Presence of an Impure Spirit

Mark 1: 21-28
Heb 2: 5-12 / Psa 8

What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.
(Mark 1:27)

Trust in the Holy Spirit’s sword,
Have faith, the Gospel will not fail,
Against the power of God’s Word
Impure spirits will not prevail.

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” News about Him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. (Mark 1: 21-28)

Reflection

There are many instances in the Bible where our Lord encountered and expelled evil spirits from the possessed. Demons during Jesus’ time were as real as they are now. Sadly, it is a tragedy of our time that many people either take this for granted or they do not believe that devils exist at all. This is serious because in order to be victorious against the enemy, we must be aware that it exists, and be wary of its power and cunning. Evil lurks in darkness, and pounces when we are not on guard. In his letter to Christian communities in Asia Minor, St. Peter warned of this. He said, “Be sober and vigilant. Your enemy the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1Pet 5:8)

I recall a long time ago, in college, one favorite preoccupation when we were cooped up in the dormitory by bad weather was playing with the “spirit of the glass” on an ouija board. Little did we know then that we were fiddling with an evil spirit, and treading on dangerous grounds. Every good citizen of God’s Kingdom knows that one must have nothing whatsoever to do with the occult. The more we are deluded by Satan into believing that various forms of “spiritualism” are just harmless preoccupations, the higher the risk of falling into the devil’s dominion.

The most common forms of human frailties that can open the door to evil spirits are the sins of egotism, jealousy and pride. These sins we find in the life of King Saul, which started when he became jealous of the military successes of the young David (1Sam 18:8-9). His egotism and obsession against David drove him to commit mass murder against a whole clan of priests (1Sam 22). Alienated from God’s favor, he was driven to consult a medium, who conjured the ghost of Samuel. But the spirit of Samuel told him: “Because you disobeyed the Lord’s directive. . . by tomorrow you and your sons will be with me, and the Lord will have delivered the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines” (1Sam 28:8-19). King Saul’s final act of pride was to commit suicide rather than face his victorious enemies (1Sam 31:4).

Our Lord’s great sacrifice and death on the cross should bear out the reality that evil is a devious adversary, and the forces of hell (although no match against the forces of heaven) are still a grave danger to reckon with insofar as our souls are concerned. We must always pray for the Spirit’s guidance, wisdom and protection against it.

Keep us, O Lord, from all evil influences; command Your angels to guard us in all our ways (Ps 91:11). Let only Your Holy Spirit occupy our minds and hearts all the days of our life. Amen.

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