When I have a problem with an organization that needs a solution, it’s great to find someone who has the authority to take action. A few months ago, an account with a utility that provided service to the church was somehow messed up, with charges made that should have been credits. Several calls to service representatives were made and each was accommodating, promising to ‘look into’ the issue, but nothing happened. Finally, through a contact, we were able to reach someone in the utility who did not need to send the decision to a manager. She was empowered to make the changes and the situation was remedied! She enjoyed authority.

In our Scripture passage today, we find two men in desperate need of someone with true authority. Matthew says that they were ‘demon-possessed.’ Evil had taken over their minds and bodies, making them violent, dangerous, and tormented. The darkness that overwhelmed them led them to live among the dead, intolerable to the living! Now before you ‘judge’ the passage as mere superstition of a past era, let me encourage you to read it prayerfully.

When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.” (Matthew 8:28-34, NIV)

An honest student of Scripture will admit to some puzzling details in the story. How do pigs and demons mix? It does not serve any real purpose to speculate about that. What is clear from the story, and the reason Matthew included the passage in his Gospel about Christ, the King, is that it is a follow-up to the story about His authority over ‘wind and waves’ that was in the previous text. Here we see Jesus as the Man with authority over the spirit realm, the darkness of evil.

Christians cannot effectively understand the world in we live nor can we do the work of God as fully as we must IF we ignore or reject the reality of demonic evil. There are demons, who are spirit beings, that do the work of the Devil, their singular aim being to destroy the beauty and good of our Creator Father. Their primary work is done with deception, attempting to make sin attractive, to cause those who are deceived to stumble ever more deeply into the darkness. A few people are like the two men in Matthew’s account – ‘possessed,’ owned by evil, driven to despair and destruction.

All of us deal with demons at some level. BUT, the wonderful truth for those who are ‘in Christ,’ is that the One who lives in us is greater than the demons that would deceive us!  We know the Lord of Heaven and earth, Jesus, whose word can send the demons of doubt, fear, temptation, despair, and deception packing. Matthew does not tell us the end of the story, but two other Gospel writers tell us that “they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind.”

The One with authority gave freedom, new life, and restoration to those that sin had tried to destroy.  And, He still does!  I would be the first to acknowledge that there is way too much foolishness taught in the Name of Jesus by those who mistakenly see a demon hiding in every situation. It is both tragic and comical to see the antics of that person who is constantly ‘rebuking’ this or that demon for causing human distress in everything from the common cold to cancer! But, the error of the few must not blind us to the reality about of the evil that comes from every source – the world systems that are corrupt, the ‘flesh,’ and the Devil and his demons. God has given us the ability to discern, to be wise, and the authority of the Name of Jesus Christ, equipping us to become whole and holy people.

As you head into a new week on this Monday morning, pause to thank God for the victory of Christ Jesus that makes you ‘more than a conqueror!’ Pray for a discerning mind that sees the reality of evil and meets it with the proper authority. Keep yourself in the love of Jesus.

Here is a word from the Word. May the wonderful declaration of His power and authority that operates on our behalf fill us with confidence to live in the beauty of the Lord.  “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:2-4, NIV)


Surrounded (Fight My Battles)

There’s a table that You’ve prepared for me
In the presence of my enemies
It’s Your body and Your blood You shed for me
And I believe You’ve overcome
And I will lift my song of praise
For all You’ve done

 This is how I fight my battles
It may look like I’m surrounded
But I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded
But I’m surrounded by You

This is how I fight my battles (3X)(This is how)
This is how I fight my battles (3X) (This is how)
It may look like I’m surrounded
But I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded
But I’m surrounded by You

 In the valley I know that You’re with me
And surely Your goodness and Your mercy follow me
So my weapons are praise and thanksgiving
This is how I fight my battles

 My victory’s in Jesus’ name
(My victory’s in Jesus’ name)
My victory’s in Jesus’ name
(My victory’s in Jesus’ name)

Elyssa Smith© 2017 UR Global Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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