Time after Pentecost Luke 8:26-39 June 19, 2022

Jesus Heals our Demons

When I started specialized study in pastoral care at the Cleveland Psychiatric Institute, we were told we would be visiting patients in the hospital each time.  Howard Grenell, the leader of our study told us the people we would be meeting had the same difficulties members of our parishes were facing.  The only difference was the people from our parishes’ symptoms were not as severe.

In Jesus’ day mental illness was seen as being infested with demons.  When Jesus met the demoniac the demons in him spoke to Jesus.  Jesus asked how many there were.  He was told there were a legion.  In that time a legion was a division in the Roman army amounting to 6,000 men.  So, this man was severely mentally ill.  But Jesus healed him, and he was given a healthy mind and spirit.

Our question today is how many demons do we have?  All of us have them.  How many do you have.  How many of us have been told from the time we were little children we were not all that smart by our parents?  How many of us have continued to tell ourselves that message?  How many of us are affected by the demons of racism, white supremacy, male dominance, white privilege?  How many of us are affected by the demon we are too old to change?   How many of us insist you cannot teach an old dog new tricks?  How many teenagers are beset by the demon their parents do not understand them, and besides they are dumb?

Jesus is in the ministry of healing.  But there are some limitations to his power.

For example, one day he met a cripple at the Pool of Siloam.  The man shared from time to time an angel would stir the water.  Whoever got into the water first would be healed. But he complained someone always beat him to the water because he was crippled.

Jesus asked him; “Do you want to be healed?”  Jesus could heal him but only if he wanted to be healed.

So Jesus’ question to us as he approaches us is; “I know you have demons in your spirit, would you like to be healed?

Tragically some people have had demons so long they adjusted to their presence.  When you ask them how they are doing they begin an organ recital of all that is wrong with them.  They have come to enjoy feeling miserable.  They are afraid of discovering Jesus can help them heal from the mental demons that are affecting them.  If He can, they will have to take responsibility for their life and no longer blame all their troubles on others or circumstances.

So, Jesus’ first question to us is: “Do you want to be healed?”

The next thing that can stand in the way is the belief you are so messed up and have been messed up for so long no one can help you.  This person looks to Jesus and says; “I’m sorry Jesus I am just too messed up to be helped.”

For that person Jesus reminds them he healed a demoniac who had been infested by 6,000 demons.  No one is beyond Jesus’ healing power.

Before continuing it is important to remember that before sin and demons entered the picture God created us and all that exists, and declared it was good.”  So no matter how much you have sinned, or how much you have messed up, God does not make junk, and will do anything to free you of your demons, even die on a Cross.

Now sometimes when Jesus heals someone, he insists they stay in their environment and let everyone know God has healed them.

All of us are in family systems, either at work, home, or the friends we keep.  Everyone has their role in a group.  Sometimes a member of a family, part of the team at work, or the group in which they are a member needs them to stay infested with their demons.  If this one person is messed up, the entire family or group can blame them for everything that goes wrong.  So, sometimes getting well while bringing you to greater peace with God and yourself, your family, or group is dismayed.  Because once they face your healing, they realize that they also can be changed by Christ.  It is scary to look at a different way of living.

Today is Juneteenth day.  It is the day in Houston, Texas, previous slaves discovered that President Abraham Lincoln had freed the slaves two years before.  In the black community it was a day of great joy.  In the white racist community it meant they had lost their free labor, and the folks they had treated as less were American citizens with equal rights.  For me this is the anniversary when America began to be freed from white racism.  Jesus by freeing the slaves had freed America of its demon of slavery.  Now there are still folk fighting this freedom, this healing of a flaw in our character, but a demon was freed that day to make us all more free to love and treat each other with respect.

Yes, Jesus heals demons.  Be open to his healing power and drop your excuses and why it can’t happen to you and be freed to return to the reason you were created.  You were created to be a loving, caring child of God who is working to assist in bringing God’s kingdom on earth by it beginning with you.  Amen.

 

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