Jesus taught us to pray, “Deliver us from evil,” (Matthew 6.13). Statistics measure the impact of evil.
— As of today, there have been 75 homicides in Kansas City.
— The Brown University Cost of War Project estimates the number of deaths from post 9/11 wars to be between 897,000-929,000.
— The Cost of War project accounts for over 30,000 veterans of post 9/11 wars who have died through suicide.
— A child abuse advocacy organization in Tennessee estimates that a child is abused in the United States every 47 seconds of every day.
— Safe Horizon places the number of persons who are trafficked in forced labor to be around 16 million persons.
— Organized crime syndicates derive the majority of their income from drugs, human trafficking, arms sales, smuggling immigrants, and cybercrime.
We have become immune to the bombardment of statistics. The entertainment industry uses the evil enterprises mentioned above to keep us watching TV and going to the movies.
I remember the first time I held a mother’s hand and tried to comfort her after the murder of her son. I had given her son a ride and was probably the last person to see him before he was brutally killed.
This one person was not a statistic. His death changed the dynamic of his entire family forever.
Every person mentioned in the numbers above was created by God and has family and friends who were impacted by the evil that befell them.
Jesus and Evil
Jesus taught people to pray for the defeat of evil, and he came to defeat evil and the evil one.
Luke 8.26-39 records the time when Jesus met a man who was terrorized by evil and was a terror to his community.
— The man was so troubled that he roamed the graveyard naked.
— Villagers attempted to subdue him with chains, but he broke them and ran into the wild territory of the Gerasenes.
— The demons called themselves, “Legion,” which in the Roman army numbered between 4,000 and 6,000 troops.
Without a doubt the demons were a powerful influence over the man’s life.
— When Jesus sent the demons out of the man, he allowed them to enter a herd of pigs. The pigs rushed down a bank and drown in the Lake of Galilee.
— After the demons left the man, he was found clothed and in his right mind by the citizens of the village.
An Interesting Turn of Events
Instead of celebrating the healing of a legendary problem person of the region, Luke writes about their response:
Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned (Luke 8.37).
It appears that the townsfolk preferred a demonized man roaming the region naked over the loss of income from the pigs.
The demonized man begged Jesus for the privilege of following him (Luke 8.38). With all his heart, he wanted to become one of Jesus’ disciples.
Jesus told him, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you” (Luke 8.39).
Other Gospel writers tell about the next time Jesus was in the region. People from all of the towns and villages came to meet him.
The demonized man who was healed did just as Jesus asked. His testimony to Jesus’ love and power created a large crowd of people who wanted to see Jesus.
Dr. Scott Peck is best know for his book, “The Road Less Traveled.” One of his other books is entitled, “Glimpses of the Devil.”
Peck is a Catholic and worked for a time with the Vatican’s exorcist. Some of the accounts in his book rival the deliverance of the demoniac of the Gerasenes.
Please note, Peck’s book is not for the faint of heart. The reality of evil that I read about in his book disturbed me for several weeks.
Even though there continue to be accounts of severe demonization today, I believe that demonic activity is far more subtle.
Although organized crime figures wear expensive suits and travel in luxury, it’s not hard to believe that there is a demonic element to the immense harm they cause.
There is potential for demonic activity to occur anywhere there is earthly power and authority.
Herod will resurface in Luke 9. The king was clothed in the finest garments and carried himself the dignity of his office.
He also had the great prophet, John the Baptist, beheaded because John confronted him over his adulterous behavior.
The halls of government, board rooms, and religious institutions are all venues that demons seek to influence.
One of the best things we can do for our world is to paraphrase the Lord’s Prayer, as we pray for the powerful of our land.
— Dear God, please flood them with your forgiveness to the extent that they will grant forgiveness to others.
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6.12).
— Dear God, please lead them away from areas of temptation and testing. Please deliver them from evil and the evil one.
“And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one” (Matthew 6.13).
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage in a YouTube video. The videos include insights from Rudy and his years of Bible study. They are on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.