Luke 8:19-40


“Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.  And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.  And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.  Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples:  and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake.  And they launched forth.  But as they sailed he fell asleep:  and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.  And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish.  Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and raging of the water:  and they ceased, and there was a calm.  And he said unto them, Where is your faith?  And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.  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, 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.”   


Jesus’ Mother and Brothers Seek Him


“Luke chapter 8, Jesus gives the parable of the sower that we looked at the last time we were together, and how his Word is like seed, that falls on a human heart and brings forth fruit that is different from anything else.  If you read the Scripture, one thing that you’ll notice is, it’s different from reading a biology textbook or a novel.  You know, there are certain things that you read, and once you go through them, and if they’re really good, you might read through them a second time.  You kind of get the jist of what’s going on.  If you have noticed, no matter how long you read the Bible, it just, the depth of it, it just continues to open, it just continues to open like it blossoms, it becomes deeper and more beautiful.  The Bible says of itself, the way we perceive it is “here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept.”  It seems the more we understand the New Testament, the more we understand the Old, and the more we understand the Old Testament the more we understand the New Testament.  And it seems the longer we go on with Christ, we come back to passages that we thought we were familiar with, and we find new treasure there that we had never seen before.  And there’s always to me a wonder about the Word of God.  And Jesus speaks to them about his Word, and then he kind of takes us through this maze in the rest of the chapter, of demons, disease, and death.  We’ll see the storm on the sea, and I think that storm kind of reflects those areas of spiritual tension, and then of physical disease, and then ultimately of death.  And we get to see his Word through all of those storms.  So as we sit back and look at it, it really is a remarkable chapter.  You know as you read these things, we read about the storm on the sea, or the demoniac, and we ask ourselves ‘Oh Lord, what is in it for us?’  Because chances are, there aren’t twelve of us here who are going to get in a boat with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee and get caught in a storm.  So there must be something else besides what we would do if we were there in the boat, what else would we do with the passage, how does it bear on our own hearts?  And Jesus encountering this demoniac in Gadera, living in the tombs.  We’re not going to, I doubt, run into that guy over in the Gaderenes.  We certainly will encounter spiritual tension and forces, and opinion.  But how does it apply to us?  And we want to see those things, and in all of them, and how God’s Word is like seed in all of those circumstances as we apply them to our own lives.  As we move on in the passage, in verse 19, after he tells this parable of the sower, it says “Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.”  Now, what’s happening is he’s moved into a house at this point in time, we know from the other Gospels, he’s teaching.  And they had heard that he had now claimed to be the Lord of the Sabbath.  He had made some remarkable claims, of forgiving sin when the man was lowered down on the pallet, and he says ‘Fear not, your sins are forgiven,’ and the religious leaders said ‘This is blasphemy, who can forgive sins but God?’.  And Jesus said to them, ‘Which is easier to say,’ knowing what they were thinking in their heart, he didn’t give them a chance to say anything.  He says to them, ‘What’s easier to say, Your sins are forgiven, or Get up and walk?’  Now that’s a no-brainer.  I mean you can say to somebody ‘Your sins are forgiven’ and nobody knows whether you have any authority [to say that] or not, but when you say to somebody whose been crippled all their life, ‘Get up and walk’ and they get up and walk, you’ve got something cookin’.  So Jesus says ‘Just so you’ll know, that the Son of man has authority to forgive sin, I say to you Rise, take up your bed and walk.’  So there are these things, these confrontations with the religious leaders of the nation, and that was, the religious leaders outside of Rome were the political force also amongst the Jews.  So he’s, now he’s being accused of blasphemy, he’s been accused of these things, and he’s come to the point, finally, in the grain fields where he said that he was even Lord of the Sabbath, and now the religious Jews want to kill him.  There’s so much hostility, that he’s started talking in parables.  Well, somehow word of this has gotten to his mother, evidently Joseph is dead, his stepfather, at this point in time, and his brothers, and he has sisters.  And the family comes to seek him out, thinking he’s working too hard, too many hours, he’s gone off the deep end, he’s delirious.  One of the Gospels gives us the indication they thought that he’d lost his mind, he was being accused of those things. [Don’t our family members who are not of Christ accuse us of that, when we do acts of service to the Lord in a work or something?  I endure that all the time J]  So his family is coming to see him, ‘Our older brother is claiming to be the Lord of the Sabbath, our older brother, who was a carpenter, who we grew up with, is claiming to be Yahweh-God, our older brother who we grew up with is claiming to be the Creator of the universe.’  Now that’s hard to take.  That’s hard to take, how many of them, you know, James and Jude his half-brothers will write Epistles in the New Testament.  But before his resurrection, they struggled with this.  And even his disciples didn’t have the story straight until after his resurrection.  And it will say in the end of Luke, he’ll open their hearts, he opened the Scriptures to them and he filled them with the Spirit.  You know, here imagine your older brother, and maybe he’s a really nice guy, and you always wondered a little about it, ‘He’s such a nice guy, he just doesn’t take after the rest of us.’  But imagine when you hear now, he’s claiming to be God.  And you’re thinking, ‘Well, we’d better go get him.’  [laughter]  And you have to realize those kinds of emotions were there.  And again, I think James betrays that in his Epistle when he says to them, ‘If you come into a synagogue and one man is dressed in fine linen with gold rings, and another man is sitting there dressed like a carpenter, you’d better not show preference, because you never know who you’re dealing with.  And then he would say to them about their tongue, how if you can control your tongue…he was a guy that was very conscious, imagine some of the things he may have said, and imagine the shock of finding out that your older brother was God.  You know as we sit here and giggle about it, but just imagine James processing that.  Well they come to him, they’re trying to get to him, crowds have surrounded the house, they can’t get near.  “And it was told”, in verses 20-21, “by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.  And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.”  Now, by the way, that’s a wonderful family to be part of.  “My mother and my brethren are those who hear the Word of God, and do it.”  And if that’s you this evening, it’s a pretty great family to be part of.  You know, it is remarkable when Jesus is risen from the dead, he says to Mary and he says to the disciples, “Go tell my brethren that I ascend unto my God and their God, unto my Father and their Father.”  What a remarkable thing, he saved us, and he certainly is our Saviour, and he should be our Lord.  But how remarkable and how condescending of him to say that we are joint-heirs with Christ, that we are brethren with the King.  That’s pretty remarkable stuff.  Now he doesn’t show the preference to Mary in this situation, that the Catholics show to Mary.  And I think that Mary has suffered in many ways being ascribed things that Scripture doesn’t ascribe to her.  On the other hand, the Protestants, she’s been ignored and belittled by them, when certainly Scripture says “She was blessed among women.”  You know, when you get to heaven [into the kingdom of heaven, which will end up on earth, cf. Revelation 21:1-23], if you want to find out what Jesus was like, was he ever in the terrible two’s?  What was he like?  There’s only one person who you’re going to have to talk to find out.  She certainly is blessed among women.  Imagine her as she becomes a disciple, and we find her that way in the Book of Acts, realizing, how incredible, that God has chosen her of all of the women, first of all, in all of human history, and on all of the earth, and she was probably about 15 or 16, that God had chosen her to be the vessel of the incarnation.  You know, that is, her mind is still blown…you can ask her when you get there. 


Jesus Leads the Disciples Into A Powerful Storm

The Storms of Life


Now, “Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples:  and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake.  And they launched forth.  But as they sailed  he fell asleep:  and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.”  Mark tells us he was on the pillow, there was a large leather oarsman’s pillow in the rear [stern of the boat].  “And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish” (verses 22-24a).  Now, he takes them into this boat away from the crowds, and they go head to the other side of the lake.  Luke tells us that the storm came down.  The Sea of Galilee is about seven miles wide and about fifteen miles long.  And one of the other Gospels say that he was “in the midst of the sea”, Mark says I think in 4:36, that other smaller boats were along with them, there are people trying to follow.  And this storm comes down on this Sea of Galilee.  Now the Sea of Galilee is 600 feet below sea level.  If the wind comes from the northeast, Mount Hermon is there, there’s snow on Mount Hermon year round, and the air has to drop down, you have this basin with this warm air, when cold air drops through that warm air, coming down, it can be tremendous.  On the other side, by Gadera there, there’s a big valley where the cold air rushes down from the Mediterranean Sea.  If conditions are perfect, I’ve been on the Sea of Galilee 13 or 14 times, I have not been there when one of these storms have come up.  I have a book at home with pictures of waves that are between 10 and 15 foot high on the Sea of Galilee.  Those of you who have been there, it’s hard to imagine.  If you have a Life-Application Bible, I think in one of your notes there, it says there have been waves recorded 20 to 25 foot high [I’m not surprised at all] on the Sea of Galilee.  Now I didn’t say that, the Life-Application Bible said that.  It would only take a 10-footer to make me scream out to Jesus, it wouldn’t take one of those other ones.  But just imagine [I can, was a submarine sailor, sailed in and through 30-footers all the time on the Atlantic and Mediterranean].  Now the northern end of the Sea of Galilee is fairly shallow, so when that wind drops down on there it can really turn into a storm.  And Luke accurately says it came down onto the lake.  Jesus now is asleep in the back end [the stern] of the boat, the boat’s filling with water.  These guys are going to wake him up.  And when you have sailors waking up a carpenter to help them in a storm, you know there’s trouble.  And I’m sure as the storm came up and the sail started to flap, and it started to get a little rough, they said ‘Oh, boy I hope he sleeps.  We’ve been here our whole lives, we’ve seen this, but he’ll be scared to death if he wakes up and sees this…I hope he just rests through this, he’s be tuckered out, I’m glad we’re here to take care of this for him.’  And then it must have gotten crazier and crazier, and they must have gotten to the point where they start crying out, Luke and Mark tell us that the boat was filling with water.  I don’t know if Jesus is asleep with his feet underwater, sloshing back and forth or what’s happening. 



Why Are They in a Storm?---The Storms of Life Don’t Necessarily Indicate a Lack of Faith


And as we look at this, you have to remember, look, they’re in the middle of a storm.  And why are they in the middle of a storm?  It’s very important for you to look at this, because there are people that say, that the storms in your life are because there’s a lack of faith.  You understand what I am saying?---that it’s your fault.  They’re in the middle of the storm because Jesus told them to go across the lake.  They are in the middle of the storm because they’ve been obedient to Jesus, and that obedience has taken them right into the storm.  Now there are storms in our lives of all different kinds, you know that.  Sometimes the Bible says that the things that go on in our life is like a refining fire, and that we find ourselves being changed by the refining work of God, like gold is being purified in a furnace.  Sometimes David cries ‘Lord, all your billows are going over me.’  They weren’t real billows, David just realized it was some kind of a storm.  And as we look at this, I think this is recorded here for us, because there are storms in their lives, and there will be.  And if there is not a storm in your life right now, you need to praise the Lord.  And just wait.  [laughter---but I’m not laughing]  Because we’re either in our lives, either going into a storm, coming out of a storm, or between storms, that’s the only place you can be.  Because this is earth, this is not heaven [or the kingdom of heaven], we forget that sometimes, we get confused.  This is earth.  We have a wonderful family from church over in xxxx hospital giving birth to a baby, who it doesn’t look like it has any chance of life.  We’ve been praying for months and the baby didn’t develop properly, and there are all the questions, ‘Lord, if you love us, why?’  You know, in the last 25 years there have been 35,000,000 abortions [that figure is now up to 60-million], on the copy of the new magazine from Dobson, Focus On The Family, 35 million dead in 25 years since Roe vs. Wade.  That’s more than thirteen times all of the casualties of all of the wars this country has fought from the Revolutionary War all the way up through the Persian Gulf, even the terrorist acts we’ve just seen lately---thirteen times all of the casualties in all of the wars we’ve ever fought, 35 million dead.  And you see a Christian will say, ‘Lord, so many who haven’t even cared and given up their children, why?  We desire this [child] with all of our hearts, we’d love to have a child to take care of, we’d have taken any of those who’ve perished, Lord, to love and to care for.’  And I find that the Lord doesn’t always answer our questions of why.  He’s certainly giving us a picture of a storm.  He wants us to see something in it, because we will go through storms.  There’s cancer in this world.  And it hits Christians and non-Christians.  There’s death, automobile accidents, difficulties, for Christians and non-Christians alike.  I think, as Christ works in our hearts, our perspective is changed, we thankfully go through those storms not alone, but with Jesus, and with other people that love us, praying for us and helping.  And what a wonderful thing that is.  But there are storms in this life.  There just are.  This is a storm that they are in the middle of because of their obedience.  Now look, there are storms that are corrective, and there are storms that are perfective.  Sometimes the storm is perfecting us, and that’s why Jesus has sent us into the storm.  And if we’ve gotten into the storm in obedience, we can trust that when we cry out, he will be there.  If we’ve gotten into the storm through rebellion or sin that’s come upon our lives, and he allows then the storm to be corrective, we can trust he’ll be there too, he may just take a little longer to say ‘Here I am’, because we may have to cook a little more before we learn our lessons.  But it is unfair to look at someone in a difficulty and say---and it’s cruel and it’s stupid and it’s ignorant---‘Man, there must really be sin in their life, look what they’re going through, God is really getting them.’  No, no, no, no.  We can look at a problem from the front-end, and we can say to someone, ‘The Bible says that you will reap what you have sown, and if you continue to live as an alcoholic, chances are, you may get cirrhosis of the liver.  If you continue to live immorally you’re going to get a venereal disease, AIDs, if you continue to live this way, you’re going to destroy your family.’  We can say that to someone because the Bible gives us that kind of counsel, people will reap what they have sown.  So from the front-end, if we see someone going into sin, we can warn them.  But we can’t stand on the back-end of a problem and see someone in the middle of a storm and say ‘They must have gotten there through sin and rebellion.’  That’s wrong, because sometimes it’s God who leads us directly into the difficulty. 


Some Storms Are Designed To Take Us Beyond Our Natural Ability to Cope


And let me tell you something, I’m not good at this, I’m just telling you this because the Bible says this, I’m a wimp.  You know what I mean?  I’m studying this, saying Lord, I’m studying this, and I’m going to say this to the congregation, please don’t take me there to make sure I know it.  [laughter]  You see, when I look at these guys screaming in the middle of the storm, I know what their problem is.  They had never read the chapter.  If I was in this story I could say to them, ‘Just watch this.  This will blow your mind.  Wait till you see what happens now.’  I’d be great in their story.  I’m just not sure what my story is.  That’s the one I scream in.  But no doubt there are things that the Lord wants me to take out of their circumstance, because it’s recorded here for us, there in his perfect will, in the middle of a storm.  And they begin to cry out.  And much like me, and you I trust, they wake him up, and they say “Master, we perish.”  Mark says they say “Master we perish, carest thou not?”  They say to Jesus ‘We’re dying, and you don’t care.’  They’re not waking Jesus up to say ‘Rebuke the wind and the sea, you’re on.’  They’re waking Jesus up to say ‘We just wanted to complain before we die!’  Now have you played that role?  You cried out to Jesus, not because you’re expecting him to step into your circumstances and do something miraculous, but just because you wanted to gripe before you die.  You just wanted to tell him, ‘If I was God, I would love me, and I would get me out of this.’  And I know that line.  I’ve practiced it.  He has to take them into a storm that’s beyond their seamanship, because, you see, if the car never runs out of gas, we’d never learn the lesson.  I’d would rather stay in my comfort-zone, I’m being perfectly honest.  This is the kind of person I am.  I want to sing songs about Jesus, teach the Bible, have a great time, and get Raptured, that’s what I want to do.  Now I have a feeling it might not all turn out like that.  But if I had my druthers, I’d like that.  But sometimes Jesus takes us to the territory we’re most familiar with and then takes us beyond ourselves in that territory, to where our resources---because that’s where we think we have resources, where we’re confident---and he makes our resources run out, and we get into a circumstance in life where we realize we do not have the answers to straighten things out or patch things up or get ourselves out of the circumstance.  And sometimes Jesus is more interested in what we get out of the circumstance than us getting out of the circumstance.  And he takes us to a place where all of our resources run out, because it is at that point we discover something new about him.  Paul said, ‘that I’d rather glory in my infirmities, because it was there that I discovered that his grace is sufficient, and that it’s in my weakness that his strength is made perfect.’  And Paul said ‘that became so important to me, that I’d rather glory in my infirmities,’ he said, ‘What I have learned of Christ in the most difficult circumstances in life, is worth more to me than my comfort.’  Now I’m telling you what Paul said, I haven’t arrived there yet.  I’ve not arrived there yet.  But I look at this story and I realize why the Lord has recorded this for us. 


What Woke Jesus Up?


They’re crying ‘Master, we perish!’  And look, “Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging water:  and they ceased, and there was a calm” (verse 24b).  Now the interesting thing about this to me is this.  The raging of the wind and the sea didn’t wake him up [he was a real sailor J].  The storm did not wake him up.  You ever feel like that?  You’re in a storm, and Jesus is asleep.  The storm didn’t wake him up.  The boat was filled with water, must have been sloshing across his knees, it was flapping around, there was probably lightning, wind, he’s sawing z’s.  What woke him up was the voice of the ones that he loved when they cried.  You know, those of you who are mom’s, or dad’s, because you’re married to a mom, have seen this.  You know, I’ve been somewhere when our kids were little, with the wife, and there’s a bunch of people from church, Christians can be noisy.  We don’t drink or get stoned or any of that stuff, but we can get noisy when we’re all together, laughing and carrying on.  And the kid’s upstairs on the second or third floor sleeping in a crib, and you can hardly hear anything, and that baby will go ‘Ehh!’, and my wife will go, ‘Did you hear that!?’  ‘Did you hear that, I can’t hear anything, everything’s so noisy.’  But it’s like this, you know, radar love.  Mom’s radar.  There’s a frequency.  And I see that with Jesus.  The storm doesn’t wake him up, the raging of the sea doesn’t wake him up.  The disciple’s go, ‘Master, master’, and boung!, he’s awake.  Remarkably, it says, he arose.  It must have been hard standing in the boat.  “he arose, and he rebuked the wind, and the raging of the water:  and they ceased, and there was a [great] calm.”  Now when you read the composite of Matthew and Mark, it says, ‘He said to the storm, be muzzled.’  Very interesting phrase, the way he rebuked it.  And it says ‘And the water was beaten back to stillness’, literally in Mark. 


“Who is this man?”


You see, the disciples, the fear that falls on them, is the fear of the calm.  They are more afraid of the calm than they were of the storm.  They had been on this sea their whole life, and it normally would take hours, half a day for that sea to settle down again.  We get the impression as we read the Gospels that Jesus stood up and said ‘Be quiet!’, and the whole thing went ‘Slump!’  And they’re sitting there, just imagine, all of a sudden, rain stops, sky blue, water still, and they’re standing in a boat that’s filled with water looking around.  And they’re thinking, ‘Did he just wake up, or did we just wake up?  What just happened here?’  And it says ‘They’re terrified [in the other Gospel accounts], they’re fearful, in one of the other Gospels it says ‘Why are you fearful you of little faith?’  In Mark he says “How is it that you have yet such little faith?”  Here, it says, “And he said unto them, Where is your faith?  And they being afraid wondered, saying, one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him” (verse 25).  Being afraid of the calm now, wondering, they were filled with wonder, and you would have been too.  “saying one to another” and this is the point, “What manner of man is this?! for he commandeth even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”  I’ll read a little bit of a Psalm for you.  It says “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the LORD and his wonders in the deep.  For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.  They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths.  Their soul is melted because of trouble.  They reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end.  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  Then are they glad, because they be quiet, so he bringeth them to their desired haven.  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.”  No doubt these men knew these words.  [Israel had a joint navy-merchant marine alliance with king Hiram of Tyre under both David and later Solomon.  Some Israelites had become familiar with long voyages across the sea, as archealogy is proving out.]  And as they looked at him, they wondered and said ‘Who is this then?  What manner of man is this that even the wind and the sea obey him?’ 


Jesus Meets the Demoniac


Now they are going to encounter now this demoniac whose going to answer their question about who Jesus is.  They’re still dripping, they’re going to come ashore at the Gaderenes, and I’m sure, like they do in other places, there are places where Jesus teaches something, he says to them ‘You understand this?’  And then they say ‘Yeah, yeah, we understand it.’  And the Bible says they just said that, they didn’t really understand it.  There are places where they are arguing about whose going to be the greatest in the Kingdom, and Jesus says, ‘What are you guys talking about?’ and they say ‘Oh, nothing.’  [chuckles]  And I just imagine them coming out of the boat in this scene at the Gaderenes kind of walking about 20 feet behind him saying ‘Did you see that!? The waves and the wind, who is this?’  And as they’re saying that, because they had seen him heal the leper, they had seen him raise the dead, but now they see him demonstrate a power over nature, as Creator, he rebukes the wind and the sea.  They had never seen anything like this, to this point.  And they’re saying, ‘Who then is this?’  As they’re saying it, this demon-possessed man will run up and say, ‘WHAT HAVE I TO DO WITH THEE, THOU JESUS, SON OF THE MOST HIGH GAWWD.’  There are no demons that are atheists.  Their theology is good, they’re just in rebellion [but they twist and love to twist the theology taught in some churches, trying to get Christians to believe something that’s not written in God’s Word.  Ever see Satan quoting the Bible, as in Matthew 4?  He misquotes Scripture or leaves important parts of quotes out.]  So their question is about to be answered in this remarkable scene.  It says “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.  And when he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice”---notice, this is no little voice, this is something from the movie, now it emphasizes, he both cried with a loud voice, and you have to use your imagination, you know---WHAT HAVE I TO DO WITH THEE, JESUS, THOU SON OF GOD MOST HIGH!?  I BESEECH THEE, TORMENT ME NOT.”  Their hair must have been standing up, the disciples.  Use your imagination, I can’t do that, I’m not demon-possessed.  “(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.)” (verse 29)  One of the other Gospels tells us that he would take rocks and gouge himself.  Matthew, who was an eye-witness tells us there were two.  Mark, writing under Peter’s tutelage and under the Holy Spirit, gives us the dialogue, so does Luke, he’s telling us about the spokesman.  It says they were so fierce that people from the town couldn’t even go by the road that went by the tombs, they lived out amongst the tombs.  They were so fierce and so fearful, that the townspeople made a big loop to go around the area.  They didn’t even walk near, ‘You been out there?’  We used to do that when we were kids, we’d drive up to an area near here, and we had all kinds of stories about it, we’d drive up there at night, and get out of the car to do something, and there’d always be a joke on one guy, we’d all run back and jump in, lock the doors and zoom away, leaving him out there.  And of course he’d be real mad when we came back, trying not to act scared.  You know all the stories.  They’re kissing in the car, and all of a sudden they hear this noise, they find the hook on the handle, you’ve heard all the stories.  I’m sure these kind of stories were abundant about these characters that lived out there, and nobody even went out that way.  You know if you lived there near the Gadarenes at nighttime, you did not walk out where these famous naked guys were.  [laughter]  It says they chained them, and they just broke the chains.  Now, whether you believe it or not, Satan is a real force in this world.  And again, people are influenced by him all the time.  You know he’s having a field-day with our Western logical mind.  And in the meantime we’ll believe in para-psychology, yes.  You go to Yale or Stanford or Harvard and you study para-psychology, and you go on some kind of a trip to photograph poltergeist, well you’re a genius, a PhD.  But you believe what the Bible says, and you’re an idiot.  You ever notice that?  You can give your whole life to studying it under the auspices of some institution, and some of the people in other countries that are bending nails with their mind, you know, E.S.P., extrasensory perception, mental telepathy, poltergeist, that whole field, if you study it as a Doctor, you’re a genius.  Do your dissertation on poltergeist, paranormal.  Believe the Bible, you’re a moron.  I’m a moron, I believe the Bible. 


There’s a dark spiritual realm out there


The Bible says there’s a malevolent force, there’s a spiritual realm, a spiritual world, and just like Luke Skywalker discovered, there’s a Dark Side to the Force.  And there’s great influence, again.  You know, we would be more than willing to acknowledge, because we understand the technology, that there are voices that are passing through this room right now in radio waves, because we understand how they are transmitted and received.  We would be more than willing to acknowledge the audio-visual waves going through this room right now.  If I could put a portable TV up here, adjust the antennas, turn it on, we could receive a picture, because there are images and voices going through this room.  Well because we understand the transmission and the reception, we’re willing to acknowledge.  But anything that’s beyond our intellect, which deals with the issue of the heart and faith, is so hard for some people to acknowledge.  Well there is a malevolent force out there.  And you look at what’s going on in the world, and how insane it is.  Suicide being the leading cause of death among teenagers, in America.  What is that?  What is that?  I was a few years ago in Austria, and a young man had escaped Romania when Ceausescu [pronounced Chu-ches-koh] was in power, and he was sleeping at a conference with us, and every time there was a noise at night he jumped up out of the bed and looked for his gun.  Because he had been hunted by the Securitate in Romania.  And he told me, in Romania Ceausescu would send his goons, and murder a family, and take a little boy when he was four or five years old, and throw him in a dungeon.  And when he got to be ten or eleven, they would castrate him.  And then they would start slowly over a period of a few years to tell him Ceausescu has a heart for you.  His heart is going out for you.  He’s going to take you out of this place.  He cares about you, no one else cares about you.  And slowly they would put this into this young boy’s mind, ten and eleven years old, and finally by the time they took him out of this dungeon, and Ceausescu was there, they started then to train him as a Securitate, to kill, and basically turn him into a beast, into an animal.  And the world is filled with that.  We live in an insulated place.  And Satan is very active in this world.  That is the same malevolent force that you dabble in, in justifiable increments.  Maybe you’re here tonight, and you say ‘Ah, I only smoke dope, that don’t hurt nobody else.’  It’s the same devil.  ‘I like to fist-fight once a month.’  ‘I’ve got a woman on the side, what’s that matter?’  Let me tell you something.  God has his Word, he sows it in our hearts, he brings it to us to take us through all the storms of life, to bring us, the Bible says, to a desired haven.  He has our best interests in view.  Look at what Satan does, even on an individual level, look at this man.  This man is tormented, he is lawless, lawlessness is of the devil.  This man is driven by the devil, he’s breaking the chains.  He doesn’t have an ability to make a decision for himself because Satan is driving him.  It says that, he drove him.  People, who are under the control of the enemy, are living among the dead.  That’s where he’s out, among the tombs.  And he has him isolated, I think one of the most terrible things is sometimes you and I know friends and people we care about, and though they can be in the middle of a thousand people, we know that they are so isolated, they’re so lonely.  They can stand in the middle of a crowd, and Satan has just driven them to isolation.  This man has been removed from his family, he’s been removed from his friends, the work of the devil.  Oh and it doesn’t have to happen like you see it in the movies, you don’t have to growl, you’re eyes don’t have to light up, your head doesn’t have to spin around, you don’t have to look like the girl in the movie to have your home destroyed, to have your life become empty, to be driven out as it were amongst the tombs, and there to try to rationalize and make sense of everything.  What a desperate picture of humanity this guy is, as we look at him.  It says, “When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice” and Mark tells us he worshipped Jesus, “said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus thou Son of God most high?”  the lesser always worships the greater “I beseech thee, torment me not.”  The guys, the disciples are standing there with their mouths hanging open, still dripping from the storm.  Look, you say you believe in God, that’s good.  James said, ‘You say you believe in God?  You do well, but even the devil believes in God.’  It isn’t just believing in God.  Yes, God is real.  It’s more than that, he’s come to be our Saviour.  He’s come to save us from our sins. This guy’s screaming, and it says the reason’s he’s screaming is because he commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man, “For oftentimes he 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” (verse 29b) of the demons he had.  Now by the way, we still do the same thing, we constrain people.  We lock them up.  We put them in an institution.  Any of you who have ever been, if you have ever been into one of the major state institutions, and gone down inside where they have the padded cells, with people, the pitiful picture of humanity, because God intends so much more, and you’re heart breaks.  But if you’ve been down in there, you’d know that there is more going on than mental illness.  Anybody who has been there has sensed that there is something malevolent that goes on, when you see people that are so insane, all gathered into a big group, where they are kept in padded cells, and kept in strait jackets, it is an eerie experience.  And I’ve been there, it is eerie.  We do the same today, we lock them up.  They locked the guy in chains, he broke the chains.  “And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name?  And he said, Legion; because many devils were entered into him.”  Now in a Roman Legion there were over 6,000, it didn’t say whether it was a Roman Legion.  Now by the way, we have this encounter here, this power, he [this poor guy] is a Satanic stronghold, thousands of demons evidently, why his name, many.  How many?  Too many.  And Jesus, not intimidated at all.  Now the interesting thing is, it says Jesus asks him, singular, let’s look at it, saying What is thy, singular, name, singular.  And he, singular, said, Legion; because many devils were entered into him” and then look at verse 31, “And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.”  Now we have a different personality coming to the surface in the man.  I want you to take note of that, because look, there is a lot of nonsense from the Church in the name of spiritual warfare.  And one of the biggest rip-offs is this, saying that someone has a devil, ‘What’s your name?’  Where did anybody ever learn that?  And the devil is going to say, ‘spirit of lust, spirit of anger, spirit of drunkenness,’ and people will base it on this text.  Jesus was asking the man what his name was.  He didn’t need to ask the demon what his name was.  The Bible says that Satan is a liar and a murderer from the beginning.  If you could talk to any of those guys, why would you ask them anything?  What are you going to ask him?  Are you going to ask him for his address and phone number too?  You can’t believe anything they say.  And a demon who is confronted with the power of Christ knows that he has to come out anyway, is going to leave some treacherous and harmful doctrine behind him when he goes.  ‘What’s your name?’  Spirit of lust?  Come on, every man in this room is possessed if that’s the case.  [chuckles]  Spirit of anger?  You ever been in traffic?  Get possessed right in the middle of a traffic jam?  No, no, the Bible says this, it says that lust, and anger, adultery, murder, drunkenness, sorcery, the using of drugs, are the works of the flesh.  It doesn’t say they’re demons, devils, Satan.  It’s the flesh.  And to think that you are possessed with a demon, he’s got a name and has to act according to his job description?  ‘I’m the demon of lust, I can only make this guy lust, wish the demon of fornication would get here so I could finish the job.’  You know, ‘I’m the demon of drunkenness, I’m not the demon of fist-fighting, I can just get him drunk, I can’t push him beyond…’  Just think of what we’re saying.  They’re fowl spirits, they’re called unclean spirits, they can make you do a concatony of fowl behavior. 


‘Don’t send us into the abyss’


Jesus asked the man, singular, ‘What is your name?’  The demons speak out, they respond.  “What is thy name?  He said,” the voice comes, “Legion; because many devils were entered into him.  And they besought him that he would not command them to go into the deep” into the abyss, into Hades.  “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”---Mark tells us about 2,000 pigs---“ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked” (verse 32-33), Sueecide, we know that [chuckles].  Look, I’m going to lighten it up as we go along here, a little.  2,000 pigs, drowned in the incident.  Were there 2,000 demons?  We don’t know the number, certainly the herd was stirred.  They say to Jesus, because they understand his authority, they beg him, they beseech him, they besought him, ‘Don’t send us into the abyss,’ Matthew says, ‘before the time.’  Satan knows the Scripture, he knows what his end is.  He knows what the Book of Revelation says, that’s why he hates it.  That’s why it’s so jumbled up in the churches, so few times it’s taught verse by verse, expounded [see].  ‘Don’t send us into the abyss before the time’, they know what awaits them.  They know they can’t do anything about it, one of the reasons Satan is so insane.  You know, it says the antichrist is going to use the number 666, you know that he can’t change it to 674?  59, hike.  He can’t change it, because the Word of God will abide forever, heaven and earth will pass away.  And as we look at the Scripture, there is a place of torment.  Very interesting too, in more than one place it’s called “the bottomless pit.”  And we think of what the Bible says about heaven being up and suffering being down, and we kind of think that’s kind of Victorian, kind of Middle Agey, kind of superstitious, but the interesting thing is, if you think about a bottomless pit, the only place you can have a bottomless pit is in the center of a sphere, because every way is up from there.  And I wonder, I wonder [center of earth, or maybe center of a black-hole?]  They cry to Jesus, ‘Don’t send us into the abyss before our time.  Let us go into the herd of swine.’ 


Pig Farms In Israel?


Now there’s a question here, did Jesus destroy the herd of swine?  Was he responsible, should he have done this?  Well scholars go back and forth.  Many think, and I think it’s probably true, it’s probably Jews, and there’s only one place on the whole Sea of Galilee where a steep embankment goes right down to the water, and it’s at Gadera, just like it says.  Probably Jews raising pigs and selling them to the Gentiles [at the Decapolis, which was a Roman vacation spot for Roman soldiers on leave].  They weren’t supposed to have anything to do with them, the Law forbid it, they were unclean, they shouldn’t have even been there [cf. Leviticus 11:1-47], in fact on this trip to Israel, in November, we stopped in a place out in Megiddo, in the Valley of Jezreel, and there’s a pig farm.  And there’s Jews raising pigs, and they have a stand and you can drop in and actually get a piece of pork.  But the religious Jews in Israel, the rabbis, freaked out and said ‘You can’t do this, this is the Holy Land, you can’t raise pigs here.  So they worked out this compromise where they raised the pigs on platforms, so that the pigs are not on the Holy Land.  The farm it there, hey, there were a hundred people with us, they’ll tell you it’s true.  And the pigs are raise up on platforms so that they’re not on the Holy Land.  So they have an angle.  And I think this is a situation where they should not have been there.  [cf. Leviticus 11:1-47 details the Law of the clean and unclean as far as animals permissible for eating.  Medical science tends to back these laws up but the medical profession won’t admit it.  Come down with cancer, and the doctor will hand you a list of “do not eat” items, and it is almost as if he got it from Leviticus 11.  Cancer has struck my family twice, in both my father and sister, and in each case they received one of these “Do Not Eat” lists, basically telling them to stay off pork, shellfish, and meat fat.  Apparently, this is no fluke, even though doctors will deny the correlation.  Hey, it’s out of the Bible, what do you expect J]  I think if it was Gentiles raising them it would not have been unlawful for them  [and in the Law of God, it is alright for an Israelite to sell a Gentile an unclean animal for them to eat.  Pastor Joe is correct in this.]  I think this is a situation where Jesus kind of kills two birds with one stone, no pun intended.  He says to the demons, ‘Go on.’ 


Demons would rather be in a pig than the abyss


Now isn’t it interesting that the demons would rather be in a pig than in the abyss.  That tells us a little about what that place is like.  And the Bible says this clearly, that God didn’t create hell for human beings, he created it for Satan and his angels.  If you go there, it’s because you’re determined.  It is not intended by God, for any to perish, the Bible says.  The demons, their theology is good, they know who God is, they know who Jesus is, and they know they don’t want to go where a lot of people think ain’t real.  They would rather be in the pigs than in the abyss.  The remarkable thing is that the pigs would rather be dead than demon-possessed.  Because as soon as the demons go into them, no way, they run right down into the ocean and drown.  And look, when there’s demon possession with the man, the man is there too, there was often times it drove him, the devil drove him, he was tormented, his personality was still there.  But it seems as they enter into the pigs, the pigs, death looks more wonderful than being under the influence of whoever just moved in.  Now that makes the pigs smarter than some humans, because they’d rather be under the influence, of what the Bible says is a negative spiritual force that is destructive in our lives.  [Ever since Genesis 3, world history is one long record of wars and war induced famines and pestilences.  The Book of Revelation shows this evil demoniac influence will come to a final head during the time of the end.]


The Whole City Comes Out To See What Happened---then asks Jesus to leave


They ran down the embankment, they’re drowned, verses 34-35 say, “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.”  I don’t think there’s a better description of a human being in his right mind than sitting at the feet of Jesus.  I can only imagine where my life would have been if it weren’t for Christ.  Oh, there were probably a lot of people that were worse, by outward observation.  But my direction was the same, away from God, toward the abyss.  I may have had more miles to go than some, same destination ahead.  Here’s this man, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind.  The people come out and see him, and they were afraid.  They couldn’t believe it, these were the guys who had terrorized the whole neighborhood for years.  “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 they’re beseeching him to depart from them.  Now isn’t it amazing.  You would think these people would come out and see these two guys who were delivered, sitting in their right minds, and rejoice.  Instead, they see 2,000 dead pigs floating in the Sea of Galilee, and that’s a bummer, because that was their income.  They see these guys there, and they know there’s some power at work, they don’t want anything to do with it.  They ask Jesus to leave.  I think it would have served them right if Jesus left 2,000 demon-possessed pigs there, that would have fixed them fine.  That would have been more terror than the two guys. 


The Man Becomes a Publishing Witness for Jesus


The heaviest statement here is this, in verse 37, “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…”  Now, look at this, first the demons besought him, then the people who lived in this area of Gadera besought him, now the man that was delivered 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.”  Mark says, ‘Go back to your friends.’  I can’t imagine what kind of friends this guy had, after all of this.  “He went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.” (verses 38-39)  And by the way, that’s our testimony too.  Isn’t it interesting, there’s kind of three prayers in this scene.  One is, the demons beseech Jesus, ‘Don’t send us into the abyss, let us go into the herd of swine.’  Jesus answers their prayer and says ‘Go ahead.’  Second thing is, the group of the people of the town come up and they beseech or pray Jesus, ‘Please leave us alone.’  Jesus answers their prayer, he gets into the boat and departs.  The only person who doesn’t get his prayer answered is the guy who got delivered and believes in Jesus.  He says, ‘Lord, let me come with you.’  He says, ‘No.’ Isn’t that interesting?  He says, ‘Go back to your family, go back to the wife whose life you destroyed, go back to your children, go back to your neighbors, in your right mind, go home a different person.’  And I hope some of you who don’t know Christ will go home a different person this evening.  And you know, it may freak people out if they see you clothed in your right mind.  I freaked people out when I got saved.  I had a girl here last Wednesday night, she said, “I haven’t seen you since 1969 or 1970, I don’t know if you remember me, because the last time I saw you, you were so stoned I don’t know what you remember”.  That was my BC days, blast from the past.  And I think, it seems like a different life, those days, drugs, all of that.  Jesus says to this man, ‘Go home, go to your family, go to your friends, it’s your testimony.’  Now, by the way, this is what the guy does, he goes home and tells everybody what great things God did for him.  You have the same thing, you have a testimony.  Paul at least five times in the Book of Acts, you know, here is this genius theologically, he has all of this stuff cooking, God is revealing things, but five times when he stands and he’s called into account for his life, each time he gives his testimony.  ‘I was on my way to Damascus, and there appeared a bright light from heaven.  And I fell down. And the voice said, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’  And I said, ‘Who are you Lord?’  And he said, ‘I’m Jesus.  And I’m going to send you to the nations, I’m going to send you to deliver people from darkness, from the kingdom of darkness and bring them into the kingdom of my dear Son and the kingdom of light.’  You have the same testimony, yours.  Paul is remarkable, he didn’t go into a heavy theological debate.  We don’t see people won that way, we see people won when they hear about the love of God.


The way Jesus treats a human vs. the way Satan treats a human


Jesus, when you give your life to him, does something far different than what Satan does with your life.  When Satan gets ahold of your life, you’re tormented, you’re bound, you’re lawless, you’re isolated, you’re away from home, you’re away from family.  When Jesus gets ahold of your life, he restores it.  He restores your mind, he restores your relationships.  He restores your senses.  He restores your worth.  He says, ‘Go home, go home to your wife, to your kids, to your friends, to your family.  Tell them how wonderful the things that God has done for you are.’  And we all need to do that.  You know, we look at these scenes, what does the Word of God mean to you?  If it’s falling on your heart this evening, maybe you’re in the middle of a storm.  I don’t know, I’m sure there are some here who are.  But Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Let’s go over to the other side,’ he didn’t say ‘Let’s go under to the other side.’  Jesus had come to hang on a cross, not to drown in a lake.  And yet he took his disciples through a tremendous storm, by his direction.  Not a corrective storm, but a perfective storm, to reveal something of himself that they would never have seen.  You know, I’m sure as these disciples went on, and most of them were martyred and they gave their lives for Christ, they looked back.  And when you read their writings, you hear the impression that these scenes made.  I’m sure there’s not one of them who said ‘You know, the years with Jesus were great, but I wish I could have skipped that storm thing.’  Not one of them said that.  I’m sure over and over again, they said ‘Man, I thought we had had it.  I thought that he didn’t love us.  I thought that we were perishing and that he didn’t care, we cried out, and when he stood up and took control of that storm in my life, my mouth, it just hung open.  There was such power, such love.  It disappeared like that snap! when he stepped into it.’  Maybe that’s where you’re at this evening.  Maybe you’re like the other guy, I don’t know.  Empty, isolated, you can fool everybody, but you can’t fool yourself.  You can tell Christians how phony they are, but maybe you don’t have enough integrity to tell yourself how phony you are.  Maybe the love of God is breaking through to your heart this evening, and you can see somehow, something you’ve never seen before.  The way Jesus treats a human life, and the way Satan treats a human life.  You know, the scariest thing in the passage is, it says those who besought Jesus, they besought him to leave, it says that he left.  I want to encourage you this evening, if Christ is bringing your heart under conviction, and you know that you need to go home, changed, that this evening before you leave you would make your peace with God.  I’m going to ask the musicians to come…[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Luke 8:19-40 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]


Related links:


Who, what is Satan?  See:


Revelation, the Book Satan doesn’t like:


How Do I Become A Christian?  See:


and scroll to the bolded paragraph titled “How to Become a Christian” and read from there.