Demon-PossesedMarch 22nd, 2012 by Oleg Kostyuk
The story of the two demon-possessed men (Matt. 8:28 – 34) is very significant and deserves specific attention. Firstly, almost all of Jesus’ miracles were performed because someone asked him to; but in this case, it seems, Jesus decides to cross the lake specifically to perform that one miracle. He crosses the lake, performs the miracle and then gets in the boat and crosses back again. It is almost as if he goes for that one purpose, like he is going to battle.
But what Jesus does in the country of the Gergesenes is amazing. He casts out demons. The two demon-possesed men are actually not central to the narrative, they are involved as the “hosts” of the demons and they serve more as part of the scenery. Jesus crosses the sea and even conquers a storm in his determined quest to win the battle with these demons. One gets the impression that even the storm itself is sent by the demons.
The majority of people nowadays think about the earth as predominantly occupied and ruled by demons. This is not a new idea. In fact, that very notion led some christians to conclude that Jesus’ death was a ransom paid to the devil.
The idea of the world being filled with dark powers has been dominant throughout history.
One of the most mysterious manuscripts of all time is the Codex Gigas. The weight of the book is 165 pounds (75 kilos). It was produced in the 13th century over the period of around 30 years by just one scribe. About half of the book consists of the Bible in Latin. The other half consists of other books, such as an encyclopedia and works on medicine. What is extremely fascinating is that this codex is also called the Devil’s Bible, because of the large image of the devil on the inside.
But what people do not notice is that on the other page, right before the page with the devil, there is an image of God’s Kingdom. The scribe who worked on the book portrayed this battle that is happening inside all of us, and it was up to the reader to decide what choice to make.
Perhaps the story of the casting of the demons is my story: how often I feel the battle inside. And in order to free me from those demons, Jesus made a bold move. He came down to earth to conquer these demons and set me free. Think about that for a moment: Jesus is the One who started talking about the kingdom of heaven that has already arrived! If you wish, the world is dualistic, there is a choice between the kingdom of heaven and the earthly kingdom. Which one we choose is up to us.
Let me finish with a final thought about how Jesus conquered the demons. In the book of Genesis there is one verse that is called protoevangelium or the first good news about the Messiah redeemer. It is recorded in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” These are the words of God to the serpent and at the same time it is a prophecy about Jesus. It says that the serpent – or the devil – will strike Jesus’ heel but Jesus will crush the devil’s head. Perhaps the complete fulfillment of that prophecy is yet to come, but Jesus has already crushed the demon’s head. It happened on Golgotha, that is to say, “place of a dead head.” (Mat. 27:33) That is truly great news, the demons are conquered if we let Him reign!