31 He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. 32 They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. 36 They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” 37 And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.
The passage in Luke 31-37 describes an intriguing account of a man who is possessed by a demon. When encountering demon possession in the bible, it is useful to bear in mind CS Lewis’s accurate analysis of our tendency to take the wrong approach when we reflect on the role that demons play in life:
‘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. They (demons) themselves are equally pleased by both errors.’
I myself have made both errors in the past, so it is helpful for me to be mindful of my beliefs regarding demons, who are very real and active in the world, without getting carried away.
The intrigue in the biblical passage for me initially is that this demon, although speaking against Jesus, is openly and publicly acknowledging him as the “Holy One of God”
On deeper reflection, it is noteworthy that this man is “in Church” despite being possessed. If you met someone whom you suspected was under demonic influence, how would you respond? Would you invite them to Church?
Do you hold a view of demons that is compatible with the bible, or do you base your beliefs on film and television?
Written by Ps. Justin Ware