31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are —the Holy One of God!” 35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
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 Justin Ware