Parcheesi, Exorcisms, and the Label Makers2
41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.
Last week we looked at a specific story of Jesus casting out a demon. This week Luke records that this sort of thing was happening all the time at the Jesus parties. You know--hang out with friends, eat good food, give brilliant talks from Scripture, play a little parcheesi, and cast out a few demons. Normal stuff.
Throughout these run-ins with demons, Jesus is constantly ordering them to not speak because they know who he is. And the question is why would Jesus stop this?
Most likely the answer is that Jesus was trying to tap the brakes on any nationalistic messianic movement. The Jewish people had a very clear picture of what the Messiah was supposed to do—it was political and military in nature. The people could have easily gotten worked up about the idea of someone who had come to set them free from the Romans.
Jesus had a very different understanding of what it meant for him to be the Son of God for the whole world, not just the nation of Israel.
Another reason Jesus might have shut down the demons: Jesus wants people to know who he is through their experience with him and the faithful witness of his followers, not the testimony of demons!
Throughout history there are all kinds of people who have given all kinds of labels to Jesus. Some of those labels have been faithful interpretations of who Jesus was and what he came to do. Other labels have been deliberate attempts to distort our understanding of Jesus in order to try to force Jesus to serve some sort of agenda. Still other labels have been well-intentioned but misguided efforts to make Jesus more accessible, palatable, or easier to understand than he actually is.
In all of this, we need to constantly be checking our assumptions, titles, and labels around Jesus, to make sure that they are accurate and true.
Who have your sources been for your understanding about who Jesus was, what he’s come to do, and what difference it might make in your life? Is there anything about your understanding of Jesus that needs to be re-looked at in this season?