Monthly Archives: January 2014

What a Christian Might Learn From a Demon

Demons are evil and scary and as best I can tell they are like Tolkien’s orcs – nonredeemable and good for nothing but destruction and chaos. Right?  Is there anything good that can come from a demon?

I believe so. As a matter of fact, I am convinced many Christians, and perhaps all, have a lot to learn from demons about reverential awe.

I have been reading Mark with some men and we recently were discussing the Gerasene Demoniac in Mark 5:-1-20. As we were sharing various insights about the Spirit-inspired text, one man said he was particularly challenged by the reverential response of the demons in Mark 5:6-7. Mark records, “Seeing Jesus from a distance, he (demon-possessed man) ran up and bowed down before Him; and shouting with a loud voice, he said, ‘What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!'”

There is some debate among commentators as to whether the address of the demon(s) was sincere or manipulative, but I am convinced that the demon was speaking truthfully and reverentially about Jesus because this demon, who self-identified by the name Legion, knew who Jesus was – Son of the Most High God. He also knew Jesus had the authority to torment.

This is not the only example of demon reverence and submission. In Mark 1:21-28 Jesus encounters a demon at the local Jewish church building (synagogue) and the unclean spirit cried out, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who you are-the holy One of God!” In Mark 1:34 the demons were not permitted to speak because they “knew who He was.” In Acts 19:13-16 some “Jewish Exorcists” and Jesus pretenders were throwing around the names of Paul and Jesus in Ephesus  to cast out unclean spirits and Luke records: “And the evil spirit answered them and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” By the way, don’t play with demons (See V. 16).

Back to the guy in our Bible reading group. His introspective response to the demons in Mark 5:6-7 was to ask whether the demons had more reverence for Jesus than he did.

How would you answer that question and the following questions?

  • Do you know Jesus as well as the demons? The demons who shudder at the Three and One (James 2:19)!
  • Do you submit to the authority of Jesus as readily as the demons do?
  • Do you have more reverential awe for Jesus than the demons?

That would be a good three point sermon. Perhaps the demons can teach us a thing or three after all.