Even the most righteous people and institutions can be possessed by wrong attitudes. Let’s examine how only the authority of Jesus can heal what’s wrong with us.
Perhaps we can learn how evil comes in many disguises, even religious ones.
Are we healers or destroyers? Let’s look at healing since ancient times, the healing of a nation, healing prayer, evil attitudes, what owns us, exorcising our demons, how evil invades sacred times and spaces, and what constitutes teaching authority.
1. Healers or Destroyers
Are we healers or destroyers? There are more accounts of Jesus healing than any other person in the Bible (Mark 1:21-28). What can we learn from his healings? Could it be that with Jesus people have a higher priority than penalties and laws? Could it be that God is a God of compassion? Does Jesus want to heal more than people’s diseases? Does he also want to heal their lives? Why when Jesus healed people did he touch them, speak to them and use the physical means at his disposal? Not everyone has been given the miraculous gifts of healing that Jesus had, yet we too have opportunity to touch, speak and use the physical means at our disposal. A simple touch or word can heal or destroy. Jesus came to heal not destroy. Are we healers or destroyers? (
2. Evil Attitudes
Jesus faced a demon with a critical spirit in the assembly (Mark 1:21-28). Where does such an attitude come from? What did the demon say? It muttered in effect, “What do you want here with us, Jesus, you outsider? Are you here to destroy us?” Even acknowledging who Jesus was, it had a negative attitude. If we find that our conversations revolve around tearing people apart rather than encouraging them, then let’s take the authority of Jesus over the evil in our hearts. Notice that the demon also possessed the man. Evil is about possession and control. Do we want to possess or control the church? If so, then we are acting like demons. Jesus came to set the church free, not possess it. Let’s cast out the demons of negativity in our lives by the authority of God.
3. What Owns Us
In Mark 1:21-28 Jesus faced a demon that possessed a man. The demon controlled the man’s life. What owns us? Alcohol and drugs possess some people’s lives, but that is less common as other things. What about greed and the desire to be affluent? Do gluttony and selfishness possess us? Are we possessed by various national materialistic dreams? Money is what possesses politics. Have we ever heard someone run on a poverty platform, giving more of what we possess away? No, we are possessed by politics that promises more wealth. What about envy? Does jealousy of others possess us? What about criticism? Does a critical spirit possess us? What about lust? Does covetousness possess us? Perhaps demon possession is not as rare as we might think. Is our world filled with demons that want to own and possess us?
4. Exorcising our Demons
In Mark 1:21-28 when Jesus exorcised a demon he did not perform an elaborate ceremony. He simply used his authority and told the demon to be quiet and leave. We all have our demons. While we look down our noses at the drunk or drug addict, we may be possessed by the demons of judgmentalism and selfishness. While we criticize the overweight person, we may be possessed by the demons of pride and ego. While we smile outwardly we may be battling the demons of depression and despair. Worshiping the gods of chemistry may work for a while, but drugs only mask our demons. Pharmaceuticals are like crutches; they are needed because something is broken. The long term solution is often to find the cause, exorcise the demons and change our lives so that they will not come back.
5. Sacred Times and Spaces
In Mark 1:21-28 Jesus entered a synagogue on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a sacred time under the Old Covenant and the synagogue was a sacred space for the Jews. In that sacred time and space, the teachers of the law believed that they had sacred authority, yet it was Jesus who taught with authority, effectively invading what they believed was their place not his. The one who was most outspoken about it was someone possessed by an unholy spirit. Think of it. The one who was most concerned with protecting what he thought was his sacred space was someone who wanted to possess it or had a possessive spirit. We confuse what is sacred to us with what is sacred to God. Let’s exorcise the demons of our own creation and get back to what is truly sacred.
6. Teaching Authority
What does it mean in Mark 1:21-28 that Jesus taught them as one who had authority? He did not teach like the Pharisees, yet they were the religious authorities of the day. They were known for nit-picky preaching. So, if religious authority does not make someone an authority to teach, what does? Let’s first of all look at the other extreme, those who teach as if they have authority, but their teaching is rubbish. Any ignorant fool can stand up and act like he knows it all, pulling ideas out of thin air and blaming the Holy Spirit for idiotic doctrines, but that is not what this is talking about either. To have the authority of Jesus, we ought to at least start by teaching what Jesus taught instead of inventing things that have no basis in the Bible.
Even the most righteous people and institutions can be possessed by wrong attitudes. Only the authority of Jesus can exorcise our demons and heal what’s wrong with us.