Matthew 12:22-24, The Battle With Satan
Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”
//Let me start today’s topic with a quote from Rick Herrick’s new book, A Man Called Jesus, that I’ll be reviewing in the next few days:
“The understanding of disease in first century Palestine was different from what it is today. Disease was not caused by biological processes in the body breaking down, but by Satan. Disease occurred when evil forces invaded the body. When Jesus healed disease, he was battling Satan. It was war.”
Herrick is correct. First-century healers, including Jesus, were not fighting germs, they were fighting supernatural forces. They were performing exorcisms. The “Son of David” in today’s passage was a warrior. In the Bible, the Pharisees don’t question Jesus’s ability to cure disease because that’s what religious figures were expected to do … to fight evil forces.
This begs the obvious question: How did they do it? How did healers who could not grasp the nature of their enemy succeed? Was Jesus correct that the recipient’s faith is the primary ingredient in healing, so that understanding was of secondary importance?