A meditation on Luke 8:26-39
A man had been possessed by multiple demons, to the point that he could not be controlled by law-enforcement or chains. He was banished to the tombs, where he lived in his nakedness among the dead. But when Jesus came to town and commanded them to leave the man, these demons fell on their faces before Jesus, terrified that he would throw them into the abyss, being “Son of the Most High God” (v. 28). Jesus could have easily done so, but decided instead to cast them into a herd of pigs at the demons’ plea. The demons quickly threw the pigs into a nearby lake where they drowned.
Not many people were around to see this strange event. Absent from the event were the pigs’ owners. Obviously stunned at the sight of their wealth drowning in the lake, they demanded answers! When the eyewitnesses told them the story, however, the herdsmen turned from anger to terror. There he was in their midst– the notoriously unrestrainable demon-possessed man, fully clothed and in his right mind, sitting at the feet of Jesus. What kind of power is this? They could not let someone with such power remain in their town. Apparently Jesus was too powerful for their comforts!
So in the presence of Jesus both the demons and the townspeople were gripped with fear. How did the man who was now delivered respond to Jesus? He wanted to go with Jesus wherever he went, but Jesus had a different assignment for him. He told the man to go throughout the town, proclaiming what God had done in his life. Notice the exact words that Jesus says here in Luke’s account:
“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” (v.39)
But notice what the man did:
And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
Declare how much God had done– so the man proclaimed how much Jesus had done for him. Luke knows exactly what he’s doing, of course. The demons were terrified because they knew they were in the presence of the Son of God (v.28)! And the man could tell the whole town what God had done in his life by proclaiming Jesus, who is God! Not once does he refute the claim to deity. He only continues to demonstrate it’s terrifying reality. The God who throws demons into pigs to drown in the lake is the God who made a public spectacle of principalities and powers on the cross (Col. 2:15) and will one day throw them all into the lake of fire (Rev. 19-20). Tremble, therefore, at the mighty hand of Jesus, and proclaim to the world what he has done in your life, that others may tremble with you!