Jesus overcame all the temptations and assaults of the devil in the wilderness. As He began His ministry He was about to help people through His authoritative teaching and in exercising His authority in setting them free from the powers of darkness. He began His ministry with the news that the kingdom of God had come in Himself. That meant that He would be operating with real Kingdom power and authority in the various aspects of His ministry.
1). THE AUTHORITY IN JESUS’ TEACHING. 1:21-22
The authority in Jesus’ teaching came from God, (Mk 1:21 They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. (Mark 1:22) They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
- People recognised that His message wasn’t a second hand message telling people what other scholars had written.
- They were amazed at the authority with which He spoke. It was a call from God through Jesus, for people to act upon the Word of God.
- (It’s amazing that humans in their free-will can close their ears and their minds and their hearts to Jesus and to the living God.)
2). THE AUTHORITY IN JESUS’ MINISTRY. 1:23-24
A man with an unclean spirit interrupted His teaching. (Mark 1:23) Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, (Mark 1:24) and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
- It was the demon, or the evil spirit speaking through the man. It’s as though the demon was challenging Jesus’ authority, for the words can mean, “Why do you interfere with us?” or ” mind your own business.”
- Evil spirits recognised who Jesus was. This one called Jesus “the Holy One of God.” But Jesus never let the truth about Himself be declared by the powers of darkness. (Mark 1:25) But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” (Mark 1:26) And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
- A spiritual power encounter took place. Jesus commanded the spirit to “be muzzled”, to be silent, and to come out of the man and it came out.
- The people were again amazed. (Mk 1:27) They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching–with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
- What an exciting, scary time for those who were there. Here was kingdom authority and kingdom power in action.
The late Professor C.S. Lewis saw 2 dangers as we read a story like this.
a). To deny the existence of the powers of darkness. Yet the Bible tells us that humans can be held captive by the devil. 2Tim 2:26 … they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. AND for the Gentiles like us, Act 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
b). The other danger is to have an unhealthy interest in them, and in so doing, give them more power than they really have.
His warnings are relevant today, for there are many who have gone too far in both extremes, and lost the balance of Scripture.
3). THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS OVER THE POWERS OF DARKNESS TODAY
Where does that place us today regarding the powers of darkness or of evil?
People can come under various degrees of control by the powers of darkness.
- Deception and oppression when people still function, but with difficulty, right through to the extremely rare cases of demon-possession when the person seems to be out of control.
- I don’t believe we’re to go on witch-hunts trying to find demons to cast out. Rather we are to rest in the confident assurance that if anyone has been adversely affected by the powers of darkness, they can be set free.
- We see that in practice in the gospels as we see Jesus at work,
- We see it too in Paul’s teaching, where he states that the powers of darkness have been dealt a mortal blow. For example, he reminded the Colossians that when Christ died on the cross, He not only died to take away sins so that we can be forgiven, but He also disarmed the principalities and powers. (Col 2:13) And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14) erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15) He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.
- The cross was the placarding, the public proof, that He had defeated the powers of darkness. They no longer have the power they had. Victory is ours through the victory He won on the cross.
So the cross of Christ shows me at least these three things.
- It shows me how much God hates sin because only His Son could come to die to take it away.
- It shows me how much God loves you and me, that He was willing for His Son to die for us so that we could be forgiven.
- It shows me that the supernatural powers of evil were defeated once and for all on the cross of Calvary.
But it also reminds us that you and I only win the victories in our own lives over the power of evil, by calling on the name of the victorious Christ, and by allowing Him to strengthen us by His resurrection power through His Holy Spirit within us.
4). LIVING UNDER JESUS’ AUTHORITY. HOW WE CAN WALK IN VICTORY?
We think not only of healing for ourselves but for our family, (siblings, children and grandchildren) our neighbours, our friends, our enemies. We want them all to be healed by God to become the people He wants them to be. We need to pray for them and for ourselves:-
- To have their eyes opened to the truth about God. Paul wrote in 2 Cor 4:4) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
– Satan has blinded the minds of all our loved ones, our friends and our enemies who are not yet Christians so that cannot understand how wonderful God is.
– As unbelievers they may be KIND people socially but they are also BLIND people spiritually. We need to pray that God would open their blind eyes to enable them to know Him and to serve Him.
- To be set free from the power of evil. God said through the apostle John, 1Jn 5:19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. People may not realise it but they are in the devil’s power. We need to pray for all our loved ones that that they might be set free from the power of evil in their lives to know and experience God’s power in their lives.
STEPS WE CAN TAKE TO BE SET FREE.
There are three main steps to freedom in this area. We need to take them ourselves and to pray that God will work in the lives of all our loved ones so that they too will take the same steps to freedom.
i). The first one is repentance.
- God commands us to repent of all known sin in our lives by confessing it before Him and asking for His forgiveness and turning to follow Him.
ii). The second step is renunciation. The word means to forsake, to cast off.
- If we have tapped into supernatural powers through our own wrongful activities, it’s to say, “I’m handing all this over to God. I no longer want any part of it. I’m renouncing it, forsaking it.”
- It is saying to God, “I don’t want anything to do with the powers of darkness. Please set me free by the power of your Holy Spirit.”
iii). The third step is to give yourself completely to the Lord, so that He can do in your life what He wants to do as He minsters to you in Kingdom power.
- It means asking Christ to be the Lord of every part.
- It means asking Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit, so that you live by the power of the Spirit of God.
- It means allowing Him to set you free of any wrong supernatural power in your life.
Let me encourage you with the truth that no matter what people’s involvement has been with the powers of darkness, Christ by His Spirit has the power to set them free.
Let me close by leading us in a prayer of repentance and renunciation, and asking the Lord to begin the process of setting us (and others we pray for) free to belong completely to Him.
A PRAYER FOR FREEDOM FROM THE POWERS OF DARKNESS
“Lord Jesus Christ, I thank You that when You died on the cross, it was to enable me to be forgiven.
I thank You that it also showed Your victory over all the powers of darkness. I want to be free from all that may have bound me in the past, and be released to fulfil Your plan and purpose for me.
I repent of being associated with the powers of darkness in any form, whether it be through my own personal involvement, or through the involvement of members of my family or other people.
I renounce everything to do with the powers of darkness, and I want nothing to do with them. I want you to set me free.
Lord Jesus, I accept You as the Lord and Master of every part of my life.
Please heal me in body, mind and spirit by the power of your Holy Spirit.
I thank You by faith for the victories and release I now have.
May Your Spirit lead me and empower me to live for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Posted by Jim Holbeck on Monday 3rd March 2015