Johann Christoph Blumhardt journeyed to Mottlingen, in southern Germany, in 1838 to pastor a small Lutheran congregation. Things appeared ordinary on his arrival, but what would soon transpire would change the face of modern Christianity.
It all began when a teenager in the congregation, Gottliebin Dittus, exhibited bizarre behavior. After being ill for some time, she started to emit strange noises and convulse. Under deep duress, Gottliebin claimed to encounter strange sights and sounds. Her actions confused everyone in the congregation.
Perhaps no one was more bewildered than her pastor. Blumhardt was a compassionate shepherd desiring to help this troubled young woman. Yet as an educated theologian, he was trained to be a skeptic. The potential for demonic forces affecting one of his parishioners was outside his realm of possibility. Nevertheless, the more Blumhardt interacted with Gottliebin, the more he was convinced that something darker was taking place.
As Blumhardt continued to intercede, Gottliebin’s demonic afflictions became undeniable. This put him into a difficult position. There were no training manuals or classes on demons in 1841. Belief in the cessation of spiritual gifts was not only widespread, it was also another 60 years before the Pentecostal Movement would emerge. Needless to say, Blumhardt had to press in and find answers for himself.
Stumbling at one point, he and Gottliebin prayed together: “Lord Jesus, help us. We have watched long enough what the devil does; now we want to see what the Lord Jesus can do.” Blumhardt continued to intercede, adding fasting to his arsenal as the conflict deepened. Sadly, as he battled it out, the symptoms persisted. Gottliebin continued to exhibit the debilitating effects of darkness for another two years.
The climax to this battle finally came at 2 a.m. on Dec. 28, 1843. Blumhardt was praying with Gottlieben when her sister, Katharina, began to act strangely. She started making violent threats and loudly shrieking. Blumhardt was convinced this was also demonic and stepped up his attack. He began to intercede like never before.
This compassionate pastor pressed into the throne room of heaven, interceding with deep fervor and intensity. You could feel something happening in the room as his prayers advanced. The tide was turning. All at once, Katharina shouted, “Jesus is victor!” and fell silent. Blumhardt looked up and discovered everything was finally at peace. Gottliebin and Katharina were now completely free of all spiritual and physical afflictions.
Blumhardt came to see Gottliebin and Katharina’s deliverance as more than a “sickroom breakthrough.” For him it was a tangible demonstration of creation’s transformation. Through this event, he was convinced Jesus’ authority was truly breaking into history and destroying Satan’s stronghold. For Blumhardt and for us, deliverance, healing and other transformative works enable us to boldly declare, “Jesus is victor!”
In addition to writing and speaking, J.D. King serves as the international director of World Revival Network of Ministries in Kansas City. He enjoys connecting with leaders around the globe to provide resources and encouragement. For more posts like this, you can visit his blog at www.worldrevivalnetwork.blogspot.com. Follow J.D. on Twitter @worldrevival.