Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned. When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country.Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned. Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
Why do we need a Savior?
Evil Spirits – There is only one devil, but there are many evil or unclean spirits or demons. The New Testament says of them:
- They are spirits – Matt. 12:43-45
- They are Satan’s emissaries – Matt. 12:26-27
- They know their fate is eternal doom. Matt. 8:29; Luke 8:31
- They affect man’s health – Matt. 12:22; 17:15-18; Luke 13:16
- They deceive the world and blind people to Christ – Eph. 2:2
- They entice men to a false religion of asceticism – 1 Tim. 4:1-3
- They entice men to depart from the faith – 1 Tim. 4:1
- They are cast out of people in the name of Jesus Christ – Acts 16:18
- They shall participate in the final judgment coming on the earth – Rev. 9:1-11, 20
Results of sin – We see by this man’s life what the devil desires to do in our lives, and what sin can do if allowed to run its full and unhindered course. Many in our society today are like this man – and we see the results in abused children, overflowing prisons, broken homes, hurting people.
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages (that which is earned) of sin is death.”
- This man had lost all sense of shame and self-respect. He was running around naked.
- This man had lost his friends and family. He lived alone among the graves.
- This man was completely under the control of the evil spirit. He had lost his “right mind” – his sense of true identity. Notice that when Jesus asked the man what his name was, the demons answered Him.
- The demons’ response to Jesus
- They recognized who He was – “Jesus, Son of the Most High God”
- They recognized that there was no possibility of a relationship with Jesus – “What have I do to do with You?” or “What have we in common?”
- They recognized His power over them – “I beg You, do not torment me!”
- They were forced to obey Him
- Our proper response to Jesus
We need to recognize who He is. Jesus Himself told us in John 14:6 – “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” We do not come to the Father based on our good works, on our good intentions. We do not come to the Father by church membership, water baptism. We do not come to the Father through Buddha, meditation or any other source but Jesus. He is not Santa Claus, He is not grandpa, He is not our “good buddy.” He is – just as the demons recognized – “Jesus, Son of the Most High God.”
We need to recognize that we cannot maintain a relationship with Him and continue in sin. Water and oil do not mix.
Luke 16:13 – No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despite the other.
James 4:4 – Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity (hatred) with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend (a loved one, speaks of a love of emotion and deep friendship) of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Galatians 1:10 – For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
John 14:15 – If you love me, you will keep my commandments… This statement could also be made – If you do not keep my commandments, you do not love me.
We need to recognize that Jesus has power over the devil and sin. There can be victory.
What is a Savior?
Webster’s dictionary defines it as “one that saved from danger or destruction; one who brings salvation.” “Salvation” is “deliverance from the power and effects of sin; preservation from destruction or failure; deliverance from danger or difficulty.”
The Greek word used in this entire chapter of Luke 8 is sozo. It shows us the full range of the power of Jesus as Savior. It shows us all that is meant when we say Jesus is our Savior.
The demon-possessed man was freed of evil power that took control of his own rational mind and physical actions. Verse 36 tells us that he was “healed” – (sozo). Jesus has the power to set us free from those bondages that seem to control us – habits of the flesh (you can make your own list), wrong attitudes or thoughts in our mind (worry, fear, lust, gossip, hatred, etc.) – those things that seem to control us. Jesus died to set us free from those bondages.
John 10:10 – I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly (superabundance, excessively overflowing).
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Sophronismos means “good judgment, disciplined thought patterns, and the ability to understand and make right decisions. It includes the qualities of self-control and self-discipline.
Philippians 6-8 – Be anxious (merimnao means “a distraction, a preoccupation with things causing anxiety, stress and pressure) for nothing….and the peace of God…will guard (a military term picturing a sentry standing guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Paul then lists the things we are to meditate on (think over, reflect on, contemplate, consider)
Luke tells us in verses 40-56 of two physical healings. One was a women who had been sick for twelve years and had spent her savings on doctors with no results. In verse 48 Jesus tells the woman she has been “made well ” – (sozo). The other was a little girl who had died. In verse 50, Jesus tells the girl’s father that the little girl will be “made well” – (sozo). In both cases, Jesus referred to the need for them to believe.
Healing is one of the gifts of the Spirit. We see in Acts where the Early Church experienced great healings. James instructs us to call for the elders of the church when we are sick and states that the prayer of faith will bring about physical healing. This kind of faith is also another one of the gifts of the Spirit. We need to pray that we will draw close to God so that the gifts of the Spirit may once again operate in our midst.
We also see in this chapter the parable of the Sower. This is clearly referring to our spiritual life. Yet, again in verse 12 he speaks of someone being “saved” – (sozo). Here we see that one is saved – healed by the Word of God.
Jesus has come to be our Savior in all areas of our life. To heal our broken relationship with God; to save our broken personalities and heal us from our bondages; to deliver us from our physical weaknesses and diseases and ultimately to rescue us from death itself at the final resurrection.
What do we do after we accept our Savior?
- The “saved, healed, delivered” man wanted to be with Jesus.
- Jesus sent him on a mission.
- Show what God has done in your life.
- Go to your own house.
Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Acts 8:4 – That they were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.
1 Peter 3:`15 – But sanctify (set apart) the Lord God in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.
Acts 16:14-15 – …The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized…
Acts 16:30-31 – And said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved and your house.
Exodus 12:3 – On the tenth of the month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.
Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
“Train up” does not mean just bring a child to church once a week or teach them a memory verse. It does not mean to just tell them they should be saved and serve God. It is much more than that. It carries the idea of a parent investing in a child whatever wisdom, love, time and discipline is needed for that child to become fully committed to God. It assumes that the parent has the emotional and spiritual maturity to do so. “In the way he should go” means to take into account the child’s unique personality, gifts and desires. It also means to train the child to avoid whatever natural tendencies he/she might have that would prevent total commitment to God (a weak will, a lack of discipline, a susceptibility to depression). This promise means that if a parent takes the time, uses wisdom and love to instruct the child in the way of commitment to God, both by words and by their own example, taking into account the child’s own personality, and then they can be assured the child will stay committed to God as an adult.
If you want your child to go to church, how often do they see you go to God’s house? What is your attitude when you go? “I have to go,” or “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.’”
If you want your child to love God’s Word, how often do they see you reading God’s Word? What is your attitude when you read? “I have to read,” or “I love learning more about God’s Word.”
If you want your child to worship God, how often do they see you worship God – both at home and at church? Do they ever see you just stop in the middle of work and sing a song of praise or take time to pray? Do they ever see you in church entering into worship with all your heart? What is your attitude about worship? “Hurry up and get on with it,” or “What a joy to worship our Savior.”
If you want your child to give to God’s work, how often do they see you giving? What is your attitude about giving? “I have to tithe,” or “It is a blessing to give to the cause of Christ.”
Have you taken the time to teach your child how to study the Bible, how to look up words they don’t understand, how to do research? Have you taken the time to teach your child how to pray?
Receive the Savior – and tell others