1. Jesus in the Wilderness

    The first picture we see of Jesus as an adult is coming forth from His baptism to be ‘tempted of the devil in the wilderness.” (Mt. 3:13-4:11; Mk. 1:9-13; Lk. 3:21-22, 4: 1-15). We see Him tested and tempted with ‘all that is in the world,” as John put it in 1 Jn. 2:16, the lust of the flesh (bread to eat), the lust of the eyes (the spectacle of overcoming gravity), the pride of life (the power and glory of worldly kingdoms). When Jesus resisted on these three major ports of entry, the evil one left for a season (Lk. 4:13) while He was strengthened by angels (Mt. 4:11). He came forth from the victory of the wilderness (the trackless waste assigned to the evil spirits) in the power of the Spirit (Lk. 4:14). The battle was on.
  2. Confrontation of Kingdoms Like a host of tanks storming over the desert, Jesus comes into Galilee proclaiming the time is at hand, the Kingdom is now, change your heart and lives and commit to the good news (Mk. 1:14-15; Lk. 4:14). When Mark records His coming into the synagogue in Capernaum, immediately we see the confrontation of kingdoms. The demons recognize Him and cry out, but Jesus commands them, “Be muzzled and come out of him!” And they left! Convulsing and crying with a loud voice, the unclean spirit departed the nice, religious man in the synagogue! The people were amazed!He commanded the demons with authority! No magic formula, potions, coaxing, conjuring. A command! (Mk. 1:21-28) He had demonstrated His submission to the Father in the desert, and now, He resisted the devil’s kingdom and they fled (Jn. 4:7; 7-8)! The authority of one under authority (Mt. 8:9). The kingdom of God is at hand.Here we discover the key to Jesus’ success in dealing with evil spirits. He cast out demons by the Spirit of God, God’s finger (Mt. 12:28; Lk. 11:20). He loved righteousness, and hated lawlessness (Heb. 1:9) He didn’t come with independent activity, to do doing ‘one’s own thing,’ to seek one’s own glory (Jn. 5:44; 7:16-18; 8:48-50). He had come not to do His own will but the will of Him who sent Him (Jn. 6:38). And He was sent with a task. John again records in 1 Jn. 3:8 – “The Son of God was manifest for this very purpose, that He might destroy the works of the Devil!

Summary of Jesus Dealing with Demons

  1. Characteristics of Demons as Described in the New Testament:
    1. They have the 3 basic elements of personality
      1. Knowledge – Mk. 2:24 ‘I know who You are.”
      2. Will – Mt. 12:44 ‘I will return to my house from which I came.” (compare Satan’s rebellious self-will in Isa. 14:13, 14: “I will” 5x)
      3. Feelings, emotions. They shriek in terror (Mk. 5:7, 1:26; Mk. 9:26). They tremble (Ja. 2:19).
    2. They prefer to inhabit human bodies than wander without a body (Lk. 11:24). They would prefer the body of an animal to being without a body, but their preference is human beings (Mt. 8:31). Note: These are to be distinguished from fallen angels who do not seek to inhabit human flesh, but are content with their own bodies (1 Cor. 15:40).
    3. They have assigned territories. They call the bodies they inhabit ‘my house.’ (Mt. 12:44; Lk. 11:24) They prefer to stay in the country they currently reside in than to be banished (Mk. 5:10). Compare the designation of spiritual princes in Dan. 10:13, so where they are assigned to certain kingdoms.
    4. They are ranked according to levels of wickedness).“He takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself.” (Matt 12:45; Luke 11:24
    5. They are commonly named by the way they defile, afflict, tempt or torment not by names of people Biblically. Jesus used the common designation of foul or ‘unclean spirits’ (Matt. 10:1; 12:43; Mark 1:23, 26; 3:30; 5:2; 7:25; 9:25; Lule 11:24). This term was used for demonic spirits in general, covering everything from a ‘legion’ of demons (Mk. 5:2,8), to spirits causing sickness (Lk. 9:42), to spirits of war (Rev. 16:13,14).
      Other names were, dumb spirit (Mk. 9:17), deaf and dumb spirit (Mk. 9:25), spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11). Paul the apostle spoke of a spirit of divination (Acts 16:16), a spirit of bondage (Rom. 8:15), the spirit of the world (1 Cor. 2:12), seducing or deceitful spirits (1 Tim. 4:1), a spirit of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). John spoke of ‘the spirit of antichrist’ (1 John 4:3).
    6. “One of the key marks of demonic activity is restlessness’. Matt 12:43 – reveals the demons going about seeking rest.
    7. They are stubborn at times and must be overcome with proper preparation and steadfastness (Mark 5:8; 9:26-29).
  2. How Jesus Expelled Demons
    Notice the variety of methods employed to expel the demons:

    1. Command of faith – Mk. 1:25; 9:25.
    2. Laying on of hands – Lk. 4:40-41
    3. Anointing with oil – Mk. 6:12-13.
    4. The presence of Jesus caused them to manifest – Mark 5:6, 9:20
    5. Believing the word of Jesus – Mt. 15:28; Mk. 7:29; 2 Cor. 4:13
    6. Prayer and fasting – Matt. 17:21
      Note: Jesus’ ministry was birthed in prayer and fasting. Mt. 4:1-2. He expected His followers to do it regularly – Matt. 6:5, 17; 9:15.

The Victory of the Cross

What put the finishing touch on overcoming Satan and his legions, was not the liberation of individuals alone from demons, but the destruction of the very base of Satanic rule. Lucifer’s base had been established through pride, rebellion, disobedience, deceit, darkness and destruction. Now he was contending with the King of Glory walking as a man (Phil. 2:8), humble (Phil. 2:7), in submission to the Father (Jn. 5:19, 30), and natural authority (Lk. 2:51), in every point obedient (Heb. 4:15), full of exposing truth (Jn. 8:45-47), shining brightly as the light of the world (Jn. 1:4-5, 9; 8:12), not destroying but saving, healing, and restoring lives (Acts 10:38; Luke 9:56).

His sidetracks in the wilderness were seen and overcome with the word of God (Mt. 4:4, 7-10). Finally, the time had come. Jesus speaking of that hour said to His disciples on His final night with them, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”: John notes, “This He said signifying by what death He would die” (Jn. 12:31–35). He said, “This is your hour and the power of darkness,” to the hostile mob come to arrest him (Lk. 22:53). To His disciples at the Last Supper He revealed in Jn. 14:30 – “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.”

He voluntarily yielded to the hands of sinful men inspired by Satan and his demons to bring suffering and mockery to the Holy Son of God (Jn. 10:17-18, Mk. 14:65; 15:16-32) What the prince of darkness and his hosts failed to discern was that for every drop of blood they caused to drop from the Savior’s veins, untold thousands were being released from the domination of this proud, twisted creature (1 Cor. 2:8; Heb. 2:14-15; Col. 1:13-14).

This is the altar of sacrifice where he destroyed the works of the devil. The sin and sickness, the suffering and torment, the rejection and shame, the poverty and abandonment were all taken by the Son of Man on that tree where in exchange the human seed, before bound to the strong man, were now freed to receive by faith all that belonged to the eternal Son of God
(Isa. 53:3-6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 2:9).

When He cried on Calvary’s cross, “It is finished” and surrendered His spirit, it was more than the completion of His life on earth (Jn. 19:30). It was the completion of the old regime. Darkness had lost. Light had prevailed. Heaven’s veil was rent in two. God and man could again enjoy Paradise. The guard to the tree of life was now able to admit all that repented and believed (Rev. 22:14).

Jesus was risen exalted and glorified (Acts 2:32 – 35), installed at the Father’s right hand (Ps. 2:6; 110:1-2), constantly pleading our case as Advocate (Rom. 8:34; 1 Jn. 2:1), secure as God’s Son waiting until all the remaining rebels are brought into subjection (1 Cor. 15:20 –28), as a result of the reverberation of His triumphal death and resurrection resounding throughout the heavens and earth through the Church (Eph. 3:10).

In appearing to His disciples after His resurrection, He says, “All power, authority is given to me in heaven and earth. Go therefore …..” (Mt. 28: 18-19). No longer does it belong to Satan. The Worthy One regained the earth from the prince of the world system. And He sent His disciples into the world as the ambassadors of heaven to proclaim and reveal His Lordship (Mk. 16:15; 2 Cor. 5:20). The first thing He said would happen as a sign of those who believed and went proclaiming was that they would cast out demons in His name (Mk. 16: 15- 17). O, the victory of the Cross!

Now Let’s Do as Jesus Did!

James W. Goll