The Book of Luke, The Deliverance of the Demoniac, Part II – Lesson 106
Luke 8:26-33, And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 27And 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. 28When 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.) 30And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. 32And 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. 33Then 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.
Read pages 606 and 607 of The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, by Alfred Edersheim
Luke 8:27 tells us this demon filled man was formerly of the city but no longer lived in any house but instead lived in the nearby tombs where we find him in this account.
This man and another man reported to be with him in another Gospel were demon-possessed, and so they were wild and dangerous men.
The townspeople had tried to contain and control the men, even using chains, but their superhuman strength proved too much for the chains.
The gospel of Mark in chapter 5 verse 3 tells it this way.
Who (a man with an unclean spirit) had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
These men no longer wore clothes, and often cried out in loud, voices, and Mark tells us they often cut themselves with stones.
Mark 5:5, And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
It appears that the place where Jesus had landed was a no-man’s land and was avoided by the townspeople because of these two demon filled men.
There were no asylums or jails in which these men could be secured.
Matthew is the Gospel that tells us of two men but Mark and Luke, tell only of the one demoniac and also include the report that this man, after being restored to sanity, became a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no indication that the second demoniac was or was not healed.
We are also told of witnesses of the working of Jesus Christ who saw everything from a high vantage point and were able to report what took place to the townspeople.
In this account the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples have just arrived, and they are standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Also, near the lake seems to be the road, which passed beside the tombs where the two demoniacs dwelt and which continued on to the nearby town.
The tombs where the demoniacs stayed were slightly higher than the road.
So from their position, they could see the boat approaching the shore and the party on board leaving the boat.
Even higher up were the swine herders, who were tending the hogs, the same hogs who would later plunge down the steep bank and drown in the Sea of Galilee.
But it seems the swine herders were well aware of what was taking place and to them it was like a production with all the important players in place.
In their view a landing party arrived at a place known to them as a no man’s land, where the two demoniacs who lived in the tombs were poised to strike.
This whole event, don’t you suppose, put some excitement into their usually peaceful life.
They watched as the two demoniacs swooped down on the unsuspecting disciples, shrieking in a way that would chill the blood of most men.
Perhaps the swine herders laughed as they saw the reaction of the disciples.
They waited for these two violent men to assault this party of travelers, sending them back in their boat, to wherever they had come from.
Perhaps they had witnessed similar treatment of visitors before by these demented men.
But instead of abuse they saw the two demoniacs fall before Jesus.
What an odd thing that was to see for was not their normal response to men!
It seems by their report to the townspeople that they heard the exclamation of the demoniacs when they declared Jesus to be the Son of the Most High God.
And what went though their minds as their herds of swine were pointed out?
And then what a shock when their herds ran violently toward the sea and could not stop because of the steepness of the bank and so plunged over the cliff into the Sea of Galilee.
But the purpose of the swine herders being there to observe was clear for we are told in:
Matthew 8:33, And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.
As the demoniac rushed downhill from the tombs toward Jesus with glazed eyes, screaming at the top of his lungs, it must have been a frightening shock to the disciples.
They had already been though an life threatening experience thinking that they were to drown and now it appeared they were in for another.
One thing you can be sure of when you are close to the Lord Jesus Christ is an exciting life.
The question of what is to come upon them next must have gone though the minds of the disciples.
But the demoniac seemed to not notice the disciples and seemed only to see and to care about Jesus, and as he drew near, he fell to his knees.
As this man speaks, it is not the man, but rather the demons in the man which are in control and speak the words to Jesus.
The demonized man immediately recognized Jesus, even from a distance, as the Son of God and Israel’s Messiah.
In Luke’s account, Jesus is acknowledged as “Jesus, thou Son of God most high,” (Luke 8:28).
When Jesus commanded the demons to come out of this man, whose demonized name was Legion, the demons began to speak through the man.
It is very important to take note of the fact that although the demoniac fell at Jesus’ feet, it was not an act of worship, as it would later be, when the demons were cast from the man.
Demons do not worship God!
But the demons recognized Jesus’ identity, and they also acknowledged His superiority, His authority over them by falling at his feet.
They recognized that He could do with them as He pleased for he was the Son of God most high.
But the best description of the response of the demons in the man to the Son of God, is FEAR.
Legion was fearful of the presence of God.
The fear of Legion is very different from that of the disciples, in the midst of the storm.
The disciples were fearful because they did not realize that God was with them in the boat.
The demons are fearful because they know that God is present among them.
Their first words to Jesus are a testimony to the fact that they recognize Him as the “Son of God most high” (Luke 8:28).
They are frightened because they know God is in their midst.
The demons were fearful of torment, fearful of the judgment of God.
Why would the appearance of Jesus on the other shore of the Sea of Galilee be a cause of fear for the demons?
Because they knew that the coming of God’s Messiah spelled destruction for them.
Jesus Himself will say of the devil in John 12:31, Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
From the very beginning, God said that the “seed of the woman” would destroy Satan:
Genesis 3:15, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
These demons had listened well in Satan’s Bible class and they knew the coming of the Messiah meant their doom.
The thing which caught the demons off guard was the timing of His coming.
They knew that their time would come, but they did not expect it to come so soon.
Many people are caught by death like this, are they not?
Not prepared for death’s coming.
It is amazing that people can live for 80, 90 years and still not be prepared for death’s coming.
They do not believe the word of God which says it is appointed unto man to die.
That lack of preparation for the inevitable shows clearly the depravity of the human heart!
But to these men, Jesus had come prematurely, at least according to their understanding of His coming.