By: Chad Hyatt
Reflection—v. 32 ‘I am casting out demons’
Having looked at the three-part cross-story in the mission of Jesus and in our own lives, I want to circle back to a theme I did not directly take up earlier. The stock description Jesus gives of his mission is important, especially if we see our communities as called to that same mission. We have already touched upon healing—‘performing cures,’ Jesus says—and God’s will for human wholeness. But we ought not ignore that Jesus also describes himself as ‘casting out demons.’ It’s tough, provocative talk—perhaps even off-putting to some. And it is language with which we must be careful, especially in the charged culture in which we live, amid the barrage of hateful words that we throw about so carelessly. Demonizing others—especially our ideological or personal opponents—is not casting out demons. I would like to suggest that, instead, ‘demons’ is language that can describe the ways in which we all lie in thrall to death and the seduction of violence. Demons speak to powers beyond our control—forces we are unable to cast out ourselves. It is the closed system, the endless repeating loop of ‘an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,’ that ‘hurt people hurt other people,’ and so on it goes. It a ceaseless cycle and a locked prison that we cannot escape—except for grace. Grace comes from outside of us in order to save and liberate us. Dethroning these false powers in our lives is necessary for our healing and the wholeness that God wants for every one of us.
Prayer Strong God of grace, cast out the powers that enslave us all that we might be healed.