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Daily Devotional | God with us: The Gospel of Matthew | Man fishing with a net. Daily Devotional | God with us: The Gospel of Matthew | Man fishing with a net.

Daily Devotional | His Presence Drives Away Darkness

You are probably familiar “tug of war,” a game where two teams pull on the opposite ends of a rope. All members must work together, straining against the opposition. However, if any one team member decides to let go or starts pulling in the opposite direction, their team will begin to lose.

So it is in our relationship with Jesus. You are either with Him or against Him. Just as in tug of war, there is no neutral position because there are forces of darkness aligned against Him. You must choose which side you are on. Matthew 12:30 says, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” If you are not working for Jesus, you are actively working against Him.

In Matthew 12, Jesus heals a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute (v. 22), prompting various reactions from the crowd. Many marveled at the miracle (v. 23), while others questioned His being the “Son of David” (that is, the Messiah, v. 23). Sadly, others outright accused Him of using demonic power (v. 24). Jesus responds to these accusations with the assertion that His power is divine, saying, “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (v. 28).

God’s presence, embodied in Jesus, is not only a beacon of light in a world cloaked in darkness, but He is also “present” in its midst! His power over evil, sickness, and death assures us of His divine authority and His commitment to overturn the effects of sin and keep dark spiritual forces in check. Jesus’ point is that there is no way He could be aligned with demonic forces to do what He does because His teachings and work are in direct opposition to what Satan wants.

Go Deeper

Whose team are you on? Do your values and actions align with Jesus? In what tangible today can you demonstrate your allegiance even in the face of the spiritual darkness around us?

Pray with Us: Merciful Lord, Your presence drives away darkness. You’ve brought us from slavery to sin into Your wonderful light. May we cling to You, with the desire to do Your will, even as we face the spiritual darkness of this world.

BY James Coakley

Dr. Jim Coakleyis professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute. He earned his BA in Pastoral Studies from Calvary Bible College, his M.Div. and Th.M. in Old Testament from Grace Theological Seminary, and his doctorate from Covenant Theological Seminary. Jim is the author of 14 Fresh Ways to Enjoy the Bible (Moody Publishers). He and his wife, Gayle, live in the western suburbs of Chicago and have two adult children and three grandchildren. 

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