John’s gospel ends with:
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I
suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
Why are some stories included the Scriptures and not others? The story of the Gerasene demoniac seems to span the whole life process of a child of God.
1. The man was possessed by many demons – Legion.
Are we not seeing the many demons of alcoholism, sex, drugs, pornography, idolatry possessing us? We are attacked by the lying and murderous spirit all the time. As long as we are a slave to our sinful nature, we live in blind subjection to evil.
2. He lived in the tombs.
Just like us when we didn’t know Christ. We were like “whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” (Matthew 23:27)
3. He was strong – no one could restrain him even with a chain.
Today, evil is stronger than ever before. To conquer, you need to make friends first. So it is with evil. We fall with subtle deception – a little bit of false doctrine or a little bit of alcohol to keep yourself healthy. No harm done. Satan has patience. over the years, we are hopelessly addicted to evil practices inviting demons to run our lives believing it is the Holy Spirit. The strength of evil is strong within us that we cannot comprehend the gospel – Christ and Him crucified, anymore. We think its old news – now the Holy Spirit is working in a new way and we like it. We experience God – do you? We have the gifts – do you? We have the numbers – do you?
Here is the most terrifying verse of the Bible:
2 Thessalonians 10-12
………..They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that they will all be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
We are truly done for when God Himself allows us to be deceived.
This is how strong evil can get in our lives. Evil makes us blind to the truth. The truth becomes offensive, uncool, burdensome, not seeker-friendly, gloomy, pauper gospel and out-of-date.
4. He would cut himself with stones
The man was bleeding all over. We are familiar with the horror stories of people on certain drugs wanting to hurt themselves. This spirit drives you to hurt yourself and eventually kill yourself. The pain becomes a pleasure.
5. The demons who were possessing the man recognized Jesus as Son of the Most High
We, in all our sinfulness, recognize Jesus. But we want nothing to do with Him because our sins will emerge into the light as soon as we surrender to Him. We don’t want that – we love our sin. We are not yet ready to give up on it. It gives us pleasure. What else is life for? Recognizing God is unavoidable. But we are quite capable of searing our conscience to such a degree that we come to a stage of not recognizing our Creator. We see these people all the time, who say there is no God. For them, a terrible destiny awaits truly without God.
6. The demoniac asks to be sent to the pigs = prays to God to be sent to the herd of pigs.
At the feet of the Lord, the demoniac prays – not for forgiveness, but to be sent off to the pigs. We do this all the time, when we have not the spirit of God. We believe we are Christian, but we want to dwell in the world with the Prince of the world. We pray to God for money, jobs, wealth and all material things instead of heavenly things. We love the uncleanness of the world and detest the heavenly blessings that are promised to us as said in Ephesians 1:3.
7. Jesus answers the prayer of the demoniac!
Beware! God might answer your prayer too. And if we are persistent enough, He does answer. The unsaved will ask for the things of the devil and they just might get it. The saved – having the mind of Christ, will only ask for what they ought.
8. The man comes to his right mind and is clothed.
Releasing the powers that bind us give us freedom and our right mind back to us. Not only that, when we are saved, the mind of Christ is given to us and we are clothed in the fruit of the Spirit – Gentleness, kindness, self-control, joy and love.
9. The people of the town ask Jesus to leave = pray to God to leave them alone.
Losing about two thousand swine must have been an economical catastrophe for the owners. They would have been afraid of what else they might lose! No one cared about the deliverance of the man. Isn’t this why we don’t open our heart’s door to Jesus? We stand to lose the world and the world means more to us than eternal salvation. We are asked to carry our cross and follow Jesus. We cannot hold on to our old way of living. It is dead. But who can make the change? So instead of inviting Jesus in, we convince ourselves that we need to balance our lives, we simply cannot afford this religious nonsense at this time. We have jobs to do, children to raise, deadlines to meet, holidays to take, homes to build.
10. Jesus answers the prayer of the townspeople!
We see clearly free-will at work. Jesus does not enter into our hearts by force. He stands and knocks, and will enter only if the door is opened. One day, it will be too late because we will not hear Him anymore. So here is Paul’s message :
Hebrews 3:7 – So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…v.13 -…as long as it is called “Today”, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
11. The man who was demon-possessed begs to be with Jesus = yet another prayer to God in this story.
When we are saved, we experience true zeal for the Lord. Out of sheer gratefulness and love for the Lord, we want to immediately get into ministry. Sometimes, our zeal leads us into a ministry that requires knowledge of the Word. It is a real danger when zeal goes before knowledge. Once saved, some are given the gift of teaching. It is important that we all spend time learning the Word with the guidance of the Holy Spirit before we embark on our ministry of teaching or evangelizing.
12. Jesus answers the prayer / request of the man by giving him a more suitable answer than that which he asks for.
Jesus has called all believers to be witnesses – not attorneys. A witness tells the story as he saw it. The man has to go back home and tell everyone what happened and how the Lord had compassion on him.
13. The man witnesses for Jesus in Decapolis.
We are to do the same. We cannot keep the knowledge of how our salvation came about a secret. We are propelled by the love of God to go and tell. We are to tell our story to the glory of God who saved us.
And…..if you have no compulsion to witness, it is a good time to ask yourself, “am I really saved?”