In the gospel according to Mark, Jesus is frequently reported to heal people.
Sometimes, the healings are physical. Jesus heals fevers, blindness, crippled limbs, deafness, bleeding and all sorts of physical ailments.
Spiritual, emotional or mental healing
Other times, the person in need of healing is possessed by something of a spiritual or emotional or mental nature, as in the story for today.
A modern response
Some people, when they read these stories about demon possessions in the Bible, will explain that, in the ancient world, people just didn’t know as much about science and medicine as we know now. So, whenever a person was hurt or sick with some kind of unexplainable disease, the reason given was that the person had been possessed by a demon.
And that’s one way of thinking about it. That’s fine. Maybe there is even some truth to that way of thinking.
But I want to suggest that when we offer these kinds of explanations, we imply that most of the evil spirits that take over people’s lives disappeared with the advent of modern medicine. And we all know that isn’t true.
Clearly, we are able to heal lots of sicknesses with modern medicine.
God heals through modern medicine
We might even say that medicine is part of the way God heals people in the world today. Perhaps if the man in the temple were taken to a psychiatrist in our world today, he would be diagnosed with schizophrenia or some other kind of mental illness and given medications that help to heal him.
But I would submit that even with all this scientific knowledge, people today are just as overcome by demons and evil spirits as they were back in the time of Jesus.
Evil spirits exist
If we think the demons are no longer in the world, then we are foolish. Evil spirits and forces of darkness are still very much a part of our reality.
So, hear the good news: God gave Jesus the power and authority to cast out demons. His authority came directly from God, and this power and authority is still real today. Jesus continues to cast out demons, evil spirits and darkness.