Sunday, March 10, 2019

Jesus casts out an unclean spirit

23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.
25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.
26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. (Mark 1:23-26)

One observation frequently made about this story is that the unclean spirits recognize Jesus, not having a veil over their memory. But if you notice, that knowledge doesn’t do any good.  The effect they have on the man they have possessed is to torment him, making him think he can have nothing to do with Jesus, as if Jesus is some different kind of person and that He has come to destroy all the wicked.  The man seems to have had an over-consciousness of his sins combined with despair, a view that he could expect no help from Jesus.

But once Jesus cast the unclean spirit out, the man knew Jesus could help him. Unclean spirits want to paralyze people with a sense of their unworthiness to keep them from getting the spiritual help they need.

Now, here’s a question – if the text had not labeled this man as having an unclean spirit, would we have been able to tell that was his problem? (Read through it, covering up the label, and see.) Could we have known from his words and behavior what his problem was?   I suspect this story is in the scriptures exactly so that we can learn to recognize and diagnose this problem.

Here’s another question—If we ever recognize this kind of spirit in ourselves, can we discern that and cast it out?  Because it must be cast out in order to exert the faith for salvation.

I think this story should help us learn discernment so we can recognize when we are under the influence of this kind of unclean spirit so we can escape. It is hard to escape that sort of thing if you think it is you instead of realizing it is a spiritual influence. Remember, it is not you.  Cast it out. Tell Satan where to get off.