How do you stop believing in demons?
Anyone who hears about a demon today must think of horror films. That we associate it with something evil has to do with the Bible. In this Sunday's Gospel it is recorded that Jesus delivered demons from people. What is it all about?
The word comes from the Greek word 'daimon' and means the spirit of a deceased. Because in Greek thought it can also be a positive power. The fact that we associate demons with evil today has to do with the Bible. There it is described in numerous stories how Jesus cast out demons, how he freed people from this burden. Because in the original Greek text there is never 'demon', but mostly 'impure spirit'. Seen in this way, Jesus does not, strictly speaking, cast out demons, but rather unclean spirits. But what are unclean spirits?
Demons - something like that still exists today
The biblical scholar Gunter Fleischer explains, referring to the biblical testimony, that people always experience themselves as "under pressure. Someone else influences their lives. What we also call 'possessed'". The relevant sections in the Gospels, in which Jesus encounters such unclean spirits, make it clear what this can look like in concrete terms: there is talk of people who have lost their language (Luke 11), who all of a sudden tossed back and forth as if controlled by the hand of the spirit become (Mark 9), who sleepwalk (Matthew 17) or talk confused things (Mark 5). Gunter Fleischer believes that these do not have to be myths or stories from ancient times. Such phenomena also exist today: "It can be an epileptic who's just having a seizure. And he doesn't manage it himself, he doesn't do anything anymore and he experiences himself as being controlled by others. There are forces that influence life can really tie a person and thus ruin their life. And when Jesus encounters such people, he tries to free them from these constraints. In this he shows the power of God. "
Jesus was able to free people from the burden of others
Such people who suffer from enslaving compulsions still exist today. This is what the Bible means when it speaks of demons or unclean spirits. Ultimately, it is a phenomenon that cannot be fully explained; a secret, the reality of which can be experienced as a weighting power to which one seems to be at the mercy at times. It is precisely this aspect that becomes clear when one sees what happens to the people who were freed from the unclean spirit through Jesus. "Here the human being is brought back to being human again," explains Gunter Fleischer with reference to the Gospel reports. "Exactly in this it becomes clear who actually has the ultimate power. God has that and not some demon or some force that we do not influence."
Seen in this way, Jesus 'message is:' Do not be afraid of what oppresses you. 'God proves himself to be the stronger in Jesus' actions, he does not want human slavery, but his liberation. The apostle Paul describes his similar experience as follows: "Where there is God's Spirit, there is freedom." (2 Corinthians 3:17)
God is the stronger
It is striking how often the Gospels in the Bible report that Jesus can free people from demons. This is precisely why he must have left an unmistakable impression on the people of his time. Gunter Fleischer sums up what has become clear through this action of Jesus: "In him God is really present, because he alone is able to banish all other powers that may exist, so to speak. And people notice that." Why is there someone here who appears with such authority? None of our scribes can do that, 'say the Jews. It is a sign of God's work in this person of Jesus as it is present in no other. "
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