes we stay too long at certain places where the people may not be receptive to the good news or may be persecuting us. This is not in line with what Jesus taught and did and also practiced by the apostles. We should be prepared to leave where we are not needed or welcomed. We should allow the Lord to direct our path to the places where we are needed most. This will ensure that the world derives maximum benefits from our gifts and talents. In this edition we want to dwell on the power and authority Jesus displayed over demons at Capernaum.
After Jesus had been well-received by the people at Capernaum, he had an encounter with a man possessed by demons. What is strange enough is that this man with an impure spirit was among those in the synagogue. He was one of those sitting and listening to Jesus. It is possible that was not the first time he went to the synagogue. Yet he was still possessed, that is, he was being controlled fully by impure spirits. This leads us to the understanding that even among believers, there could be some who are possessed by demons. There may be witches and wizards in our churches without the people knowing nothing about them. This is where we need the spirit of discernment and power to overcome evil spirits who may infiltrate the rank and file of our churches. They do not come for coming sake but to steal, kill and destroy. If the church remains powerless because of its prayerlessness, such evil spirits could possess individual members and use them to cause problems for the community of God’s people. I strongly believe that most of the problems we find in our churches are caused by demons and they usually use the weaker members of the church. It is therefore important for the family of God to unite and allow God to take absolute control of the church in order to be able to discern and save such possessed members of the church.
It is interesting to note that when the demons in the man saw Jesus, they cried out that Jesus should go away from them. They knew the authority and power of Jesus. They also knew that Jesus was the only one who could destroy them and not the leaders of the synagogue. They also recognized that he is the Holy one of God. They became afraid because they knew all power and authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus Christ. He is the only one they could not dare. This is a confirmation of who Jesus is. He is righteous, he is God, and he has power above all powers and can destroy all evil spirits at will. This teaches us to invite Jesus into our families, churches, work places, play grounds, vehicles etc. The reason being that the devil trembles where Jesus is; and his powers are curtailed where Jesus reigns. If we allow Jesus to take absolute control of our lives, homes and churches etc, demons cannot achieve the goals they set against us. They cannot continue to create confusion in our churches; they cannot destroy our businesses; they cannot destroy our marriages, jobs, finances, health etc. It does not mean demons cannot come near us; but that even if they come, Jesus will cause them to flee from us.
Fortunately for us, because we have been united with Christ we have received his delegated authority to trample upon serpents and scorpions and on all the power of the enemy and they cannot harm us (Luke 10:19). We have also been assured that no weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17) if we become children of God. Those who are not in Christ have no security. They are constantly exposed to demons and can be destroyed at anytime by demons at will. Power over demons belongs to Christ Jesus and those who are in him. If you are not in Christ you are losing something very important. May I take this opportunity to invite you to give your life to Jesus today if you have not done so already? If you have given yourself to Christ I want to encourage you to acknowledge his power over all demons and exercise the power he has delegated to you as long as you remain in him.
I do not think any believer should be frightened by the activities of evil spirits. That is not our portion. I mean why should you be afraid of the very spirit you have been given power to destroy? Let us wake up from our slumber and exercise our authority as children of God and no demon can stand before us! As we exercise our authority over demons and evil spirits may we never forget that Jesus is the source of our power and that ultimate power rests in him! We should always give Jesus the glory for whatever he grants us the power to do and never attempt to take the glory which belongs to him. If we do that, we shall incur his wrath and may lose our delegated power. May we gain deeper understanding into these issues and live by them!
Above, we saw how demons recognized the power, the authority and the deity of Jesus Christ. It is obvious from the passage read that Jesus has power and authority over all powers and demonic forces tremble at the sight of Jesus or at the mention of his name. We also made the point that Jesus has given all those who are in him delegated power over demons and all spiritual forces. We therefore need not to fear any forces of darkness because of the one who is in us. We should however never think or act as if the power to overcome evil powers belongs to us. In this edition we want to look at what Jesus did after the pronouncements of the impure spirit who had taken possession of the man.
After the demons in the man had cried out to Jesus not to destroy them, they also said that Jesus was the Holy One of God. Jesus knew the demoniac was not the right group to bear witness to his deity. Jesus was therefore not swayed by the praises of the demons and went ahead to deal with them in order to rescue the man from them. We should note that Jesus’ attention was on setting the man free and he kept that focus. He did not allow anything to distract his attention. He immediately commanded the demons sternly to be quiet and come out of the man. This is was a real encounter for the demons. They had been living in, using and abusing the man for years until they encountered Jesus. When they encountered Jesus, they could no longer remain in the man. They were forced out by the one before whom every knee should bow. Indeed, this is a demonstration of Jesus’ power over all powers.
Even though the demons realized their stay in the man had come to an end, it was very hard for them to leave but unfortunately for the demons, they had been commanded by the Master, and they could only obey and leave without complaining. Beloved, this Jesus is the Messiah who has bought us with his precious blood and reconciled us with the Father. With him demons will flee from us. Everything in our lives which are caused by evil spirits will not continue if we bring them before Jesus. The evil spirits behind your marriage, business, sickness, financial challenges, ministerial challenges, child bearing problems will all cease to be effective in your life if you will send them to Jesus in faith. Remember that the demons which were controlling the man left when Jesus commanded them. It is my prayer that Jesus will command every demon sabotaging your progress in life to come out now in Jesus’ name!
We also need to take a closer look at what the demons did to the man when they realized they could no longer dwell in him. They threw him down, probably they wanted to injure or kill him. Demons may always want to keep possession of what they had stolen. But Jesus showed that demons cannot thrive where Jesus is. Jesus showed compassion on the man and ensured he was not in any way injured by the evil spirits. He saved him from being injured or killed by the demons. The man did not even know what was happening around him. He had no idea what the demons wanted to do to him. Yet Jesus saved him from the wicked intentions of the demons. Jesus did not only do it for the man; he continues to do it for us always . Jesus continues to fight our spiritual battles for us. There are several things which would have happened to us without our knowledge but Jesus saves us from being harmed by the devil. We do not know what goes on when we sleep. Even during the day we do not know what the devil plans to do against us.
Fortunately for us, Jesus has hidden us in himself and hidden us in the Father so Satan and his allies cannot harm us. We all need to be grateful to Jesus for what he does for us at all times, and tell the world about him. Anytime you wake up, show your deepest gratitude to Jesus. For every minute of your life, you must be grateful to him because had he not been on our side, Satan would have killed and destroyed us long ago.
Therefore as the people at Capernaum did, let us tell the world of how powerful, merciful and kind Jesus is. Let us tell those who are still under the control of Satan and are living in their sins that the only one who is able to deliver them from Satan is Jesus. Let us tell the world that Jesus’ power supersedes every other power so those who come to him are over comers. When we come under attacks, let us call upon the most powerful name in the world and we shall be rescued. When we see people under demonic oppression, we should be bold enough to invite Jesus into their situation and he will rescue them. May we avoid any contact with any powers and remain loyal to the one from whom all powers come!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.