Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
When Americans think of exorcism, they conjure up a set of images that have remarkably little to do with reality. They may picture some sort of wizened exorcist who uses a series of special words, motions, and religious relics to engage in a head to head battle with evil forces which just might win. Sorry, that’s Dumbledore fighting with Voldemort. Let’s take a look at Luke 11:14-28 to get a clearer picture.
In this passage, Jesus was casting out a demon. We read that the demon was mute. The people involved in the incident recognized this because the person couldn’t speak, but after the exorcism he could speak. The text does not consider this a case of mental or physical illness. The apostle luke, according to early accounts, was a physician. He takes interest in specific details of physical conditions. This was not an illness he identified. It was a spiritual attack, as far as he could tell. He also reported that Jesus didn’t heal the man. Rather, Jesus cast a demon out. It was an exorcism, not a healing. We allow the text to lead us. The evangelist, who was an eyewitness or gathered information from eyewitnesses, reported it in this way.
What can we conclude? First, the Bible considers spiritual forces to be real. Here and in other places, evil spiritual forces attack and harm people. They can be confronted by God’s power and God’s Word. Second, Jesus is able to command even the evil spirits. They may be more powerful than we are, but in the end, they cannot stand before God’s Word. Third, when an evil spirit has been sent out of a person, it is important that the person be indwelt b the Holy Spirit so as to stop further effective attack.
How does this play out? Consistent with ancient Christian practice, when we baptize, we exorcise any evil spirits. They are commanded by God’s Word to depart as the person being baptized is being clothed with the Name of the Trinity. When praying a house blessing or any other consecration, we set aside the place or thing for holy use. God and the devil cannot inhabit the same place. The devil must leave. We don’t hestiate to claim people, places, and things for God and His purposes. We have every expectation that God has promised to redeem them for His good purposes.
Good by, Dumbledore. Hello, Jesus.
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