The Dramatic Impact of Deliverance
Topic: deliverance Verse: Luke 8:26–8:39
“The Dramatic Impact of Deliverance”
Theme: The power of Jesus Christ is able to deliver any sinner from any sin.
Christ’s coming to earth to redeem sinners and the “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8) drove the normally covert activity of evil spirits into a frenzied scramble for rampant destruction and opposition to the assault by the Son of God. Although there are some references to an evil spirit terrorizing Saul, it is notable that there are no examples of demon possession in the Old Testament. Additionally, outside of the Gospels and the book of Acts, there are no references to demon possession either. “The rarity of overt demonic manifestation does not mean that the forces of hell are not always active.” They prefer to function in the role of deception – 1 Timothy 4:1 and appear as “angels of light” – 2 Corinthians 11:14-15. Hence, for them to display themselves with such blatancy during the ministry of Jesus and His Apostles demonstrate how panicked they were in the presence of the Son of God. In our text today, we have a demonstration that follows up on the astounding & fearful demonstration of Jesus’ authority over creation by the stilling of the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Luke now provides an equally fearful account of Jesus’ authority over the spirit world and the forces of evil through the deliverance of this most tormented soul in the region of Gadara.
It must be made clear that demon possession is something that the believer need not fear – as we possess the Holy Spirit who overcomes the power of Satan in our lives – cp. 1 John 4:4. The demons encountered in our text were actual evil spirits who ravaged this sinner and were bent on destroying him. They also represent the reality of the extreme examples of wickedness against which we constantly struggle.
I. Satan’s Power Destroys – 8:26-29b
A. The Reality of Satan’s Power – v. 26-27, 29
- We find once again that Jesus heads somewhere for the sake of one person – “Then they sailed to the country of Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.”
- Luke (as does Mark) refers to the small village of Gerasa nearby the Sea of Galilee within the greater region called Gadara.
- Matthew chooses to refer to the term for the general region – Gadarenes – cp. Matthew 8:28
- Jesus clearly had an appointment with two men who had been long-term captives of Satanic power and authority – Matthew 8:28.
- As Jesus gets out of the boat in order to meet these men, one of the men takes the lead and sees potential victims of the hate and demonic hostility that filled him – “And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons;”
- Luke somewhat understates the scenario as this was a violent encounter – a madman who rushed Jesus with an intent to kill – cp. Matthew 8:28b; Mark 5:1-6
- This man demonstrated unfiltered exhibition of wickedness
- He displayed shamelessness through nudity – “… had not put on any clothing for a long time …”
- He displayed a fetish of death - “… and was not living in a house, but in the tombs.”
- He displayed a complete lack of self-control – “… it had seized him many times and he was bound with chains and shackles and kep under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.”
- Clearly, his activities had shown that he was out of control – with evil spirits driving his behavior in excess of sanity itself.
- He approaches Jesus with great wildness and maniacal hostility, yet at some point, the demons recognize that this is not merely an oblivious traveler that they could terrorize.
- This remains the great agenda of Satan – in the world He is constantly promoting the deceptions of sin – holding them up for the naïve to be lured into pursing fulfillment and pleasure in sin.
- In addition, Satan is constantly seeking anyone, believer or unbeliever that he can destroy – cp. 1 Peter 5:8.
B. The Resolve in Satan’s Power – v. 28
- At some point, they came to realize that they had just encountered the Son of God! - “Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him …”
- Using the man’s voice, the spokesman for the demons “cried out … and said in a loud voice, ‘What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.’”
- It is interesting that since they were originally angels, these demons would have recognized the 2nd Person of the Trinity, despite the fact that they had never seen his physically.
- The demons actually compelled the man to show reverence and homage – coming and bowing down before Jesus – cp. Mark 5:6.
- They had no interest in “mixing it up” with Jesus – knowing they didn’t stand a chance in the face of His authority.
- The reference to “do not torment me” is a reference to what they knew awaited them in condemnation – cp. Matthew 8:29; 25:41; Revelation 20:10
- Their great fear was that Jesus would confine them – cp. Luke 8:31
- The response of demons to the authority of God is to tremble at the thought of their fate – James 2:19
- As noted in the introduction, when Satan or his demons begin to realize their time is short, they become increasingly hostile and active – cp. Revelation 12:12.
- Understanding that demons are NOT behind every sin, what does explain the power that sin has in our lives?
- Why does fixating on Satan’s power fail to assist believers?
- How does the demons’ awareness of their ultimate punishment inform us of the certainty of sin’s consequences in our lives as well?
II. The Savior’s Power Delivers – 8:29a-35
A. The Command by Christ – v. 29a
- Jesus doesn’t waste time, He immediately “commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.”
- The authority of the Lord over the demonic forces is unbridled and irresistible – they know that He has authority over them.
- He is the Creator – having created these angels in righteousness before they fell – Revelation 12:4; Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4
- Jesus had no intention of reconciling these demons to Himself – Hebrews 2:14-16
- They knew that Jesus possessed absolutely no grace or mercy toward them and they were frightened by Him altogether.
B. The Compassion of Christ – vv. 30-31
- Jesus compassion for the man who was being possessed is now displayed – “And Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’”
- Jesus isn’t talking to the demon, but rather to the sinner as a means by which Jesus’ compassion for his soul was communicated to this wretched man, wishing to come to know this man – cp. Acts 4:12
- Nevertheless, the demon answered instead of the man, using the man’s physical voice – “And he said, ‘Legion’; for many demons had entered him.”
- A Roman Legion could have up to 6,000 men in it – and thus there were thousands of demons that were tormenting this man.
- One might question, why are they not gone yet? Jesus had already commanded them to come out of the man – but we are told that they were repeatedly “imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.”
- “imploring” [παρεκάλουν] – is an imperfect active indicative – describing a constant exhortation or appeal
- It seems that they interrupted Jesus just after he told them to come out, and before He could tell them where to go, they began begging Him, frightened that He was going to consign them to the abyss.
- Jesus concern was for the man and the soul of the man, not for the welfare of these demons.
C. The Corroboration by Christ – vv. 32-33
- These demons were desperate to avoid the abyss and thus they noted the “herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and [they] implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission.”
- Jesus recognize the value of His granting this permission:
- It would demonstrate the appropriate affinity between the unclean spirit and the unclean animal.
- It would punish those trafficking these unclean animals in violation of the Law.
- It would provide an expose of Satan’s agenda of destruction because of the unnatural, suicidal plunge of swine that have a natural aversion to deep water.
- It would provide objective proof – corroboration - that the man had been delivered - and that Jesus had authority even over the unclean spirits.
- As a result of Jesus’ permission, “… 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.”
D. The Comprehension of Christ – vv. 34-35
- Immediately, the herdsman who had observed this entire event, realized that Jesus was no ordinary person – and they were frightened – “When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country.”
- Their reaction was to flee whereas the delivered man’s reaction was to approach – “The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind …”
- Their comprehension of what had happened caused them to become frightened as well – “… and they became frightened.” .
- We would have expected them to rejoice in the deliverance of the man, but instead, they were afraid of Jesus – a kind of general response to Jesus when sinner encounter Him and realize the power that He has to command their lives in ways they do not desire Him to do.
- What does the departure of the demons into the swine prove?
- What proves that the delivered man was saved?
- How does the man’s desire to stay with Jesus inform us of what desires we should expect to possess?
III. Sin’s Power Deceives – 8:36-39
A. The Clarity of the Deliverance – vv. 35-36
- The man’s transformation was remarkable – not only the absence of the demonic corruptions, but more so the presence of a wholesomeness that comes from delighting in Christ.
- They discovered that the report that they had received about the deliverance of this man was true – “Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well.”
- When a person is taken from under the domination of the “ruler of this world” and delivered into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, the contrast in their lives will be radical.
- “made well” [ἐσώθη] – describes the complete transformation of a man from a maniacal sinner to a rescued sinner profoundly impacted by the power of God’s grace through Jesus Christ.
- Again, although this describes the impact of God’s grace on a demon possessed man, all sin binds, corrupts, and dominates even without demon possession and needs to be overcome in the same way as the most extreme expressions of wickedness must be defeated.
B. The Comprehension by the Deceived – v. 37
- Those who observe this power of grace come to realize that if they “get too close,” such power might draw them away from the lives that they love and want no part of it.
- This is the tragedy of comprehending the truth, but loving sin - “And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to leave them, for they were gripped with great fear.”
- In response to rejection, Jesus gave them what they desired – “… and He got into a boat and returned.”
- As far as we know, the only convert on this trip was the single man that Jesus had sailed across the Sea of Galilee against great turbulence to save; but abandoned the rest who rejected Him.
C. The Commission of the Delivered – vv. 38-39.
- Nevertheless, Jesus’ heart for these people didn’t find spite – He continued to be burdened for them.
- We know that because when the convert begs Him to stay with Him, Jesus refuses and commissions the man to preach the Gospel – “But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away, saying, ‘return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.’”
- This is the response by those touched by grace – a yearning to be in fellowship with the Christ who saved us; while engaging in the commission to demonstrate our persuasion of His worthiness by telling others about Him so that they might join us in worshiping Him as well.
- This is exactly what this man did – “So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.”
- The equating of Jesus with God in this verse ought not be missed – this man knew that Jesus was God!
- What causes people to prefer the power of Satan to the power of the Savior?
- How does Jesus response to the request of the people for Him to leave impact you … what concerns does it stir up?
- What causes you to be either like or unlike the delivered man in his obedience to the instruction by Jesus that we describe for others what great things God has done of us?
 Genesis 6 is a place where some believe demons were involved in having relations with women. My conclusion is that the “sons of God” are not demonically possessed men, but rather were righteous men who were lured into having relations with ungodly women – “daughters of men.”
 MacArthur, p. 217.
 Aorist Passive Indicative from σῴζω