Summary: We all have demons that we struggle. Sin is something that even the Apostle Paul fought off. With Jesus’ help, we can conquor even the most difficult of our own demons.
Conquering Our Own Demons
We all have something in common with the Gospel message we heard a moment ago. Just like the man with the unclean spirit, we have our own demons to content with. We may not have an actual devil in us, but we do have issues which plague us from time to time. Issues that tend to control us and manipulate us. Issues that we can’t handle ourselves and that we keep turning back to. Perhaps situations that we know we shouldn’t be in, that we keep placing ourselves into. We require Jesus’ intervention to help us through these difficult situations, to get us back on the straight and narrow path, and away from the evils of this world.
We need His strength, His knowledge, His authority and especially His power to get us away from these difficulties, and towards the Grace that is the Promised Land.
Knowledge and Authority – Inter-related
Close your eyes and try to picture this situation. The same church you’ve been going to, every Sunday for the past, 2, 5, 10 years or more always has a speaker who gives the message for that week. Most of the time, your pastor speaks and the congregation responds to their words of wisdom. Sometimes, one of the deacons or elders steps up and takes over the pulpit or maybe even a visiting pastor from out of time.
You’re familiar with these speakers. Some you’ve listening to quite frequently. Some have spoken only once or twice a year. All of these speakers are respected from their communities. Well known, well liked, admired for their insight and treasured for their faith. You’ve grown accustomed to hearing these people speak. You’ve been encouraged by their words, led to follow a path because of what they’ve said, and maybe even brought others to hear their messages as well.
Each of their messages probably sounded something like this: “Brother Joe has taught us that we can only eat clean foods. Pastor Bob has showed us that it is proper not to work on the Sabbath. Minister Jim explained that we can not cook our food on the Sabbath. Therefore, we must cook only clean foods the night prior to the Sabbath to ensure that we meet the laws of Moses.”
But today, the message was much different. The speaker is not one of those you’re familiar with. Here’s this man that no-one seems to know. He’s come from … well… who knows where. He’s not from here, that’s for sure. He’s up there and He’s different. Where the pastors and the elders have always qualified their speeches with “Rabbi Johns has shown us…” or “Rabbi Isaiah explained to us…” or “Moses and the prophets directed us to…” This man doesn’t fall back on the authority of others to explain what he’s talking about. He doesn’t honor the teachers of old by using them as references. He doesn’t use others to help strengthen His arguments. Instead, He tells it like it is. It’s as if He knows something the others don’t understand. It’s like He was there when the scrolls of old were written, as if He can reach into the mind of God and pull out what our heavenly Father wanted us to know. It’s almost like He knew what was on our mind, and began with what would spark our interest. This man is different. He’s just not like the others.
You can almost picture it, can’t you? A stranger from a foreign land that speaks with previously unknown wisdom. A stranger willing to do things differently to get His point across. A stranger willing to spend time with people’s questions to ensure they understand what He has to say. He’s there to make His message known, and not just to hear Himself talk. A stranger valuing substance over form.
No one prior to Jesus spoke with the knowledge that this man had. No one prior to Jesus spoke with the authority this man had. He spoke on His own behalf and didn’t rely on the wisdom of others to justify His position. Instead, He was confident in what He taught. This amazed the people. Some were even alarmed at how He spoke because He didn’t teach, as the others before Him.
No one had to tell Jesus about the interpretations of previous Rabbis. He was the ultimate teacher. No one had to tell him what scripture had to say; He was there when it was written. Not only was He able to explain the word, He WAS The Word! His unique nature, put Him in a place no other human could’ve ever been. His authority came directly from God, because He was God. It was not derived from previous teachers of the law, prophets of old or even the traditions of the temple. These were new ways at looking at scripture and God’s word. They were new ways at addressing the teachings they already possessed. This was unprecedented. This was unknown. This was amazing!