He writhed on the floor while men and women gathered around him hurling their prayers. That’s the best way I can describe it. "Come out in Jesus name!" they said, and he writhed all the more as if in pain, and certainly in turmoil. The voices rose, "Come out you unclean spirit!"
I had been attending a Vineyard Conference years ago in Canberra, NSW. John Wimber had been speaking about Power Evangelism. This was one of the ministry times. We must have been sitting up towards the front when I noticed the man writhing on the ground. I hadn’t noticed him fall from his seat. The crowd launching their prayers towards him were determined to cast a demon from him.
That’s the situation I stared at as a man walked through the crowd and did something I have always remembered. He told the crowd to stand back and knelt down beside the man. He spoke softly and asked the man his name several times. He told the man that Jesus loved him and then, as I remember it, he asked the man did he want to be free. Did He want Jesus to set him free? The man said "Yes" obviously because he was taken to a smaller and more private room to pray. By that time the writhing had stopped. He was treated with respect and dignity.
What I learned that day was that casting demons out of people who don’t want to be free would be a worthless enterprise. Someone who has intentionally been involved with what we can only call evil may not be willing to give up the power they think they have acquired.
But there are others who long to be free and as they come to Jesus, and they are prayed for, demons cannot stay. It really depends on the choices they make towards Jesus, or away from Him. As they come and ask for Jesus to heal, evil flees and the Holy Spirit comes and gently fills the troubled places where demons have once had control and like a healing oil these people know that they are loved.
Matthew 8:28 (NLT) records the event like this - "When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met Him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area."
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