Summary: Jesus specializes in turning a madman into a man who makes a difference.
This is a profound, provocative passage of scripture – in the event of a maniac (madman) from Gadara.
Look at this man – wiry, bristly, clumpy hair. A beard to his chest, ribboned with blood. Furtive eyes, darting in all directions, refusing to fix. Naked. No sandals to protect himself from the rocks of the ground. No clothing to protect his skin from the rocks of his hand. He beats himself with stones. And bruises blotch his skin like ink stains. Open sores and gashes attract flies from the nearby Galilean slums. Hostile. Abandoned. Burdened. Bruised.
He is aloof and detached, separated and isolated from proper and typical society, chief of which his address is the Paradise of his day – cemetery. His home is a limestone mausoleum, a graveyard of Galilean shoreline caves cut out of the cliffs and clefts. Apparently he feels more secure among the dead than the living. Which pleases the living. Do you see the cracked shackles on his legs and broken chains on his wrists? Simply put, they can’t control this boy. Nothing holds him – nothing. After all, how can you manage chaos? The Bible tells us (Matthew 8:28) that travelers skirt the area of the Gergesenes (Matthew’s name to ascribe the location) out of fear. Those going to bury their family members were afraid. The villagers were left with a problem, and we are left with a picture – a picture of the work of Satan.
After all, how else do we explain our bizarre behavior as humanity? The violent rages of a father/husband who would kill his pregnant wife – a mother/wife who would drown her five children in a middle-class Houston community – the sudden rebellion of a teenager – lying, cheating, stealing, domestic abuse, molestation, rape, etc. It is clear that Satan does not sit still.
I. The Demonic World is as Real as the Divine
The Devil is no fairy tale. The Demonic World is not folklore or myth. It is as real as it is terrible, and it happens every day.
• Not only from without but also from within
As real as are the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and angels, just as real are the Devil, the Antichrist, false prophets and demons.
It is said that the greatest accomplishment of the Devil is the convince people that he doesn’t exist. (he would try to convince you that some of the events in your life were accidental, happenstance, fate – because he knows if he can convince you to believe that lie, then you are only a step closer to killing yourself – which is really the abortion of God’s own plan > in you as well as through you…not because of you.) He is more than a man in a red suit with a pitchfork, the Devil is real. And you only deceive yourself by scoffing at the reality of Satan and the demonic forces who do his bidding.
- Deny it at your hurt
- Ignore it at your own detriment
- Reject it at your own loss …… but the Devil is real.
Note: Everything is not the Devil’s fault. Obsession with the demonic is just as obsessive as the denial of it.
• You cannot read the Bible without seeing the presence of Satan from start to finish.
- he was in the Garden of Eden
- he brought disaster into Job’s life
- a demonic spirit afflicted King Saul
- Satan moved King David to sin against God by counting his victorious army
- The answer to Daniel’s prayer was delayed because a demonic spirit fought against Gabriel and Michael
- Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus was constantly rebuking and casting out demons. The pattern continued with the apostles in the Book of Acts.
- Thankfully, the closing chapters of the apoclypse, Revelation, tell of Satan’s final defeat.
Until then, Peter speaks of the reality of the demonic world in his first letter chapter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the Devil is as a roaring, prowling lion seeking whom he may destroy. Resist him, firm in the faith.
The word SOBER is SOPHRONEO, meaning sound thinking without circumstantial, psychological or ethical block. In a nutshell – the devil is real.
James exhorts us, “Therefore, submit to God, But resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
It is not uncommon to hear people refer to their bad habits or emotional hang-ups as ‘my demons.’ What o you think the Gerasene demoniac would say about that expression if he were here today? Likely something like this: “Man, don’t even talk to me about having demons! But if you’ve got one, I know who can set you free!
If you don’t believe that the Demonic is real back up to chapter 4, Jesus has just finished his teaching – He then constrains His disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side. During their venture, the encounter a mighty storm, boisterous waves, clamoring wind, etc. They are fearful,,,Jesus is asleep on a pillow. They awake Jesus and query, “Master, do you not care that we perish?” He says, “peace be still.” None the less, the waves are quiet. “What manner of man is this?….” They are in a place of utopia, euphoria. But as soon as they hit the shore, the Devil is there.