CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick, May 1, 2023 – Jesus’ success rate with exorcising demons was, according to scriptural accounts, 100%. When he was tasked with getting rid of unholy spirits, he did the job with no fuss and no muss; just a decisive command, and out they went.
The disciples’ success rate was somewhat less than that of Jesus, but still impressive. They apparently were able to exorcise all but the ones that required the exorcist to first pray and fast. Jewish exorcists, on the other hand, failed spectacularly, according to scripture, which brings to mind today’s so-called exorcism experts from the Catholic organization. They have phenomenally poor results in dealing with demons, as they base their exorcisms on the convoluted, ritual-heavy, hierarchy-of-spirits model inherited from Jewish exorcists, not on Jesus’ straight-forward approach. Catholic exorcists even go so far as to hold conversations with the demons they’re attempting to exorcise. Polite conversations, no less.
If Jesus spoke to the demons at all, it was solely to demand to know their name and then to use that name to loudly command them to leave the body they were inhabiting.
Which leads us to the only question that matters here: Why was Jesus so good at exorcising demons?
The answer, of course, is that Jesus exorcised demons under the power and authority of God, through God’s Holy Spirit. He did not operate under any other power or authority. All demons are entirely and without exception submissive to God through his Holy Spirit. They cannot disobey a command originating from God; it is not possible for them to do so.
But here’s the catch – not everyone can operate in the power and authority of God through his Holy Spirit. It is not something you can simply subscribe to or refer to at will. In other words, you cannot command God or his Holy Spirit to work for you. Jesus says the Spirit goes where it wills and that he cast out demons by “the finger of God”. He did not say he cast them out by his own power.
If you exorcise under the power and authority and permission of God, as Jesus did, you will have a 100% success rate. Why? Because YOU are not commanding the demons, God is commanding them through you, by his Spirit. It’s not enough to speak in Jesus’ name, whether as a believer or an unbeliever; Jewish exorcists tried that approach and failed dismally and almost comically (though there’s nothing comical in being hounded by a demon you’ve just attempted to exorcise). It’s not enough to speak Jesus’ name over demonic entities ON YOUR OWN VOLITION and expect them to comply to YOUR command. Jesus’ name has no authority when spoken for your own purposes and under your own volition. The power in the name of Jesus comes from God through his Holy Spirit, in the same way that Jesus’ power, during his time on Earth, also came from God.
True believers who speak in Jesus’ name while exorcising demons on God’s permission and under his direction will be speaking under the power of God and through his Spirit. This is the source of their authority over the demons and the reason for their success in exorcising them. Do not for one minute – no matter how fervent a believer you consider yourself to be – think that you have the power to exorcise demons on your own volition. You have no such power. It’s God working through you that performs the exorcism. You’re just the delivery vehicle, as was Jesus. Never attempt an exorcism without God first prompting you to do so, empowering you to do so, and guiding you through it.
We cannot deal politely with demons or we will fail. When God commands through us, by his Spirit, the command is delivered forcefully, in few words, and in an instant, not weakly and in several words over several days. Any exorcism model that is not based on the Holy Ghost-enabled model demonstrated by Jesus is doomed to fail not because the demon won’t leave the body it’s possessing or oppressing, but because if it does leave, it will simply enter into another one. A good example of that particular type of failure is the Jewish exorcists mentioned in Acts.
The failed exorcism is also shown in the movie The Exorcist (which, yes, I know is just a movie, but the utter failure of the word- and paraphernalia-heavy exorcism ritual was bang-on in its presentation). Also note that, in the movie, the demon only leaves the girl after the priest gives it permission to enter into him, which is not a wise thing to do on the part of the priest, even a semi-fictional one. The actual exorcism ritual involving trinkets and props and the recitation of vain repetitions is a complete failure; yes, the demon leaves the possessed girl, but it enters the priest, who is then, by the demon, thrown down a steep flight of stairs and killed. This cannot by any metric be considered a successful exorcism.
You cannot be polite to demons because you’re not the ones talking to them; God is doing the talking, through his Spirit, and God has no reason to be polite to them. Firm, yes, polite, no. Demons, like all fallen spirits, are God’s slaves. In speaking to demons, you’re just the delivery vehicle for God’s command, a position that is granted to you by virtue of your state of grace, give to you at your rebirth. As Jesus showed us, you don’t converse with unholy spirits – God commands them through you, and they have no choice but to obey those commands. Again, they’re not your commands, they’re God’s.
Exorcists who exorcise by some other power than God’s may well succeed in removing the evil spirit from the afflicted, but the spirit will simply enter into another body, not leave this realm altogether. When exorcised by God through his Holy Spirit, evil spirits are forced to leave this realm unless given stated permission to do otherwise. Recall how the demons being exorcised from the “legion man” asked Jesus if they could enter into a nearby herd of pigs, to which Jesus agreed, only to have the pigs run off the cliff and drown in the sea, forcing the demons back into the realm of the condemned. I like how this shows that Jesus, through the power of God’s Spirit, was always one step ahead of the wicked, even when playing by their rules.
Do not fool around with exorcism. It’s not a parlour game and it’s definitely not something to do for money, fame, or clicks. If God prompts and guides you to exorcise, do exactly as he says, knowing it is not by your power the spirits are commanded, but by his. Simply praying Jesus’ name over an afflicted soul is not enough to get the unholy spirit to leave. Unless God has directed you to exorcise a demon, do not attempt an exorcism. You will fail. These spirits are much, much stronger than you are, and God has put the world under the authority of Satan, which means the demons you encounter are on their own turf and playing by their own rules, as granted them by God.
When it comes to demonic spirits, do nothing that is not instigated and powered by God through his Holy Spirit. Do not even think about doing anything demon-related unless you’re instigated and powered by God through his Holy Spirit and are a genuinely reborn follower of Jesus. Remember how giddy the disciples were when they discovered they could cast out evil spirits? Jesus redirected their joy to the more important fact that their names were written in Heaven, which meant they were under the grace of God and protected by his Spirit. That is the only reason to rejoice, not in the display of power that seemingly comes from you.
Rejoice in the Lord and rejoice in your heavenly reward!
Being under God’s grace and protected by God’s Spirit gives you phenomenal abilities and privileges. Don’t abuse them and don’t ascribe them to something that’s innate in you rather than something given to you by God. As Jesus informed his arresting authorities, they only have power over him because God gave them the power temporarily. Otherwise, they have no power or authority on their own. The same holds true even for born-again believers: All our power and authority over fallen entities comes from God, through his Holy Spirit, as followers of Jesus in good standing.
“Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, resist the devil, and he will flee”. Attempting to resist the devil without first humbling yourself under God’s mighty hand and letting his Holy Spirit take control will only lead to your failure in all spiritual matters, including exorcism. More and more unbelievers and believers are falling prey to evil spirits, but we still need to remember to wait for God’s signal before exorcising them. Jesus did not go out looking for spirits to exorcise; the possessed and oppressed were brought to him for healing or in some cases flung themselves at him in obvious need of deliverance. God will make it just as obvious to you when an exorcism is required.
When he does, remember there is no reason to be polite to the demons or to hold a conversation with them, other than to ask their name. Give them no opportunity to interact with you beyond providing their name. Do not be curious about them. Do not give them an opening to exploit. God, by his Holy Spirit working through you, will command them to leave, and they will have no choice but to leave. No other recitations, trinkets, rituals, or paraphernalia are required.
This is how Jesus exorcised and this is how we, as his followers, are to do so.