Remarkable! The exorcism ministry of Jesus was different from other practitioners of His time. He used no incantations, no hocus-pocus, no elaborate rituals as did other itinerant exorcists, both Jewish and pagan. But before I elaborate on that, note this first. There can be no avoidance of this scripture. Jesus expelled demons. We must conclude that, if Jesus was God, He certainly knew the difference between people who were mentally distressed as compared to an individual having an indwelling evil entity; therefore, his ministry of deliverance was no ruse to placate those with psychological disorders. The people brought to him believed that they had demons and Jesus cast out their demons. Perhaps there were some who only supposed they were demonized, but Matthew sees no reason to record that. Critics of deliverance must be faithful to the intent of this passage. Christ was actually doing what Matthew said he was doing, i.e. casting out demons. If not, this was an elaborate charade that assumes Christ had no way to explain the psychoses of his clients.
Back to my original point. Jesus cast out demons by his “word.” Unlike other exorcists, he did not seek to expel evil spirits by potions or amulets. There was no ceremonial-ism involving eggs, milk, herbs, plants and the like used by shamans. He defied demons with what He said, not what He did. People often come to me after they have visited various so-called healers and psychics – all biblically defined as trafficking in witchcraft. Witch doctors have told those in torment to bathe in milk, bury certain seeds under a full moon, drink disgusting concoctions of urine, spray alcohol in the air, swim in the ocean covered in oil, put dirt in the four corners of their bedroom, etc. The list of remedies is endless. But true freedom from evil spirits is a word away — the name JESUS. If you or someone you know has been tricked by such foolish advice as I’ve described, point them to Matthew 8:16 and the power of Christ who sets the captives free with “a word.”