The idea of evil and spiritual darkness is derided and made fun of in the media. It is portrayed as a harmless phenomenon which can be used to entertain us in horror movies and stories. Halloween is just a joke.
Well, not according to the Biblical record, and frankly not according to my experience of what I have seen in this world.
Evil is there; it exists; it is real; and it has an impact.
It is more than just sin. More than just the selfish assertion of the human heart. It is a real, unseen force for malevolence which is insistent and irresistible once it gets a hold.
It gains entry to a person’s life because they allow it. They persist in a pattern of behaviour contrary to God’s moral guidelines for our lives. They warp their inner sense of right and wrong, then establish a learned pattern of bad behaviour: ideal conditions for a malevolent unseen spirit to gain a home.
Once established, such a spirit – or demon – is virtually impossible to dislodge. It has a hold even over a person’s individual ability to choose. They are enslaved, and cannot escape. Even knowing they are enslaved, they cannot escape the clutches of the spirit but must submit to its every dictate.
Revolting beyond belief. And so is what a person will do when subject to this force.
There is no human remedy. You cannot take some type of drug to cure you. No, there is only one recourse.
In the fifth chapter of Mark’s gospel we find the story of a man possessed by multiple demons, yet wanting to be free. And we find there that only Jesus Christ could perform that miracle. Which he did. The man was set free, and was forever grateful, telling others constantly of what Jesus Christ had done for him.
A very normal reaction – he had been living a life of hellish torment, violent and alone, living among the tombs, harming himself and unloved by any other human being. Constantly tormented by a wicked presence within himself.
To this man, evil was very real. To Jesus, the demons were very real. To the demons, Jesus was very real and they perfectly understood his authority over them. That he would cast them out of the man in whom they dwelt, they knew without a word being said.
But they needed a body to inhabit, so begged Jesus to send them into the nearby herd of swine. This Jesus did, undoubtedly knowing that they would drive the pigs to distraction and drowning. And that is what happened.
Jesus Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth. That is what he told the disciples before he finally left them, promising to return. And he told the disciples to continue his ministry in the earth.
And that is what the church – the body of Jesus Christ – is called to do. Continue Christ’s ministry of teaching and healing in this world. To manifest his power, and love and grace for the deliverance of people in need.
But let us note the reaction of those who owned the herds of swine. They were not happy that their source of profit was destroyed. They wanted Jesus to go away.
They cared not for the deliverance of a fellow human being from torture at the hands of demons. Their only concern was material gain from the pigs. They cared not that supplying pigs as food was expressly forbidden by the Jewish religion. They cared not what God wanted and expected. Their only concern was commercial interest.
Material gain not a godly life.
The delivered man himself wanted to remain with Jesus – of course. But Jesus wanted him to go tell others what God had done for him. A life transformed in a person everyone knew had been blighted was definitive proof of God’s goodness and God’s existence.
Jesus wanted to multiply God’s glory and renown. Jesus told the delivered man:
GO HOME TO THY FRIENDS AND TELL THEM HOW GREAT THINGS THE LORD HATH DONE FOR THEE, AND HATH HAD COMPASSION ON THEE
Take note that the man did as Jesus told him. Most important. Despite his own personal and very understandable desire to be with Jesus, he went away to carry out the task which Jesus had appointed.
You see, people hear stories and reports of this, that and the other. Who knows what to believe? But to see a person whom you know transformed from such a terrible state into a person whole and in their right mind is evidence no-one can refuse to acknowledge.
Even so, people still refuse to believe in Jesus Christ.
That’s the difference. God allows you the choice. Demons don’t. God truly cares. Demons don’t.
So, don’t mess with darkness…