The Gospel of Luke: a commentary & meditation 
 "Declare how much God has done for you"

Scripture: Luke 8:26-39
26 Then they arrived at the country of the Ger'asenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 And as he stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons; for a long time he had worn no clothes, and he lived not in  a house but among the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him, and said with a loud voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beseech you, do not torment me." 29 For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him; he was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters, but he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the desert.) 30 Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. 32 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them leave. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.  34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of  Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 And those who had seen it told them how he who had been possessed with demons was healed. 37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Ger'asenes asked him to depart from them; for they were seized with great fear; so he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but he sent him away, saying, 39 "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
Meditation: Do you ever feel driven by forces beyond your strength? A man who was possessed and driven mad by the force of many evil spirits found refuge in the one person who could set him free. Both Mark and Luke in their Gospel accounts of this incident describe this demonic force as a legion (Mark 5:9 and Luke 8:30). A legion is no small force but an army 6,000 strong! For the people of Palestine who were often hemmed in by occupied forces, a legion whether human or supernatural struck terror! Legions at their wildest committed unmentionable atrocities. Our age has also witnessed untold crimes and mass destruction at the hands of possessed rulers and their armies. What is more remarkable the destructive force of this driven and possessed man, or the bended knee at Jesus' feet imploring mercy and release (Luke 8:28)? God's word  reminds us that no destructive force can keep anyone from the peace and safety which God offers to those who seek his help. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. ..Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation (Psalm 91:7,9).

Jesus took pity on the man who was overtaken by a legion of evil spirits. The destructive force of these demons is evident for all who can see as they flee and destroy a herd of swine. After Jesus freed the demoniac the whole city came out to meet him. No one had demonstrated such power and authority against the forces of Satan as Jesus did. They feared Jesus as a result and begged him to leave them. Why would they not want Jesus to stay? Perhaps the price for such liberation from the power of evil and sin was more than they wanted to pay. The Lord Jesus is ready and willing to free us from anything that binds us and that keeps us from the love of God.  Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from his love and saving grace?

"Lord Jesus, unbind me that I may love you wholly and walk in the freedom of your way of life and holiness.  May there be nothing which keeps me from the joy of living in your presence."


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 (c) 1999, 2012 Don Schwager