Summary: There is no doubt that Jesus did a mighty act in delivering this demoniac from his bondage. There was a cost. There is always a cost involved. ... The response of those in the community of the Garsenes echoes how some people in world might have the same kind of response to the cost of redemption.
THE COST OF REDEMPTION
Text: Luke 8:26-39
This story is filled with all kinds of things that we could mention. Perhaps, the main things is the cost of redemption. What is that cost? Someone (Mel Lawrence) once said, “Redemption is God’s mighty act of delivering us from anything or anyone that holds us in bondage”. (The Complete Guide To Christian Quotations. Uhrichsville: Ohio, 2011, p. 374). There is no doubt that Jesus did a mighty act in delivering this demoniac from his bondage. There was a cost. There is always a cost involved. If there is a cost, then we would have to say that there is often a misplaced value that is sometimes put on that cost. The response of those in the community of the Garsenes echoes how some people in world might have the same kind of response to the cost of redemption. How we view the “cost factor” seems to shape the way we look at the condition, domination and liberation of the demoniac.
THE CONDITION OF THE DEMONIAC
It appears that the demoniac had to be restrained because of the fact that he was potentially dangerous. Do you blame the Garasenes for restraining him? If you ever watch one of the cop shows on tv, then you will notice, when they handcuff a suspect, they do so because of the potential for danger. Such was the case with this demoniac for the Garasenes.
What do you think of when you hear the word “tomb?“ A tomb is a place where bodies of deceased loved ones and friends are placed. In thed days of Jesus’ earthly ministry a tomb was usually in a cave. Today it is usually a man made chamber. This was tameless due to the demons that possessed him until he met Jesus Christ the Lord face to face. demoniac lived in the tombs (Luke 8:27 NIV). Herbert Lockyer put it this way: "To any ordinary Jew, tomb dwelling was abhorrent, and to dwell in tombs was indeed a sign of insanity". (H. Lockyer. All The Miracles Of The Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1961, p. 188). Jews would have been abhorred by the idea of someone living in a tomb (Numbers 19:16). How would we respond if we encountered someone living in a tomb on the grounds of a cemetery?
What about his relationship to others? By the fact that he was driven into the solitary place, especially that of a tomb, we can conclude that he was friendless, shameless, tameless and homeless (Luke 8:27,29). "For a long time this man had not ... lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs" (Luke 8:27b NIV). Let's face it, with all of these details, it is more than obvious that by the standards of the Gentiles, the Jews and maybe even you and I, this man was hopeless and helpless . As someone (Richard J. Shaffer Jr.) has said, “Over the years people have tried to explain the condition of the demoniac in temporary terms---he has a “psychiatric condition as opposed to a demonic condition”. (David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor. eds. Richard J. Shaffer, Jr. “Pastoral Perspective”. Feasting On The Word. Year C. Volume 3. Louisville: John Knox Press, 2010, p. 166). It seems that the world we live in uses labels to decide who we will help and who we will ignore doesn’t it? It is just as possible for someone to demonize another as it is to use psychiatric label. The demoniac was not hopeless and helpless to Jesus!
THE DOMINATION OF THE DEMONIAC
This person was governed by the demons that possessed him. Notice how the demoniac addressed Jesus: "When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell on 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!" (Luke 8:28 NIV). The demons begged for mercy because Jesus is absolute in His power and authority. Consider Jude :6: "And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home---these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgement on the great Day" (NIV). The home that the devil and his demons abandoned was heaven.
Jesus asked the demoniac what his name was. This question seems ambiguous at first. Did Jesus mean the names of the demons that possessed him or the name of the man? (Lockyer p. 189). Notice who answered, it was the demons. Their answer was "Legion". William Barclay reminds us what is meant by the term "Legion": "A Roman Legion was regiment of 6,000 soldiers." (W. Barclay. The Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel Of Luke. Revised Edition. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975, p. 108). Whether a metaphor or an accurate figure, this man was tormented. Barclay suspected that this man had doubtlessly seen a Roman Legion on the march "... and his poor afflicted mind felt that there was not one demon but a whole regiment inside him" (p. 108). The demons had no choice but to tell Jesus who they were because Jesus has absolute authority over them. They could dominate this man and his behavior, but they could not evade Jesus's authority. They therefore begged Jesus repeatedly not to send them into the Abyss (Luke 8:31). An Abyss has no bottom. That fact can make one come to the conclusion that hell must not have a floor.