The power on display as others marvel in wonder. Overcoming any adversary with sheer strength without the hint of mercy. Dominating all people and nations leaving trembling victims in his wake. An unstoppable power forcing all to their knees. This is how governments across the world portray themselves. But praise God the Prince of Peace was not so.
Inhabitants of Gadara
In the gospel, according to Luke 8:26-39, (v1), we’ve come to a place called Gadarenes (Gadara) a country on the east of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. In the verses, we’re going to look at sets a scene in the hilltops of the country. Before we begin let’s look at what the name means. The Greek word for Gadarenes is Gadarēnos (gä-dä-rā-no’s)
Gadarenes = “reward at the end”
also called Gergesenes, was the capital of Peraea, situated opposite the south extremity of the Lake of Gennesaret to the south-east, but at some distance from the lake on the banks of the river Hieromax
Γαδαρηνός Gadarēnós, gad-ar-ay-nos’; from Γαδαρά Gadará (a town east of the Jordan); a Gadarene or inhabitant of Gadara:—Gadarene.
Luke 8:26-27 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 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.
How this sounds like each one of us before coming to know Christ as our Saviour. I don’t mean to say every one of us was demon-possessed (while some were), but we all “met him” and each one of us were destitute and naked “and ware no clothes” this man literally had no clothes. We also were dead in our sins keeping company with others who too were dead in their trespasses against God “in the tombs”. The bible doesn’t tell us precisely how long this man was in this state of possession. All we know is that he “had devils long time”. The lifestyle of this man was completely defiling in Leviticus God tells the Israelites to stay away from the dead or they will be defiled.
Leviticus 21:11 Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;
The demoniac man was secluded walking among dead people. In the gospel of Mark, we have more details Luke doesn’t tell us about in Mark’s account it says that he was “in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones” (Mark 5:5). The torture and pain felt must have been great, the darkness and despair caused him to inflict wounds upon himself. This could be a glimpse of the darkness the book of Revelation refers to in chapter 16, God’s “fifth angel pours out his vial upon the seat of the beast” this caused the people to “gnawed their tongues for pain” (Revelation 16:10).
Jesus, thou Son of God Most High
Luke 8:28 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.
The demoniac man falls down before the feet of the Saviour, in the gospel of Mark it says that the man ran to Jesus and worshipped Him (Mark 5:6). Does the Lord Jesus tell the man to go away? No. The grace of the Saviour He sees a man in desperate need and helps Him. I hope we all learn from the Lord’s example to help those who are in need. I can only imagine this man must have been dirty and smelled rancid. And the Lord never turns him away.
Notice the demon cried out saying “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not”. This is significant as it speaks to the pre-existence of Jesus Christ as the Word (John 1:1, 1:3) the one who created all things (Psalm 102:25-27, Isaiah 44:24, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:10-12, Revelation 4:11). The demon acknowledges by saying “thou Son of God most high” he knew that Christ is the Son of God, God manifests in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16).
In the gospel according to Matthew, he says “Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” Legion knew that there was a time when all the demonic forces would be tormented forever in the lake of fire with the devil (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 19:20, 20:10) and begged the Lord Jesus not to be tormented.
Luke 8:29 (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.)
What is thy name?
The power of the Word of God in all its splendour with all authority Jesus Christ commands the unclean to depart and the spirit has no choice but to come out of him. This man was completely in spiritual bondage incapable of being free even though they attempted restraining him with fetters he would brake them but was never truly free from bondage. Before Legion is cast out the Lord asks “What is thy name?”
Luke 8:30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
This demonic spirit seems to be comprised of many devils as the name Legion implies. If we dive into the Greek the meaning of Legion is:
I. a legion, a body of soldiers whose number differed at different times, and in the time of Augustus seems to have consisted of 6826 men (i.e. 6100 foot soldiers, and 726 horsemen)
λεγεών legeṓn, leg-eh-ohn’; of Latin origin; a “legion”, i.e. Roman regiment (figuratively):—legion.
From this, we can conclude there were many devils in this man.
Luke 8:31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
The devils were terrified at the fact of being cast out “into the deep” deep is another word if we take a look at the Greek meaning:
III. the abyss
A. the pit
B. the immeasurable depth
C. of Orcus, a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons.
ἄβυσσος ábyssos, ab’-us-sos; from G1 (as a negative particle) and a variation of G1037; depthless, i.e. (specially) (infernal) “abyss”:—deep, (bottomless) pit.
The bottomless pit is also spoken of in the book of Revelation there’s an angel who is given the “key of the bottomless pit” (Revelation 9:1) he proceeds to open the pit and smoke comes out like a “great furnace” (Revelation 9:2) and locusts came up from the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:39-40). These locusts which are released to wreak havoc upon sinful mankind have a king over them according to Revelation 9:11 an angel who goes by the names Abaddon in Hebrew and Apollyon in Greek. These names give us more insight as to who this angel is when looking at these names in the original languages.
Abaddon in Hebrew
I. Abaddon = “destruction”
C. the place of destruction
D. the name of the angel-prince of the infernal regions, the minister of death and the author of havoc on the earth
Apollyon in Greek
I. Apollyon = “Destroyer”
A. the angel of the bottomless pit, the Destroyer
Herd of many swine
Luke 8:32 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.
Here we see that the people of Gadara kept a herd of swine, it’s been said that the country of Gadara was a Hellenistic people who were influenced by the Greek culture. The reason why they are considered to be Hellenistic is that according to the Old Testament Law God commands the children of Israel not to touch any swine for it’s unclean (Leviticus 11:7, Deuteronomy 14:8).
Also, notice that the devils had no authority before the Lord “they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them”. They asked permission to enter into the swine and the Lord Jesus allowed them to enter into the swine. This is more proof that believers who have the Spirit of God indwelling inside them cannot be demon-possessed, there are Christians who believe a devil can co-inhabit a person with the Holy Ghost. This belief is erroneous and not possible for the true child of God. After the Lord permits the devils to depart this man it says in the following verse.
Luke 8:33 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.
The devils knew there was coming a time in which they will be destroyed in the lake of fire, the time is not yet I supposed the devils were just buying time and just wanted to escape their judgement for the moment. The response of the people in the Gadarenes was unwelcoming, they only cared for the swine it was most likely the way they made profits herding swine. They should have rejoiced at this miracle performed by the Lord Jesus, seeing that God was in their midst and that this man was made whole again (Luke 8:34-37).
What Jesus has done for you
Luke 8:38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
The response of this man is how every child of God should respond because we also have been saved and had those bonds removed from us. The Demoniac man wanted to continue to stay in the presence of the Lord but was sent away “but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee”. Just as the Lord Jesus has sent us out to proclaim the good news of salvation to the lost, this man also was sent to bring the glad tidings to others that they may know the saving power of God.
The remarkable highlight of these verses is that while a miracle was performed, a man released from demon possession the Lord Jesus says: “Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee.” the man goes out to proclaim “how great things Jesus had done unto him”, can you see the connection?
More proof that Jesus Christ is God, rest well in knowing that the one who made all things is inside of you believer and He will continue to uphold you till the day He comes for His bride.
Luke 8:39 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.