Fight the Right Battle

[28] When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area. [29] They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?” [30] There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. [31] So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.” [32] “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

Matthew 8:28-32 (NLT)

As Jesus is walking through the region of the Gadarenes, after a particularly difficult sea passage, He is confronted by two fellas who are apparently terrorizing the rest of the population.  They were known to be quite dangerous, so much so that no one dared pass through their domain.  I don’t know what that did to the funeral industry, but it seems the cemetery was off limits.

Jesus was as unfazed by them as He had been by the storm the night before. I’m sure there were naysayers eager to inform Him of the reputation of these guys, “Be careful, Jesus.  Have a little wisdom.”  Failing that, their appearance surely screamed, “Madmen!”  The text said they actually did scream, and in what they said, gave away the lie.  They knew who Jesus was, and that He would one day judge them.  You see, the issue was not with two poor guys who were violent and uncontrollable.  The problem was with the spirits that drove them.

Jesus’s ability to stand calm in the face of what would send most of us squealing for Mama, rests on two foundation stones:

  1. Jesus knew the nature of the problem.  Our battles in this earth may have physical representation, but the conflict is in the spirit realm.  The moment we forget that, terror ensues.  Paul said, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies…”  In every conflict with people, the first step to victory is to recognize the problem.  People are the reason we are here.  God, in His love for them, has sent you into their path.  Don’t let their bizarre or deceitful or threatening behavior scare you away. Ephesians 6:10-12; 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
  2. Jesus knew His authority. Having diagnosed the problem, Jesus was able to confidently deal with the demons.  Had he gotten involved with the personal attack, allowing himself to fall into argument or explanation or intimidation, the battle would have been lost from the beginning.  Instead, he addressed the spirits behind the behavior with the authority given Him by His Father.  We have the same authority over the power of the enemy.  Whether in the prayer closet or in face to face encounters, the battle is already won, and the authority has been given us.  Don’t let ‘em see you sweat. You’ve got the goods. Mark 16: 15-18; James 4:7; Luke 10:19

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