Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 6 Study # 1
April 26, 2009
26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.
28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.
29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.
33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.
35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.
38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
1901 ASV Translation:
26 And they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is over against Galilee.
27 And when he was come forth upon the land, there met him a certain man out of the city, who had demons; and for a long time he had worn no clothes, and abode not in any house, but in the tombs.
28 And when he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I beseech thee, torment me not.
29 For he was commanding the unclean spirit to come out from the man. For oftentimes it had seized him: and he was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters; and breaking the bands asunder, he was driven of the demon into the deserts.
30 And Jesus asked him, What is thy name? And he said, Legion; for many demons were entered into him.
31 And they entreated him that he would not command them to depart into the abyss.
32 Now there was there a herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they entreated him that he would give them leave to enter into them. And he gave them leave.
33 And the demons came out from the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep into the lake, and were drowned.
34 And when they that fed them saw what had come to pass, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country.
35 And they went out to see what had come to pass; and they came to Jesus, and found the man, from whom the demons were gone out, sitting, clothed and in his right mind, at the feet of Jesus: and they were afraid.
36 And they that saw it told them how he that was possessed with demons was made whole.
37 And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes round about asked him to depart from them, for they were holden with great fear: and he entered into a boat, and returned.
38 But the man from whom the demons were gone out prayed him that he might be with him: but he sent him away, saying,
39 Return to thy house, and declare how great things God hath done for thee. And he went his way, publishing throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done for him.
- I. Luke's Record of the "Demonic Storm".
- A. There is an obvious connection between the quelling of the "hurricane of wind" and the exorcism of "Legion": the demons know what the disciples did not. The prior paragraph ended with the disciples question, "Who is this?". This paragraph opens with the demonic identification: Jesus, Son of God Most High.
- 1. This "identity" issue is of paramount importance. The disciples are to be sent out to announce the Kingdom of God and they absolutely must know that they are representing that Kingdom's "Most Potent" Person.
- 2. This "identity" issue is, however, a kind of serious "over-kill" when it comes to creating "expectations" in at least one sense: how are "disciples" supposed to take "hurricanes" and "demonic storms"? The typical, ordinary person's life is seldom faced with such extreme realities and the question is this: what should our expectations be in the "ordinaries"? Of what value is it if Jesus is "omnipotent" if, when it comes to the ordinary problems, there is no exercise of "power" to resolve them? Bluntly, if, when Jesus was establishing Himself as "Son of God Most High", He cleansed a leper in an instant, but will not cleanse the lepers of the present, what is the point of the identity? If Jesus can calm a hurricane, but does not when it threatens, what are the disciples of Jesus to do with the can/will not reality? So what if Jesus can cast a legion of demons out of a man if a man with a demon cannot get Him to cast out his? The issues of "faith" boil down to the answers to these questions. In a nutshell, this was precisely the "problem" facing the disciples the day Jesus was crucified: "If You are the Son of God, come down off of that cross." How does a man resolve the "problem" of the lack of the exercise of the power that He obviously possesses? The answer, of course, is that the very things that beg for the exercise of the power are the things that cannot be eliminated without the elimination of the ultimate goal. If Jesus had come down off of that cross, redemption would have flown out the window and all of the Kingdom Plans would have been destroyed. The larger issue, then, is this: is the suppliant who wishes for the "comfort of Zion" willing to risk what will not be if his request is granted?
- B. The particulars.
- 1. What is the significance of the geography of the "region of the Gerasenes" in respect to "Galilee"?
- a. Why did Luke decide to use a word to describe the "arrival" at the land of the Gerasenes that he alone uses in the New Testament and only this one time? The way the word was used in the secular world, the impression is that the "sailing" was "downstream" (not fighting the current), or "homeward bound" (looking for a better situation than the present). It is obvious that the disciples had experienced a gut-wrenching terror and an equivalently gut-wrenching revelation of Jesus as The Master of the Wind and Waves. Luke's "point"? Human beings significantly resist being forced out of their "comfort zones", but Jesus is not about making us "comfortable" while Sin is on a rampage. If there is no "faith" to handle the extremes of our experience, is there any "faith" at all?
- b. Why did Luke describe the land of the Gerasenes as "over against Galilee"? This is another of Luke's "be the only one to use this word and use it only once" choices. In geographical terms, the land was almost exactly opposite Galilee, on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. However, it is a bit unlikely that Theophilus was unaware of the geography of the region, so we are better served if we look in the text for some kind of reason for Luke's choices. There are two "stand-out" facts in the text that contrast with "Galilee": first is the "in-your-face" paganism of a "pig-driven" economy; and second is the focus upon the potency of the demonic presence. For "Galileans" the issue of Jesus is the threat of the destruction of the comfortable life (a hurricane of wind and waves that threaten the lives of those on the sea); for the "Gerasenes" Jesus is too far removed to afford them spiritual protection against the most violent of adversaries. At the end of the record Jesus told the man to go tell what "the God" had done for him and he went and told what "Jesus" had done to him.
- c. Luke seems to have had the intention of pointing out that Jesus' discipling of the Twelve unto a "faith" that can "handle" the eventualities of life's experience included exposing them to two different issues. On the one hand, the storm raised the issue of their physical life and its importance. On the other hand, the demonic storm raised the issue of their spiritual life and its importance. Both records provide a deliberate "Who is this Jesus?" setting so that He may be seen as the Origin of Faith.
- 2. Why did Luke record the events "out of order"? Jesus, apparently, being accosted by the man, had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. That "spirit", then, cried out loudly regarding Jesus' relationship to him. But Luke reverses this natural order to put the demon's knowledge of Jesus' identity before most else. It may well be that the lingering question of the disciples was in serious need of an answer.
- 3. Why does Jesus ask, "What is thy name?" when, if He was really the Son of the Most High, He probably already knew with whom He was dealing? The issue, again, is the issue of "identities" -- who are these people and what does it mean to have their "identity"?
- 4. What is the point of the destruction of the massive herd of pigs?