Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 6 Study # 1
April 26, 2009
Lincolnton, N.C.

<522> Thesis: The constant challenge is to "believe" so that we can be willing instruments in the hands of God. Introduction: When Jesus decided to "take Sin on", He did not do so at a minimalist level. When Sin erupted in the Creation, it could have been initially met with what the Bible describes as the way it will ultimately be met: fiery indignation and a total destruction of the adversaries (Hebrews 10:27). If God had decided to react in that manner in the beginning, an enormous amount of suffering would have been by-passed -- including His own. That He did not react in that manner is a matter that finds both humans and demons in constant resistance and turmoil. There is an enormous amount of opposition to Jesus' refusal to "explode all over the perpetrators of Sin" for one reason: it flatly declares that everyone in the picture, from the God down to the lowliest germ of a human being, is going to suffer significantly before the End has been accomplished. And it is this -- that suffering is going to be both significant and inescapable -- that drives all of those who have not yet dealt with their inner commitment to "be carried to the skies in flowery beds of ease" to scramble, indeed scratch and claw, to find a way to escape. It is into this reality that Jesus stepped, not to simply eliminate Sin and those who pursue it, but to milk it for all it is worth in terms of "redemption and restoration". His plan is to so totally expose and defeat Sin that the boundaries of "Life" are, in a very real sense, demolished. To the degree that all of the possibilities of "Life" are kept shrouded in mystery, Sin is effective. To the degree that Sin is totally exposed and defeated, "Life" has unbounded possibilities. When Luke determined to record Jesus' "discipling" tactics, he was not the least bit bashful about telling Theophilus up front that suffering is going to be significant and inescapable and that it is not "fear", but "faith", that is Jesus' target for development. It is these realities that are at work in the text before us today in Luke's record of Jesus' exposure, and destruction, of Sin's power in the land of the Gadarenes/Gerasenes.