How are we in a modern age to understand the healing wonders of Jesus in the gospel? How must exorcism be understood? The intention of this paper is to indicate that Jesus' exorcisms are to be understood against the background of the stress factors in the first-century Mediterranean world. The propaganda motive, as well as the competitive milieu in which the texts originated, must be kept in mind when interpreting the healings of Jesus. Jesus' exorcisms are embedded in the structure and institutions of his time. The various institutions in the first-century Mediterranean world must not be understood as separate from one another: they are in fact embedded in each other. The healings of Jesus should be understood as healings of empowerment. Jesus empowers people to cope. He gives authentic meaning to peoples' lives on account of their experience of God's presence.
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