The Miracles of Jesus
Lent – February 20, 2021
Holy Spirit vs. Evil Spirits
(Jesus drives out an evil spirit)
Many years ago, I was interviewed by a church in Florida for the position of Director of Christian Education. I dutifully visited the church, spoke with the pastor, board members, and some congregation members while I was there.
Several days after my interview, the church issued me a call. For those of you not familiar with a “call,” it is when a church contacts a rostered church worker. The church informs the worker that they have been led by God to ask them to bring and utilize your gifts as an ordained or non-ordained minister of religion to their church.
It is then my job to dutifully consider the call through prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. About a week after receiving the formal invitation to serve, I called (this one is the phone type) the pastor. I asked if I could meet with him and several board members one more time before finalizing my decision. A meeting was set for later that week.
After I arrived at the church, I took a seat at the pastor’s office with several board members, as mentioned above. I had several questions about the church and my duties written down that I wanted to discuss.
The meeting was casual, and we all just sat in chairs in the middle of the room. As I began to ask a question, and the board members were answering me, the strangest thing occurred. At first, I thought my eyes were blurry, as a fog or mist seemed to surround me as I spoke with the board members. As I looked at them through the haze and I saw looks of disdain and had the feeling they all felt that this meeting was a waste of time and I shouldn’t have asked to meet with them.
Suddenly, I no longer heard a word the group was saying to me. Their lips were moving, but there was no sound. But, I did hear a voice. It was not a whisper; it was actually pretty loud. The voice simply said, “You need to leave; this is not where I want you to be.”
I listened to the voice that I believe was the Holy Spirit speaking to me, cut the discussion short, and left. The next day I sent a letter to the church formally declining the ‘call.’
In the Gospel of Luke, he tells the story of a man possessed by an evil spirit.
“31Then Jesus went to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught there in the synagogue every Sabbath day. There, too, the people were amazed at his teaching, for he spoke with authority.
33Once when he was in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon—an evil spirit—cried out, shouting, 34“Go away! Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
35But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. At that, the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further.
36Amazed, the people exclaimed, “What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!” 37The news about Jesus spread through every village in the entire region.”
The verses above say that the man was possessed by an evil spirit. Although it could have been more than one, as the demon/evil spirit said, “Why are you interfering with us.”
Why was Jesus interfering with the evil spirits? Because they were telling everyone who was within earshot that He, Jesus, was “the Holy One of God!”
The evil spirit recognizes that Jesus is his enemy, and he knew that one day Jesus will be his demise.
The two most remarkable parts of these passages are, one, that Jesus has the power to command the spirit to leave the man just by saying the words, “Be quiet, get out of the man.” The spirit had no choice but to leave the man because God had told him to. Just like God spoke words to bring about creation, Jesus said words to chastise and have the spirit leave the man.
The second noteworthy part of the passage is this; “the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further.”
Jesus had taken over. The evil spirit was no longer in control. Jesus was not about to let the man be injured or hurt by this evil spirit any further. The demon threw the man to the floor, but you might say Jesus caught him. The evil spirit came out of the man without hurting him any further. Jesus protected the man from the moment He said, “Get out of the man.”
As Christians, we believe the Holy Spirit lives within us as a guide and helper throughout our lives. In my case, the Holy Spirit spoke to me in a very unusual way. He clouded things around me and spoke forcefully, basically say, “Get out!”
Jesus was and is a man/God all about serving. And on that day in the synagogue, Jesus served that man by healing him and ridding him of an evil spirit.
I believe that the Holy Spirit lives within but know this and believe that there are evil spirits in this world today too.
As the writer says in 1 Peter 5:8: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”