Jesus Is More Powerful Than The Devil And We Can Trust Him

Jesus Is More Powerful Than The Devil And We Can Trust Him January 24, 2024

Jesus is more powerful than the Devil and we can trust Jesus always.

One of the great debates between and my father during High School was whether I should have a job. The debate was actually about driving. My dad wanted me to learn to drive. I did not want to drive, but because I knew that it meant that I would have to get a job to pay for gas and insurance. As was to be expected, I got a job.

I worked at a pizza place during my senior year of High School. The experience helped me learn a lot of things. Among the lessons, I appreciate having learned what it means to have a boss. Our boss, Frank, had a lot of authority. He worked very hard and expected us to do the same. Obviously, I had begun my relationship with authority years before with my parents. However, somehow having a boss at a job who paid me brought it home a lot more. In today’s Gospel, we see the authority of Jesus Christ.

Jesus arrives to the synagogue

In today’s, Gospel, Jesus is in Capernaum, in Galilee. As was the tradition on sabbath after the Babylonian exile, Jewish men gathered at the synagogue for instruction and for worship. Jesus enters the synagogue and teaches, asserting his authority. Jesus is more powerful than the other fellows at the synagogue.

You want credentials?

It always strikes me in the Gospel when they doubt Jesus. He seems so restrained. He could get involved in an elaborate argument or perform some miraculous punishment. However, he proves his authority first through the wisdom of his teaching. I like to imagine Jesus explaining the Old Testament. He would have given so much insight and learning. What was he speaking about this day? We will have to wait for heaven to find out.

A problem arises

It seems so dramatic. His teaching strikes home and impresses his listeners. They want to hear more. He obliges and enjoys talking to them about the Kingdom of God. He is happy to share with them the life-giving message. “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” But then, someone objects to Jesus.

“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mk. 1:24) His outcry chills the hearts of the bystanders. They don’t know what to do. The other learned men take a step back. What will they do? What will Jesus do?

Power over demons

Who has power to drive out demons? Are demons even real? Jesus is more powerful than the Devil. He gives clear testimony throughout the Gospel that demons are real, but that their power pales in comparison to his own.

The principal episodes of healing possessed persons were also accomplished by Christ on occasions which are presented as decisive ones in the accounts of his ministry. His exorcisms posed and oriented the problem of his mission and of his person; the reactions which they evoked sufficiently prove this. Without ever placing Satan at the center of his Gospel, Jesus nevertheless only spoke of him on what were clearly crucial occasions and by means of important pronouncements. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Christian Faith and Demonology)

Some people try to explain away the idea of possession through mental illness, but they are distinct problems. It is easy to accuse people of other historical times to be acritical and unscientific, but much of the confusion about demonic influence and mental illness is a much more modern problem.

Statue of Christ the Redemptor overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro
Statue of Christ the Redemptor overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro | Courtesy Pexels

Jesus is more powerful

The greatest hold that the devil has is not possession, but sin. As a priest in the confessional, it is a privilege to witness the way God’s grace works in many cases. Perhaps a person comes to the Church fighting a grave sin. The Devil hates this because he loses all control. Rather, the Devil wants us to suffer in silence and tries to convince us that it isn’t all that bad or that there is nothing we can do about it. On the contrary, God wants to encourage. For this reason, God became man in the Person of Jesus Christ. God wants to give us hope and healing.

Common ways of giving the demons power

Often, we may be tempted to dismiss all talk of the demonic as silly superstition. Certainly, we can ascribe many things to superstition. However, as Jesus shows in the Gospel, it is possible for the Devil to influence our material world. Now, it is important to stay away from horoscopes, fortune-telling, Ouija and the like. Contrary to what many think, these things are not harmless games and often when dealing with somebody struggling with possession these things come up. However, we can never allow ourselves to be bound by fear. Fear is from the Devil; trust is from God. Jesus is more powerful.

Reason to hope

Contemplating the power of God and the closeness of Jesus should give us hope and confidence. We are on the winning side. Whenever we feel the forces of evil creeping in, our first recourse is prayer and confession. God is ready to help us and root out the evil that tries to control our hearts. This week, I invite you to make an examination of conscience every day. Try to look at your heart and see the signs of spiritual combat between good and evil. Ask pardon for your sins and give thanks to God for all the blessings he bestows on you and upon others through you. Jesus is more powerful.

About Fr. Nicholas Sheehy, LC
Fr. Nicholas Sheehy was ordained a Catholic priest in 2013 for the Legionaries of Christ. He has been involved in youth work including missions, retreats and apostolic outreach in Germany, Italy, the United States and Central America. He is passionate about the New Evangelization and formation for young adults and married couples. He is a spiritual director and retreat director, offering marriage preparation and marriage counseling through the Divine Mercy Clinic and Family Center. He is currently Executive Director and Chaplain of the Newman Center at St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Pasadena, California. "Omnis enim res quae dando non deficit, dum habetur et non datur, nondum habetur quomodo habenda est." You can read more about the author here.
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