Tim Keller | February 2, 1997
What we’ve been trying to do is find who the real Jesus is. And most of us, when we read these passages about Jesus casting out demons, say, “Ah, yes. The gospel writers and Jesus were men of their time. They didn’t understand what we understand now–viruses, the bases for diseases, mental illnesses. That’s why they attributed these things to devils and demons.”
But both the gospel writers and Jesus understood there was paralysis, madness, and ailments of a kind that had a demonical base and a kind that did not. Jesus Christ did not believe in demon possession out of ignorance, but out of conviction. If you screen these things out, you won’t understand who the real Jesus is and you’ll miss very important, profound insights these passages give you for living your life. This passage teaches us at least three things about evil–the power of evil, the pattern of evil and the pattern of healing.
When Jesus met a man possessed by demons in a place called Gerasenes, He showed His power over evil. This man, who was once troubled and alone, was changed by Jesus and started to share about what Jesus had done. This story shows us that evil is real, but more importantly, it tells us about the life-changing power of Jesus.
1. The power of evil
Understanding evil is hard because it’s more than just what we can see or touch; it includes things that are beyond our world. When we try to explain evil only as something psychological, social, or physical, we miss its true nature and can’t fully fight against it. To really overcome evil, we need to understand it’s complex and requires God’s help and saving power.
2. The patterns of evil
Evil might seem strong and powerful, but it actually takes away our real strength and joy. It’s important to remember that whatever we think is most important in life can control us, leading us to feel trapped and worried, even if we get what we want. Evil is destructive, it divides us and promotes our darker sides, taking away our happiness.
3. The pattern for the healing
The first step to healing is to be drawn to Jesus and understanding who He really is. It might be scary to realize how powerful Jesus is, but to be cleansed and freed from sins and struggles, we need to fully give ourselves to Him. Being a Christian should feel like enjoying a feast of grace, not carrying a heavy load. This emphasizes the power of God’s mercy to change us.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
February Book Offer