Summary: The account of Jesus healing a man with a demon will teach us about the power of Jesus over demons.
In chapter 8 of Luke’s Gospel, he answers the question, “Who then is this?” (8:25). In four different accounts he shows that Jesus has power over nature, demons, disease, and death.
Last time we examined Jesus’ power over nature when he calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Today we are going to examine Jesus’ power over demons in the country of the Gerasenes.
Let’s read about Jesus healing a man with a demon in Luke 8:26-39:
26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” 29 For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. 32 Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.
34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 36 And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. 37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:26-39)
C. S. Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters:
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 and hail a materialist and magician with the same delight.
Our modern culture tends to disbelieve in the existence of demons. On the other hand, less well-developed cultures tend to believe in the existence of demons.
The fact is that demons really do exist. They work to advance their agenda, which is to keep people as citizens of the kingdom of Satan, that is, the kingdom of darkness.
Luke describes Jesus’ encounter with a man possessed by demons to show us Jesus’ power over demons.
The account of Jesus healing a man with a demon in Luke 8:26-39 will teach us about the power of Jesus over demons.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Setting (8:26-27, 29b)
2. The Plea (8:28-29a, 30-31)
3. The Deliverance (8:32-33)
4. The Effect (8:34-36)
5. The Reaction (8:37a)
6. The Commission (8:37b-39)
I. The Setting (8:26-27, 29b)
First, let’s look at the setting for the healing.
After Jesus calmed the storm on the lake, Jesus and his disciples continued their voyage, and they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee (8:26).
The country of the Gerasenes is on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Matthew calls it “the country of the Gadarenes” (Matthew 8:28). Liberal scholars contend that Scripture is in error because the name of the place is different in the two Gospels. However, A. T. Robertson clears up the confusion:
The long famous instance of “discrepancy” as to the place in this narrative has been cleared up in recent years by the decision of textual critics that the correct text in Luke is Gerasenes, as well as in Mark, and by Dr. Thomson’s discovery of a ruin on the lake shore, named Khersa (Gerasa). If this village was included (a very natural supposition) in the district belonging to the city of Gadara, some miles south-eastward, then the locality could be described as either in the country of the Gadarenes, or in the country of the Gerasenes.