A Word for Today | Luke 8:26-39
Jesus’ miraculous deliverance of the man known as “the Gadarene demoniac” provides one of the more chilling depictions in all Scripture of what the reign of sin is all about. Jesus had crossed the Sea of Galilee with His disciples, calming the storm en route. Arriving on the other side in a Gentile region, He was immediately confronted by “a man from the city who had demons” (Lk. 8:27). Luke tells us three things about this demon-possessed man. First, he was naked, having for a long time “worn no clothes” (Lk. 8:27). Second, he lived in solitary places, dwelling not “in a house but among the tombs” (Lk. 8:27). Third, the poor man had a bestial strength so that no bonds could hold him (Lk. 8:29). Mark’s version adds: “Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones” (Mk. 5:5). It is hard to imagine a more painful vision of what the reign of Satan and sin aims to produce in the lives of men and women. Created to bear God’s image, the man reflects the character of demons; called to fruitful service, he stalks and destroys; intended for outward righteousness and inward bliss, the demoniac is naked and horrid; he is restless and anguished of body and soul. This picture represents what the Bible says is the destiny of everyone apart from Christ, showing the end result of the ungodly lifestyle that Paul describes in Ephesians 2:2: “following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”
Jesus arrived and asked the man for his name. He answered: “Legion,” for “many demons had entered him” (Lk.8:30). What is fascinating is that the demons knew exactly who Jesus was, for when they saw Jesus the demons had the man fall down and cry: “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” (Lk. 8:28). Isn’t it fascinating that the demons knew exactly who Jesus was! Yet, this episode proves that a mere knowledge of Jesus does not save. James 2:19 says: “Even the demons believe—and shudder!” Notice, as well, that the demons (Mark says there were about 2000 in this man) did not even contemplate opposition to Jesus. They instead pleaded: “I beg you, do not torment me” (Lk. 8:28), and “begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss” (Lk. 8:31). Jesus therefore (since the time for His final judgment had not yet come) cast them out of the man and into a herd of pigs, which immediately ran off a cliff and perished (Lk. 8:33).
In this episode we see an example of why Christians should rely on prayer in our struggle with darkness and evil. This poor demon-possessed man had no power in himself to oppose even one demon, much less thousands. Neither do we on our own! But what we cannot do, Jesus can do easily by means of His divine and omnipotent power. Satan wants to hold the world in the darkness of despair (2 Cor. 4:4), but Jesus has the power to shine light and open eyes. So let us rely on prayer in our evangelism. And in every dark circumstance, when Christians find ourselves beset by powers of evil and death, let us remember the cringing demons on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The Lord who was able to command the winds and the waves in the storm is also able to conquer the demons that await His people. What a Savior! And if Jesus cared enough about this one demon-possessed Gentile to cross the sea for his salvation, how much more will Jesus watch over His flock and deliver us from all evil!
In Christ’s Love,