Key Text: Matthew 8:27-34
A part of Jesus ministry was to pray and cast out evil spirits from those who were possessed. If you look at Jesus’ ministry, the impression you get is that this was a daily activity. This is probably somewhat true while at the same time those stories presented to use also have other meanings prophetically.
This part of Jesus’ ministry is of extreme importance while at the same time not for everyone. Dealing with the demonic isn’t to be approached by everyone unless they really know what they are doing.
For most of us knowing about this area of ministry is helpful. It is good to know about but also should be left to those who are trained and aware of all the issues. Any further questions can be directed to the church leadership.
There can be a danger in making everything about the demonic when it’s actually a medical issue. We can also go the other way and think there is a medical issue when it’s demonic. The best situation here is to always get wise Godly council and work with them to resolve the issue.
(It is worth noting that as a church we regularly get to pray in people homes, delivering them from some ‘presence’. We also get to pray with people. Sometimes this is very gentle as someone is set free from a dark force and sometimes it’s more dramatic. What people have in their minds is things like the Exorcist when in reality its most often a gentle process. It’s often fun when we get to do this work because you powerfully see the name of Jesus at work.)
Q. The supernatural world is so little spoken of in many circles. The western mind thinks so much in a scientific world view that it’s disregarded as fiction. In a more Eastern world view it is taken for granted. How do you feel about the supernatural world?
Q. What’s your personal impression of the demonic and evil spirits?
Q. How do you feel we should discern what is ‘going on’ in a situation where there is a thought something is wrong spiritually?
Before going further in this session it’s good to stop and pray for protection over our minds. For some, talking about such a topic can be worrying and alarming. Acknowledging this and praying God’s protection and peace is needed.
“When Jesus 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”.
This passage is much more than a passage about evil spirits. This side of the lake of Galilee was the region of the 10 Roman pagan cities (Decapolis). This is why there are pigs, Jews didn’t keep pigs. This Is a story of unclean and clean. The locals ask Jesus to leave because the healing of the two men had cost them livelihood. 100 pigs of good value were lost that day into the lake.
What jumps out at you?
What questions do you have?
Q. If you were in this situation and there was no Jesus, what would you have done with the two men?
Q. The demons in the passage see the authority in Jesus. The demons knew who he was, but the other humans don’t quite get it. What strikes you about Jesus’ authority?
Q. We might not see the demonic as a regular occurrence but how do we see the work of the evil one in the day to day and how do you think the modern church can respond without looking weird?
Q. Large bodies of water, like in many present African and Middle Eastern countries, were a symbol of the Abis, death and hell. Remember Jesus walking on water, he’s walking on the Abis. Here Jesus casts the demons into the Abis. Do you see any significance in this?
(comment – we always cast demons into hell and tell them never to return. This is what we see here. Jesus casts the demons into the water, symbolizing hell.)
Q. We are told we have the authority of Jesus if we pray in his name. Do you a have real life examples of using the name of Jesus and dark powers disappearing?
This week pin down a demon possessed person and pray it out of them.
We don’t come across this situation often and most of the time it should be handed onto someone who knows what to do. But, you will find yourself in some situations. Maybe a walkway where you feel unsafe, a bar that has a odd feeling etc etc. Take the opportunity to speak the name of Jesus outward and see what happens.)
We pray for great wisdom around the spiritual world.
Where we don’t see it, give us a glimpse,
Where we might have an unhealthy fixation, move us on.
Give us wisdom to see what is really happening and wisdom to know how to respond.
We thank you for Jesus, his clarity and his authority. We ask for both.