The Book of Luke, The Deliverance of the Demoniac, Part III - Lesson 107
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.
We see clearly by the response of the demons that they were fearful of torment, fearful of the judgment of God.
They knew the scriptures for they recognized that they were appointed to face torment at a particular time.
But they had not reckoned on being tormented this early but expected a later time of torment.
Listen to their surprise as they say in Matthew 8:29, art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
The demons knew that the Messiah's was doom for them.
What they did not expect was His coming to be so soon.
So they were like the Jews of that day, and even like the
Disciples of our Lord, had a distorted understanding of the Messiah's coming.
The demons were looking for the "second coming of Christ," but they did not expect the first.
The fact that Legion ran to Jesus, rather than from Him, indicates the demons' fear and confusion, caused by the unexpected appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The demons dreaded the deliverance of the demoniac for that meant that they would be disembodied and this was a great fear to them.
They would be homeless!
The demons knew that Jesus would immediately began to command the demons to come out of the man so they began to plead for "mercy."
It is quite normal for those who give no mercy themselves to plead for mercy from others.
They knew better than to ask Jesus if they could continue to possess this man, although that was their obvious preference.
They knew that what they were doing was evil because that is all they ever did for their father the devil.
And they knew that Jesus did only good and because of the goodness of God would not allow them to continue to possess this man.
So knowing their fate of being cast out they chose a lesser evil and pled for Jesus to at least let them have somebody to possess:
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.
By this account it is apparent that demons, given a choice, prefer to possess and live in people.
They can do more destructive work, they can more reveal themselves in people than animals, they can speak through a man or woman's vocal cords, but there is no account of demons speaking through animals.
It was a torment to a demon to be put out of the body of a man.
But to possess a swine was better than nothing is indicated by their pleadings.
The demons, being faithful and loyal demons, feared the restriction of their freedom to continue their destructive work on behalf of their father the devil.
There is a very interesting fact revealed by a comparison of two of the parallel accounts.
Notice the difference between these two requests of the demons:
Luke 8:31, And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
Mark 5:10, And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
The Amplified Bible describes the deep and the country in Luke 8:31 this way: And they begged Jesus not to command them to depart into the Abyss (bottomless pit) .
Putting these two requests together we can conclude that to send the demons out of the country would be to send them into the Abyss.
Torment, for demons, is to be kept from doing evil on this earth.
They do not wish to be put into prison, they wish to be doing evil.
Satan himself will be put in chains for 1,000 years according to Revelation 20:1-3 to keep him from doing evil.
So it would seem that to be sent out of the country would mean being put into a kind of captivity which would greatly confine and restrict their activities.
There is no repentance here, but only regret if they are restricted from doing what they have always done, which is to rebel against God, to work against His purposes, and to torment men.
THE DEMONS FEARED THE PRESENCE AND THE POWER OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, BECAUSE THEY KNEW THAT HIS PRESENCE AMONG THEM WOULD RESULT IN CHANGES AND RESTRICTIONS ON THEIR EVIL ACTIVITIES.
The demons were evil. They delighted in doing evil for their whole life was doing evil.
Torture, to them then, was being hindered from torturing men.
Since they loved to do evil and since Jesus was both good and God, they knew that His coming would have to result in hindering them from continuing to do that which is evil.
To an evil creature, bent only on doing evil, doing good is a thing that is most dreaded.
The demons, the tormentors of this man, pled not to be tormented, which, according to our text involved two things.
First, they did not wish to be disembodied, or taken from a body.
Second, they did not wish to be sent from the country.
It would seem from this account that a demon cannot fully show its character and nature apart from possessing a body.
Apart from possessing a person with a tongue, the demons could not speak.
To a demon it was inferior to possess a pig than a person, but at least it was a body.
So the demons begged Jesus to allow them to possess the nearby herd of hogs than to be disembodied, taken from the body of this man.
Jesus granted the demons' request to enter the herd of swine, and when they entered them, the entire herd plunged, headlong, into the sea.
The demons thought they were safe but the pigs could not stand their presence and ran headlong into the sea, destroying themselves.
We do not know what happened to the demons thereafter.
The herdsmen, after witnessing this astounding event, went off to tell all that would listen about what had happened.
So we are told that the entire town came out to see the scene, and the swine, but most of all they came to see the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who had come to their region.
It is very important for us to observe the response of the crowd, and the reasons for their response.
35Then 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. 36They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
Luke 8:37-39, 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. 38Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39Return to thine own house, and show 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.
We may be puzzled as to why the people of the Gerasene region rejected Jesus and asked Him to leave their country.
We may think that it is all based on the economics of the situation for we know that there had been the loss of a great herd of swine.
But there is more to this than the loss of the swine for we are told that All of the people of the nearby town came out to meet Jesus, not just those involved with the swine.
This was not a small group, not even a delegation.
Everybody gathered there to see Jesus.
The people were not mainly interested in the swine, but in the Savior and the people are overcome with fear for we read that they were afraid.
Mark 5:15, And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
So out of fear, all the people ask Jesus to leave their country.
It is a unanimous verdict from all but the one delivered demoniac - Jesus must go.
They want Jesus not only to stay away from their town, but to leave their country.
They want Him nowhere around.
For those who know Christ it is an amazing request, but it is a request that was made by the people of this region.
Those who do not know Christ make this request often so it ought not to be puzzling to us to hear that a people want Jesus to leave them.
It happens every day in individual lives for it is the request of sinners.
The fears of the people do not seem so much to be founded upon the drowning of the swine, but seem to be due to the miraculous change in "Legion," the delivered demoniac.
No doubt there were some in the crowd who wished him to go because of the loss of the pigs but there seems to be much more here than that.
In this passage there is not any attention given to the dead pigs but the attention of the people is on the delivered demoniac.
It is not because the pigs died that the people are frightened, but because Legion was delivered.
Imagine this: from the actions and the words of the people of this region, they would rather have had Legion as he was, dangerous, destructive, and uncontrollable, than to be whole, healed, clothed, and a constructive member of society.
The reason why we so quickly accept the economic explanation for the actions of this crowd is because no other explanation seems plausible.
We simply cannot understand how these people could reject and resist Jesus for having done good to this man, and for their whole region.
HOW CAN THE PEOPLE OF THIS REGION BE MORE FRIGHTENED OF JESUS THAN OF THE DEMONIAC, SO THAT THEY WOULD RATHER HAVE HAD THINGS AS THEY WERE, AND THAT THEY WOULD RATHER HAVE JESUS LEAVE THEM THAN STAY WITH THEM?
HOW CAN PEOPLE FEAR THE SON OF GOD FOR DOING GOOD MORE THAN THEY CAN FEAR SATAN AND HIS DEMONIC HOSTS FOR DOING EVIL?
Nowhere in the New Testament are we told how anyone who was demon-possessed became that way.
Before we can come to the solution of our problem, we must observe that we are never told how demon-possession begins.
That is, those who are brought to Jesus who are demon-possessed have been brought to him in that condition.
Jesus never asked, "How did it happen?" There is a clear biblical explanation, as we shall see.
The fears of the people are like the fears of the demoniac, before he was delivered from his demon-possession.
The Gerasene demoniac and the Gerasene - dwellers share one thing in common in our text-a fear of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Both "fears" are of the same kind.
Just as the demons dreaded the arrival of the Lord Jesus, so did the people of the nearby town.
They were frightened by the good thing which had happened to the demoniac.
They feared that Jesus might do other "good" as well.
They would rather that Jesus go away from them than to remain among them.
Although it is not clearly stated, it seems obvious that they would rather have the demoniac as he once was.
· Both the dwellers and the demoniac share a common fear of the Lord Jesus.
Both share a common fear of the good which He can do.
· Both are afraid of the changes which Jesus' coming threatens.