Summary: The Gerasene demoniac is a true story and not a parable. It has funny and strange features within; but it is a story that allays our fears and demonstrates the power of our Lord. It relieves our
This sermon was delivered Gordon McCulloch to the congregation at Holy Trinity in Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 23rd June 2019; Holy Trinity is a Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries.
“Please join me in a short prayer.” Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength, and our redeemer. Amen. (Ps. 19:14)
A good few months ago I delivered a sermon on divine healing and am extremely grateful for the enthusiasm it received, this morning I want to introduce another topic which might not be as popular, and that is the topic of deliverance;… you know with the evils sprits and the dark realm … and where better to start that topic than our gospel reading this morning with the Gerasene (JER-uh-seen) demoniac.
Now this is a true story, it’s a story and not a parable as weird as it gets … and it is a story that doesn’t get the attention it deserves and that is a shame, because there is some really good “stuff” in here.
Now, before we start, let us look at the issue that seems to get in the way of engaging with this story and that is the mere mention of the name demonic … because people now-a-days tend to say that they do not believe in the demonic realm with its evil spirits: but these spirit believed in Jesus, (and Paul too of course); and we know that both Jesus and Paul both believed and spoke against this dark realm; so why shouldn’t we.
Many people nowadays seem to know better and dismiss this realm, or maybe they are just really afraid to face up to it; … because they go on to say things like “what possessed you”. What possessed those lone gunmen we here about in the news who brutally kill innocent defenceless bystanders in a cowardly manner at a whim; not those who were planned but those acted without reason. … And yet there may be a reason, there may not … but please keep your mind open on that one; … however we can all agree that such people are hyped up somehow, and totally out control within themselves.
As I have said, we do not do demons these days, at least not very much … because we just do not have a category for them, we don’t understand them, but they are there … and they must be taken seriously because they are frightening, and they are very destructive and Jesus warned us all about them.
But to allay your fears, let me quote the words of Jesus from the great co
mmission, and you will like this this … Jesus said before he ascended, (his last words to the disciples in Mark 16, verse 16 onwards), “… And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. … and these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; … They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover”.
Are we doing or even witnessing all of those things, well no? … Are we the church, well yes? … Are we the followers of Christ? Well yes again, because who else is in a building on a Sunday morning worshipping him. … So we are clearly missing something, or we are not engaging with something, and one of those things we, (or for some who maybe so led), is to cast out devils, or demons as the bible says. …
Now, did you notice the order of those things … that the ability to cast out demons was listed first? … I was taught many years ago that we are told to cast out demons first because it was the easiest of these tasks, and I truly believe that because these demons tremble and run at the name of Jesus.
So with that in mind, we can be more confident in proceeding. … Now a demon or many demons can take control of a person … and we all know this because they can make people do things totally out-with their character. …
I think the closest I could give as a sort of weak analogy, is to recall the saying, “away and get a good get some sleep, as it will look better in the morning”. We have all said that at some time or other,… and in the morning, although we know, that not much will change, we know the person’s perspective of the situation will change; and this change allows them to deal with a difficult situation in a much more rationally and controlled manner.