I recently heard a Roman Catholic Priest defend the many exorcisms that he claimed to have carried out. His critic suggested that one of the people that he cast a demon out of was not demon possessed but instead suffered mental illness and was prone to seizures. The priest was convinced that his work was essential in this world and concluded by saying: “We are in a spiritual war. When Satan comes to us, we must fight him where he is.”
Demon possession is not often preached about in my experience. Most Christians I know believe that demons play a part in temptation but are unlikely to indwell anyone unless they dabble in the occult. Otherwise, the subject is left to history and Hollywood.
The New Testament presents Demons as being in no doubt about the identity of Jesus.
As Jesus was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum a demon possessed man cried out: “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” (Mark 1:24-25).
Later, on the Eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, “The Gadarene Demoniac” ran and fell at Jesus feet and cried out: “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you will not torture me!” (Mark 5:7). It is staggering to think that the demon told Jesus, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” Especially if the 2000 pigs into which they were cast are indicative of how many.
You’ll remember the rather humorous account of the Seven Sons of Sceva who on multiple occasions tried to cast a demon out of a man “in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches” (Acts 19:13). When the demon had had enough, he gave this rather curt response: “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15). This demon knew that he was neither in the presence of Jesus himself, or someone, like Paul, who was given authority over him. These men did not, of course, have that authority, so he physically assaulted them for their efforts.
These are just three examples demonstrating that demons knew Jesus to be the Son of God.
I will give James the last word:
“You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder” (James 2:19).