Part One. A thought for the week from Richard Earll at Community Church Chafford Hundred
Jesus heals a boy possessed by an impure spirit
When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 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.
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.’
‘You unbelieving generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.’ So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
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!’
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. ‘You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said, ‘I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer.’
And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.”
In 1John 3:8 it tells us that the Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
Also, in Acts 10:38 it says that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power, and… He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him…
Then, as we read the Gospels, it tells us that Jesus …cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. (Matthew 8:16-17).
There are a number of occasions where it is recorded that Jesus healed everyone who was brought to Him, and cast demons out of all who were possessed with them. The result of this must have been that whole Communities were overjoyed, because the burden of sickness had lifted. Also, the atmosphere of these Communities must have changed, because the evil spirits had been banished by the Son of God.
It’s obvious from the teaching of the NT that Jesus wants His Church to do the same things He did. He wants His Church to have the same sort of impact upon Communities that He had.
He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father…” (John 14:12 NIV).
This statement shows that Jesus wants us to partner with Him, in that, having been forgiven, delivered and healed; He wants us to work with Him to bring the Gospel of salvation, healing and deliverance to people.
We can see this is in His heart in Matthew 9:35-38, where it tells us that when He saw the crowds of people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd… When He saw the needs that so many people had, He said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Here, Jesus instructed us to pray that God will send workers, who will be partners with Him, and who are equipped to do the same works He did, which are: proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. (Matthew 9:35).
After this, He began to equip His disciples to be workers with Him by giving them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. (Matthew 10:1).
Jesus still wants His people to work in partnership with Him, and to be equipped to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to Communities.
In the context of this, it’s worth considering the reply Jesus gave when He was questioned about the source of His spiritual authority. He said, “… if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you…” (Matthew 12:28).
If we compare this statement with the way He taught us to pray, we can see again that He wants us to be in partnership with Him to bring the power of the Kingdom of God into our Communities, because He taught us to pray, ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…’ (Matthew 6:10).
When – in answer to this prayer – the power of the Kingdom of God is brought into operation, then salvation comes, sicknesses are healed, demons are cast out, and atmospheres are changed, because the god of this world is driven out, with all his evil influences, and the Kingdom of God comes, with all its Heavenly influences.
Part 2 to follow…