Demons and Exorcisms in the Gospels
by Felix Just, S.J.

Names, Terms, and Definitions: Verbs Typically Used in Exorcism Narratives:


Major Exorcisms and Stories involving Satan/Devil/Beelzubul/Demons in the Synoptic Gospels:
[ Note: There are NO exorcisms in the Gospel according to John! ]
 

Pericope Mark Matt Luke
Jesus is tempted/tested in the desert by the Devil/Satan Mark 1:12-13 Matt 4:1-11 Luke 4:1-13
Unclean Spirit/Demon in Synagogue at Capernaum Mark 1:23-28 x Luke 4:33-37
Jesus casts out a demon that made a man dumb (mute) x Matt 9:32-33
Matt 12:22-23
Luke 11:14
Beelzebul Controversy: What power does Jesus use? Mark 3:22-30 Matt 9:34
Matt 12:24-30
Luke 11:15-23
Gerasene/Gadarene Demoniac possessed by "Legion" Mark 5:1-20 Matt 8:28-34 Luke 8:26-39
Syro-Phoenician Woman's Daughter Mark 7:24-30 Matt 15:21-28 x
Boy with an Epileptic Spirit Mark 9:14-29 Matt 17:14-21 Luke 9:37-43a
Another Exorcist Mark 9:38-41 Matt 10:42 Luke 9:49-50
 

Briefer Mentions of Demons/Satan/Exorcisms in the Synoptic Gospels, esp. in Summary Passages:

Pericope Mark Matt Luke
Jesus "rebukes" the fever of Simon's Mother-in-Law [Mark 1:29-31] [Matt 8:14-15] Luke 4:38-39
The narrator summarizes Jesus' exorcisms and his healings Mark 1:32-34 Matt 8:16-17 Luke 4:40-41
Jesus goes throughout Galilee preaching and casting out demons Mark 1:39 [Matt 4:23] [Luke 4:44]
Unclean spirits recognize Jesus, but he silences them Mark 3:11 [Matt 12:15-16] Luke 4:41
Jesus says he will give the Twelve authority to cast out demons Mark 3:15 Matt 10:1 x
Interpreting the Parable of the Sower, birds eating the seeds on the path
refers to the Devil/Satan taking away the word sown in people's hearts
Mark 4:15 Matt 13:19 Luke 8:12
Interpreting the Parable of the Tares, Jesus explains:
"The enemy who sowed them is the devil"
x Matt 13:39 x
Jesus sends out his apostles with authority over unclean spirits Mark 6:7 Matt 10:8 Luke 9:1
If opponents call Jesus Beelzubul, they'll say worse about his disciples x Matt 10:25 x
Narrator reports: apostles cast out many demons & cure the sick Mark 6:13 x x
Jesus "rebukes" Peter for opposing him: "Get behind me, Satan!" Mark 8:33 [Matt 16:23] x
The 70 return from their mission, saying demons were subject to them;
Jesus replies, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven"
x x Luke 10:17-18
Jesus heals a crippled woman "whom Satan bound for 18 years" x x Luke 13:10-17
In the Parable of the Sheep & Goats, the king says to those on the left:
"Depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil & his angels"
x Matt 25:41 x
Satan enters into Judas Iscariot at the Last Supper (cf. John 13:27) x x Luke 22:3
Jesus tells Peter: "Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat" x x Luke 22:31
Jesus had cast out seven demons from Mary Magdalene [Mark 16:9] x x
Believers will cast out demons in Jesus' name [Mark 16:17] x x

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