This week, we will read of Peter’s confession, the Transfiguration, as well as the death of John the Baptist. Jesus sends out the twelve apostles, and then sends out more disciples in Luke chapter 10. Finally, we end the week with a closer look at some more famous parables.
In the middle of all of this, we will read more verses about demons, and people afflicted by them. Along with the miracles that Jesus and his disciples perform, these scriptures are the target of criticism, and even ridicule, by non-believers. So, what is the story about these beings, sometimes even mentioned casually in God’s word from the beginning chapters of Matthew onward? Are they, as some charge, simply ignorant superstitions held about diseases people did not understand? Or are they fallen angels? Or devils themselves?
While some of the scriptural accounts of people afflicted with demons describe symptoms that resemble people who had diseases or handicaps, the Bible does clearly separate such accounts (see Matthew 4:24, for example). Just as clearly, the Bible is not speaking of these beings metaphorically. Instead, time after time, the scripture refers to them as actual spiritual beings that have knowledge of who God is, as well as Jesus (see Matthew 8:29 and James 2:19, for example).
There is no more reliable source of knowledge for a wealth of things of this world, but the truth is that the Bible does not answer all of our questions as to how this came to be such a significant problem in that century, as well as when it began to be so. Like our curiosity about such things as Urim and Thummim, Cherubim and Seraphim (to name a few), God did not see such knowledge to be essential to our salvation, which is the point of His word. All we know for sure is that during the first century on through the end of the age of the apostles (and the age of miracles), God for some reason allowed these circumstances to proliferate. It seems only reasonable that His reasons would have to do with the long-awaited arrival of the Messiah. In this link to an article at Apologetics Press, one writer makes some very good observations, and the section of the article entitled “THE DIVINE PURPOSE IN ALLOWING DEMON POSSESSION” is recommended reading especially.
Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week. I have posted the summary for Week 32 (August Week 1) of the schedule I am following. This short PDF document contains condensed comments about Matthew 5, 6, 7, John 2, and John 3, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.