Below is an excerpt from Chapter One of Setting Captives Free. Casting out demons was a regular part of the ministry of Jesus–something He did on a consistent basis. Much of the church has ignored or neglected the area of deliverance, but for Jesus and His followers, deliverance was normal!
As was the case with me, for many believers in the Western Church, deliverance from evil spirits is a foreign concept. We read about it in the New Testament accounts, but don’t see it happening in many churches and so we don’t understand how it is relevant to our lives. But for Jesus, deliverance was completely normal. In fact, when He began His earthly ministry, it was His authority to cast out demons that first caught people’s attention. The passage below is an account that demonstrates this:
Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee. (Mark 1:21-28)
Jesus was preaching and teaching in the synagogue when the people recognized something different about Him: His teaching carried authority. His words had a weightiness they were not used to hearing from the scribes and teachers of the law. The power and anointing with which Jesus taught began to stir up the demonic; a man with an unclean spirit suddenly burst into a manifestation and cried out, “Let us alone!” The demons knew who Jesus was before anyone else did. They wanted to be left alone, but Jesus would not comply. He commanded the evil spirit to be quiet and come out of the man. With a violent convulsion and a loud cry, the demon left the man and he was set free.
The people were astonished. They were aware of the reality of evil spirits, and their religious leaders even had methods and rituals by which they attempted to free people from their influence. But never before had they seen this type of authority. Jesus gave a direct command to the demon, and to their shock, the demon obeyed. Soon, everyone was talking about the new Rabbi who had power over evil spirits. That very evening crowds gathered to His door, seeking to be healed of diseases and set free from demons. They were not disappointed: “Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons” (Mark 1:34).
A few verses later, Mark 1:39 goes on to summarize the ministry of Jesus like this: “And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.” This verse puts the ministry of casting out demons side-by-side with preaching. Deliverance from demons was not a rare activity only reserved for the most extreme of situations. It was everyday life and ministry, a normal part of the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached. Deliverance was an open demonstration of the defeat of satan, showing that Someone greater was here. It was part of the reason that Jesus came, to destroy the works of the devil (see 1 John 3:8).
Setting Captives Free is filled with biblical teaching on the topic of demons and deliverance, powerful testimonies of those who have been set free, and practical prayers that you can use for yourself or others in need of deliverance. Make sure to get your copy!