By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
There is something interesting about the way demons interacted with Jesus Christ. Demons appeared to live a life of instant gratification, answering to no one. If they wanted harass someone, they would possess them without resistance. They would make the person perform acts against their will and there was little anyone could do to stop them. Yet, when they saw Jesus, they always understood He was the Son of God and they would have to answer to Him on the Last Day.
James 2:19 (ESV): You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Like many of us, a fear of consequences is not enough to keep us from misbehaving. As children, we understood the consequences of disobeying our parents, but we accepted the risk because we thought there was a chance we would not be caught. Demons on the other hand know there is no escaping the final judgment, and it terrifies them. So why do demons continue to live a life that brings destruction?
1 Timothy 4:1-3 (ESV): Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Demons understand their fates are sealed, but they want to bring as many of us as they can down with them. Demons, like Satan are jealous of God’s love for us and they want to separate us from Him. It is important to remember that demons win whether we are too lax or too restrictive with God’s word. Whether we are adding rules by forbidding things God has allowed (such as marriage) or we are taking away from God’s law; and redefining marriage. The Apostle Paul says Jesus has liberated us from the bondage of slavery, yet many of us remain in the chains of man’s traditions (Galatians 5:1). Though some traditions appear to be a good idea; if they are restricting in places God is not, they should be reconsidered. Like the demons, we need to have a fear of the judgement as it is something no one can escape. We will all be required to answer for our actions, and the best way to live is a life in line with the will of God. God doesn’t need us to help Him by adding to His words, and He certainly does not need us to ignore His will. Let us be mindful and obedient of God’s will and never deter from it.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Mark 9:14-16 (NIV): When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
For those looking to be healed, they show a tremendous amount of faith. They travel incredible distances, endure ridicule and setbacks; yet their faith continues to strengthen. It is important to note this because as we continually see throughout scripture, it is our faith that heals us (Mark 10:52). We see a strong example of faith by the father whose son was demon possessed since childhood. This father likely explored several avenues over the years without success. He watched his son without control over his own body; try to kill himself by throwing his body into fires and water (v. 22). This father realistically spent most of his time in fear of his son’s (and his own) life being lost. And just when the father thought he found the solution to his problem, we see he was unsuccessful when he asked some of Jesus’ disciples for help in removing the demon.
Mark 9:17-18 (NIV): A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
Like all of us, the spirit can be willing but the flesh can be weak. The father in a moment of weakness uttered the words, “if you can” to Jesus and Jesus immediately noticed. When Jesus followed up with the father, the father without hesitation acknowledged his weakness and asked Jesus to help him with it.
Mark 9:21-24 (NIV): Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
We can see the example of the father requesting (praying) for his son to be healed and for help with his unbelief. We can also see Jesus crediting His ability to remove the demon to the power of prayer (v. 29). It appears the disciples did not pray as Jesus did, and like most of us, whenever we forget to pray, we end up failing. Let this be a healthy reminder that we have the power to change the world if we start with prayer. We have to lean on God’s strength and understanding, not our own.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
As messengers of God, angels devote themselves to the furthering of His will. We find angels throughout the Bible ministering to humans in times of trial and situations of difficulty.
Daniel 6:22 (NIV): My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.
We also find angels ministering to humans as messengers. While we may not always know what is best for us, our requests are known to God and He is righteous when administering His answer.
Luke 1:13 (NIV): But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.
God understands the Devil is our adversary and he is working to take us off the path of righteousness. We must endure and find comfort in the fact that angels are sent to encourage us on our journey. All we must do is remain faithful and trust in Jehovah; as long as we are faithful, the angels will be there to help us.
Hebrews 1:14 (ESV): Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
One of the more frightening roles of an angel is their task of enforcing God’s wrath. As a righteous God, we are fully aware of God’s will and we know what is pleasing to Him. When we willfully ignore His commandments, He may attempt to save us through punishment. No different than any parent punishing their child; the ultimate desire is for the child to repent and live virtuously.
Numbers 22:22 (ESV): But God's anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him.
Judges 2:3-4 (NKJV): Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’” So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept.
As messengers of God, we understand angels are performing a task that is in line with God’s will. It is our responsibility to make sure God is pleased with us so the angel is encouraging us. If we live in a manner contrary to the will of God, we should be wary of the ensuing message the next angel may bring.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
As God was preparing to send an angel to guard and guide the Israelites on their journey, He gave them a few warnings about the angel. There were suggestions that we would expect to hear; such as “pay attention to him” and “listen to him”. There was one warning in particular that I found most interesting and that was “do not rebel against him”.
Exodus 23:21 (NIV): Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him.
God warned the Israelites if they rebelled against the angel, the angel would not forgive them. I find this fascinating because God is so loving and longsuffering, that we often attribute this characteristic to all in heaven. We even find this understanding confirmed by Jesus when He told the parable of the Lost Sheep.
Luke 15:7 (ESV): Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
It is not that this angel was arrogant or disgruntled; God says the angel will not forgive them because God’s name is in his heart. We have to remember that angel means messenger, in particular, an angel is a messenger of God. In this case, God is trying to deliver a message of obedience to the Israelites. God wants His people to understand if they listen to Him, they will gain everything. But in the same way, if they rebel against Him, they will lose everything.
Exodus 23:22-23 (NKJV): But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.
Notice in verse 22 how God interchanges between the people listening to His angel and listening to Him. The oneness is continued in verse 23 as well. God says He will send the angel ahead of them, but ends the same verse by saying He, not the angel will wipe them out. Since an angel is a messenger of God, it only speaks when God tells it to speak and it only does what God has authorized it to do. That is why this angel will not be forgiving the Israelites if they rebel against God. Not because the angel has a personal agenda, but because it is only able to deliver the message that God wants delivered.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
You cannot help but notice the sharpness of criticisms Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. Not only did Jesus call them wicked and adulterous (Matthew 12:39), He compared them to a man who was repossessed by demons due to his own shortcomings.
Matthew 12:43-45 (NIV): “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”
There is a lot we can learn about the relationship between man and demon from these verses. Once an unclean spirit was excised from a person, it travels through dry places seeking rest without victory (v. 43). If you consider that the gospel of Jesus provides the water of eternal life, it is no surprise the void of God would be a waterless, desolate, and barren place.
John 4:14 (ESV): But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
It is humorous how the demon states it is going to return to the house it left as if it chose to leave in the first place. The reality is the demon was thrown out by God when the person dedicated their life to Christ. Unfortunately, this person lost Christ along the way and when the demon returned, the house was still clean, but empty (v. 44). In an attempt to strengthen its hold on the man, the demon brought reinforcements (v. 45). The number seven in this verse should be considered “many” as seven denotes perfection, whether good or bad. Considering that Christ described the demons as “more wicked”, we are able to observe that demons appear to have degrees of wickedness. Throughout the Bible we see passages that speak on a saved soul straying from righteousness would have been better off to have never known Christ (2 Peter 2:21).
2 Peter 2:21 (NIV): It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
This parable is consistent with that lesson and a humble reminder that salvation is a marathon we cannot win on our own.