Paul wrote that 'our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.' Sandy Shaw reminds us: They Dominate, Manipulate, Intimidate – that is what Evil Spirits do!
first published 29/11/09
WHAT a sight greeted Jesus Christ. Jesus and the disciples have just sailed across the Lake of Galilee, having been in a violent storm, which he calmed and rescued the situation from possible eternal danger (Luke 8).
A man them came to Jesus. He is naked - controlled by evil spirits - demonised.
Remember this book is being written by a doctor, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, and we have read of how reliable this book is in Luke’s opening four verses. These facts we need to keep in mind particularly in these sceptical times.
This man is wild - restless - uncontrollable - dangerous. Demons want to make a man what they are like. When this tragedy of a man saw Jesus Christ he began to cry and yell and roar, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?"
He is wild and filthy. Evils spirits compel and control. They are intense and persistent. They distract people. Something keeps recurring, and normal Christian discipline will not deal with it - it needs to be cast out.
They dominate - manipulate - intimidate. These are characteristic marks of evil spirits.
Sometimes we do not know where they come from. A mosquito bites, and later you contract malaria, and you cannot remember being bitten. It can be like that in spiritual warfare, if we drop our guard and do not wear the armour which God provides (Eph 6:10-17).
They recognise who Jesus is - they know who Jesus is - but they struggle and fight and rebel and argue with JESUS. They know that He is the Son of God, but they are unable to serve and worship. Immediately, there is a negative reaction to Jesus. This man's behaviour is pitiful and irrational. There was no reason for the man to behave in this way, and not even Jesus could reason with him.
Now, there are some people you cannot reason with. Some people fight and struggle and rebel and argue and you wonder - why are they reacting like this. It is irrational!
If you find someone is seeking to dominate you, or manipulate you, or intimidate you, know where that is coming from, and be very very careful!
Society could do nothing with this needy man, and could do nothing for him.
Perhaps, he thought no-one could ever do anything for him - a totally hopeless case. Yet, he comes to Jesus. He has been rejected by everyone - family and friends - he is lost and lonely and isolated and fearful.
v 30 Jesus asks him his name, and the answer comes "Legion". His mind was like a regiment of Roman soldiers marching and marching - such was his trouble distress, turmoil, burden and restlessness.
Jesus Christ casts the evil spirits out of the man and into a herd of pigs. All that is needed from Jesus Christ is one word of authority, and they have to go. The pigs ran down the hillside and were drowned in the Lake.
Jesus Christ has no mercy on evil. Jesus showed no kindness to evil. He treated evil firmly, and with power and authority.
When evil confronts Jesus Christ it is warfare, and Jesus conquers it. He deals with it, and casts it out. When we are confronted with evil we are to cast it out, and get it over with.
Jesus does not say that this man needs six weeks counselling. He doesn't pray about it. He exercises the authority which He had received, and Jesus does not deal with any other manifestations of evil in that area. He only deals with the evil which confronts Him, and He deals with it in public.
When those who fed the pigs saw what had happened, they ran into the town and all over the place, reporting what they had witnessed. The people went out to see. They were curious. "What is all this about?"
They saw that dear man sitting at the feet of Jesus - clothed - dressed - and in his right mind - at peace. And, they were afraid. When they realised what had happened they told Jesus to go and take His Ministry elsewhere. Jesus had only just arrived, but instead of rejoicing, they ask Jesus to depart.
The locals could live with a demented man, but not with Jesus. It is as if they preferred their madman and pigs to Jesus. It is as if they cared for the pigs more than people. They cared more for animals than a man in great need.
Jesus is prepared to sacrifice a herd of pigs to reclaim one man. Jesus is prepared to sacrifice them to see one man receive peace. To Jesus the welfare of one man is important. This why within the Fellowship of the Church of Jesus Christ, no-one is excluded. If we ever draw a circle that excludes someone, Jesus comes and draws a larger wider circle which will include that person.
The healed man stays close to Jesus, and yet, people are trying to push Jesus away - out of the road - leave us alone! Jesus knows when He is not wanted, and He leaves that area. The healed man wants to go with Jesus, but Jesus says "No!" Sometimes Jesus says "No" and there is normally a reason. "Go home and testify - go home and tell what God has done for you - share you experience!" And He obeys Jesus Christ the Son of God. Now, that is another miracle.
What a testimony that must have been - just to see him walking along the road - healed - in control - filled with peace - so changed - transformed - a new man - a totally different person. He was not embarrassed nor ashamed at what he had been.
Some people want Jesus to go - one man is wanting to go with Jesus. What lessons these disciples must have learned that day - what training they received unknowingly - in the boat - and on the shore.
In every experience, learn and grow, and let His Word guide. Some will be sent back home to serve and work and witness there - others Jesus will take in the boat to travel with Him to some other area. The important thing is to serve where He wants us to serve, knowing that His Promise is to be with us at all times, and Jesus never breaks His Promise.
There are things which have to be cast out, and there is no use trying to crucify then. And there are works of the flesh, which have to be crucified, and there is no point in trying to cast them out. You cannot crucify an evil spirit.
Here we see the King at work in His Kingdom. The enemy was out to destroy. He is in the destruction business. He is in the death business. Jesus comes to rescue and restore and give live and peace. Jesus saw the world in the terms of the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. To minister like this we have to be filled.
Do you think there is anything wrong with the pilot who has just flown to Inverness and asks to be filled up before He sets off back to London? No. He has been emptied - drained. If you cannot have your aircraft filled with fuel at the airport where can it be filled? If you cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit when you come to worship, where can you be filled?
There are lessons here which demand serious study.
Sandy Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn and is committed to ensuring his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word. Sandy has over the past few years been ministering in Africa. He writes for a local newspaper and also broadcasts 'A Word from Scotland' on an internet radio station.