Luke 8:26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
Susie: After Jesus calmed the storm, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way to the far side of the lake (Sea of Galilee). They landed in the region of the Gadarenes which appears to have been populated mostly with Gentiles rather than Jews. As noted in the previous lesson, Jesus had given no reason for the journey across the water; but God had a divine appointment for Him there.
Luke 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.
Susie: Matthew’s account tells of two men. Perhaps Mark and Luke described only the more vocal of the two.
Matthew 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
Mark 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
Susan: An interesting detail noted by Luke was that the man was wearing only his birthday suit.
Luke 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.
Susan: The demons within the man knew that Jesus was the Son of God and had the authority to do with them as He wished. They took the humble attitude of begging Jesus not to torture them, throwing themselves at the mercy of God.
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Luke 8:29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
Susie: Luke points out that Jesus had already commanded the demons to leave the man or men. The townspeople had tried to control the madness of the demon-possessed man by chaining him up, but the demons strengthened him to be able to break the chains. He would flea to the surrounding countryside.
Luke 8:30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
Susie: A Roman legion had anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 men. (http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/rome/3-legions-bb.html)
Susan: When Jesus address the naked man, he said his name was “Legion” because he was overwhelmed with the multitude of demons that possessed him.
Luke 8:31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.
Susie: Once again the demons begged the Almighty One not to send them into the Abyss just yet. Instead they asked to be sent into a large herd of pigs. We are not sure why Jesus granted their request. Perhaps it was to have the crowd see a visual of what happened to the demons.
Luke 8:33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
Susie: Mark’s Gospel tells us that there were about 2,000 pigs in this herd! This could signify two things: 1) There were many Gentiles dwelling in the area since Jews did not eat pork and 2) there were a great number of demons possessing the two men.
Mark 5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
Susan: The pigs went absolutely crazy and committed hoggercide or would it be sowercide?
Susie: Either way they ran down a cliff and drowned themselves. The pigs were dead, and the demons were gone.
Luke 8:34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.
Susan: The hog herders ran and spread the news about the demolished herd far and wide in the city and country to all who would listen.
Luke 8:35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
Susie: Those who heard the bizarre tale of demons entering into pigs, went out to see for themselves. What they found was Jesus teaching and the formerly demon-possessed man freed from the demons, fully clothed, and seated as a disciple at the feet of Jesus.
Susan: The man was now completely in his right mind, listening to the Teacher and hanging on His every word.
Luke 8:36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.
Susan: Those who had been eye witnesses to the demons causing the pigs to drown explained to the crowds who had gathered that it was Jesus who had cast them out of the man and into the herd. The people responded in fear rather than faith and asked Jesus to leave the region.
Susie: They were frightened to be in the presence of such a powerful person.
Luke 8:38-39 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 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.
Susan: Out of gratitude for his deliverance and faith that Jesus was the Son of God, the man wanted to follow Him as one of His disciples. Rather than have the man literally follow by walking along with Him, Jesus gave him a specific assignment.
Susie: Jesus told the man to tell the folks back home how he had been delivered from the demons and allow his changed life to be a witness to the power of the Messiah, the Son of God.
Ponder this and apply it: Sometimes it is tempting to spend all our time “sitting at the feet of Jesus” by studying the word, attending worship gatherings, and fellowshipping with other believers; and we need to do those things. However, Jesus has given us the specific assignment to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8) both near and far. We are to tell others about what Jesus has done for and in us and allow our changed lives to be a testimony of His power and grace. GO AND TELL!