Binding the Strong Man

Jesus had been casting out demons, when the Pharisees charged that Jesus did so by the power of Satan himself. After countering that accusation by showing its inconsistency and stating that the real reason for His victory over demons lay in His kingly power, Jesus now explains further: As the “stronger” man, He has bound the “strong man,” that is the devil. That is why Jesus can plunder the strong man’s house by expelling demons from tormented people. Jesus defeated Satan in the wilderness (4:1-11). Afterwards, He began His ministry of teaching, preaching, healing, and deliverance with the words, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (4:17). In other words, His power to heal and His proclamation of the truth, along with His casting out of evil spirits, demonstrate that He, the true and final King, has come, bringing with Him deliverance from evil of all sorts. When the Seventy disciples had returned from their triumphant tour of ministry, exclaiming that “even the demons are subject to us in Your name,” Jesus told them where that authority came from: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). John records that event in these words: “The great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:9). The context makes clear that this took place after the birth of Christ. Thus, we do not need to “bind” Satan or any demons now. We may simply claim the power of the crucified and risen Christ as we preach and heal and resist evil in His name. In other words, we serve the really Strong Man, Jesus!