Over the next few pages we will discuss the demon encounters that Jesus had with demon possessed people and His authority over the "unclean spirits".
Jesus had several earthly encounters with demons. The first encounter for discussion is found in the book of Mark 9:14 - 20 KJV
And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?
And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
He answerth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him: and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire; and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could we not cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
Story summary: Jesus had been to the mount of transfiguration with John and James. Apparently the remaining disciples had encountered a man whose son was demon possessed. Having cast out demons before, the disciples thought they could easily cast out this demon but they could not. The scribes were questioning the disciples about this when Jesus arrived on the scene.
After learning what was going on, Jesus asked the man to bring his demon possessed son to him. Jesus cast out the demon that was causing the boy not to be able to hear or talk and was trying to kill the boy by making the boy perform self destructive acts.
The demon resisted Jesus but finally had to obey and left the boy. The demon was instructed never to enter the boy again. Later, the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast out the demon or unclean spirit like they had done probably several times before. Jesus said that only prayer and fasting could cast out this kind of demon...suggesting that some demons were stronger than others.
Some facts to consider: How does a demon enter a person in the first place? In the story that took place here, an innocent child was possessed. I'm certain that sin and involvement with the occult can result in a demon possession, but the bible does not tell us how a person becomes demon possessed or even why it happens. One thing is for sure: some kind of portal has to open up to allow entry.
There are several theories as to the why but the one fact that stands out is that the "demon" has a need to possess a body. The King James version translated several instances of the word "an unclean spirit" to mean devil or demon but the original text means "an unclean spirit". What is an unclean spirit? I believe it to be a spirit being bound to some kind of sin state which causes it to be "unclean".
In our story, the disciples could not cast out the "unclean spirit" but Jesus did. This shows that some spirit beings are stronger than others. It also shows that no one can cast out an "unclean spirit" without Jesus's authority.
When someone or even an animal is possessed, it becomes suicidal. Why? Wouldn't you try to kill yourself if you knew an evil thing was living inside you? Demons always bring death and destruction because they do the will of their master, Satan, who seeks only to kill, steal, and destroy. If possessed,you might even think that death was the only way to rid yourself of the "unclean spirit". In our story the father said the demon cast the boy into the fire and into the water. The boy could have been trying to kill himself by burning to death or drowning but was not successful.
Also, the afflictions that the demon caused were foaming at the mouth, deafness, dumbness, and seizures. This was a powerful demon that Jesus had to prevent entering back into the boy once it was cast out. This demon was in obvious opposition to God and fought Jesus from casting him out. The demon lost.
Summary of Demon Traits:
1. It is a spirit being bound by sin.
2. It desires to occupy a body.
3. It resists the will of God.
4. It causes suicidal tendencies.
5. It is opposed to God.
6. It is powerful.
7. It can reenter a host body after it has left.
8. It has to obey God.
9. It is evil.
Links to other encounters Jesus had with demons are below.