Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 6 Study # 5
May 24, 2009
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:
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. Matthew, who records only a small portion of the event, says there were two men. He also records "...Thou Son of God..." rather than Luke's "...Son of God Most High...".
- B. Luke's record is focused upon only one of the men.
- 1. The man's plight [See notes of May 3<524> and May 10, 2009<526>].
- 2. The man's identification of Jesus [See notes of May 17, 2009<528>].
- C. Jesus' inquisition regarding the "name".
- 1. The issue of "names" has a very long and important history.
- a. Biblically, names are not arbitrary assignments of identity that have nothing to do with anything. Even this text says, "...Legion because...". Immediately into Genesis 1 Moses began the process of "naming" things according to what God "called" them. As the surrogate ruler of this world, Adam "named" the animals. He also "named" Eve because ...
- b. It is only as language loses its impact as a carrier of understanding that names no longer signify anything except the parent's affinity for something.
- c. Even in Luke the names of the sons of Elizabeth and Mary are commanded (1:13 -- thou shalt call his name 'John'; and 1:31 -- thou shalt ... call His name 'Jesus').
- d. In both Isaiah 62:2 and Revelation 2:17 the idea of a "new name" is given as a highly significant promise and in the Revelation text it specifically says that the new name will be known only to the Lord and the one who receives it.
- e. In Exodus 33:12 and following Moses leans on this issue of "...Thou hast said, 'I know thee by name'..." to petition Yahweh and Yahweh responds because "...I know thee by name...".
- 2. Jesus' question does not belie any inferiority on His part. The demons knew His name and it is highly unlikely that He did not know theirs (though it is possible that the Spirit had not communicated that detail to Him in His condition of voluntary limitation to the capacities of a human brain). The issue is not so much whether He already knew as it is the reality that the demons could not refuse to give Him their "name" with all that it implied.
- 3. The response of "Legion" is indicative of being under Jesus' absolute authority.
- a. Immediately upon giving his "name" the "demonic coop" besought Jesus that He would not order them to depart into the abyss. They considered this possibility a "torment" (8:28), which term is used when significant "pain" of some kind (not always physical) is inflicted. That this immediately follows indicates that the giving of the name was tied to Jesus' authority over them.
- b. Online Bible says that in the time of Augustus a "legion" was 6826 men, 6100 of which were foot soldiers and 726 of which were cavalry. This would include 61 centurions (see Luke's opening paragraph in chapter seven). This one thing that was notable about the centurion's faith was his grasp of "authority" and its significance.
- c. A significantly important issue is raised by the demonic request: what difference does it make whether they go into the abyss now or later? Forever is forever; how much difference does a little time make? This points out how focused were the demons upon the immediate present. Perhaps this is why the Bible is filled with insistence that believers not focus so much on the present. This may also explain why Matthew's record includes "...before the time..." in the demonic question (Matthew 8:29) and why Mark's record has the demons calling on the name of God in the phrase "...I adjure Thee by God, that Thou torment me not..." (Mark 5:7).
- 4. Luke's point is clear: Jesus is absolutely not One Who can be effectively dismissed.