When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” (Mark 9:25)

Satan and his followers did not abandon the field of battle just because the Son of God had come to earth to challenge them. They fought him at every step, challenged his every claim. Saint Mark tells of a boy possessed by an evil spirit that caused the lad to be unable to talk. It flung him to the ground in convulsions. His father reported, “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him.” The disciples could not help, so the father turned to Jesus: “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

The response of Jesus was blunt: “If you can?” “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Was that true? Is that true? The powers of darkness were ready to face off with the Lord of light. It was as if the boy was being held hostage. The demon had already shown the control he had over the youngster. If he wanted to throw him into convulsions, foaming at the mouth and gnashing his teeth as he rolled on the ground, who was going to stop him? The presence of Jesus only made him more dangerous.

If Jesus challenged him, what would keep him from killing the boy? The command of Jesus. “You deaf and mute spirit,” Jesus said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked. The boy convulsed violently. Then everything became quiet. Some feared the youngster was dead. “But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.” Had we been in that crowd, we might have cheered. Maybe angels did.

But this is certain: Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, does not flinch and does not falter when it comes to a faceoff with evil. That’s something worth remembering. We are no stranger to evil. We have seen the results of satanic forces in this world and within ourselves. Satan may not have thrown us to the ground in convulsions, but he sometimes has thrown us for a loop in our spiritual life.

We need help from heaven. We have it. Demons remain deadly. But they whimper and run in the face of Jesus.

We pray: Lord Jesus, source and defender of our life, keep reminding us that we do not have to cave in to the threats of the devil. The powers of darkness cannot touch one hair on our body without your permission. We remember the words of King David, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil—for thou art with me.” Now enable us to live those words.  Amen.