St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Bolivar, Missouri
Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Luke 8:26-39The Gerasene demoniac

Luke 8:26-39
Jesus and his disciples arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most high God? I beg you, do not torment me.” – for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said “Legion;” for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these.So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they 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. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear.So he got in the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” Jesus healed him. He restored his place among his people. He sent him “home” in every sense of the word. So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.A few things to think about

Do you remember the context of this story? In Luke it comes right after Jesus and his friends were crossing the lake in their boat when a storm came up almost capsizing the boat. Jesus was asleep. When the terrified disciples woke him up, Jesus spoke to the wind and the waves, “Peace.” and they were still. And they wondered, “Who is this that the wind and the waves obey him?” And they were left staggered and stammering. The question in this whole section of Luke is, “Who is this?” Now the text says as soon as they landed, Jesus got out of the boat. Read it carefully. By the time Jesus approached the man, he had already commanded the demon to leave him. When the man saw Jesus, he immediately fell on his knees and shouted. Jesus didn’t ask the man if he wanted to be healed and set free. He didn’t wait for the man to ask him, either. He just did it. He commanded the demons. And they obeyed. But who is this that he can order the natural elements of the world to “be still” and now command the spiritual forces of evil to leave? He is no longer just an ordinary healer. Who is this Jesus? And if his friends who knew him were freaking out, how much more the villagers who didn’t? And of course they feared what the Roman owners of those pigs would do to them. How were they going to explain that? The man who was healed and set free, given back his right mind, his dignity, and his place within society wanted to go with Jesus, naturally. But Jesus sent him right back into the town to “declare how much God had done for him,” and he did it – becoming the first, and likely a convincing missionary to the Gentiles.



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