27th FEBRUARY

Luke 4: 31 - 37

“What is this teaching?  With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!”

It would be easy to look at this passage and assume that it has nothing to say to us in 2021.  We live in a different world and have quite a different view of demons.  What might be seen as supernatural then might be put down to so many other factors today.  But, there are still situations we cannot always totally explain.  There are times when we might be anxious, but don’t always know why.  There are times when everything just seems to be building up inside us and piling up on top of us.

This passage tells the story of not just an oppressive spirit but what Luke qualifies as an “evil spirit” when he talks about a demon.  Such a spirit tended to affect people in so many different ways.  It affected the mind making behaviour unpredictable.   It affected the body with ill health and other such limitations.  It also had an effect on their spiritual wellbeing resulting in a rebellion against God.

Whatever we believe about demons and spirits we are more tuned into how the mind, body and soul are interconnected.  A problem with one can all too often have a knock on effect  on the other.  A longterm illness can have a detrimental effect on our mental health.  Issues with our mental health when we find it hard to cope can affect our physical wellbeing.  How much illness, for example, is exacerbated by stress?  Both can have a bearing of where we stand in relation to God and affect our spiritual life making it difficult for us to focus on spiritual matters.  The worst case scenario is that any one of them when they reach a critical level can drive us away from God just like the demon in the passage.

Like many characters in the Gospels we don’t know what happened next, but suffice to say that Jesus set him free from his internal torment and the outward manifestation of it.  However we look at these kinds of situations we can learn that what Christ does is to set us free.  Unlike the man in the passage there might not experience immediate relief, but the same Christ who was beside the man in the story can enter into our lives to help lessen the pressure.  When we are set free from the power of whatever is pulling us down and holding us back we are in a better position, a stronger position even, to face our “demons” whatever they might be and see a way through.

  • How has an oppressive spirit affected you?  How did it feel?  How did you feel?  How can Christ help set you and others free?

God you set your son free into the life of your world and into the lives of your people

that the world might be set free from oppression and we might be set free from the same.

In the face of oppression may we never be daunted but enabled to face the future.

AMEN.