In today’s passage we see one of the many times that Jesus drove out of demons from those whom they had possessed. We must remember that demon-possessed people suffer under satanic control or influence because evil spirits have literally taken up residence in their bodies. In the situation that this passage describes, Jesus freed the man described from the severe satanic oppression that had troubled him for some time. Yet, the townspeople described here seemed more concerned about the business losses of pig owners than they were about the spiritual misery of the man who had been demon-possessed. It seemed to them far easier to accept the ruin of this man’s life than to face the power and authority that Jesus was revealing.
They came to the other side of the sea, to the region of the Gerasenes. As soon as he got out of the boat, a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met him. He lived in the tombs, and no one was able to restrain him anymore—not even with a chain— because he often had been bound with shackles and chains, but had torn the chains apart and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains, he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and knelt down before him. And he cried out with a loud voice, “What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you before God, don’t torment me!” For he had told him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
“What is your name?” he asked him.
“My name is Legion,” he answered him, “because we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the region.
A large herd of pigs was there, feeding on the hillside. The demons begged him, “Send us to the pigs, so that we may enter them.” So he gave them permission, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned there.
The men who tended them ran off and reported it in the town and the countryside, and people went to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the man who had been demon-possessed, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and told about the pigs. Then they began to beg him to leave their region.
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged him earnestly that he might remain with him. Jesus did not let him but told him, “Go home to your own people, and report to them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.” So he went out and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and they were all amazed.
Clearly the man described here had deficiency needs (D-needs) and still had D-needs, but the key to this story is that the man chose to seek fulfillment of those needs from the wrong source. For you see, clearly at some point in time the devil had whispered in this mans ear, not literally whispered in his ear but figuratively, that he (the devil) could fulfill all this man’s D-needs. And clearly this man listened and decided to open his life, his heart and his mind up to the devil. And as you can imagine the devil took full advantage of this opportunity to ruin someone’s life and to keep him from fulfilling his full potential.
However, this is not the end of the story, because Jesus comes along. And what does he do? Does he tell the man you have brought this on yourself, so go and clean your life up first and then come back to me and we’ll talk? No, Jesus instead drives out the demons that have ruined this man’s life, even though his actions early in life had left him wide open to the forces of darkness. This should serve as a reminder to us as followers of Christ to never judge others and to welcome all who are coming with genuinely seeking to find Christ and to live out their lives’ to his fullest potential.
And now we come to the most crucial part of this story. Jesus told this man to tell his friends about the miraculous healing. Most of the time, Jesus urged those he healed to quiet. Why the difference here? There are three reasons why this time was different.
- The demon-possessed man had been alone and unable to speak. And telling others what Jesus had done for him would that he was healed.
- This was mainly a Gentile and pagan area, so Jesus was not expecting great crowds to follow him or religious leader to hinder him.
- By sending the man away with this good news, Jesus was expanding his ministry to people who were not Jews, which includes most of you.
This man had been demon-possessed but became a living example of Jesus’ power. He wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go home and share his story with his friends. If you have experienced Jesus’ power in your life, are you, like this man, enthusiastically sharing the good news with those around you? Just as we would tell others about a doctor who cured a physical disease, we should tell about Christ who cures our sin and fulfills all our needs.
Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:
Leviticus 11-12, Mark 5:21-43, Psalm 38:1-22, Proverbs 10:8-9