Jesus healing women

Simon’s mother-in-law Luke 4:38-39

Look at these two vignettes, set side by side:

The demon possessed man: “In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice…’Be quiet!’ Jesus said sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

The feverish mother-in-law: “Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So He bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.”

If we take in each small story, in this passage, as part of a larger whole, then we see Jesus revealing His authority as Lord in how He taught and had command of both the physical realm (healing every kind of disease) and spiritual realm (commanding immediate and absolute obedience from even evil spirits). Jesus proved Himself as all-powerful sovereign, who was also loving and compassionate. Thank God, Jesus is our Savior and Protector!

Satan may not feature directly in these stories, but the fallen angels who defected from Heaven do. Isaiah 14 described the thoughts that went on, not just in the king of Babylon’s mind, but in Satan’s mind, “I will make myself like the Most High.” He was the most powerful, the most beautiful, of all the angels, his name meant “light-bearer,” “shining one,” “Son of the Dawn,” so he aspired to be like God in that he wanted to possess all of heaven and all of earth. He wanted to rule it, he wanted to take over the universe.

So God cast him out of heaven; Jesus said He saw Satan, which means “adversary,” fall like lightening from heaven, accompanied by a large angelic force in a rebellion against God.

Satan is called the prince of darkness, the father of lies, the accuser, the beguiling serpent, a murderer. The Bible describes him as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. He is fierce, powerful, evil and all the more dangerous because he is a spiritual being, one you and I can’t see, as he is. Satan continues his rebellion against God, seeking in every way to usurp God’s position as king. After successfully enticing the first man and woman to disobey God, Satan took ownership of the world, and now receives worship from it, leading the whole world into sin and corruption, using the world to oppose God.

A third of God’s angels, now called demons, fell with Satan and have made this earth their dark world. The Bible talks about demons having the primary purpose of possessing and controlling people. Satan and his demons oppose God’s work by imitating God’s work, and in this way minimize the power and glory of God in people’s view. The devil is a counterfeiter:

  • He offers an imitation gospel that exalts people instead of God
  • There is, and always has been, real supernatural demonic power attached to false religions.
  • He insinuates a counterfeit righteousness that calls evil good, and good evil.
  • In fact, Satan is one day going to produce a counterfeit Messiah who will deceive the whole world into thinking that he’s their savior, because he’s going to work miracles, and perform signs and wonders.

Demons are real, and powerful. The New Testament describes demons as sometimes causing physical or mental ailments. They have supernatural knowledge, superior strength, and an ability to foretell the future. In the New Testament, they recognized Jesus as the Holy One of God, and were afraid of Jesus; they had to obey His authority. Although demons can’t possess a Christian because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christians can be harassed, tempted, accused, be oppressed by, and fall under the sway of demons.

Spiritual warfare is very real, and human beings are the battle ground. Satan is completely opposed to everything of God, and he knows his time is limited, he’s read the same book you and I read. He can’t control you and me, but he will do everything in his power to neutralize us. If you are doing something for Jesus, in His name, then Satan will oppose you. God created hell, described as Sheol by Isaiah, or the land of the dead, to contain Satan and demons at the end of time. It is Satan’s goal to take as many people with him as he can. When you and I were born again, we became sworn enemies of Satan and his hordes.

Yet although Satan is a formidable enemy, he is not invincible, he is a created being with a creature’s attributes. He is not omnipotent, as God is. He can’t do everything; in fact he can only do what God will permit. Though he is powerful, and has many demons at his command, he is not omnipresent; he can’t be everywhere. He is not omniscient; he only knows what God lets him know. He can insert thoughts in your mind, but he can’t read your mind.

Isaiah prophesied Babylon’s downfall. The Lord of hosts has sworn, “As I have planned, so it shall be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.”  God would defeat His enemy in His own land. Near term, God defeated the Babylonians and He defeated the Assyrians, right at the gates of Jerusalem. Then four hundred years later God defeated Satan at the foot of the cross.

But how can you and I stand firm against an enemy like Satan, even if he is defeated? Only God has the power and the authority to hold Satan back.

Our struggle is spiritual. Notice that Jesus was in prayer, in this passage. Prayer is the most powerful weapon against spiritual forces, because prayer is spiritual connection with God Himself. And you and I, those who have been born again, are the only ones who can successfully withstand this powerful enemy, because we are the only ones who can put on the armor of God. You and I have to first be in prayer, and be connected closely to God through His word before we are able to withstand the temptations, doubts and fears that Satan can bring us down with.

When you find yourself being oppressed or tempted, attacked or opposed, the Bible says “Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Where do you need to submit to God first, in prayer and obedience so that you can resist the devil?

All passages taken from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.