The Geresene Miracle.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, Our Lord, Our King and Our Redeemer!
Today we will consider “The Case Of The Geresene Miracle.”
The Gospel Reading today is taken from LUKE 8 : 26 – 39 and shows an important incident in the life and working of Jesus of Nazareth.
There are always a number of things that we can learn from studying a passage of the Bible.
We can just pick up the surface content of the passage as any reader can.
This is good.. but it is only the first level.
And as the old proverb states:-
“We see things not as they are -
but as WE are!”
We should look to see beyond the first level to a layer deeper and receive the intended revelation that God has for those who draw close to him and look for guidance from the Holy Spirit who is residing in all believers.
So let's see what God may be teaching us with this passage of scripture.
When Jesus and the disciples got out of the boat on the shore opposite Galilee they were met by a naked man who lived in the nearby tombs. Jesus commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man but it answered “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.”
Th context that leads up to today's gospel story,is of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus had instructed his disciples to cross the sea with Him. As they were crossing a great storm arose. Being afraid they asked Jesus to quell the storm.
The disciples FEAR was a symptom of their LACK OF FAITH!
Now we encounter a different kind of FEAR.
The spirit that was speaking obviously knew Jesus and they also saw not having a body to inhabit as being 'tortured'.
At this point Jesus asked it what it's name was and it said it's name was 'Legion', confirming that it wasn't just one demon but many! They also affirmed that they did not want to be banished but wanted to continue in a body and asked for permission to enter some swine nearby.
Jesus grants them permission and they enter the swine, only to spook the pigs and drive them over a cliff and drown them all.
The man though was rescued from his plight and came into his right mind and having been given some clothes to wear he sat at the feet of Jesus to learn from the Master.
The reaction of the locals was not so good though. They were fearful of Jesus and actually asked him to leave the vicinity
rather than consider following this Rabbi who had rescued the demon-possessed man from their city.
That's the information on the surface. A story of one of Jesus' miracles. But let's look a little further! Let's look at a deeper level!
Have you ever tried to lead people to Jesus and found that of the many people that you may have encouraged in a season only one or maybe two showed any long term interest? Well the first lesson we can learn from this passage is not to be disheartened by this! Jesus went out of His way here, crossing a lake, facing and quelling a storm, and only saved one man and had everybody else in the locality tell him to leave town! If this can happen to Jesus do not get down in the dumps if your success rate is also low at times.
Have you gone out of your way to help someone and found that obstacles seem to be placed in your path when you are only trying to do good? This happened to Jesus too!
When Jesus and the disciples were crossing the lake a massive storm blew up such that hardened fishermen were scared and turned to Jesus for help. They woke Him up and asked him to do something, because after all He supposedly cared for them! Then they sat back and waited for Jesus to act and He went to the front of the boat and rebuked the storm! The fact that he 'REBUKED' the storm suggests that it was not a natural storm but was driven by evil spirits.
Having done what the disciples asked, Jesus then chided them for a lack of faith. He expected them to behave differently in those circumstances. Have you ever considered why?
First of all at the start of the journey in
the boat Jesus said to them, “Let's go to the other side of the lake”. He then got in the boat and went to sleep. So, if God tells you “Let's go across the lake”. What should you expect to happen? (Pause)
You should expect to go across to the other side!
Secondly, having been taught by Jesus to cast out demons, heal the sick, cleanse lepers and raise the dead, Jesus would expect them to use the power they had through Holy Spirit' to calm the storm themselves with their faith.
Thirdly, for us today, if when we have a problem we, figuratively, go to God (ie. wake up Jesus), Pray for his intervention (ie. ask him to fix it because after all he's supposed
to care for us) and then wait around for God to quell the storm; we should know that while God will help His children who come to Him in that mode, it shows a lack of faith on our part.
After all Jesus said in Matthew 10:8 that all believers would, “heal the sick, cleanse lepers, raise the dead and cast out demons! And, He said that believers would do even greater works than He did! We can do a lot more with Jesus in us than we attempt to do each day! It's true that we can do nothing without Jesus, but believers are never without Jesus. He said He would never leave us or forsake us.
It will take courage but we all have a long way we can go in fulfilling Jesus' commission.
As we continue to look deeper into this passage we see that delivering this man from his trial came at a great cost. The demons extracted a cost of the lives of all those pigs with the loss of revenue for the owners.
The ultimate deliverance wrought for us by Jesus with the torture and punishment that He suffered, being beaten with stripes for our healing and dying so that our sins could be forgiven, came at the cost of great pain, suffering the loss of fellowship with His Father, God, and the cost of His life.
Salvation is FREE but it was provided at GREAT COST!
And what does Jesus ask of us for this grace which washes away all our sins, past,
present and future? That we should tell others of what our Great God has done for us.
This is also there in the story! Let's look in our manuals again in verses 38 and 39.
Luke 8:38-39 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying,“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
That's what Jesus says to all His disciples. .... As one hymn says, “Go ye therefore into all the world”. Preach the Gospel unto every one”. It's called by many “The great commission”.
We all can play our parts with Holy Spirit's help, guidance and power and we''ll see Jesus' revelation to us and our calling when we take the time to get below the surface.