Demon Possession, Again
March 5, 2021
And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed." But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, "Send her away, for she cries out after us." But He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour (Matthew 15:22-28).
This is the story of the faith of a Gentile woman in crisis. It was not a rare thing for Jesus to encounter demon possessed/influenced people - it seems they were everywhere. However, demons have always been around the human experience. They were present in the Old Testament but the writers of those books didn’t focus their attention on them. There were Jewish exorcists in the intertestamental era, but they were not successful (according to Josephus). So after hundreds of years of ineffective ministry against demons in trying to help demoniacs, when Jesus appeared that type of ministry came to the forefront, though it was not His priority.
The Gospels record 7 occasions when Jesus encountered demon possessed/influenced people:
• the demoniac in the Synagogue (Mark 1:23-28; Luke 4:31-36),
• the blind and mute demoniac (Matthew 12:22; Luke 11:14),
• the demoniac of Gadara (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39),
• the mute demoniac (Matthew 9:32-33),
• the Syro-Phoenician woman’s daughter (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30),
• the demon possessed boy (Matthew 17:14-18; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:38-42), and
• the crippled woman (Luke 13:10-17).
We have stated before that demonic presence, power, and influence is still with us today, and it has (in a weird, warped way) become popular, even celebrated when it should be terrifying. Wayne Grudem states, “If Scripture gives us a true account of the world as it really is, then we must take seriously its portrayal of intense demonic involvement in human society.”
The answer to this spiritually evil reality is as it was with an evil and defiled human ‘heart’ (Wednesday’s devotional) - Jesus Christ. His power over demons is undeniable. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you (Matthew 12:28). Indeed the Kingdom of Christ has come upon us and the forces of hell are subject to Him.
“Thank You, Lord Jesus, for delivering me from the power of hell. I am grateful that although I am tempted and influenced by Satan, I can never be his by proclamation or possession. The salvation You have given me secures me in Your power forever. Thank You. Amen.”