We were in the city of Lancaster a few weeks ago in the evening, around 8pm, and we saw a lady dressed in a costume leading a group of about 10 people. It was clear that this was a tour. But what kind of tour would be happening on a Sunday night at 8pm?
The lady was wearing a cape and carrying a black cast iron lantern. It wasn’t dark yet, but twilight was coming. Know what it was? A Ghost tour. Ghosts? In Lancaster.
When I was in high school I remember classmates talking about there was supposedly a covered bridge in the Lancaster countryside where you could see a blue light levitating in the air at a specific time.
Have you heard of Charlie Charlie, which is like a modern-day Ouija board?
And there is a new Ghostbusters movie coming out.
Is there any doubt that our culture is fascinated with spiritual things, and especially by spirit beings?
What do you think about the spirit world? For every person who thinks it is not real, that it is just the product of our emotion or delusion, there is a person who has had an experience with the power of the spiritual world. I’ve often heard people question why we don’t see the spirit world so much here in the USA, as compared to places around the world where voodoo or witchdoctors are prevalent. Usually the answer has to do with how wealthy cultures are more scientifically aware and thus are not as prone to credit the spiritual world with causing certain phenomena, as they are to say that these supposed spiritual manifestations are just psychological. But many of us have stories of personal encounters with the spirit world, encounters that cannot easily be explained away by science. Is it possible that we are too quick in our wealthy culture to say “we don’t see the spirit world at work in America”? Maybe we actually do see it.
So what should we think about the spiritual world? At Faith Church we have continued our study through Luke, reaching Luke 8:26-39 where Jesus encountered the spirit world. Take a few moments to read the story, and you will see that Jesus believed that there is a spiritual world out there. In fact he interacted with the the spiritual realm through what some have called spiritual warfare.
Luke tells us that Jesus was faced with a legion of demons. A Roman legion could have up to 6,000 soldiers! In a battle, when the competing sides line up, and one army is larger than the other, history has taught us that the larger army usually wins. Even a well-trained, well-equipped smaller army will have a tough time against a more numerous enemy. Sheer volume can be overwhelming. Luke describes for us a scene where Jesus is alone versus thousands of demons. In any normal battle field, this would be a no-contest.
This battle actually is a no-contest, but because the battle never takes place. Instead the legion of demons concedes defeat before Jesus says a word. The demons recognize that their massive numbers are no match to his power.
Jesus won the victory. He is the real power. We can get fascinated by manifestations of power in the spiritual realm. Those manifestations are real, but we need to remember that our God is greater.
May God’s victory give us assurance and hope, not arrogance. Satan is strong. The spiritual forces of darkness are not something to be toyed with. Look at what they did to this man. He was ruined. When we allow spiritual darkness to enter our lives, it has the power to ruin us, and it almost always does. Our missionary friends in Kenya told us about a situation they had to deal with at their school recently. A student shared with his classmates that Satan was telling him to do evil things. The staff took it seriously, and the boy had to leave the school so that he and his family could get counseling. It’s no joke. It’s not Ghostbusters.
But know this, our God is greater! He has won the victory over Satan. I’ve heard people say that in spiritual warfare we should pray a hedge of protection around the situation, or that we should pray the blood of Jesus over the situation. I’ve heard people say that we should confront the devil in the name of Jesus. Almost as if there is a formula about it, like we have weapons that we can fight spirit beings with. I don’t know about that. I think we should feel very cautious about the spiritual realm. I don’t think we should try to take matters of spiritual warfare into our own hands! Especially when Jesus has won the victory. Instead I recommend that you pray to him. He is the real power. Ask him for help. When you suspect spiritual warfare, call out to the one who is greater!