Feb. 26, 2013
That evening, at sunset, people brought to Jesus those who were sick or demon-possessed. The whole town gathered near the door. He healed many who were sick with all kinds of diseases, and he threw out many demons. But he didn’t let the demons speak, because they recognized him.
Want to scare a crowd at a church quickly? Start talking about demons. I can’t remember hearing a sermon about demons. Until last Sunday, I had never shared one. Yet, casting out demons was very much a part of Jesus’ ministry.
Demon possession at the time Jesus was alive was complicated. When an illness was outside the limits a doctor could treat, the illness was attributed to a demon. First century medical technology was significantly different from modern medicine. Doctors were not aware of infections or bacteria. The only way they knew how to get rid of them was to cast them out. When a person had an epileptic seizure, the only sensible explanation was a demon. There was no concept of psychological diseases. A person with multiple personalities, bi-polar or other mental illness was considered demonic.
Are there demons in our world today? I see them. Several years ago, Rick and I took an alcoholic into our home. This person spoke of alcohol as a demon. Other addicts also consider a bottle or an opiate a demon; one that can take over a person’s life and lead to self-destruction. For a bulimic or an anorexic, food may be their demon. Anything that can lead to self-destruction or hurt someone else can be a demon.
Watch the evening news and we quickly see examples of people who struggle with a demon. I know nothing about the young man who walked into the Sandy Creek Elementary School and began shooting. I believe some demon convinced him the way to deal with the challenges in his life was to inflict pain on someone else, with no thought to how the families devastated by the shooting would be affected.
Just as Jesus drove out the demons first century folks dealt with, Jesus can help us with our demons. When that voice in the back of your mind tries to convince you of something radical, we must invoke the Holy Spirit to release us from those thoughts. Still today, Jesus is more powerful than the demons that haunt us. It begins by asking for Jesus’ healing power in our lives.
What demon are you struggling with? What does that voice in the back of your mind try to convince you of that seem silly or far-fetched? Lay your hands in your lap and open yourself to the Holy Spirit’s healing as you pray.
Lord God, thank you for the health care professionals who provide care for me and my family. Thank you for enlightening them in ways to care of the human race. How thankful we are that many things previously attributed to demons can be treated through modern medicine. Yet, it may be very difficult for me to admit there is a demon in my life. Help me to recognize the evil that encourages me to hurt myself or others. Release this evil from my life. May I be open to your Spirit’s healing hand upon me this day. Even now, come to me this day. Amen.