Summary: We too can sit at Jesus' feet restored --- forgiven for all of our sins ---- because of His atoning death for us on the cross and His glorious resurrection.
June 19, 2016
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost Year C
Text Luke 8:26 - 39
Earlier in Luke Chapter 8 we see that while Jesus and the disciples were sailing across the sea of Galilee to the Gerasenes ------ normally a short trip by boat ----- a nasty, life threatening, storm came up. Jesus calmed the storm and the disciples asked a question. Who is this that he can command even winds and water? The following incident with the demon possessed man should have helped them to better answer this question. Let's review today's reading.
26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes,---A Gentile Region --- which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss That is Hell.
32 A large herd of pigs ---- Mark's account of this event states 2000, --- was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission.33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them,because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
Actually, the problem with Satan and the demons has been with us since Genesis 3 when the deceiver made an offer that Eve and Adam could not refuse. Today's encounter with the demonic is but another battle in a long war. To further illustrate this, lets go to Luke 8:4ff where Jesus teaches using the parable of the sower. He talks about some of the seed ---- the word of God --- falling among the thorns and the thorns growing and choking the good seed. These are those who hear the Gospel message but are choked by life's worries and the deceitfulness of wealth and pleasures. They do not mature as disciples and may eventually fall away. Verse 33 says When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. Some translations --- King James for example ---- say they rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were choked. The original Greek text uses the same word in both places which can be translated as choked. The disciples and readers of the original Greek text would have got this connection. They would have seen, in the choking herd, a vivid illustration of how the world and the distractions of the world often separate us from our call to follow Christ. ( Jason Zirbel June 23, 2013 LCMSSERMONS.com )
Now my research tells me that pigs can swim. Obviously the demons were in complete control. The pigs did not voluntarily die. The demons chose suicide by swine as their way out. Isn't this what some demon possessed people do when they provoke situations that result in suicide by cop?
Our demons, unchallenged, left to run amok, can certainly destroy both body and soul in hell. (Math 10:28) Think of some of the things that act like demons, that are placed in our lives by the demonic such as alcohol, drugs, behavioral addictions. These can kill both body and soul wrecking havoc on the victim and families and friends. Luke tells us of other encounters between Jesus and the demonic.