October 4 – Luke 8:26-39

Friday, October 4, 2013

Luke 8:26-39 – Healing Legion

After Jesus commanded the wind and water to be at peace, the company sailed to the opposite side of the lake from Galilee. Oneinteresting thing about this story is its intentionality because if you read the beginning of the next pericope (section of scripture), you find that as soon as Jesus has finished healing the man living with a legion of demons, he immediately returns to Galilee. The crowds are still there waiting for him. They were expecting him (Luke 8:40).

There was a singular purpose for Jesus going ashore in the region of Gerasenes (or Gadarenes, or even Gergesnes) – to confront these demons and help this man. As soon as he stepped ashore, he was met by this man.

The man falls at Jesus’ feet, a sign that he still has some humanity left in him, but the picture he presents is one of a near loss of all that is human. He is more dead than alive. He lives in a cemetery and no longer has any clothing to wear. Luke is pointing out that a life without God is inhuman indeed.

The demons recognize Jesus and call him by his title, “Son of the Most High God.” This is no title that any human would know him by, but those who realize his power and authority certainly do. The battle between Jesus and the demons is already accomplished. They don’t fight to remain in possession of the man, but plead instead to avoid returning to the Abyss, which is where the enemies of God are imprisoned.

With the introduction of a herd of pigs, we are told that this is not a Jewish settlement. Jesus is in Gentile territory and for Jews, this story would be understood. Pigs are unclean and belong in an unclean world, much as demons do.  Their caretakers would have recognized the glaring difference between the holy and the unholy as the demons fled to the pigs and hurtled themselves into the lake, thus ensuring they were trapped in the Abyss of which they were so afraid.  They ran off telling everyone. The news spread quickly and people were fearful of the power of the Messiah and asked him to leave them. The man who was healed asks to go with Jesus, but for Christ the important thing for this man was that he return to his family and reintegrate with society. He no longer needed to hide. He had been healed.