By Benoni Mugarura-Mutana
In his tale of the life of Jesus, Marks relates a very interesting episode. It is a battle of spirit and intellect, with a strong, but simple lesson for the church today.
Mark 9:14-27: Jesus, Peter, James and John went up the mountain, leaving the rest of the disciples to wait for him downhill. What the rest of the group did there is unknown as Mark is silent about it. However we know that as they waited for Jesus to return, a man approached the disciples with his son in tow. The man desperately sought help from them for the healing of son who had been tormented with an evil spirit from childhood.
We can only imagine the disciples quandary. Mark tells us that when Jesus returned from the mountain, he found his disciples engaged in a serious argument with the teachers of the law. On seeing Jesus, they rushed to greet him.
“What are you arguing with them about?” Jesus asked.
No one dared answer except the troubled man. His answer reveals a lot of the confusion that occurred in Jesus’ absence.
Teacher, I brought you my son who is possessed with a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it thrown him on the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.
Essentially, the disciples had failed to perform. It is apparent that they tried to, but couldn’t meet this man’s need.
Sounds much like today’s church, doesn’t it?
A large section of the church has no idea what to do when faced by Satanic forces. Many people that are tormented by evil are abandoned by the church that is ignorant or refuses to engaged with their problems.
I was amazed when at a recent conference of pastors and their wives, a senior clergyman stood up to protest the existence of evil spirits. He had never seen one, he said, so they couldn’t possibly exist.
At a separate event, the professor at a theological seminary in Uganda yelled at his students after an argument: “If evil spirits exist, send one to me!”
Jesus was fully man, but fully God. He identified evil in his midst, and regularly, demons shrieked at his presence. Most importantly, he never turned his back on a troubled soul.
In the Mark passage, Jesus looked compassionately at the troubled man and rebuked the evil spirit in his son. “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you come out of him, and never enter him again.”
The subsequent conversation is a lesson for Christians today to be aware, but not afraid, of the presence of evil. Jesus teaches that evil can be dealt with openly and demonic activity can be stopped in his name.
“Why couldn’t we drive it out?” the disciples asked.
“This kind”, Jesus replied, “can come out only by prayer”.
Friends, think on these things.