Summary: When we cling to and refuse to forsake sin, habits, and less than admirable behavior, we are asking Jesus to leave us. Jesus wants to "cast out" those behaviors in our life if we'll let him.
If you are familiar with “The Andy Griffith” show, you may remember the loveable character named Otis. He was well known around town as being “the town drunk.” He was harmless and seemed to be more of a town mascot.
However, this was not the case in our story in Luke. Instead of a harmless, town mascot, we have a demon-possessed man who lived like an animal amongst the tombs in the cemetery. The towns-people are in absolute fear of him because no matter how many times they tried to capture him, he would break his chains and escape.
The people had it all wrong. They were trying to not only capture him, but were trying to chain him up in shackles to restrain him to keep him under control. He didn’t need to be restrained. He needed just the opposite: He needed to be set free! He didn’t need chains and locks. He needed freedom from that which possessed him.
Thankfully, that day of freedom finally arrived in verse 27, as we see the encounter with Jesus. As soon as his foot hits the shore, Jesus is met by the demonic man.
Showing intense grace and mercy, Jesus casts out the demons by sending them into a herd of pigs. The man is no longer captive as before, but set free and made whole by the love and mercy of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Jesus who also gave him clothing. We see in verse 35, “they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind.” So, they celebrated, right?
Why not celebrate? This is a miracle of miracles that a legion of demons have cast out the “town demoniac” and made him whole, in his right mind and completely normal. After all, a legion is about 6,000-7,000 DEMONS!
Sadly, just the opposite happened because instead of rejoicing the people literally came to pieces in fear. We’re told in verses 35 and 37, “They were afraid” and “they were overcome with fear.” They literally were coming unglued!
The paralysis of their fear had swept over them with such great intensity, they make a stunning request. All The people of the region “asked Jesus to leave them.”Leave? Really? After such a great display, you would think they would demand even more miracles of cure and healing!
No, that was not the case. They asked Jesus to leave. Actually, the Greek verb here means “Beg.” They pleaded with Jesus passionately by begging him to go away. I have a feeling it wasn’t a pleasant or cordial request.
Instead of being thankful that he had delivered this man from nearly 7,000 demons, the people are incensed that Jesus sent the demons to destroy an entire herd of swine along with the livelihood of the farmers.
It is very easy to sit where we are today and think of the absolute nerve these people had to talk to Jesus in this manner and to treat him the way they did. I mean, really; who would ask Jesus to leave? Would we?
I have to ask: Have any one of us ever asked Jesus to go away or to just leave us alone? We may not have said anything verbally, but maybe our actions have created an unwelcoming environment for our Savior to abide. Jesus comes amongst us to cast out those things in our lives that hinder our relationship with him.
He loves us too much to let us stay the way we are. He wants us to grow into His likeness and to mirror his image to be a beacon of holy light amongst the darkness of the world. The whole point is to live just like Jesus!
1 John 4:16-17, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
We need to take inventory of our life as it stands. Look intently, deep within, and see what areas of our lives are still in bondage to this world. Like the man freed from the legion of demons, what do we need to let go of and free ourselves from?
Do we need to be set free from the fear of failure, so that we may attempt great things for God? Do we need to be set free from addictions or habits that break our relationships with God, our family or FRIENDS? Maybe we have less than admirable personality traits that damages our witness and discredits our testimony.