“This Blog Post was originally an assignment submitted by Pastor Billy to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. However, its application is very significant for all Christians.”
Spiritual warfare is a very real conflict Christians will face at one point in their lives or another. If you have ever read Mark’s Gospel, you will find spiritual warfare amplified from beginning to end. The demonic forces are rampant throughout Mark’s entire Gospel—entities that are exposed and exiled by Jesus at every turn. Jesus’ first instance of spiritual warfare with Satan himself in Mark 1:13 is a battle of temptation. So many times, when Christians make a significant commitment to the Lord, they find themselves to be at their most vulnerable point. We must all be reminded that spiritual highs also come with spiritual lows—that spiritual victories often preceed more spiritual battles. Satan is a master at satanic crafts—no pun intended. He is swift and cunning. Like a hunting lion, as the Apostle Peter portrays, stalks his prey until the precise moment where he knows he can kill (1 Peter 5:8). Before many have the opportunity to comprehend his schemes, they are already ensnared. Pastors must exhort their people to flee temptation’s glamorous appeal. We must be devoted to “treasuring God’s Word in our hearts” (Ps. 119:11), and remember that God provides a way of escape when temptation is more than you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).
As Mark continues, we find Jesus preaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. In the midst fo the congregation, a demonically possessed man cries out against Jesus (Mark 1:21-28). May we be always reminded that the forces of spiritual darkness are not above mingling with God’s people even in their own worship services. Within the walls of the church, Christians often let down their guard to demonic activity, failing to realize they could be in a hub of demonic activity. Many pastors have experienced the worst spiritual battles of their lives within the halls of the heavenly embassy.
In Mark 5, we are presented with the very definition of demonic, Spiritual Warfare. in v.2-4, the reader is introduced to a grotesque man with superhuman strength dwelling in Gentile territory–among the tombs. Though bearing the shame of public nakedness (Luke 8:27) and possessed by thousands of unclean spirits, this was hardly a battle for the Son of God, who commanded the demon horde into a herd of pigs, which threw themselves into the sea (Mark 5:11-13). Your worst spiritual battles are no match for Jesus. We need to remind ourselves and those to whom we minister that where there is spiritual battle, spiritual victory that can be found in Christ.
The ultimate victory comes at the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. Here, we have the surly Roman centurion standing at the cross, representing Gentile and sinful humanity, confessing, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark. 15:39), showing that even in the death of Jesus, spiritual unbelief and disbelief can be overthrown. Even through Mary Magdalene, the first witness of the resurrected Jesus, the Bible reminds us of Jesus’ victory of demonic forces (Mark. 16:9). Finally, before ascending to Heaven, Jesus lists driving out demons as one of the signs that will accompany believers (Mark. 16:17, though some scholars claim this verse was not part of the original manuscripts). We must take courage in Jesus’ victory over the forces of evil. Satan is a very real and very dangerous enemy, but our Messiah has overcome him, and we shall too.