Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Jesus: The Exorcist

The Father of heaven and earth declared Jesus to be the Son of God—the inheritor of the kingdom of God.  Jesus and John the Baptist were the only humans who heard and understood this to be true.  But the whole spirit world also heard this—and many were very displeased at this announcement.  Satan and the demons of the world knew that their rule and judgement of God’s people were soon to be at an end, and they determined to stop Jesus. 

Jesus himself declared that he was at war with Satan and demons.  He said, “How can anyone plunder the warriors house unless he first ties up the warrior?  I am here to take the household of Satan away from him—and so I must first defeat Satan.”  So Jesus did battle with Satan.  Anytime he saw a spirit judging or destroying a human, he cast that spirit out of his realm.  Thus, one by one, Jesus exiled Satan’s workers out of God’s land.

Jesus’ habit was to travel to different places within Galilee and teach in their synagogues, where those who worshiped God met and prayed.  He was teaching in a synagogue in Capernaum, when a man who was demonized came up to Jesus and said, “Why are you here, Jesus of Nazareth? Are you here to destroy us? I know who you are—the Son of God!”  Jesus told him, “Shut up!  Come out of him now!”  Suddenly the man had a seizure and shrieked loudly.  Then, just as suddenly, the man became quiet and was acting normally. 
            Those watching this were shocked.  They said, “This man came to teach us—but he also has authority over the spirit world!  He commands evil, judging spirits and they obey him!”  They left the synagogue that day, and the news of what Jesus had done began to spread all over the countryside.  Soon crowds of people began to come to Jesus in Capernaum, hoping to be healed from demons, or to see someone be healed.

            Jesus said, “We need to go to other towns as well, so that the news of God’s kingdom can be given to them as well.”  So Jesus began travelling around Galilee.  The crowds became so large that soon they followed him between towns, as well as in them.  Jesus took a boat and traveled across the Sea of Galilee, a large lake between Galilee and Decapolis.

 Decapolis was an area inhabited by both worshippers of God and worshippers of many gods.  As Jesus arrived in Decapolis, a man met him at the boat.  He was a wild man, who lived in a cemetery, and he was demonized.  He would scream all night long and cut himself with stones. In the past, people had tried to chain him up because of the damage he caused, but he broke the chains and did what the demons told him to do.  As he came up to Jesus, the man bowed before Jesus.  Jesus attacked the spirit, commanding him, “Evil spirit, come out of him!”  The spirit just replied, “What business do you have with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High?  Stop tormenting me!”  Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?”  The spirit replied, “My name is legion, for we are many. Please, Son of God, do not send us out of this land!” 
            Jesus noticed a large group of pigs feeding near a mountain, around two thousand.  The spirits said, “Please, send us into the pigs!”  Jesus permitted them, saying, “Go, then, into the pigs.”  The demons left the man, and entered into the pigs.  Suddenly, all two thousand pigs went wild, and started running.  They ran up the mountain and over a cliff, and they all fell into the sea and died. 
            The pigs, however, were owned by a local and he had hired men to watch over the pigs.  Soon, a group from the town, upset at the loss of livestock, came up to Jesus and asked him to leave the area.  Jesus agreed and went back on his boat.  The man who was delivered, however, ran up to Jesus before he left and begged him, “Please, let me come with you!”  Jesus refused and said instead, “Go back to your home and tell everyone what God has done for you.”  The man obeyed Jesus, and everyone who listened to his testimony was amazed.

            Some, however, who did not like Jesus’ teaching, and did not think that God was going to change the government of God’s people, were not impressed with Jesus’ authority over evil spirits.  They said among themselves, “He is only casting out these demons by the power of Satan.  He is really supporting Satan, and is using the authority of Satan to move demons on, temporarily.”

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