Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 7 October 2014

Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “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!”– Mark 1, verses 23-24.

Whether we like it or not, EVERYTHING is under the dominion of the Son of Man.   You, me, all our possessions, the weather, dogs barking in my backyard, Ebola spreading around the planet, newborn babies: everything.   Even evil.   Everything in this world, in this universe, is seen by the eyes of Christ.   The allegory of “you can’t take it with you” is 100% true because God has determined that the only thing we have that is truly ours is our soul.   It’s plain fact that the believer and unbeliever alike can agree upon. Everything that happens, good and bad, serves Christ’s purpose, even when we don’t understand how.

And because that is so, even the things that are evil recognize that fact.   Even demons are under the control of Jesus. “An impure spirit” is an evil spirit. The Bible is rife with accounts of what demons and evil spirits did to people.   In a teachable moment, Jesus allows the impure spirit to confront Him so that those around Jesus could see it confess His identity; so that we could see it too.   Don’t lose sight of that fact, that this episode occurs right after Jesus starts to teach and then is immediately confronted by evil.   I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Lord starts to connect with people before evil tries to split apart that connection.   Isn’t it true that the same thing happens to us today?

It brings up a question: are there still demons in the world?   I don’t know that I’ve ever told the story about my grandmother, who was the sweetest, kindest person I’ve ever known.   She was also drastically manic depressive.   One day, I was with her when her mood changed from high to low.   In the space of just a few minutes, I watched her behavior, face and body completely transform, contorting and twisting her into someone almost unrecognizable. I understand manic behavior and depression; I know them well.   Yet I will always believe more was going on with that sweet woman than just some psychiatric condition. I believe she was possessed.

I personally know people who have conducted exorcisms.   I know people who believe they have met angels; I have my own experiences with that as well.   Do I believe there are still demons in the world?   You bet I do.   Science can’t adequately explain it, only faith can. I believe that much of what we consider to be terrible coincidence or heinous crime may be demonic in origin. That may not stand up in a court of law but it stands up to Scriptural scrutiny.

We won’t go into the argument about “if Jesus loves us why does He allow bad things to happen?”   Look to that last sentence of the first paragraph for the answer and don’t get lost in navel gazing.  It isn’t always satisfying to realize that, in the face of terrible things, the only answer I’ll sometimes get is “my grace is sufficient for you.” But when I contemplate how I would have reacted to evil alone, without that grace of Jesus, I realize that it’s not just what I needed to hear at the time but the best answer possible.

Lord, everything is in Your control.   Thank You for that.

Read Matthew 4, verses 23 and 24.

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