Summary: What a friend we have in Jesus, a friend who is competent and capable when the challenges of life seem more than we can bear.
Weakening the Adversary’s Hold Through Prayer
1. A Barna poll in 2009 of people who professed to be some sort of Christian — not necessarily evangelical — states the following: “Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.”
2. Other people will tell us that the Bible attributes to the devil conditions that we now know are biological or psychological. The truth is that people in the Middle Ages were very prone to do this, and it also was somewhat common to do so in the first century. But the Bible does not do this.
3. For example, the Bible makes a distinction between epilepsy and demonism, despite the accepted misinformation that it does not. Matthew 4:24 reads, “ So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.”
4. These people were not merely cured, but their condition was accompanied by demonic phenomenon, as in today’s text.
5. One sign of demonism is a bent toward destruction (Abaddon and Apollyon). This boy did not merely have seizures, but the demon tried to throw him into fire or water to destroy him.
6. Paul later instructs us to resist Satan with the armor of God and by praying at all times in the Spirit. Prayer is a mighty weapon, and it is especially potent in the realm of Spiritual Warfare.
Sins in our lives can become so entrenched that we give the devil a stronghold, and overcoming those sins requires aggressive prayer against Satan’s influence in our lives. This should not be confused with demon possession, which is what today’s text is about, but aggressive prayer is needed in both instances, as we shall see.
Jesus had given his disciples authority to cast out demons in Mark 3:15, and they had done so successfully (6:13). But not this time.
Main Idea: What a friend we have in Jesus, a friend who is competent and capable when the challenges of life seem more than we can bear.
I. Jesus’ EXORCISES a Tough-case Demon (14-29)
A. Jesus Walks Into a MESSY Situation (14-19)
• Did you hear about the snail who was run over by a turtle? He was asked what happened and he said, "I don't know, it all happened so fast".
• Sometimes messy situations surface suddenly, like when Moses came down from the mountain and found the people worshipping the golden calf.
1. The nine disciples were in an ARGUMENT with scribes before a crowd (14)
2. The crowd was EAGER for Jesus (15)
• Why “greatly amazed?”