When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. (Luke 8:27-39)
This remarkable account of Jesus’ visit to the town of Gerasenes leaves us with more lessons than one devotion can cover. Let’s focus on the man that Jesus healed. He was living the most tortuous existence that I can imagine. Even chains couldn’t keep him from self destruction. He left the company of his community and spent his days naked and homeless, in lonely places among dead bodies. This man was desolate, depressed and destroyed. Jesus reached into his life and changed everything. Jesus’ power over the man’s demons was total. He cast them out, forcing them to practice their destruction on a heard of pigs instead of a human soul. At Jesus’ command the man was immediately restored. We read that the crowds were amazed that he was fully clothed and in his right mind. The man’s response to what Jesus did for him showed his gratefulness. He wanted to stay with Jesus. Could you blame him? After being a prisoner in darkness and fear he wanted to cling to the only one who brought him freedom and light. I love how Jesus responds. Instead of allowing the man to go with Him, he sends him to go and tell. The man couldn’t keep his freedom to himself, he needed to share it and spread it. What a story he could share! Can you image hearing what Jesus had done for him from his own lips? What a powerful witness he must have been.
What Jesus has done for you is no less amazing. You may have been a baby when God called you to Himself in baptism, but you were just as trapped and desolate in your sin as the man in this account. Jesus reached into your life and changed everything. He cast out the devil and made way for His Holy Spirit in your heart. You don’t need to fear the demons that surround you, Jesus has power over them. He called you from a life of wandering death and darkness into His marvelous light. You have been made free!
Our only response to such powerful love is obedience to Jesus’ Word…go and tell! We have been given too much not to share. Just like the man in this account, it is our joy and privilege to tell everyone how much Jesus has done for us. The world is longing to hear the powerful witness we can share! We have been set free!