Mar 18

Lord Over All

Todd Pruitt |Matthew 8:28-34

The modern West has little room for the miraculous. Plenty of people consider themselves to be spiritual and may even make room for the supernatural. But when it comes to the specificities of the miracles recorded in the Bible the responses range from scoffing from unbelievers and blushing from some believers.

However since God exists (It defies reason for the universe to be uncreated.) we live in a world that is more than merely natural. Likewise, since God is supernatural it makes perfect sense that among his works will be those which transcend the merely natural. Jesus was widely recognized not only by his followers but by his critics and secular historians as a miracle worker.

Jesus performed miracles primarily as signs pointing to his identity and mission. The miracles demonstrate that God is actively involved in his creation. This is no more powerfully demonstrated than in the presence of Jesus, God in the flesh. The miracles also demonstrate the authority of Jesus over all realms of creation. Jesus commanded nature, healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out demons.

According to Scripture Satan, or the Devil, was an archangel who was cast out of heaven when he rebelled against God. Along with Satan were cast down a sizeable number of angels who had joined his rebellion. These fallen angels are what are referred to as demons. It is of particular interest that in the present passage the demons instantly recognize who Jesus is and know that His presence means judgment on them. They remember Him from glory; they know His mission on earth; and they know that all judgment has been given over to Him.

Demon possession is very rare, if it occurs at all in the Old Testament and there are few examples of it after the Gospels.  “In the Bible [an outbreak of] demon possession [seems rather to be] part of the upsurge of evil opposing Jesus in the time of his incarnation” (Morris, 208). It makes sense that the coming of the Messiah into the world would be met with frequent opposition from Satan. Jesus’ encounter with demons was an important element in his ministry because of what those encounters revealed about God’s kingdom, the kingdom of this world, and the nature of Jesus’ mission.

In his encounter with the Gadarene demoniacs Jesus demonstrated his comprehensive authority. There was nothing the demons could do to manipulate Jesus or curtail his power over them. It is also clear that demons are aware that a time is coming when Jesus will judge them once and for all. It was the cross and resurrection which finally sealed the fate of the demonic powers of sin and darkness. The Apostle Paul states that through his death on the cross Jesus “disarmed the rulers and authorities [a reference to all opposition to Christ] and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them” (Colossians 2:15).

All humanity is naturally bound over to Satan. Mankind is born with a preference for sin. But all those who believe in Jesus; those who turn away from sin and look in faith to Christ share in his victory of sin and Satan: “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).