I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met anyone suffering from demon possession. Yet a quick reading of the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, or Luke will show you numerous instances of Jesus driving out a demon from a person who is possessed. It seems to have been a common ailment back then. But even more intriguing is this fact: the demons know who Jesus is, and they confess Him as the Son of God.
Mark 3:11-12 tells us that “Whenever the evil spirits saw Him, they fell down before Him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But He gave them strict orders not to tell who He was.” Hmm. Interesting. First of all, let’s note here that the evil spirits actually acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. They recognize what the disciples don’t realize until much later. The demons don’t believe in Jesus in faith, mind you, but in fear. Elsewhere in the Gospel accounts, demons refer to Jesus as “the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24, Luke 4:34) and “Jesus, Son of the Most High God” (Luke 8:28). They knew exactly who they were dealing with, and they knew His power. They often begged Jesus not to send them to the abyss or not to torture them, because already they knew He was stronger than they. One reason they may have called Jesus by such specific titles is that in those days people believed that knowing the real name of a divine being gave one control over that being (text note in The Lutheran Study Bible on Mark 1:24), although clearly that didn’t work here. But regardless of their motives, they couldn’t help but confess Jesus when in His presence.
Next, look at the latter half of the verse above––”He gave them strict orders not to tell who He was.” Why is that? Jesus does this a number of times with other miracles, warning people not to tell who He was. In many cases, He didn’t want people to spread the wrong message. He was no mere miracle worker. He wasn’t on earth just to wow people with miraculous healings. He was on earth to deliver all people, not from physical ailments, but from spiritual death. So He didn’t want people to recognize Him only as a miracle man. But why the warning to the demons, then? They sure weren’t going around singing His praises as a divine healer. They were calling Him the Son of God. What’s wrong with that? Didn’t He want people to know this truth? Yes. But He didn’t want defeated demons to be His tool for spreading that news.
Remember the story of the man possessed by a host of demons who called themselves “Legion”? (Read Mark 5:1-20 to refresh your memory.) They asked Jesus to send them into a herd of pigs, and He did so. And what about the man Jesus healed? He begged to go with Jesus, but Jesus did not grant that request. Instead, He told him, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19). This man, who had once been demon-possessed, now sat in his right mind, telling everyone what Jesus had done for him. Pretty powerful testimony. And here we see Jesus’ intention for how to spread the Good News. He wants those who have been delivered by Him to confess Him to the world. Dear Christians, that’s us!
Perhaps you’re thinking that your “deliverance” story isn’t all that impressive. Maybe you’ve grown up in a Christian home and been a Christian all your life. Nothing exciting. And yet, it is. Quite literally, all Christians have been delivered from bondage to the demonic realm. Colossians 1:13-14 says, “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus died for you and rose for you. I’d say that’s pretty exciting! Don’t be afraid to share that amazing story. You’re exactly the tool God has chosen to confess His name.