Name the Darkness: Jesus & Our Persistent Demons | Mark 5:6-9


When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”
Mark 5:6-9

Well this is interesting. It seems like Jesus had said words of exorcism earlier and it, in a sense, hadn’t “worked”. I wonder if the tradition behind this story was of a man so demon possessed that Jesus’ first try at getting rid of them failed. That certainly seems to be the case here. Jesus had commanded the demon to leave the man, and it didn’t.

Now, I don’t like pulling what seems like “self-help lessons” from things like this, or appealing to pop psychology, but this could be instructive in a ministry context. Jesus has appealed to his word and his authority to bring healing and to cast out the disorder and evil in this person’s life. It hasn’t worked. It is so big, it goes so far back into the past, and the issues seem so numerous, that it just isn’t going to take a quick shot to the soul.

So in light of this, how does Jesus respond? He asks the person’s name. Yes, the demon responds, but there’s no indication that Jesus is only talking to the unclean spirit here. He asks the man name, and he answers by identifying himself by his evil. But this is still progress. He gives name to what is haunting and hurting him, and this diagnoses his soul and gives Jesus the insight on how to bring healing to this man.

Giving name is powerful for healing and change and even getting rid of demons.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

The Holy Spirit exorcizes, no matter who you are | Matthew 12:24-28


But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.” He knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

Matthew 12.24-28

Even those that are not the people of God exorcise by the Holy Spirit. Don’t be so quick to discount the healing just because you disagree with the person or even if they’re not Christian! God is the Gospel of healing. However shalom happens, it is the Spirit that brings it.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

Pain, Sickness, Spirits & the Bible (Steve’s final reply) [Guest Post]


[Update: a dear friend of mine has added her thoughts, informed by her first-hand experience in this area.]

Over the past two-and-a-half weeks or so, I have been in a conversation with Steve Wolf concerning a comment he made on a post I wrote about how I felt I was encountering God in an extreme illness I was facing several weeks age. He felt that it was an injustice to God to think that his Providence has any place in physical illness. I responded to his comment. He then replied to that post. I then gave my final official response to his perspective, with a promise that I would give him the last word and feature his reply as a full post.

Well, here it is. As you can see (if you’ve been following this), he doesn’t really respond to anything I actually said (in my opinion). But, nevertheless, I said he could have the final official word. Any more replying I do in this conversation will be in the comments. Here’s Steve:

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