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BACKGROUND: The man who had an evil spirit in him was what we call "possessed". Being possessed is different from having a mental disease. It simply means that an evil spirit is dwelling in your heart in the same way as the Holy Spirit is dwelling in the heart of a believer. An evil spirit usually goes into a man through idol worship, witchcraft, fortune telling, cultic healings, certain types of rock music etc. A possessed person goes every now and then into "a fit", cries in an inhuman voice and has often extraordinary strength.
  1. Do you believe in the existence of Satan and evil spirits?
    • If you have heard stories about spirit possession and the like, please share them shortly with us now.
    • Why are many people afraid of darkness, ghosts, spirits and idols?
  2. Imagine the everyday life of this possessed man - think especially about his family life and other relationships.
    • This was the first Sabbath Jesus spent in Capernaum, which means that the people hadn't come into the synagogue to meet him. Why do you suppose the possessed man came there even knowing that he might have one of those "fits" any time?
  3. Why did evil spirits often cry and rage when coming near Jesus?
    • Say in your own words what the evil spirit knew about Jesus (vs.34).
    • Was the spirit right in what he said about Jesus or not?
  4. Why didn't Jesus address the man but the spirit?
    • Why didn't Jesus answer the question the evil spirit asked him (vs.34-35)?
  5. Why did Jesus help the possessed even though the man never asked him to do so?
    • Perhaps you have heard stories about someone's driving out evil spirits of a person. What is different about the way Jesus drove out the spirit?
  6. What was it about Jesus the people were most surprised at (vs.32, 36)?
    • How are the words of Jesus different from the words of other people?
    • For what problem or for which person do you at the moment need the powerful word of Jesus? (You can answer in your heart.)
  7. According to this text, what should you say to someone who is afraid of darkness, spirits, ghosts, idols or the power of Satan?
    • To what degree do you think the Christian church of our day is helping those who are bound by the spirit world?
  8. Why did Jesus start his ministry with an act like this?
  9. What is the difference between a person falling into sin and a person becoming possessed by an evil spirit?
  10. (The answer to these last three questions will come outside of this text.)
    • How did Jesus get the authority to give orders to evil spirits?
    • How would Jesus eventually destroy Satan and his spirits (vs.34)?
    • Although he had the authority to destroy evil spirits, why did Jesus himself become destroyed by them on the cross?

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