Yeah, that’s me. Welcome to my life, everyone .
Viruses are tiny. They’re much smaller than human cells and even smaller than bacteria. You can only see the very largest of them through a powerful microscope so they’re basically invisible. It’s no wonder, then, that people in the ancient near east didn’t know what was causing them to get sick. Hence the concept of demon possession to explain the phenomenon.
The reason why I thinking about this is because of today’s reading in Luke 10. Jesus sent out his disciples to preach and they came back saying “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” (v.17). The context contains several allusions to Psalm 8 which is about God’s sovereignty over all creation. For instance, Jesus responded to them by saying “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions” (v.19) and Psalm 8, speaking of the animal creation, says “you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field” (Psa. 8:6-7). The next things Jesus says also comes from Psalm 8 – “Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger” (Psa. 8:2). See how Jesus echoes those words in Luke 10:19 where he describes the demons they disciples cast out as “the power of the enemy” and then in verse 21 – “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children”.
The lesson for us is simple but powerful. Jesus passed on the authority to heal, that was given to him from his Father, to his disciples, and they conquered the invisible enemy. Things like viruses are demolished by the power of God. The lesson for us is spiritual. Sin is like a virus that catches up with every one of us. It infects 100% of people. But the demons were “subject to us in your name” (v.17) and the Psalm begins and ends with “how majestic is your name in all the earth”. The great power in our lives is the name of God – a name which demolishes the power of the sin virus. God’s name is about his relationship with us, his children, his compassion, generosity, patience, lovingkindness, faithfulness, forgiveness and justice. Our God is a God who “keeps covenant and steadfast love” (Deut. 7:9) and he isn’t going to allow any virus to get the better of us. He is infinitely stronger than the enemy. As Jesus said “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).