Summary: Luke shows us two very different ways in handling evil/s in our world/lives +The people of Gerasenes who believed in the philosophy of Tolerance and Maintenance +Jesus who believed in the ministry of Transformation and making Disciples
Theme: Jesus' D-Day Invasion
In this passage we see two very different approaches in dealing with sin/evil in our world and in our lives:
1. We see the community's (Gerasenes) philosophy of TOLERANCE and MAINTENANCE
2. We see Jesus who believed in a ministry of TRANSFORMATION and MAKING DISCIPLES
Peace and Grace from God our Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Seventy two years ago this month our world started changing for the better. It started on five beaches called Utah, Omaha, Gold, June and Sword. On the morning of June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50 mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline; to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, "we will accept nothing less than full victory." More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft were involved in the invasion. By the end of the day, the Allies had for the first time gained a foot-hold in Nazi held territory. It came at a tremendous cost. More than 10,000 Allied Soldiers were either killed or wounded. But their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 soldiers to begin their slow, hard march across Europe to defeat Adolf Hitler's Nazi Regime.
Our world is free today thanks to the blood, sweat and tears shed by all those brave men and women. Their stories are stuff of legends. Two of those legends were Britain's Private Robert Jones1 and American Brig. General Theodore Roosevelt Junior, the youngest and the oldest soldiers to fight that day.
Private Jones had lied about his age so that he could join the British Army. He was barely 16 years old when he and 13th (Lancashire) Parachute Battalion’s ‘A’ Company parachuted into battle that day. Brig. General Roosevelt, on the other hand was 56 years of age, suffering with major heart problems along with arthritis when he came ashore with the 4th Infantry Division. Even though he was the son of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and could have had a cushy job back in the states, Roosevelt wanted to be with his men when they hit the shores.
The D- Day invasion had been a long time coming. For over ten years the world had watched and attempted to tolerate Hitler as he rose to power in Germany. They watched as he pulled together the Nazi Party. At first British Prime Minister Chamberlain and other world leaders thought everyone could simply tolerated Hitler. They thought he and his Nazi force could be maintained. Even when Germany began to systematically invade neighboring countries it was felt that there was no still no need to confront Hitler. The major powers at that time believed that an all our war could be avoided.
By 1939 the philosophy of maintaining and tolerating Hitler was now seen as a mistake. His Nazi war machine was on the move. Like dominos falling, the Germans conquered Czechoslovakia, Poland, Holland, Norway, France and were on their way to overtake Britain. Everyone now knew that Hitler and his army could not be maintained or tolerated. No matter what the cost the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan had to be stopped.
In our Lukan passage this morning, we see another invasion. It too was an invasion that took place along a beach front. Only instead of it being Omaha or Utah it happened on the sands outside the Gentile city of Gerasenes. And instead of it being a military invasion it was a spiritual invasion led by our LORD Jesus Christ and his disciples.
The city of Gerasenes was located directly opposite the Sea of Galilee. It's citizens were made up of Syrians, Greeks and Romans. The area was a part of the Decapolis, a series of 10 communities that the Romans supported so that they could have a political and military presence in the Holy Land. These cities served as key military, economic and political land bases.
Many of these same cities had been founded centuries earlier by Alexander the Great after his armies conquered the Holy Land. It was Alexander's dream that the whole world would come under the influence of Greek culture in the areas of religion, language, philosophy, political structure, and values. He wanted to transform the whole world into a Greek state.
So, he started planting Greek cities throughout his empire. His plan was ingenious. Rather than deport the local populations he would infiltrate it with enough Greek citizens and ideas that over time they would make over the area. He died before he could make his dream a reality, but his successors continued with his plan. This area of Gerasenes was a part of that plan.
Later on during the time of the Maccabeans (167 - 64/63 BC) when the Jews wrestled back control of their homeland they did their best to eradicate these cities. They did their best to get rid of Hellenistic philosophy, culture and religion but by that time they were too well ingrained. These cities along with their influence were here to stay. Later on, when the Romans conquered the Holy Land, (starting in 63 BC) these cities were given even more money and protection. Rome saw them as tools to fight back against radical Judaism.