Jesus Heals a Man Mute and Possessed – by Ritchie Way

Feb 7, 2016 2291

Jesus-Healing-08While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”

But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons” (Matt. 9:32-33).

It is quite difficult, in Bible stories, to distinguish between those who were possessed by demons and those who were possessed by some infirmity. Most illnesses in that time and culture were regarded as a form of demon possession, which is why people in those days believed that a person who couldn’t speak was possessed by ‘a demon that was mute’ (Luke 11: 14). At another time Jesus cured a boy who had epileptic seizures by driving out the demon that was believed to be the cause of these seizures (Matt. 17:14-18).

Today, epilepsy is not considered to be the result of demon-possession. It is significant that the only time the Gospel of John refers to demon-possession is when the Pharisees accused Jesus of being demon-possessed (7:20; 8:48, 52; 10:20). Perhaps John had a more enlightened view of physical infirmities.

Jesus did not argue with people’s false beliefs in this matter because people, over time, would learn to recognise the difference between the manifestations of true demon possession and the results of disease and inherited ailments. The focus of Jesus’ ministry was to set people free from the physical and spiritual ailments that bound them (see Matt. 9:35-38).

For exercising his God-given ministry the leaders of the Jews told the people, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” Their argument, that Jesus was exercising demonic power in casting out demons was patently ridiculous, and Jesus exposed it for what it was (Matt. 12:22-27).

Why was it that the Jewish leaders, who had been waiting for the coming of their Messiah, rejected him when he came (John 1:11)? They rejected Jesus as the Messiah because he did not honour them. He denounced them for being self-serving, for loading the people with spiritual burdens, for having an outward righteousness while being inwardly corrupt, and for being blind guides (Matt. 23).

In the face of these accusations they had the choice of honouring Christ by damning themselves, or of honouring themselves by damning Christ. Because they loved themselves and their evil ways more than they loved Christ and his righteousness, they damned him, their Messiah. But in damning Jesus they ultimately damned themselves and their followers, for apart from Christ there is no future.

The question every teacher, preacher and leader of God’s people today must ask himself or herself is: “Am I any better than the spiritual leaders of Jesus’ day? Do I reject others who bring healing and relief to the less fortunate, on the basis of my own prejudices about these healers and relievers? Do I reject the good works they are doing because I see these people as a threat to my own beliefs and ministry?”

Blessed are those who are humble enough to acknowledge those who are Jesus’ agents of love and mercy, even when they don’t measure up to our expectations.

– Ritchie Way

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