Jesus is still talking with the group where the man oppressed by a demon was healed. He had been rendered blind and mute by the demon, but after Jesus cast the demon out the man was fully healed. I believe this is who Jesus is addressing specifically today. In the end of verse 45 Jesus says that He is giving this same warning to all of the people with Him. I want to deal with the boomerang, or returning, demon first.
Jesus starts off by talking about where the demon goes once it is cast out of a person. Jesus says, “it passes through waterless places seeking rest” (verse 43). The demon has to search for another host. It is apparently not a pleasant task. They get tired and thirsty during their search. No wonder the demons asked to enter the herd of pigs when Jesus cast them out of the man in Matt. 8:28-34. Demons need a host to be able to rest. They are thirsty for men’s soul. Are they powerless without a being to inhabit?
So the demon in Jesus’ warning has found no one else to inhabit while it has been wandering and searching. It figures; why not check out the place it used to stay. This demon is in luck! The house/soul is still empty. In fact, everything is clean and tidy again.
My mind is playing out this scene already, so I’m just going to go there.
The evicted demon is thinking to itself: ‘Man my feet are killing me! I can’t go on like this anymore. It’s been a month since I was evicted from my “premo” pad! Everywhere I’ve tried since then has either already been occupied by another mondo demon, who is too stingy to share, or had the WRONG kind of company living there. I’ve had it! I’m going to go scope out my old pad and see what’s up there.’
Our demon comes back to the person’s soul where it used to live. ‘Awesome! It’s empty! Someone even cleaned up the place. Look’en good here. I was getting a bit tired of the mess anyway. You know, it was pretty rude of this dude to kick me out like he did. I think he needs to be taught a lesson. He is going to be sorry he ever messed with this master of disaster!’ Quickly it goes back to the area where it was wandering and shouts, “Party at my place! Room for seven at the bar. Biggest and baddest get top priority!” ‘Let’s see what this dude thinks of this. We are really going to screw him up!’
Jesus says this is what happens when there is no change in the heart once the demon leaves. I’m wondering if this is what our man, who was brought to Jesus, was going to experience. We are not told Jesus gave this warning to everyone who had a demon cast out of them. Was there a reason this man was getting it? Our man had gone from being oppressed by a demon, being blind and mute as a result, to being perfectly healed. This warning from Jesus would probably scare him severely. So what does he need to do to prevent this scenario from happening? I wonder if he asked Jesus just that question. We are not told if he did, but this is what I imagine Jesus saying to him if he did.
“First of all, change the locks. The demon got hold of you in the first place because of some opening you made for him. You gave it the key to your heart and mind” The opening and key is always some kind of sin the person is habitually engaging in. I don’t think it would be a one-time event or an accident, because I believe that kind of behavior would only open the door for just a second or just a tiny crack. Not enough of an opportunity to open the person up to a full time resident. Kind of like needing to put up a “For Rent” sign before a tenant knows there is a place open. So changing the locks would mean to STOP engaging in the sin that opened the door in the first place.
“Next, get a new tenant, and make sure it the right kind of tenant.” The “house” is empty right now because the old occupant is gone. If invited in, the Holy Spirit is more than willing to move in. He doesn’t even require you to clean up the mess first. He is an expert at that sort of thing.
“Finally, recognize that your mess is NOT helping you, and agree to the Holy Spirit’s new remodel plans.” After the Holy Spirit moves in, it’s time to get to work cleaning up the mess. There is no doubt about it; some of this junk is going to have to go. The Holy Spirit is gentle and patient with the process, but He is persistent too. He won’t force His plans on you, so YOU have to get on board with His plans if it is going to work. He does NOT want to live in your heart in the same state the demon left from, nor does he want you to stay in that condition. “So how has that been working for you so far? Are you ready to give it up yet? Let Me know when you are, because then I can help you. In the meantime, I’ll just be waiting over here. ♫♪ Clean up. Clean up. Everybody do their share. Clean up. Clean up. ♪♫ Oh, was I singing too loud? Are you ready now? If not I can just chill a little longer. ♫♫Hmmm, hmmm…♫♫”
I want to take a look now at the last part of this section. I believe Jesus is talking about the people who choose to follow Him for what He has to offer them right then, but forget about Him once they get their immediate needs met. How many people came to Him just for their healing? How many lives were actually changed permanently? This reminds me a lot of the parable of the sower and the seed. I want to hold off going into this until we get to that story. We will be there in just two more days. I look forward to digging a little deeper into Jesus’ meaning then.
Jesus, first of all, thank You for healing the man. I don’t know how willingly he approached You to begin with. You didn’t record a requirement of perfect faith for him before You would intervene on his behalf. In other stories, like the boy who was brought by his father (Mark 9:14-27), the demons adamantly resist being removed. Maybe this man’s demon was struggling inside him to keep him away from You. But You healed him regardless of how he made it to Your feet.
Second, thank You for warning him of the consequences of NOT making a lasting change in his life. Things could have been so much worse for him if You hadn’t warned him. You gave him a dire warning. You pulled no punches while doing it either. He had a choice to make. I pray he made the right one.
We all have a choice to make about the occupant of our heart. We don’t all struggle with demon oppression or possession, but we DO have to choose who we will serve. There is no third option. We either surrender our hearts to You and Your Holy Spirit or we give it to Satan. Satan has a way of making man think that man is in control of his own life, but it is a lie. Thank You for exposing that lie to me! Thank You for asking repeatedly, “so how is that working for you?” Thank You that You don’t get impatient or give up on the remodel. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product when we finally meet face to face. I pray I won’t disappoint You.