Summary: This sermon wants us to consider the question, " What Do You Want With Me, Jesus Son Of The Most High God." It comes from a demon, but it applies to us all.
What Do You Want With Me
If someone were to ask you, what are demons and do you believe they exist today, how would you respond? Would you be bold in your answer? Would you be embarrassed? Would you not know what to say. Jesus had no problem with the answering the question. We are going to look at the story we read from Mark’s Gospel, but we will deal with Luke’s version of the story.
The context of the story is this. The disciples and Jesus were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had told them, to get the boat ready to go to the side of the lake. They got in the boat, Jesus quickly fell asleep. Just as quickly a storm arose with some strong winds and waves splashing into the boat. Even though they were experienced sailors, they were sure the boat would overturn and they would all drown. They woke Jesus up, before the boat tipped over taking him with them to their death. Jesus wakes up, rebukes the wind and the waves and everything is peaceful. Their response was, “Who is this that even the winds and the water obey him.” They had no idea who Jesus might be.
Let’s get into our text: Luke 8:26 (NIV) 26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. Gerasenes was taking Jesus into Gentile territory in the area of the Decapolis which were 10 Greek cities under their own rule. Jesus is going into unclean Gentile territory. The Jews divided the world into Jews and Gentiles. If you weren’t a Jew, then you were a Gentile. Many would be surprised that Jesus was going to deal with Gentiles, when there were so many Jews in need of healings and preaching. But Jesus is on a mission and you can never put him in a box. He’s going into a place where there are unclean pigs and unclean tombs and cemetaries.
Luke 8:27-28 (NIV)
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.
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!"
Jesus stepped ashore, a demon possessed man met him. Demons are fallen angels who rebelled against God with Satan in heaven. They are under Satan’s authority and they have power to possess people and to cause great destruction in people’s lives. Many of the terrible crimes against people and humanity have roots in demons operating in their lives or groups.
If you had been one Jesus’ disciples and you saw a naked man, with chains broken, running toward Jesus, what would you have done. Would you have warned Jesus, “Look out Jesus! Quick, get back in the boat”.
What if the person was running toward you? What would you have done?
God often sends some very unlikely, unloveable, and undesirable people into our lives. What is to be our response when God does it? Do you ever take a moment to see who you are prejudiced against? We all are, in one way or another. What group of people that God loves, do you strongly dislike or even hate. What would happen if God sent that person running to you. Would they find the love of Christ, or coldness and suspicion?
This man was isolated from others. He was alone. He was homeless. He lived in the world of the unclean. He didn’t know what it was to have a friend. Nobody would give him the time of day. Yet he rushed to see Jesus.
Jesus put himself in a place for this man to come to him. Jesus didn’t have to go over to the Gadarenes. He could have landed further away but he didn’t. He wanted to meet this man.
This naked, bruised, and uncomfortable looking man, asked the question, that everyone of us needs to as, not just once, but again and again, and again, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High.”
What a contrast between the disciples response to the presence of Jesus, and this man’s response. They had witnessed Jesus calm a sea storm in which they thought they were going to drown. Jesus says something to the sea and raging winds like, “Be still” and all at once everything stops. The wind stops blowing, the rain drips no more, the boat is no longer being jostled back and forth. Yet there response is, “who is this?”