“Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.”
The exorcism of the demoniac from Gadara is one of the most powerful and mysterious narratives in the Bible. All three synoptic writers mention the encounter between Jesus and the legion of demons that had made this poor man’s life a nightmare (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39). Completely dominated by these wicked spirit creatures, the man had effectively become a crazed maniac. He had stripped off all his clothes and was found away from civilization among the tombs. Apparently he had become such a danger to passers by that he was often shackled. The bonds were easily broken, however, and in addition to threatening the people who might traffic into the area, the demons had moved the man to attack himself. Mark tells us that he was continually crying out and cutting himself with stones (5:5). As terrifying as this man’s appearance and behavior may have been, the evil creatures inside Him were themselves terrified at the presence of Jesus. “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God?” croaked the terrified spirit, “I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not” (Mark 5:7). Apparently, this demon was spokesman for many others—possibly thousands—that had entered the man (Mark 5:9; Luke 8:30). The creatures begged Jesus not to cast them into the abyss, a terrible place of spiritual incarceration (Luke 8:31). Instead, they begged to be permitted to enter a herd of swine. Our Lord granted the request and the swine reacted violently, plunging themselves off a cliff and into the lake below (Matthew 8:32; Mark 5:13; Luke 8:33). The loss of animal life is regrettable, of course, but it does serve to prove that the demoniac’s deliverance was not simply some kind of psychological event in his life. Real demons had entered him but, at the irresistible command of the Son of God, were forced to abandon their victim. Luke tells us that the townsfolk in the area found the man “sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind” (8:35b). This wonderfully describes the transformed behavior, nature, and posture of Christ’s redeemed in the present dispensation. As the demoniac had been incessantly injuring himself before his deliverance, we too had engaged in self destructive behaviors of one kind or another before we knew the Lord in a saving way. This ceased at conversion and we assumed the posture of a disciple, sitting at the feet of Jesus as Mary did (Luke 10:39). Once naked and ashamed, we are now clothed in Christ’s righteousness (Galatians 3:27; Revelation 19:8). Once walking in the futility of our minds, we now have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Ephesians 4:17-20). May God help us do as this grateful man did, and proclaim what great things God has done for us (Luke 8:39).
God bless you all, dear saints,