Summary: This message explores the words and ideas that show up multiple times in this passage and give us indication of the different ways we can react to the storms of life that we face.
- Last week, in previous passage, there was a literal storm; in this passage, the man is dealing with a “storm” caused by a huge problem in his life: demon-possession.
- Sometimes we find that the storm stays for longer than we thought it would. There are a lot of reasons this can happen - this passage focuses on one of the most common reasons.
- In this message, we’re going to focusing on the words and ideas that show up in this passage more than once and what we can learn from the different responses.
Why The Storm Doesn’t Go Away:
1. You can be “free” and bound at the same time.
- vv. 3, 9.
- What we see here is a man who is unbound physically - v. 3 notes that despite the people’s best efforts to chain him, he had the supernatural strength to break those chains. In that physical sense, he was free and unbound.
- At the same time, v. 9 clearly points out how “bound” the man was spiritually. He was possessed by a host of demons. (Possibly as many as 6,000, if the “legion” reference is meant literally.)
- So, we have a man who is “free” physically while being bound spiritually.
- In our society, we have so many people who are quick to claim their “freedom”: freedom to do what they want sexually, freedom to buy everything that they want, freedom to smoke whatever they want, freedom to live with whoever they want, freedom to do whatever they want.
- Ironically, though, these folks are also often simultaneously bound. They celebrate their freedom to do what they want sexually, yet they ultimately find the sexual experimentation unable to fill their soul. Free sexually, but bound by emptiness. Another may pursue what they want sexually, yet live in fear of the potential STD consequences. Free sexually, but bound by fear. Someone may celebrate their freedom to buy out the mall, yet find the pressing weight of credit card debt about to swamp their life. Free materially, yet bound by debt. Others celebrate their freedom to do whatever they want, yet in the end find themselves unable to rise about their existential nightmare. Free philosophically, yet bound by the lack of ultimate meaning.
- Jesus declared that the only one who was truly free was the one whom the Son had set free, but so many don’t understand that or refuse to accept it, settling instead for a “freedom” that is incomplete.
2. Many are more afraid of God than their “storm.”
- vv. 7, 15.
- When the demon Legion comes and bows down before Jesus in v. 7, his words make it obvious that he fears Jesus. Later, when Legion has been cast out (into the pigs) and the formerly-demon-possessed man is “clothed and in his right mind,” the people from the town were “afraid (v. 15).
- Many argue that the people’s fear arose primarily from the economic loss that had been suffered in the form of the dead sheep, but that doesn’t dovetail with the passage that well. The NASB has v. 15 as “They came to Jesus and observed the man hwo had been demon-poossessed sitting down, clothed and hin his right mind, the very man who had had the ‘legion’; and they became frightened.” The cause of their fear is what has happened to the man.