“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
“Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11
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“When Jesus stepped ashore, He was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at His feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man…..The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:26-39
This is really a story about God’s heart and to what extent He will go to rescue one human being. What a God, what a Rescuer, what a rescue, what a story! some of what we can reflect upon and ponder in this encounter includes:
“The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:38-39
God Wins – Again, or… What’s the fruit of obedience?
When Jesus is about to leave and sail back to Capernaum with His still-in-the-boat disciples, this rescued and restored ex-demoniac wants to get into the boat with Him. Who can blame him from wanting to be attached to Jesus’ side? While Jesus’ response may initially seem harsh, Jesus has a purpose for this newly rescued and restored person. He gives him a task: return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you (8:39). Notice how Luke then records it: so he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him. To this newly freed person, Jesus is God.
“When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them,because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.” Luke 8:34-37
Plan A and Plan B
What’s going on here? Well, the Adversary has not given up yet! If his frontal assault with “The Perfect Storm”, as they crossed the Sea, wasn’t successful in keeping Jesus out of his territory, he has a backup plan. If he can wreck a major piece of the local agrarian economy, and make it appear as if jesus is the reason for this “disastrous” outcome, maybe the people will force Him to leave. And that is exactly what happens. Rather than being overjoyed that a demoniac has been freed in what was an off-the-charts Richter scale of exorcism miracles, the town’ people are angry with Jesus over the loss of their boars. Can it be that boars are more valued than a miraculously rescued human being.
“Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lakeand was drowned.” Luke 8:30-33
The “fight” for his soul doesn’t take long. The demons know they are out of their league with Jesus. They know exactly who He is: Yeshua, the Lord’s Rescuer. So they try to “cut a deal” and plead with Jesus not to command them to go away into the abyss (8:31). Rather, permit us to enter those boars on the hillside (swine is a word that Western translators have used to help us relate to this scene). Jesus consents to their request. As a result, 2,000 boars run straight down to the edge of the sea and drown. What’s amazing about this is that everyone in this culture knows that boars are good swimmers.
“When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.” Luke 8:27-29
Can You Relate?
Have you ever had a time in your life when no one likes you, wants you, or sees any value in you? Can you imagine what it must be like not to belong to anyone? To have no home, no friends, and no one who even cares about you? To be someone utterly alone and totally forgotten?
This demoniac has accumulated PhD’s in abandonment, humiliation and rejection. How worthless and hopeless does that feel? What might years of absorbing that kind of pain do to your psyche and your soul? He is not even a nobody – he’s less than. And yet the compassionate heart of the Father passionately beats for this demoniac with the same intensity as it does for His only begotten Son and for us (a Perfect God only has one intensity of love – Perfect).
“When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.” Luke 8: 27-29
Not a Pretty Picture
Mark 5 lends more information on the condition of the demoniac. In the lands surrounding Palestine, demonic possession in Jesus’ day was not uncommon. Demon worship and even dedicating one’s child to the Devil was not unheard of. Thus, it could be that this no-name person has been demon-possessed for quite some time. This demoniac is not a pretty sight. His arms and legs are most likely ringed with concentric layers of scar tissue, the result of repeatedly pulling at the chains that others used to try and confine him to this place of the living dead. Now free of those chains (Mk. 5:3), he tortures himself by gashing his body with stones. Some of his recent wounds might still be oozing puss and blood. From both a physical and a spiritual perspective, he is nauseating and repulsive to behold!
Here are twelve main things we need to be taught in this life by the Lord:
- How to control our tongue? (Job 6:24)
- Which path should I take in life? (Psalm 25:4)
- What is God’s Way? (Psalm 27:11, Psalm 86:11)
- What I should say to God? (Job 37:19)
- What is Truth? (Psalm 25:5)
- Understanding that my days here on earth should teach me wisdom (Psalm 90:12)
- What is the way of His statutes and how we apply them to our lives? (Psalm 119:33)
- To learn how to pray (Luke 11:1)
- God’s Judgments (Psalm 119:66,108)
- What is God’s will for our lives? (Psalm 143:10)
- What are God’s statutes? (Psalm 119:12,26,64 and 68,124,135)
- Knowledge comes from Him (Psalm 119:66)
“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Matthew 23:12-13
The bible makes it clear that we need to be dispensers of grace and be teachable.
- Galatians 5:25,26 “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
- Proverbs 19:11: “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
- Proverbs 23:23: “Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.”