And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 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. 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. (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.) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 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. 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. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. 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. 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. 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. And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received Him: for they were all waiting for Him. (Luk 8:26-40)
There were several points from this passage that were brought out:
The best part of the demon-possessed man's life while he was tormented and possessed was the end of it. During that time, he was in bonds, he lived in the tombs and couldn't keep himself in clothes or his right mind. He was the living dead, just as many today, bound by their sIn, caught in cycles of corruption, and unable to save themselves.
The possessed man reacted in opposition to his encounter with Jesus. He falsely accused Jesus and His agenda. Many we encounter as we witness will be hostile and even falsely accuse us, even as they continue to make false statements about our Lord.
The community reacted in fear and loathing of all Jesus had done for this man. They didn't want him delivered from his bondage, nor in his right mind, and they certainly wanted their pigs back (though as Jews they should not have been involved with them). They asked Jesus to leave. Many today do not want to hear about Jesus, they react in fear and loathing toward Him and us, and wish us to leave.
Jesus left in response to the widespread rejection of His actions and message. He didn't force Himself on anybody. We should leave in as good a relationship as they will let us, but when faced with hostility, we leave and pray, not for good, but for the moment.
This response and strategy worked, because the delivered man testified of all that GOD had done, and those that heard and were waiting for Jesus rejoiced and were glad to see Him when He returned to them. We must not give up on people that or lost, but trust lost people to GOD, and return when the Spirit prompts us, that they who hear may be glad and receive Him.
So the question then is, what great things about Jesus have you experienced, and what have you published, as this man did, and to whom?
Have you experienced the new birth that Jesus came to give all who will repent of their sins and believe in His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary? Have you been delivered from the power and presence of sIn and redeemed? Has GOD saved you and given you a brand new life in Him that you can share with others?
If so, what provision and guidance has GOD done in and through you lately? What is He telling you to do for Him? Have you shared Jesus with your neighbors, your friends, your coworkers, or your family?
Church: where is the witness in your community? in your neighborhood? in your county? in your state? in your country? in our world?
Dr. William Ferrand, Pastor
and Rev. Jefferson Sweet, Associate Pastor
(From Bill Ferrand's Wednesday devotion and teaching, 15 July 2015, edited for web publication by Jefferson Sweet.)