“Then some men brought a man to Jesus. This man was blind and could not talk, because he had a demon inside him. Jesus healed the man, and he could talk and see.” – Matthew 12:22
The Aetiology of Disease
Any condition that leads to the deterioration of the normal functioning of the body’s cells, tissues and organs is considered a disease. Medically, these conditions are identified and characterized by their signs and symptoms. Diseases could be infectious or non-infectious. Infectious diseases are caused by pathogens like fungi, viruses and bacteria. Non-infectious diseases may be caused by pathogens but be influenced by other factors like nutritional deficiency and lifestyle. A body part may also malfunction due to deterioration of cells over time: sight may fail and glasses may be required for example. Still other medical deficiencies are passed from parent to offspring or may be the result of problems arising during conception and birth (congenital). Scientific research has and continues to provide breakthrough treatments for managing various ailments. These are established and widely accepted scientific facts. These are part of the unpleasant conditions humanity faces in a fallen world.
But there are some times that an ailment, disease, pain or a malfunction of a body part defies medical interventions. Only the supernatural power of God effectively deals with them. In John 9, as Jesus went along he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” In their minds, such a condition must have befallen the man as a penalty for his sins or those of his parents. Jesus told them neither was responsible but what happened to the man was so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. Mark 5 tells the story of a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years and suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors. All she had was spent on this condition but she only grew worse. In faith, she touched Jesus’ cloak and her bleeding immediately stopped.
The Devil and Your Body
One of the reasons Job is a popular character in scripture is because of the health battles he faced. Looking at him with the human eye, you would be forgiven for thinking that the sores on his body were caused by some pathogen. But like a movie, scripture gives us the whole picture. Job was ill because Satan laid his hands on Job’s body. Of course it was with God’s permission, but the fact still stands that Job’s illness was devilish. It wasn’t a lifestyle issue like he developed cirrhosis of the liver from misusing alcohol; or he lived in a mosquito endemic area and failed to sleep under insecticide-treated mosquito nets and got infected with malaria. No, Job was ill because Satan attacked him. Experiencing healing had to involve removing Satan’s hand from his body.
The scripture at the top of the page couldn’t be clearer about the cause of the man’s troubles: “This man was blind and could not talk, because he had a demon inside him.” Why couldn’t he talk or see? “Because he had a demon inside him.” Demons cause diseases! It’s not like he wasn’t born with the organ of sight or any parts of his visual apparatus was not in place or was faulty. All he needed to see, he was gifted with from birth. But when he turned his face toward an object, a demon hijacked the processes that would permit him to see the object with his eyes. When Jesus healed him, he didn’t have to create a new set of eyes for him; he saw with what he already had. The problem previously wasn’t the eyes, the problem was the demon. The man’s voice box was intact; his tongue, teeth, lips, cheeks and all he needed to talk were in place, yet he was dumb. When he opened his mouth in an attempt to talk, a demon inside of him commandeered his speech organs and prevented them from working, making him dumb. His was not a medical condition. A demon was in his eye and his mouth and took control of them, rendering him blind and dumb.
We normally think all diseases are caused by pathogenic agents. They do, but not always. As seen in that scripture, Satan, via his demonic minions, can also take up residence in a person’s body and interfere with their normal physiology, disrupt body functions and cause disease. Demonic activity can cause paralysis of body systems diagnosed as disease.
A Physical or Spiritual Problem
If you are ill, pray, like scripture teaches. By all means see a doctor as well. To take medications is not being ‘unspiritual’. Medicines are usually concentrates of plant extracts, the same plants that God has given us as food. John was told about the tree of life that “the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2).
While that is true, it is also true that God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). This is exactly the type of ignorance that Satan loves. I imagine the demon in that man giggling when he went to see an optician or an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist. O, may we not be “ignorant of his devices.” No surgery, glasses or medications would have cured him. His problems were spiritual, caused by a resident demon, and could only be solved by dealing with that demon. No antibiotics or any topical creams would have cured Job of his sores; he could only be free when the hand of Satan was stopped.
Beloved, our prayers for healing and health must recognize both the spiritual and physical dimensions for there to be balance and good health. Get this balance right: Not all diseases are demonic and not all diseases are pathogenic. The disease-causing ‘pathogen’ in a sick person’s body might be a demon. It calls for spiritual sensitivity to know the difference. If you are a Christian health-worker, you need to know this and know how to render the appropriate help to your patients.
Defeating Satan, Reclaiming Health
How the Lord Jesus went about setting this man free from his twin illnesses is the way to go. “Jesus healed the man, and he could talk and see.” How? Demons don’t go out by negotiation but by compulsion. The Pharisees in their ignorance blasphemed that it was by the power of Beelzebub (Satan), the Prince of demons, that Jesus drove out demons. But the Lord called them out for their folly of thinking that Satan could cast out Satan. Satan casting out Satan. How foolish! “Every kingdom that fights against itself will be destroyed. And every city or family that is divided against itself will not survive. So if Satan forces out his own demons, then he is fighting against himself, and his kingdom will not survive” (Matthew 12:25-26).
Jesus cast out the disease-causing demon by force. He said, “But I use the power of God’s Spirit to force out demons” (Matthew 12:28, ERV). Anywhere that there is demonic activity, the way to deal with it is by the power of the Spirit of God; it is by force. In fact, to advance the kingdom of God anywhere requires force. Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing” (Matthew 11:12). This knowledge is important in spiritual warfare.
Jesus died, resurrected and ascended into heaven to make this happen. He promised this: “the people who believe will be able to do these things as proof: They will use my name to force demons out of people” (Mark 16:17). There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain, to drive out demons. That mandate has been handed down to all who believe. We must be sensitive to know when demonic operations are at work, and to forcefully truncate them. We must rise up in the knowledge of our authority in Christ and rightly appropriate his power in our lives to walk in freedom, both for us and others.