This story is filled with topics we could follow up on – faith, prayer, humility – but one that gets little attention is the evidence of demonic forces and the danger they present. Jesus makes some people uncomfortable when he talks about Satan and evil spirits but even a quick reading of his life shows he recognized their reality and danger. If we ignore or deny such entities we put ourselves in peril. Jesus and the Bible tell us that Satan and his forces are real and are our adversaries, looking to blind us to truth, tempt us to distrust God and to thwart our success in accomplishing the work God has given us. Right after his baptism, Jesus was approached by the Devil with temptations uniquely tailored to his ability and desires. We should expect the very same.
In this week’s story we see Jesus dealing with the demonic spirit directly and decisively. His instruction to his disciples is clear – prayer and dependence on God’s power over Satan and his forces is the course to take.
In the prayer that Jesus taught to guide us he closes with…
“ and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13
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