Exorcism: what does the Bible say? In previous videos we’ve been talking about the subject of exorcism, or deliverance as it’s commonly called here in Africa. This is the practice of casting out demons from a person, or thing, that is believed to be possessed. We recognise that the Church in Africa has an overemphasis on demons and spiritual powers. Which is why there is a need to review deliverance ministry in the churches in Africa.
But maybe a question we need to ask that is all the more important is, “What does the Bible really say about this subject, or this area, of exorcism?”
The Bible Says A Lot About Deliverance
So, it might surprise you to know that the Bible actually has a lot to say about this area of exorcism or deliverance. The Bible, for instance, affirms the existence of demons numerous times – both in the Old and New Testaments.
The Bible recognises the presence, existence, and influence of the demonic world.
You read of 1 Samuel 16. You read 1 Kings 22, your read Luke 8:30-39, you read Acts 16. The Bible recognises the presence, and the existence, and the influence of the demonic world.
Demons in The Bible
But in addition to that, the Bible also speaks about the influence that demons can have. Especially on the lives of human beings. In many places in the Bible they are described as unclean spirits. And there are a number of passages that attest to that.
Demons are described as spirit beings. Like for instance when Paul addresses the church at Ephesus in Ephesians 6. He talks about the principalities, and the powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this present age and spiritual hosts of wickedness – that believers are called to contend against.
Jesus’ Deliverance Ministry
The Bible identifies them as fallen angels as well. In fact, if you look at the ministry of Jesus in the New Testament, Jesus himself was aware of the presence, and the power, of the demonic world. And his message of the kingdom, in most cases, was to dislodge powers of darkness that were at work.
Jesus performed exorcisms; he delivered people who were possessed by demons.
Interestingly, about 29 references that we find about Satan in the gospels, of the 29, about 25 were spoken by Jesus. An indication that he indeed was aware of the world of demons and spirits.
Jesus himself performed exorcisms where he delivered people who were possessed by demons or spiritual powers.
Jesus & The Disciples Cast Out Demons
In Mark 5 we have the man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue at Capernaum. Turn to Mark 7, and we have the demoniac, with a legion of unclean spirits among the tombs in Gerasa. Then in Mark 9 we have the story of the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman, who was possessed of an unclean spirit.
In fact, in Luke 10, Jesus not only recognises the presence and power of demons, but he delegates his authority to the disciples to cast them out as well.
Specifically, in Luke 10:19 he says, “Behold, I give you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over every power of the enemy, and that nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
How Was Jesus’ Deliverance Ministry Different?
As we look at the evidence of demons and the spirit world in the Bible – and what the Bible has to say – we need to be very careful of a few things here.
1. Jesus’ Deliverance Ministry Was Not Full Time
Number one. We need to recognise that while Jesus was aware of the demonic realm – and indeed delivered people who were possessed in scripture – Jesus’ ministry was quite unique from what we are seeing in the churches in Africa today.
Jesus delivered possessed people only as he met them.
For instance, Jesus’ ministry of deliverance was not a full-time ministry. He didn’t go around organising deliverance services and calling people to come for deliverance. He delivered possessed people only as he met them during his gospel preaching and encounters.
2. Jesus’ Deliverance Was Instant
Number two. We notice that his deliverance was instant. It did not involve a lot of praying and rituals, and pouring of water, and anointing oil, and causing the demons to confess. So clearly, there’s a difference between what the Bible says about this ministry, and what we are hearing in the churches today.
3. Jesus’ Didn’t Make Deliverance Primary
Number three. We need to recognise that Jesus himself points out clearly, that while deliverance of the possessed is important, the preaching of the gospel – all the more – is very important.
He tells his disciples that they should not rejoice just because the demons obey them. Rather they should rejoice because their names are written in heaven – as we find in Luke 10:20.
We Must Follow Jesus’ Example
Does the Bible talk about demons and spirits? Yes! Does the Bible show Jesus involved in the ministry of deliverance? Yes! But is the same ministry we see in the Bible what we are seeing in the Church in Africa today? Unfortunately no.
And the Church now, more than ever before, must rethink the ministry of deliverance, its place in scripture, and how best they can practice it, in a way that is redemptive, that is restorative, and enriching to the Church in Africa.
The Bible clearly shows Jesus involved in deliverance ministry. We can learn from his example to ensure exorcism is redemptive, restorative, and enriching.
Jesus’ Deliverance Ministry: Timestamps
0:00 – What is Deliverance Ministry?
0:43 – The Bible Says A Lot About Deliverance
1:07 – Demons in The Bible
1:55 – Jesus’ Deliverance Ministry
2:30 – Jesus & The Disciples Cast Out Demons
3:13 – How Was Jesus’ Deliverance Ministry Distinct?
3:24 – 1. Jesus’ Deliverance Ministry Wasn’t Full Time
3:55 – 2. Jesus’ Deliverance Was Instant
4:14 – 3. Jesus’ Didn’t Make Deliverance Primary
4:37 – African Pastors Must Follow Jesus’ Example
“Jesus himself performed exorcisms; he delivered people who were possessed by demons.”
“Jesus’ deliverance was instant. It didn’t involve a lot of praying, rituals, pouring of water, anointing oil and causing the demons to confess.”
“Jesus points out that while deliverance is important, the preaching of the gospel – all the more – is very important.”
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