As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet Him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town. As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of Him. Then he screamed, “Why are You interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg You, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was placed under guard and put in chains and shackles, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon’s power. Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, for he was filled with many demons. The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged Him to let them enter into the pigs. So Jesus gave them permission.
Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned. When the herdsmen saw it, they fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been freed from the demons. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. Then those who had seen what happened told the others how the demon-possessed man had been healed. And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them. So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake. The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with Him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, “No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.Luke 8:27-33
I am going to try to do the impossible, handle this whole pericope in one Gem. I will do my best. Some bits I will skip over. But will try to cover this in one go. Hang on to your hat, here we go.
The encounter between Jesus and this possessed man was a God encounter. The point of the Biblical text is that this man “encountered” Jesus. As Jesus stepped on to the shore, there he was. Quite by chance! Is anything with God by “chance”? Jesus is singled out in the story. Clearly the disciples were with him but the verb is singular. Just Jesus and the man are in focus. The meeting was designed but not by Jesus or by the man himself.
Mark and Luke record one man coming to Jesus. Matthew says there were two. Should we make much of this or is it majoring on minors? The little differences between Gospel accounts are not a big issue. So Matthew says two; Mark and Luke pick out one. It doesn’t make one account right and the other wrong. It is coming from human eye witness perspective. A detective once told me in a God’s Awesome Book seminar that when interviewing eye witnesses in terms of what they saw, the police actually look for those little differences between the stories to corroborate that it is true. One sees one person; another sees two. That’s what we humans do. Ask any husband and wife when they compare accounts as to what they each saw happen.
This man who is in focus in Luke and Mark came from the city or town of Gadara but he lived naked among the tombs. The reason is found in verse 29. He was uncontrollable and a danger to himself and to others. Hence he was likely banished from the town in order to keep from being in close proximity to other people. In my experience often demon activity in a person’s life comes with a manifestation of extraordinary strength. I have deliberately by-passed issues of demon possession or oppression.
- Can a Christian have a demon within?
- What is the comparison of multiple personality disorders and the entry of multiple demons, not just one.
- Why does this text seem to infer one demon named Legion – multiplied numbers of demons present?
Because in my experience there are certain combinations of demons which operate together in combo. There is much to comment on here but like I said I am going to skip some elements of this story. If you want to know more on this topic keep digging or ask me personally.
The point of encounter between them both is fascinating. It is what many call “a power encounter”. In this story two kingdoms are coming into confrontation. The kingdom of God (Light) and the Kingdom of the Evil One (Darkness). Note what happens:
As soon as he saw Jesus,
fell down in front of Him.
Then he screamed,”Why are You interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”
“Please, I beg You, don’t torture me!”
The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit.
These are all classic responses of the demonic world to an encounter with Jesus or the Jesus in you. I have had several experiences where I have been approached by someone seeking help but then when I have responded, their response is to avoid me even though they have been the one to ask for help. It is like there is a battle going on inside them. That is because the Holy Spirit or their own desperation is prodding them to seek help while the demonic world knows to keep them away from a power encounter at any costs. Even to the point of screaming out a confession as to who Jesus is or who we are as servants of Him. I have had a woman scream at me “You stay away from me you man of God.” The demonic world recognizes the presence of Jesus and His Spirit. It shouldn’t surprise us. Note the final response is one of capitulation. The demonic world knows it is a lost cause. They know they are ultimately doomed and are simply putting up the last resistance. There is much more to be said here but I will move on. I have bypassed the issue of whether demons need to be named in order to come out of a person. You figure it out or ask the One who knows.
I will make one more comment on this and will hold the aftermath of the incident until the next Gem. Notice that the demons are given permission to enter the pigs. They in fact ask for that to be granted. Why? Because they fear being sent to the abyss prematurely. They will ultimately be sent to the abyss, the lake of fire. They just don’t want it to happen now. So they would rather go into the pigs. The presence of pigs indicates this is a Gentile area. Note too the use of [kremnos] which means steep slope, bank or cliff. The presence of this word doesn’t give us a clue to the location and the rightness of the names of the places. It could be a steep slope as in the case of Gergesa or it could be the cliffs of the ravine at Gadara but it is not anywhere near the lake in that case. Lastly note the demons behave in the pigs just as they behaved in the man. The pigs one moment were eating peacefully on the slopes and then they were whipped into a frenzy and rushed headlong to their deaths. At least the demons were being consistent. Satan and the demonic world are always out to rob, kill and destroy.
I didn’t manage to cover it in one gem, but I did exercise great self control and resisted pausing and investigating at every turn. I have deliberately by-passed numbers of issues here. Some controversial, others directly linked to the demonic. I know that disturbs some people so haven’t put it out there. But if you want to talk more about it, you know where to find me.
God’s power in your life is determined by whether you pray in just special times or all the time. Prayerlessness limits God.Rick Warren
The greatness of a man’s power is in the measure of his surrender.William Booth
If we are not seeking the Lord, the Devil is seeking us.Charles Spurgeon
One thought becomes a consideration which develops into an attitude, which leads then to action. An action repeated becomes a habit which establishes a “power base for the enemy,” that is, a stronghold.Elisabeth Elliot
We forget the power of the One we approach; it’s best to make sure your seat belt is firmly fastened in church.Ian Vail