Gospel of John 12:31 - "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out."
Recently, a scholarly friend remarked that whereas the synoptic gospels depict Jesus casting out demons as a rather frequently performed miracle, the Gospel of John records no exorcisms. I replied that one could say that the fourth evangelist thinks of the entire cosmos as possessed by Satan.
I've since given the matter a bit of thought, though I've not had time to develop the idea, but here's a little to reflect upon.
The name "Satan" occurs only in John 13:27, where Satan takes particular possession of Judas, but this gospel uses a few other expressions that appear to refer to Satan, for example "the devil" (8:44; 13:2) and "the ruler of this world" (12:31; 14:30; 16:11). The latter expression is of interest for my suggestion that the entire cosmos is possessed by Satan in the fourth gospel. Anyone familiar with John's Gospel will recognize that it presents the cosmos was originally a good creation, a product of the Word's creative power, but that this cosmos has somehow become an evil place. I could spend some time and verses supporting this point, but I don't think that the effort is necessary. My suggestion that the fourth evangelist might think of this evil as a consequence of "possession" rests partly on John 12:31 (Blue Letter Bible):
νῦν κρίσις ἐστὶν τοῦ κόσμου τούτου νῦν ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω (Textus Receptus)I've used the Textus Receptus, but it does not differ from the GNT Morph on this verse, and the King James Version translates the verse as I also would, more or less. Anyway, the expression "shall be cast out" (ἐκβληθήσεται) is the inflected form of the Greek verb for "cast out" (ἐκβάλλω), and this verb is consistently used in the synoptics to describe exorcisms (cf. Matthew 8:16, 31; 9:33, 34; 10:1, 8; 12:24, 25, 27, 28; 17:19; Mark 1:34, 39; 3:15, 22, 23; 6:13; 7:26; 9:18, 28, 38; 16:9, 17; Luke 9:40, 49; 11:14, 15, 18, 19, 20; 13:32).
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (KJV)
None of these synoptic uses of "cast out" for exorcisms demonstrates that the fourth evangelist believed that the cosmos was possessed by Satan and that Satan needed to be exorcised from the cosmos, but the interpretation is intriguing to consider and perhaps deserves more attention. Possibly, others have already broached the issue.
As for the exorcism painting by Goya offered above, it has little to do with John's Gospel, other than borrowing from the scene of John 19:34, where blood comes forth from the pierced side of Jesus.