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A Moment With The Bible

 

Matthew 12:43-45

Even though this text gives us some interesting information about demon possession, Jesus’ main point has to do with the condition of the Israel nation. But it is not just the condition of the nation, it is the condition of all who follow the same path as Israel.

First, a few things about unclean spirits. What made it possible for a demon to possess a person, we cannot know for certain. We would assume that an individual practicing wickedness opened the door for the possession. However, since there were also children that were possessed (Mark 14:17-21), there may be other factors involved.

It is also apparent that demons did not have “rest” when they were unable to inhabit a living being. Many of the demons pleaded with Jesus not to “torment them before the time” (Mt. 8:29). Others pleaded with Jesus to allow them to inhabit swine (Luke 8:31-33).

The key to this text is that when this demon could not find rest he went back to the person he had formerly inhabited and found it “empty, swept, and put in order.” Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? The key word is “empty.” This man had not filled his house with spiritual things, which left him vulnerable to return to his sin. Paul repeatedly speaks of the importance of “putting off” the old self and “putting on” the new man (Col. 3:5-16). The primary reason we often have trouble ridding ourselves of a particular sin is because we are only trying to stop the sin without replacing the activity with godly works. The result is that when this man is re-inhabited, that is, goes back to his sin, he becomes seven times worse than before, just as this evil spirit returned with seven spirits worse than himself. Peter also speaks of this principle (2 Pet. 2:20-22).

This was the condition of Israel. God had made them a great nation. But they rejected Him and turned to idolatry. When He cleansed them of this “evil spirit” and brought them out of captivity, they left themselves “empty” with a ritualistic worship void of spirituality. And now, seven demons worse than the first had inhabited them so that they would actually murder their own Messiah, the Son of God.

Berry Kercheville