Complete Freedom

Chapter twelve of Matthew establishes Jesus as God’s chosen Servant. He is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:1-13) who fulfilled the prophecies of Isaiah (vss. 15-21), and Jonah (vss. 38-42), and demonstrated His authority over the kingdom of darkness (vss. 22-32). He considered those who did His Father’s will to be spiritually related to Him (vss. 46-50). Jesus also showed total concern for the plight of His people. If His disciples were hungry, He saw that they were fed even if it violated man-made religious traditions. If they were disabled, He healed them from their physical and spiritual bondages.

The demon-possessed man was blind and mute and the Lord “healed Him” (vs. 22). Healing the whole person and deliverance from demons have not always been seen or understood as part of the same process. It is human nature to polarize into physical or psychotherapeutic ministries that ignore the reality of the spiritual world, or some kind of one dimensional deliverance ministry that sees human problems as only spiritual. But that wasn’t the nature of Jesus. He ministered to the whole person, and did so in the context of all reality.

People’s lives are like houses. If they haven’t taken the garbage out in six months or cleaned up their spills, they will attract a lot of flies. Because flies are so distracting, we want to get rid of them. Some will be tempted to study the flight patterns of all the flies and determine their names and spiritual rank. Even if that were possible, it still wouldn’t resolve the problem. We could exercise our authority over them and demand that they leave, but they would only come back and find the house empty resulting in even greater bondage. The primary goal is not to get rid of the flies, but to get rid of the garbage. Repentance and faith in God has been and will continue to be the answer until Christ returns. Once the person has submitted to God, resisting the devil and his demons is quite easy because they have no right to be there.

Jesus didn’t dialogue with demons, He told them to be quiet. If we dialogue with demons in another person we are bypassing the victim, who needs to repent and choose the truth. Anybody who dialogues with demons and believes what they say will be deceived, because they all speak from their own nature and they are all liars (John 8:44). A captive is set free by the grace of God as they individually and personally respond to Him in repentance and faith. This is a ministry that God has extended to the church. If we are going to carry on the work of Christ, we too must deal with the whole person and take into account all reality as Jesus did.

Dr. Neil

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