98. Battle

Luke 8:31-34

The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit.

There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged him to let them enter into the pigs.

So Jesus gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned.

When the herdsmen saw it, they fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran.

Reflect

In a largely non-Jewish location, a person oppressed by evil spirits had confronted Jesus and these demons (called Legion – a Roman term for a military division) asked to be released from the man and into a herd of pigs. Now, Jewish people didn’t keep or eat pigs. Coincidentally, some biblical scholars tell us that ‘pigs’ was a derogatory term used for the occupying Romans. Jesus allowed the demons to enter the pigs and they ran into the lake and were drowned. Jesus allowed the demons to be destroyed.

Now, put this part of the story against the backdrop that the Jewish people expected God’s anointed one (or Messiah) to overthrow the Romans, and you have a potentially powerful political sign pointing to who Jesus is. Symbolically, Jesus destroyed a Roman Legion!

Jesus was outnumbered but not out-gunned by the evil Spirits. In the previous story in Luke’s gospel, he demonstrated how he had authority over the forces of nature, and in the next story he will show how he has authority over the human body. However, in this story, he demonstrates how he has authority over the spiritual world.

In our western culture, we pay little or no attention to the spiritual world and, at best, we’ve taken on the incorrect Greek idea that the spiritual world is separate from our physical world. However, for a first century Jew, and for Jesus, the physical and spiritual worlds were intertwined and inseparable. We are physical and spiritual creatures inhabiting a physical and spiritual world.

We can sometimes feel that the world is against us, that we are fighting against a powerful enemy. However, Jesus demonstrated that he has authority over the spiritual, and that nothing on earth or in heaven can overcome him.

Do

Today, if you are feeling daunted or overwhelmed, or it feels like you’re in a spiritual battle, place your trust in Jesus, as he is unbeatable and unbeaten.

Pray

Holy God
When I feel overwhelmed and daunted
and my life feels like a battleground,
I place my trust in you.
Deliver me from my enemies
and keep me safe from harm.
This day and forever.
Amen.

Think

How aware are we of the spiritual world that is intertwined with our physical world?

How can we become more aware of the spiritual world intertwined with our physical world?