Dear Student of the Word,
I had some time this week to continue editing my devotional studies from Luke's gospel, which I will now share with you. In this study, we will look at the trouble that Jesus went through just to help one man, and the response of that man's peers to Jesus' help. This is a seven-part study you can download below, but here is a taste of what you will download, which was part seven of this seven-part study:
Study Thirteen, Part Seven
34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 "Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
8:34 – I doubt if the pig herders had any herd insurance that would cover an “act of God” like the one that occurred due to Legion! Of course, this begs the question: What were they doing herding pigs, which were an unclean animal by Jewish law? When the pigs performed mass suicide, the herders ran go off to notify the countryside of what had happened, not to spread the good news of the man’s deliverance, but the bad news of their economic loss.
8:35&36 – The people came to check out the story they had heard, and there was the evidence sitting right in front of them, clothed and in his right mind. Instead of being happy for the man who was delivered, they were afraid—perhaps afraid that their own inner secrets or problems would be confronted. Not everyone wants to be set free from his or her problems. One pastor pointed out once that God won’t separate you from your friends. By that he meant that if you have a spiritual problem and you like or are comfortable with that problem, God will let you keep it! He won’t force you to be set free.
These people weren’t happy that this man was helped. They were afraid and mourned the economic loss of the pigs instead of rejoicing over the healing of the man. In other regions, the people would have brought all their sick and infirm to be touched by Jesus. The Gerasene people didn't think like that. They were a closed community that did not welcome this outsider named Jesus, even if He had spiritual power to help people.
8:37 – Jesus did not try to talk the people out of his eviction. He got in the boat and left. He had done what He could for one man and it was time to move on. Jesus never chased anyone who didn’t want what He had to offer. This was no exception. Jesus had told His disciples how to handle rejection, and in this case He modeled His own teaching: "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6).
Who were the real pigs in this area—the animals or the people?
8:38&39 – Jesus had a plan for this man’s life, and it didn’t include him coming with Jesus. Instead, Jesus sent the man home to give testimony to God’s healing power in his life. The man obeyed Jesus’ directions and did indeed go home to tell his home about the Lord. What is Jesus plan for your life? Are you obeying it like this man did? Do you have things that God has done for you? I’m sure you do, but are you telling others about those things?
Jesus made a special trip to help this man. On the way over, He encountered the serious storm that almost swamped His boat. Perhaps the storm was caused by demons who knew where Jesus was going and what He was going to do. Whatever the source of the storm, this story highlights God’s love for each person. Jesus went through all this to help one crazed man, who was under the influence and control of the devil. He set the man free, but was rejected by the community where the man lived. Therefore, Jesus got in His boat and returned home. God’s love isn’t always efficient. By that, I mean that God went through a lot of trouble to help just one person. He can ask you to do the same. Are you willing to go through a lot of trouble to help just one? I hope so.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the daily devotional entitled A Daily Taste of Proverbs. Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy this study of Luke's gospel from God's word.