#16: JESUS, THE STRONGER ONE,
OVERCOMES THE EVIL ONE
(Matthew 12:22-23, 43-45)
A summer morning, A. D. 28, Capernaum in Galilee
One morning in Capernaum some people bring to Jesus a man who is blind and mute because of a demon spirit. Before the crowd, the Personal Deliverer drives the spirit out of the man and the man speaks and sees. He is healed! For greater is the light and healing of the Son of God than any power of darkness in this world (I John 4:4).
Messianic Prophecy Fulfilled:
(Given 712 B. C.)
“He is coming to save you. And when he comes,
he will open the eyes of the blind
and unstop the ears of the deaf . . .
those who cannot speak will shout and sing!”
(Isaiah 35:4b-6a, NLT)
Messianic Prophecy Fulfilled:
(Given 712 B.C.)
“I, the LORD, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.
I will guard and support you, for I have given you to my people
as the personal confirmation of my covenant with them.
And you will be a light to guide all nations to me.
You will open the eyes of the blind
and free the captives from prison.
You will release those who sit in dark dungeons"
(Isaiah 42:6-7, NLT)
Jesus then describes to the people what happens when an evil spirit is cast out of a person: “But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of a man, goes through dry places looking for rest, and getting it not. Then he says, ‘I will go back into my house from which I came out’; and when he comes, he sees that there is no one in it, but that it has been made fair and clean. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits worse than himself, and they go in and make it their living-place: and the last condition of that man is worse than the first” (Matthew 12:43-45, Bas).
Jesus compares his casting the demon out of the man to one cleaning a house. After he expels the demon, a spiritual empty space is in the man where the demon had been. If the man allows his house (his life) to remain spiritually empty, the demon can come back and bring other wicked spirits in with him. But if the man keeps his heart and life filled with obedience to the Word of God, then the evil spirit will have no room to come back in. When Jesus taught this lesson on another occasion, He summed up its message saying, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28b)
Comment: The Amplified Bible translates this verse as, “Blessed (happy and to be envied) rather are those who hear the word of God and obey and practice it!” Jesus taught here that evil which is cast out must immediately be replaced with what is good, or else a greater evil will come in and fill the vacuum.
Jesus wants to bring into our lives that which make our lives more whole and abundant. The devil brings us his thoughts that will steal from us if we accept them (John 10:10). What thoughts are those? I believe you could name some of them: thoughts of discouragement and of doubt concerning God’s goodness and faithfulness, thoughts of resentment, unforgiveness, and bitterness, of pride and self-righteousness, of love for the world and of immorality. These are some of his favorite “trains of thought” that he, the evil engineer, seeks to drive into our thought life.
When we detect these thoughts coming, we should immediately begin to praise God, because praises to God are like great and mighty gates which shut out the enemy and his thoughts (Isaiah 60:18). With the high praises of God and by speaking the Word of God, we can bind the enemy and stop his toxic trains of thought which he tempts us to think upon (Hebrews 4:12, Psalm 149:6-9).
As soon as we detect these evil thoughts coming to us, we must command them to leave us. Resist the devil and he will run from you (James 4:7). Then we immediately replace those thoughts with praises to God and with quoting Scriptures we know which help us the most. And since words are more powerful than thoughts, we speak out loud when we tell evil thoughts and spirits to go and when we praise God and quote His mighty Word.
The sword of the Spirit and praises to God drives the devil and his trains of thought away every time! So let’s shut out the devil and his thoughts with the gates of praise and speak to the devil, “It is written” followed by a Scripture which helps us the most at that moment.
In our next devotional, we will continue with this account in the life of Jesus, as he endures and overcomes the hateful hostility of the religious leaders of his day.
Note: much of this devotional is from The Life of Jesus Foretold, pages 95-97.