Also, demons were coming out of many, shouting and saying, “You are the Son of God!” But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Messiah.
We've all seen the courtroom dramas on TV or at the movies where the lawyer representing our wronged hero is finally laying out what really happened in the case. He makes an impassioned argument to the judge, and the other lawyer of the bad guy shouts "Objection!"
We wait with bated breath to see if the judge really heard and understood the plight of our hero, and wonder how he’ll respond to the objection. Then the turn of the drama happens in favor of our hero when the judge responds, "Overruled." The judge, in this case, has full authority in the courtroom and can silence the objection with a word, rendering it powerless.
In our readings today, we see Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law as well as all those who were sick with various diseases and oppressed by demons. How great it’ll be in heaven to hear the stories from these people who put their faith in Jesus, were healed, and then set free by Him during His ministry on earth! Mark records that the whole city was at Peter's door on that evening witnessing Jesus' ministry to the sick.
Jesus' ministry is a fulfillment of Isaiah 61, a prophecy that Jesus Himself said was fulfilled at the beginning of His ministry: "The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners…"
This isn’t only the expression of great compassion and kindness to the hurting, but the keeping of a promise by God to "proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" in the coming of Jesus Christ to the world. Freedom, like no other before, became possible to all of humanity—the freedom in Christ from the enslaving, destructive power of sin in our lives.
Jesus also cast out demons that were oppressing some of the people. Matthew records that, much like our judge in the above story, He did so "with a word." In our focal passage, Luke states, "Also, demons were coming out of many, shouting and saying, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Messiah."
They still do know. One thing we must remember, as those who are born again in Christ Jesus, is that the power of sin and our Accuser (which is what Satan means) is overruled. We’re set free from the power of sin in our lives to do and think according to our sinful nature alone, but not free while we live from the presence of it and the temptation to go our own way.
I think we sometimes forget who Jesus is and the authority that’s His. We struggle and fail so often, not because sin and Satan are greater than the power of Jesus, but because we don’t appeal to Jesus and "take it to the Lord in prayer," as the old hymn says.
That’s also why living lives marked by faith that reflect the power of Jesus at work in us is so important to the world today. In 2 Corinthians 5:20, Paul urged us, as ambassadors for Christ, to be reconciled to God because He makes His appeal to the world through us. We who are made new in Christ Jesus can’t live as though sin still ruled our thoughts and actions. We’re set free.
Are there things we’ve been holding on to that hold us down? Is there forgiveness we need to ask of others? In John 8:36, Jesus Himself says, "So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed," from slavery to sin. Let's encourage one another and live lives that show sin as overruled.
- Throughout the Gospels, the demons’ testimonies about Jesus are that He’s the Christ, the Son of God. James records that demons believe in God all right—and tremble. Do we sometimes forget the power of Jesus to change things?
- Jesus silenced the demons even from speaking the truth of who He was. Do we allow our Accuser and ungodly thoughts to speak to us and drive us from Christ-like lives and faith?
- What does freedom from the power of sin, addiction, and ungodly action look like in the world today? Should Christians who have been set free from sinful lives act differently than the world acts?
- Does my life reflect the power of Christ that has set me free from sin's dominion? Are there people I need to ask forgiveness of who have seen more of the world than of Christ in my actions and words?