Summary: Jesus commissions a former demoniac to be a missionary to a group of people who just rejected Him. Neither were worthy, but that didn’t stop Jesus.
Intro: A man often walked through a cemetery on his way home. One night, though, unaware that a new grave had been dug in his path, he tumbled in. For some time he struggled to get out of the 7 foot deep grave, but finally gave up and settled down for the night.
An hour later, a farmer out possum hunting came walking through the cemetery and he too fell into the grave. He began a desperate attempt to get out, unaware that there was anyone else in the grave. The first man listened to him for a few minutes, then reached over in the pitch darkness and laid a hand on his shoulder. "You can’t get out of here,” the man said to the farmer. But the farmer did.
To the Jews of that day, even to touch a grave was to be unclean for 7 days. (Numbers 19:16)
The demoniac of Gerasenes didn’t just wake up one morning and say: "Hey, I’m demon possessed." This wasn’t something he was born with. OR something that he just came down with (like the flu or a cold).
Somewhere in this man’s life, he made a conscious decision that he wanted to be free. He wanted to be free of God’s influence. He wanted to be free from restrictions & responsibilities of life. He wanted to be free to do what he wanted to do.
And now, as a demoniac, he’s become free… No shackle can bind him, no chain can hold him. He’s no longer bound by social conventions that tell him how to dress and or how to behave. He has no responsibilities to society - because society no longer wants him.
He has become totally free…
But his freedom cost him more than he could’ve ever imagined it would.
Illustration: For the Christian, there are two extremes that must be avoided with reference to satanic activity. As C. S. Lewis aptly put it:
There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, can be hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.
Charles Colson, Against the Night, p. 46.
(v. 1-6) The demonic was out of control physically and mentally, and had a mixed response to Jesus. School shootings; terrorist attacks
The encounter is explosive. The disciples’ boat beaches near a graveyard and a herd of pigs. Both are ritually and culturally unclean for Jews. As Jesus steps out, a crazy man storms out of a cavern. Wild hair. Bloody wrists. Scratched skin. Fury encased in flesh. Naked bedlam. Arms flailing and voice screaming. The apostles gawk and gulp and put a foot back in the boat.
He had an inner spiritual problem. The people tried to help him by restraining him physically when his problem was spiritual. All laws and regulations can do is treat the outer man, it just affects the behaviors without touching the source. No laws could change this man. No code of moral standards could free him. Most of us know what Christian behavior is and is not. But I am saying that a list of laws won’t change your heart, and that’s the part that needs changed.