Few elements of the biblical story cause contemporary readers more difficulty than talk of demons and devils. To our (post-?)modern sensibilities, they seem, at best, misdiagnoses of psychiatric conditions, and, at worst, conjure images of the church at its most misguided (witch trial, anyone?). And yet, Jesus’ confrontation with demonic powers is a fundamental dimension of the Gospels. Indeed, it is his assertion that the “real” enemy is spiritual (not physical – e.g., Rome) that drives much of his messianic ministry (forgiving enemies instead of launching revolutions). And his ability to overpower that enemy – to “bind the strongman” – displays his divine authority.
In this episode we examine the story of Jesus’ exorcism of a man “possessed” by demons, and discover the many layers of meaning revealed in Jesus’ healing.
If you wish to read more on the subject of “Satan” specifically, see my recent post here.