Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). One way the devil accomplishes his evil designs is by oppressing people with sickness. In the Bible, we discover some sicknesses are even directly caused by demon possession. The good news is that it does not really matter whether a sickness is the result of natural causes or demonic causes. The name of Jesus has power over both!
While Jesus was on top of the Mount of Transfiguration, a man brought his son to the disciples. The boy was suffering from seizures caused by demonic oppression. The father was extremely worried about his son because the demon threw the child into fires trying to burn him and into water trying to drown him. The disciples tried to heal the boy but they were unable to do so. When Jesus returned, He scolded them for their lack of faith.
Jesus called the boy to Him and rebuked the demon. At that moment, the boy was healed. Later the disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to heal the boy. Jesus blamed their failure on their lack of faith, but He did give them a way to build their faith when He said, “…this kind [of demon] does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21).
Some types of demonic attack are so vicious, we need a period of time to build our faith before we can defeat Satan. Fasting is when one abstains from eating food in order to spend time in prayer. By denying the insistent demands of your body, you can be completely focused on worshiping God. This period of fasting will build your faith to believe for God’s healing power!
Notice, Jesus rebuked the demon and cast it out. The authority of Jesus was far stronger than the demon’s hold over this young boy’s life. When Jesus rebuked the demon, the evil spirit was forced to leave.
Time after time in the Gospels, Jesus set people free from demonic power. One day Jesus was stepping out of a boat when a violent demon-infested man appeared. He was so crazy that he refused to wear clothes, and he lived in a graveyard. Repeatedly officials had tried to control him by locking him in chains, but the man would break the chains and run away.
Jesus asked the man, “What is your name?”
“Legion,” the man replied, because many demons lived inside him. A legion was a term used by the Romans to describe a six thousand-man army. This man’s sickness was caused by a horde of demonic powers.
One day as I was reading this story, I asked myself, “How can six thousand demons fit inside one person?” I realized the spiritual world operates under a different set of rules than the physical world. I am not sure if this man literally had thousands of demons possessing him, but I do know a lot of demons were involved. If the human spirit can be oppressed by a legion of demons, the good news is that there is plenty of room for the same human spirit to be filled with the Holy Spirit. As Christians our spirits can be filled with an enormous amount of the Spirit’s power. We can have more than enough power to handle every demonic threat.
Jesus commanded the evil spirits to come out of the man and to go into a nearby herd of pigs (Luke 8:32-33). The pigs went crazy because of the demons and rushed over a cliff and drowned in the lake. But the man was completely healed because of the authority of Jesus!
Jesus gave this same authority to us. We can “drive out evil spirits and…heal every disease and sickness” (Matthew 10:1). Jesus commanded, “Heal the sick…drive out demons…” (Matthew 10:8). He promised, “…These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons…” (Mark 16:17). If we will submit to God and resist the devil, all evil powers will flee at our command (James 4:7). Demonic sickness offers no problems for those filled with God’s Spirit!