The Prince of Peace
In scriptures we are told of an encounter that Jesus had with a man who was possessed. The man lived among tombs and would cry out and cut himself with stones. He was so powerful that chains and shackles could not restrain him. When this man met Jesus, he was freed from the demonic possession and restored to his right mind. After years of living in torment, the man was set free and now could live a life in peace.
I have been told by some in the past that miracles like this don’t happen today. I have never put much weight into those comments – as I have personally had encounters with the demonic and seen God’s power overcome it. However, in most countries, we don’t have “villages” and it would not be likely to see a man living among tombs. Instead, those who are tormented with demonic possession or oppression are put on medication and sedated. While that may control their actions, it doesn’t bring them peace.
While interviewing pastors in Ethiopia, I heard many stories of hundreds deciding to be followers of Christ because of witnessing God heal sickness and delivering people from demons. One story from this last trip stuck out in my mind.
It was of a man who was possessed. Like the encounter we find in Mark 5, the man was very strong because of demonic possession. He often would cause fights which generally ended with him beating up several guys at one time. He was so strong, that when they tried to jail him, he would just break out.
When not fighting in the village, the man lived in the bush. Villages saw him killing oxen by ripping them apart with his bare hands. Then he would eat their raw flesh. The villagers did not know what to do with him because he was so strong and full of rage. They feared him because they couldn’t even restrain him with chains.
One day, during a worship service, the man wandered in. He came up to the pastor and said he wanted to follow Christ. As the Pastor laid hands on him and began to pray, the demon manifested. It screamed as the Pastor cast it out and it left the man’s body.
From that day, the man’s countenance changed. He was no longer full of rage. He stopped causing fights in the city and living in the bush. He also quit capturing animals, killing them and eating them raw. Now he attends the worship services regularly, shares about Christ to other villagers, and helps them. Many have come to Christ because of the change they have seen in him.
This man, like the man Jesus delivered, is now free from torment. His rage has been replaced by love. He now knows what it is like to have peace. God is still freeing people from the torment of the enemy today – not just in Ethiopia but in the U.S. as well. He is the Prince of Peace and desires that we all come to know Him and the peace that He brings. Knowledge can give us ways to understand a person’s condition. Technology and medicine can often offer ways to live with our pain. But neither knowledge or technology can offer peace. Peace can only come from the Prince of Peace, the One who delivers us from the things that torment us.