We read narratives in the four gospels about five instances when the Lord Jesus cast demons out of people. The gospels also refer to other cases, without narrating them.
Now, I’m no art historian. But in my limited study of illuminated gospel manuscripts, I have noticed an interesting style in drawings of Jesus casting out demons. Many medieval artists show the demons exiting through the mouths of the possessed people.
There’s a drawing of Christ on the hillside, with the Gadarene demoniac, with a demon emerging from the possessed man’s mouth. And pictures of a demon exiting the mouth of the man in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Forgive me; I don’t mean to get gross. But these pictures suggest vomiting. It’s like Christ’s power acts as an emetic, driving the power of evil out of the system in a violent convulsion. Hurry, get the bucket! Then: relief. A moment of peace and quiet. Followed by the resumption of normal, healthy bodily operations.
The Catechism says that Jesus’ exorcisms anticipate His great victory over the “ruler of the world”—the victory He won on the cross. The coming of God’s Kingdom means the defeat of Satan’s.
A great convulsion of evil, of undeserved suffering—of genuine ugliness; a moment of terrifying grotesqueness—the innocent Lamb, lacerated, bruised, bloodied to the bone, stretched out under the cruel sky. Who could stand to watch it? They cried and hid their eyes.
But then: the peace of Christ. The world made right and whole again. Healthy life resuming—undying life, which nothing can crush.