Day 8

Christ Overcomes Evil

from the The Miracles of Jesus reading plan


Luke 8:27-39, Matthew 9:32-34, Luke 11:14, Mark 7:24-30, Luke 4:31-37, Matthew 17:14-21

BY Guest Writer

Text: Luke 8:27-39, Matthew 9:32-34, Luke 11:14, Mark 7:24-30, Luke 4:31-37, Matthew 17:14-21

In the preface to his famous satirical novel, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis writes this of demons:

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.”

When venturing into the territory of demons and demonic possession, it’s tempting either to write them off as ancient misdiagnoses of mental illness, or to become overly fascinated with them, attributing more power to demons than they have. Either mistake is easy to make because many of us don’t have much experience with them.

And yet, the New Testament world seems to have been filled with demons. There was the demon-possessed man in Luke 8, whose demon went by the name of “Legion.” And there was the demon-possessed man in Luke 11, who was finally able to speak once Jesus cast the demon out of him. There was the Canaanite woman’s daughter filled with an unclean spirit (see Mark 7 and Matthew 15), whom Jesus was able to heal from afar. And there was the boy suffering from demonic seizures in Matthew 17, who was healed by Jesus after the disciples were unable to do so.

The list goes on from there, depicting a world quite different from the one we live in now.

Or was it?

The truth is, our world is no less spiritual today than it was 2,000 years ago. Some cultures are simply less accustomed to recognizing the darkness and the various forms it takes. But “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” (Ephesians 4:16). The warfare is real and we’re called to engage it. The stories of Jesus’ power over darkness prepare us for this battle by showing us two truths.

First, Jesus has authority over the darkness. In addition to rescuing us from darkness and teaching us how to resist it, Jesus is the King of kings, and there is nothing on this planet or in this cosmos that escapes His royal jurisdiction. As theologian N.T. Wright put it, “[Jesus] isn’t just somebody with good ideas. He isn’t just somebody who will tell us how to establish a better relationship with God. He is somebody with authority over everything that the physical world on the one hand, and the non-physical world on the other, can throw at us. This is a Jesus we can trust with every aspect of our lives.”

Second, Jesus exercises His authority with His words. Since the beginning of creation, when God spoke the world into existence, His words have had enormous power. We witness this same power when Jesus banishes each demon with a simple command. New Testament scholar Leon Morris explains, “No magic formulae, no mumbo-jumbo. He just told the spirits to go, and they went. That was what astonished people. He didn’t have to summon up stronger powers than his own; he just used the authority he already possessed in himself.”

Jesus’ power is a comfort to those of us in Christ. We have access to the same power and the same authority (Luke 10:19; Matthew 16:19). In Jesus’ name, we can rebuke the powers of darkness. We should acknowledge these powers exist, but we need not fear them or become preoccupied with them. Instead, let us wield our words with the same intention and precision as Jesus: creating, inspiring, building up, and fending off the darkness.

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Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mom of two boys. She is a regular contributor to Christianity Today and recently completed her Ph.D, which focused on cultivating the gifts of women in the church.

Post Comments (78)

78 thoughts on "Christ Overcomes Evil"

  1. Kaylee Marion says:

    I believe so fully in spiritual warfare from seeing it first hand in my mother’s depression. She battled her depression for over 10 years. It will be four years in May, that she passed away from a death by suicide. I truly believe her story is an example to spiritual warfare. She was a larger-than-life warrior for the Kingdom and I believe the Devil looked to destroy her. Even though, she is gone.. I know the devil did not win. Her legacy lives on and so does her soul. He can not touch her. I have a peace about her death only because I was able to see the painful torture her mind was battling. In one of her darkest moments, I held her face and looked into her eyes and did not feel as though I was looking at my mom but as if their was a demon inside torturing her! (Am I wrong for this? Could this be so?) I know MY mother would never hurt us, and so I know at the moments of her contemplating these terminal thoughts and the moment of her passing- it was not her.

    1. Joy says:

      https://nickwattssoulfood.com
      Our music ministers’ son has a similar story to your mom. Nick has a blog ….. I know it’s so important to have Christian community when facing such hard things. His blog is above. Praying you have a restful joy filled day!

  2. Keri McCue says:

    That N.T. Wright quote! So, so good! I just started the study “Armor of God” and Day 1 totally lines up with that quote and today’s SRT reading. Love it!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  3. Jane Romberger says:

    Several years ago after decades in ministry, my husband and I were part of freeing a woman from 4 or 5 demons (first time for us). Here’s what stood out the most: If what I saw and experienced coming out of this woman is what is in store for those who do not know and believe in Jesus – it is horrid! I don’t want anyone to spend eternity that way!!! Jesus is life and peace and goodness and more! Time to remember my calling to share my life and the story with others so that they can know and trust Jesus!

    1. Megan says:

      I’m so confused how a person can even become possessed. I read an article that says that after Jesus died on the cross the demons could not have direct contact on earth.

      1. Lizzieb85 says:

        Interesting. I have not heard that. Did the article cite where in the Bible that brought them to that conclusion?

        I have read “Spirit of the Rainforest” by Mark Ritchie. Demons are very much a part of the Yanomamo culture. Very influential.

        https://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Rainforest-Yanomamo-Shamans-Story/dp/0964695235

      2. Lizzieb85 says:

        After thinking about this, I recall a sermon I heard. There is a difference between possession & oppression. Perhaps your article meant demons cannot physically possess people. But they surely can oppress them. If Christians allow demons a stronghold in our lives, they can be very very influential. “Spiritual Warfare” by Dr. Karl I. Payne was a very interesting eye-opening read.

        1. Megan says:

          I have fear of this right now, I’m trying so hard not to be afraid! I guess I have never been exposed to things like this happening before. It feels that because I have a fear of it, that it will happen. Any encouragement and advice is so much appreciated.

          1. Liz S says:

            Megan, be not afraid. The enemy and his demons are certainly real, but we are under the protection of the blood of Jesus. I once heard a wonderful analogy that helps me. The enemy is like a chained barking dog. He assaults us, taunts us, and might even scare us but he’s chained. It’s only dangerous when we go close to that barking dog.
            God is the MOST HIGH. Satan is not God’s opposite or God’s equal bad version. He is beneath Jesus. Wayyyyyy beneath. May you be richly blessed today and have no fear. Fix your eyes on Jesus and his power.

          2. Lizzieb says:

            A true believer in Jesus Christ has been given the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell IN them. A demon cannot possess a believer, I don’t think the Holy Spirit can share space with evil like that. BUT, as Liz S said, they can still influence us. Especially if we have unconfessed & unrepented sin. I’m not talking about everyday sin. We all sin everyday with all sorts of stuff. I’m talking about strongholds. Those sins that we are unwilling to give up. Porn, greed, pride, anger, jealousy etc… The sins that we habitually repeat & refuse to change. (Although everyday sins can turn into strongholds if we ignore them) I am not trying to scare you, I am trying to equip you with Truth. After that sermon I heard, I was seriously confused & scared. The book I mentioned in my previous comment was very informative & SO VERY applicable! It doesn’t just tell you the “scary” stuff, it gives truth in how we can fight against Satan with God’s power (actually, we are to flee, renew our minds, & be controlled by the Holy Spirit). Liz S is so right, God is over ALL & has control over all! But we have a responsibility to confess our sins & be cleansed of them (He is faithful & just & will forgive us our sins & purify us!) And pray for protection & wisdom & discernment. I really recommend this book. Ignorance of Satan’s attacks is another tactic of his so that we don’t bother to do anything about it. Educate yourself- have no fear in TRUTH.

            https://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Warfare-Christians-Demonization-Deliverance/dp/1936488337/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493217967&sr=1-1&keywords=spiritual+warfare+karl+payne

          3. N. says:

            Megan, I used to have the same fears as you. I used to always be scared of Satan and his demons; my mind was so fixated on them. I never told anyone what was going through my mind and the fear I was dealing with. I’ll never forget when God spoke to my mom in a dream one night. I never told her what I was going through, but one day she came up to me and said that God told her to tell me to not be afraid and to stop focusing on demons. I was so relieved to know that God knew what I was going through and cared enough to reassure me through my mom’s dream. He didn’t want me focusing on the darkness because that was taking my mind off Him. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. Stay in God’s Word and focus on Him. I’ll be praying for you!

      3. Jane Romberger says:

        Megan – In response to your confusion my thoughts went straight to Eph. 4:16. Sharon’s devotional is a great teaching on realizing that satan is alive and well, but not dwelling on his evil powers; dwell on Christ and His authority over the darkness and the authority of His word! We live in a world that is filled with the direct contact of evil and that can only come from satan and his demons. But if you believe in Jesus and follow Him – you have the same power in you through the Holy Spirit to live in confidence. We know how the story ends!

  4. Tanya says:

    I really loved what the commentary said about Jesus…that He’s not just a really smart guy that can show us how to be closer to God – He is the authority over all here in the physical realm and in the spiritual realm. He is King of Kings! Now that is exciting to think about.

  5. Oops! I meant that as a response to Sandy who shared a commentary article on Jesus’ interaction with the mom. I was pretty confused by it-but the article helped. Thanks Sandy!

  6. Thank you! I was utterly confused by this whole interaction and really needed more guidance.

  7. JamaicaBaby says:

    I love how this speaks about demons. Usually, I hold back on telling people how I became a Christian because I’m scared of scaring them away. When I was six I confessed with my mouth that I didn’t believe in God. That night I barely saw the demon that was coming towards me. A word came across my mind and I said, “Satan”. I won’t go into detail about everything that happened, but ever since that night I was exposed continuously, yet God was still with me. This made me suicidal for a time-being because I thought I was going to die by their hands and I had pride, so I was wanted to die by own. Yet, I realized that my case is like Job’s case in the beginning; The devil wasn’t allowed to touch him and the only reason why God agreed to what the devil was saying is to provide Job with better things then he already have; and to give him a lesson. Going through all of that made me smarter. When I got baptized, shortly after it ended. It’s hard to tell your story when people only want to acknowledge the good angels. When the Bible clearly states that there is an evil force present here on earth. Sometimes you deal with it directly and sometimes indirectly. When people want to dabble into the supernatural, I shake my head. If you experience something supernatural just let it be a reminder that there is a spiritual warfare going on. Let it be proof that God exists and it’ll wipe out any doubts you have. I use to chase the supernatural and God let me see a man comment something similar to what I’m telling you. You can’t chase God and the devil. God is a supernatural force not to be wreckoned with and a force that will love you above all. Chase after Him.

    1. Christina says:

      Thank you for sharing your story!

  8. Hayday78 says:

    Just a note: The quoted scripture “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” is actually Ephesians 6:12, not Eph 4:16 as cited; if anyone had trouble finding in their Bible :)

    Thank you SRT for all the amazing content and for bringing together women in the word everyday! I thank God for all of you!

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