Summary: Jesus battles demoniacs and wins.
Power over Spirits
Halloween on a Sunday, this should be fun. I am actually really excited about this because our text today is perfect. We are in Luke 8:26. I didn’t plan this it just so happened that in our text this morning we are dealing with a demon possessed man. What a perfect text for a Halloween Sunday. Now our culture has developed a bit of an unhealthy interest in the spiritual realm. Ghosts and demons are popular subjects for books and movies. Some people even get obsessed with this unseen world. Now as a pastor I have had to deal with this, it is not my primary ministry and I don’t like to talk about it very often but I have dealings with demonic spirits and I will tell you there is nothing fun or exciting about it. It is creepy and it is it is exhausting.
This particular encounter is pretty unfortunate. If you remember Jesus temptation in the wilderness came after Jesus had been fasting for forty day and was weak. This is a similar problem, Jesus is already exhausted. He has been very busy touring from town to town around the Sea of Galilee and finally completely wiped out Jesus and His disciples get in a boat and sail across the lake. Jesus needs a day off. He needs some time to rest and recover from the ministry He was doing.
They probable left Capernaum around 7:00 pm probably just after sunset. Then due to the storm it would have taken several hours to cross the lake putting their arrival likely just before midnight. Jesus and the disciples arrive at a small city named Gerasa which was only about a half mile from the shore. This is the only place on the lake where the cliff is close enough to the water for pigs to rush down and drown. The other side of the lake across from Capernaum is Gentile territory. These are not Godly people, they are pagans which is seen in the fact they are farming pigs. This Gerasa area has a narrow bank along the lake that runs into tall limestone cliffs which were full of caves. Many of these caves would be used as tombs for burying the dead.
Lk 8:26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. Lk 8:27 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.
So here is the deal: this man is being controlled by evil spirits. Now Jesus talks about and deals with demons so we know they exist. From this text we know they can take control of, or possess people. That does not mean that every person in your life who you don’t like is possessed by a demon. The two errors of the Western Christian mindset are to either reject the existence of demons entirely or to see them everywhere. What we know is that demons do exist. For anyone who is not a true believer, for non-Christians it is possible for them to open themselves up to be taken over by an evil spirit.
Satan is real. He is opposed to God. He is evil. He is controlling. He is absolutely destructive. Satan is a liar whose greatest work is deception. This guy’s life was not made better by his connection to demons. He stayed alone outside of town, living among the dead, sleeping in tombs. The people were so afraid of him that they tried chaining him up but when that didn’t work they just stayed away from him. He inflicts pain on himself and others if he can and he runs around naked.
This is where we get our formula for bad horror movies: something scary, something supernatural, something hard to explain, tombs, and people running around naked. It has all the right ingredients. So we have this nudist demoniac who runs up to Jesus and falls at His feet. The man is naked with no regard for personal dignity, he is socially isolated, and yet he recognizes Jesus deity. What we see throughout Jesus ministry is that when He comes in contact with a demon the demons tend to freak out. Demons see what the religious people don’t: that Jesus is the Son of God.
Lk 8:28 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!” Lk 8:29 For Jesus had commanded the evil 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. Lk 8:30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. Lk 8:31 And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.