After Jesus is criticized for driving out demons, he addresses his detractors. In doing so he makes a curious statement. He asks, by whose power do you drive out demons?
Implicitly, Jesus was not the only one with the power and ability to drive out demons. In considering this, a bunch of questions come to mind:
If others were also driving out demons, why were the people so amazed when Jesus did it? Perhaps Jesus was more effective at it, did it easier, or exhibited more compassion, grace, and power. Whatever the explanation, this was one more reason why people were drawn to him. He simply was like no other.
What was the source of their power? We could debate whether or not this power came from God. It certainly could have — or it could have been Satanic. Recall when Moses was performing miracles before Pharaoh, for a while the magicians matched Moses using “their secret arts,” but eventually they could not. In the people’s criticism of Jesus, they could have merely been projecting the source of their power onto him.
Is the power to drive out demons more normative and accessible than we believe? I think the answer is yes. Jesus did it, others did it, and therefore so can we. Even though we may not see this happen, doesn’t mean it can’t. And that’s something to seriously contemplate.
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