Summary: How can my life be transformed by the power of Christ?
In middle east culture, one’s name often said something about their character. When Abram was called to become the father of a great
nation, he took on the name, “Abraham,” which means “father of a multitude.” When Jacob encountered the Lord, his name changed from Jacob, “deceiver” to “Israel,” meaning “struggles with God.” Simon, after his confession that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” was given the name “Peter” by Jesus Himself, a name meaning, “the rock.” After Saul of Tarsus was converted on the Damascus road, he later took the name “Paul,” meaning “small,” or “humble.” So, when one was asked their name, they were being asked to tell
something about themselves. This man’s name was “Legion,” he said, “for we are many,” referring to the demons who tormented him. What Jesus was doing was calling him to be honest about his circumstance.
His life was characterized by: Disorientation - v. 3-4, Death - v. 5a, Despair - v. 5b, and Destruction - v. 5c. He was at the end of his rope and somehow, despite the hold the demons had upon him, he recognized that Jesus held the key to his being delivered from a life of misery. How was He delivered? The same way we are delivered today.
1. He acknowledged his sin - v. 9b
Before this man could be delivered from his enslavement to sin and Satan, he had to be honest about his circumstances. In the same way, if one is going to be delivered by the power of Christ today, he must be honest about the seriousness of his sin. Sin can be deceitful.
It is doubtful that this man’s enslavement to sin and Satan began as dramatically as it was when Jesus met him. What we have described here is the end result of a life lived apart from God. No doubt, at one time his involvement with sin and his entanglement with Satan were hardly noticeable to anyone. At one time, he was probably a socially acceptable member of society. Like some of you, he probably didn’t think he was a “bad” person at all. But eventually, sin and Satan got the better of him and led him to this awful end. Sin is like that. At first, it is easily excused and justified as being insignificant or innocent. But in the end, its effects are deadly.
“Sin will take you farther than you ever thought you’d stray; and sin will keep you longer than you ever thought you’d stay; and sin will cost you far more than you ever thought you’d pay.” - Anonymous
An athlete was pulled into an unusual experiment through a bet. A friend bet him that he couldn’t endure one pint of water being dropped on his hand, one drop at a time from a height of three feet. The athlete thought this was a sure win so he accepted the wager. A pint of water can produce 11,520 single drops. After 300 drops, his hand was hurting, but he kept going. By the 420th drop the battle was over. He quit. His hand was red and badly swollen. Sin is like that. One sin at a time may not seem like much, but the cumulative
effect is painful and destructive.
Perhaps you’ve reached the point with your sin that the athlete had reached with the drops of water. You’ve had enough. Like “Legion,” you’re tired of the pain and the hurt associated with living for yourself and living for sin. Though the desperation of your situation is not as
outwardly apparent as was his, it is nevertheless just as real. You’re ready for a change. Good for you. You’re part way there. Next . . .
2. He acknowledge his brokenness - vs. 3-5
A farmer was traveling along a country road. He came on a boy who was looking in dismay at a huge load of hay that had fallen from his wagon. The farmer had pity on the boy and he said, “I’m on my way to lunch. Join me. After eating and resting a bit we’ll return here get this load back on your wagon.” The boy replied, “I don’t think my dad would like me to do that.” But the farmer prevailed and the boy went with him. Two hours later, rested and refreshed, they returned to the wagon. As they began reloading the hay onto the wagon, the farmer expressed concern that the boy had been given such a heavy responsibility. “Where is your father?” he asked the boy. The boy replied, “He’s under the load of hay!”
That may be how you feel - like an entire load has been dumped on you and everyone has left you. That’s what had happened with this man. Various attempts had been made to help him “get it together,” without success. Everyone had given up. Nothing had worked. He was broken.