Dealing with Demons
Gracious Father, You are always waiting, listening for my call. What a blessing. I speak to You now.
Consider: Jesus did not send us to go hunting for demons, but when they confront us in the course of our normal life, he did not tell us to run away!
Evidently, this man expected the disciples of Jesus to be able to heal his son, as did the disciples themselves. After all, it was not their first experience of such ministry. In chapter 10 we read how the disciples had been sent out two by two with authority to drive out unclean spirits and heal the sick as they proclaimed the arrival of the kingdom of heaven. In today's story, Jesus Christ did not merely come to the rescue by rebuking the demon and healing the child; he also shared the frustration of the disappointed parent and blamed the disciples' failure on their unbelief (prayer, and fasting in the variant rendering, are also mentioned in Mark 9:29). He said that it takes only a little faith, small as a mustard seed; but it would seem that their faith managed to fall shy of "little"!
What does this say to us today? Thank God for the medical facilities available to us--remembering that all healing comes from God--but does that mean that healing miracles are no longer required? In general, neither the watching world nor we have any real sense of expectation in this regard, and yet sometimes people do ask for our prayers in their desperation. Rather than for us to turn to Jesus Christ in expectant faith, do we try to find good reasons to dampen expectation and prepare hopeful seekers for disappointment? Have demons gone out of business in our theology, or has Jesus Christ stopped rebuking them and healing their victims? Or is it that they are too cleverly disguised for us to notice?
Meanwhile, in private tutorials with his disciples, Jesus continued preparing them for the impending tragedy of his crucifixion. This time, he adds the ominous detail that he would be "delivered" (22) into the hands of his enemies, which implies a betrayal.
What disguises do demons wear in your experience? How can you protect yourself from demonic influence (see Eph. 6:10-18)?
Lord, be in the decisions I must make today. Open my ears to Your guidance and steer my footsteps from temptation.
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