Jesus Heals A Demon-Possessed man

by LA UBF   06/25/2005     0 reads




What Is Your Name?

Luke 8:26-39

Key Verse 8:30 

1. Where did the demon-possessed man live? (26,27) 

2. How did this man meet Jesus? When the man first saw Jesus how did he respond to him? (28) 

3. When he saw the man what did Jesus do for him? (29)

4. Think about Jesus' question to the man (30) and the man's reply. Why do you think Jesus asked the man this question? 

5. Upon Jesus permitting the demons to go into some pigs, what happened to the pigs? (31-33)  What does this episode tell us about Jesus?

6. How did the townspeople respond to the work Jesus did for the man? (34-37) Why did they respond in this way? 

7. Compare the man's request in verse 38 and Jesus' direction for the man in verse 39. Why might Jesus have given him this direction?





Luke 8:26-39

Key Verse: 8:30a

           "Jesus asked him, what is your name?'"

Last week we studied about Jesus who controlled the power of nature. This week from the passage we can see another aspect of Jesus who also rules the spiritual world. Human beings are ruled by visible power, such as the power of nature or human power and authority. Likewise we are also ruled by invisible powers, or spiritual powers. Especially these powers rule our soul. The Spirit has two elements- the Holy Spirit and an Evil Spirit.  When the Holy Spirit rules us, we taste true freedom and joy, but if an Evil Spirit rules us we are in trouble and are in the worst possible case.  We lose our own identity and become crazy.

In today's passage Jesus meets a demon-possessed man and healed him. Through this healing we learn how much we need Jesus. Also, only Jesus has awesome power to heal the demon-possessed. 

In the entire Bible, this is the definitive passage that deals with Jesus' healing of a demon-possessed person. Most people want to avoid the topic of demon-possession, because it is too horrible to think about.  In fact I wanted to skip the topic of demon-possession if possible, but I obeyed God’s word to preach it. It is not only Jesus' power that heals this man, but also the love of Jesus. This story is somewhat gruesome. But it has a happy ending. Our Lord Jesus is awesome; Jesus is indeed God Almighty and the Savior of the world. May God help us to know Jesus better through this study.

First, a demon-possessed man from the town (26-29).

Look at verse 26. "They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee." The region of the Gerasenes refers to the area east and south of the Sea of Galilee. It is also known as the Decapolis. It was a confederation of ten cities under Greek and Roman influence which governed major trade routes. This area was not governed by Jewish law, but by Greek philosophy and Roman military power. It was Gentile territory.

After their harrowing experience of the storm at sea, Jesus and his disciples landed in the region of the Gerasenes. They were dog-tired and looking forward to some rest and relaxation.  But as soon as they stepped ashore, a terrible welcoming committee met them.


     Look at verse 27.  “When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. “

Luke says plainly that this man was demon-possessed. It is easy to imagine that he was not handsome looking.  He must have looked like a terrible sea monster. Because for a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. What had become of this man? He chose to be his own man, and enjoy unlimited freedom, especially freedom from having to wear clothes or live in a home.

Of course, God gave us the freedom of choice(Gen 2:17). But how we use our freedom makes a big difference. If we use our freedom in God the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts and enables us to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit—love, joy and peace. But if we use our freedom to gratify our sinful nature, we become slaves of sin. This demon-possessed man is a good example. He chose to enjoy his human freedom for his sinful nature. In the progress of this change, he might have his own reasons, but eventually he became an outcast from the town and made himself demon-possessed. Human beings have the freedom of choice, but must be responsible for their choices. Once this man was caught by powerful demons, he had no choice but to be a man controlled by demons. From this time on, his life didn’t go the way he wished. It is because there is no such thing as unlimited freedom in the world. Tremendous amounts of rules, regulations and laws in the world force us to not enjoy our own freedom as we wish. I always wish to go on vacation with my wife and travel around the world. Yet it always remains as a dream and not a reality. I don’t blame anything or anyone for things not working out as I wished.  I’ll just wait for the right time to come. But this man’s case was different. Whenever his idea or plan didn’t work out as he wished, he blamed others or situations, and this blame was like a boomerang and made him crazy. It developed into him breaking his relationships with his friends, family and neighbors one by one and little by little. At the beginning he never imagined that things would go like this.

Demons are evil spirits, the agents of Satan. As spirits they are invisible; in nature, they are evil. The Bible tells us that God alone is good. Man is good and evil. But evil spirits are always evil all the time and that’s their full-time job. Jesus characterized evil spirits as liars and murderers (Jn 8:44). Demons had come into this man and made him their possession. Now he was no longer himself, he was the property of demons. The work of demons is very deceptive and destructive. How on earth did he become like this?

   Look at verse 28-29. "When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, what do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!  For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places. “ Here one thing to notice is that when Jesus saw this man Jesus immediately commanded the evil spirit in him to come out. At this everything became very tense.

He immediately recognized Jesus as the Son of the Most High God. Yet, his response to Jesus was so violent. He cried out like a madman, and at the same time, he fell at Jesus' feet. He wanted to come to Jesus but, at the same time, he didn't want to come to Jesus. Though he had degenerated terribly under the oppression of the demons, he still had the image of God in his inner man.  

His question, "What do you want with me?" reveals his dark assumption that God did not want anything to do with him, and that he was "all washed up." This was nothing but the devil's deception. The man also said, "I beg you, don't torture me." This was also the devil's deception.  Jesus was not going to torture the man; Jesus was going to heal the man. This man was suffering unbearably from the demonic torment.

No one could help the demon-possessed man. When the evil spirit seized him, he became uncontrollable and dangerous. People bound him with chains, but it didn't help, for he broke the chains and was driven by the demon into solitary places. There is no human solution for demon possession. We must acknowledge that there is a spiritual world and that demons exist. Those who ignore God's word by indulging in unlimited freedom, can be candidates for demon possession.  Those who live according to their sinful cravings for such things as drugs, sexual immorality and occult practices can be all candidates for demon possession. Therefore, we must use our human freedom preciously in God. Galatians 5:13 says, “You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” God will not be mocked. Nevertheless, God is merciful. How did Jesus help this man?

Second, Jesus asks, "What is your name?" (30-33).

     According to verse 29, as soon as Jesus saw this man, he commanded the evil spirit to come out of him. This man had committed terrible sins against God. He had damaged many other people too. He was too degenerated to be recognized as a man. But out of his messianic compassion, Jesus commanded the demons to come out of him. The townspeople thought that this man was an evil man.  But Jesus didn’t think so. Jesus only wanted to save the man. Jesus was like a mother whose child was being harshly bullied around. Wasting no time, Jesus commanded the evil spirit, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!" In the previous passage, Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waters. Then the storm subsided and all was calm.  Here, Jesus commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. The evil spirit shuddered. Evil spirits are never afraid of anything. But at Jesus' word it was terrified. It knew the time was up. It knew it had to leave tormented man. But demons are very stubborn. They did not come out right away. They tried to throw their host into great confusion to have him stand on their side. How did Jesus help the man?

Look at verse 30. "Jesus asked him, what is your name?”   Jesus saw this man as a human being made in the image of God. As a man, he  had a name. A man's name represents his personality. A man's name is his identity. Jesus spoke to him most tenderly, like a mother calling her child to have an intimate conversation. To Jesus, this man was precious. His problem was that he had no shepherd to talk with him and take care of him. Jesus came to be his shepherd. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, "calls his own sheep by name and leads them out" (Jn 10:3). Jesus asked this man his name to lead him out of demon possession.   Jesus asked him “his name” to come back to himself. Jesus asked this man his name to restore the kingdom of God in his heart.

How did the man answer? Look at verse 31. “Legion,' he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to send them into the Abyss." This man must have had a name, like "Lucius," "Julius," or "Maximus." But he did not say his given name. He said his name was "Legion." A legion was a unit of the Roman army composed of 6,000 soldiers.  Many demons had gone into this man and at result,  he called himself "Legion." It was an honest evaluation of his inner man in light of Jesus' question. Jesus accepted his answer. Jesus accepted him as he was. It was the beginning of a personal relationship between Jesus and the man. Now he belonged to Jesus and Jesus belonged to him. He was freed from the deceit of the demons. He had come back to his good shepherd Jesus. The demons lost their foothold. They were about to be evicted and they knew it. They began to beg Jesus not to send them into the Abyss, that is, the fiery lake of burning sulfur. What did Jesus do? 


Look at verses 32-33. "A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned." These pigs were quietly munching on their fodder. They felt like they were very cute, like their favorite movie star, "Babe."  But when the demons came into them, they lost all their cuteness. It was too much. They already had an inferiority complex because Jewish people called them "unclean" animals. (notice that Jews did not eat pork) Now these pigs were demon-possessed, too. According to Mark’s gospel, it was 2,000 pigs. Think about the sudden violence of 2,000 crazy pigs’. Out of self-control, they rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 

It is very significant that Jesus gave the demons permission to go into the pigs. It was not to show mercy to the demons. It was to show the man who had been demon possessed how much Jesus valued him.  It was to teach the people of the region how much God loves one person, even a seemingly useless and dangerous person. The value of these pigs was probably more than several hundred thousand dollars. Jesus was willing to sacrifice a herd of pigs to save one demon-possessed man. That's not all. Jesus was willing to sacrifice his own life to save this man.  This is God's sacrificial love. In John 10:11 Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." Thank God for teaching us to learn Jesus’ shepherd heart paying the cost to take care of God’s flock under our care.

Saving a man from demon possession was more than a spiritual power struggle. This passage not only emphasizes that Jesus "drove out" the evil spirit, but also it shows that Jesus "cured" or healed the man who had been demon possessed. True healing from demon possession comes through a personal relationship with Jesus. True healing from demon possession comes through the sacrificial love of Jesus for one person.  To help the demon possessed, we must trust in Jesus alone and study the Bible one-to-one until Jesus calls them by name. We must know the value of one person and be ready to sacrifice for their healing.

Third, tell how much God has done for you (34-39).

The former demon-possessed man was no longer a wild and violent man, tortured by demons. Now he was dressed and in his right mind(35). More than anything else, he wanted to study the Bible with Jesus. So he sat at Jesus' feet, listening intently. The peace of God came into his heart. He must have sung a hymn, "I've found a friend in Jesus, he's everything to me; he's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul."(Hymn 392) However, the people of the region were not happy about the healing of the demon-possessed man. Instead, they were afraid. Probably they feared losing their other businesses, as they had lost the herd of pigs. When they asked Jesus to leave, he got into the boat and left (36,37). Jesus and his disciples were having a hard time. With no chance to rest, again they had to get into their boat and go back across the lake. Nevertheless, Jesus was happy because one man had been saved from demons.

Look at verses 38-39. "The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, return home and tell how much God has done for you.' So the man went away and told all over the town how much Jesus had done for him." When the man was healed from demon-possession, he was so happy in Jesus. He wanted to be with Jesus and follow Jesus wherever he went. But Jesus did not let him. Jesus told him to return home and tell how much God had done for him. It was to teach this man obedience. This man's problem had been disobedience. When he was disobedient to God and man, he became the prey of demons. Now he was free from demons. But he had to learn obedience. Jesus trained him immediately by telling him to return home, instead of coming with him.

Through the former demon-possessed man, Jesus wanted to spread the good news of the kingdom of God to the entire region of the Decapolis. The man obeyed Jesus and went all over the town telling what Jesus had done for him: "You know, I was a demon-possessed man. I had hair down to my shoulders and I lived a wild and crazy life.  But Jesus, the Son of the Most High God asked me, What is your name?' Jesus became my friend. Now demons stay far away from me."  Like this man, those who have received Jesus' grace must remember and share it with others. Without remembering Jesus' grace we can become arrogant and then disobedient. But when we remember Jesus' grace we are thankful to God and can be obedient children of God. May God help each of us to remember Jesus' grace and share it with others.

Today we learned that the power of demons is real. Demons work mightily in those who disobey God's word and despise basic humanity (Eph 2:2). But Jesus can cure demon possession. Jesus asks, "What is your name?" to have a personal relationship with each of us. Jesus gave his own life as a ransom sacrifice to save us from the power of demons. There are two kinds of freedom. One is the human freedom of sinful man, which leads to demon possession. The other is true freedom in God, which leads man to God’s grace. May God help us to use our human freedom or our human rights in Jesus so that we may not be like Gerasene demoniacs but heavenly princes and princesses.

One word: What is your name?





  What is your name?

Luke 8:26-39

Key Verse 8:30

Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him.

This passage teaches us how Jesus reached out to a multitude of people in the Gentile world by personally visiting and shepherding over one rebellious person. 

[Caution: do not get into discussions about “demons” and/or “evil spirits”, for the first thing a Bible student should know is to know what he does not need to know. God intentionally made the identity of demons unclear, for in His divine judgment, it is to our best interest not to know what demons are all about. Anyone who presents all kinds of theories, pretending to know about demons better than others is only trying to promote his own interest, and it is not out of healthy motives.]

1. Where did the demon-possessed man live? (26,27) 

** He lived in the tombs. He is representative of all the Gentiles who are sitting in the shadow of darkness, caught by the power of sin and death. Unless someone goes there and serves them with the gospel they are bound to be swallowed up by the power of the tombs. [Tombs = emptiness, indicating that life without faith in the Lord will only result in emptiness.]

2. How did this man meet Jesus? When the man first saw Jesus how did he respond to him? (28)

** He was not able to bring himself to Jesus. So Jesus brought himself to the man. 

Jesus' move here foreshadows the tide of the gospel going beyond the boundary of the Jewish world into the world of the Gentiles as recorded in the Book of Acts. 

The Gentiles were held down by the power of the tomb. God had mercy on them. He raised the apostles such as the Apostle Paul who visited the place of the Gentiles and preached the gospel, for the Gentiles could not bring themselves to Jesus. 

** He was hostile to Jesus. 

His response is typical of all the responses the Gentiles are showing to the gospel. Indeed, history proves that most of the Gentiles responded to the gospel with hostility, not because they were inherently bad, but because of the demonic powers working in them. Remember how the rulers of the Gentile world (such as the Roman Emperor Nero) persecuted the servants of the gospel and think about why they did what they did to the servants of the gospel. 

3. When he saw the man what did Jesus do for him? (29)

** He commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. 

This shows us that Jesus is the God who is the supreme commander holding complete sway over all creation in existence, both in the physical and spiritual realms.

4. Think about Jesus' question to the man (30) and the man's reply. Why do you think Jesus asked the man this question?

** Probably Jesus wanted to help the man to put his finger on the problem, and thereby help the man recover himself. Indeed Jesus' question uncovered the problem which remained "hidden", that is, many demons residing inside of him. 

5. Upon Jesus permitting the demons to go into some pigs, what happened to the pigs? (31-33)  What does this episode tell us about Jesus?

** They all died. 

** Jesus values one soul as more important than the value of pig businesses. 

6. How did the townspeople respond to the work Jesus did for the man? (34-37) Why did they respond in this way? 

** They responded with "fear" not "faith" in the Lord. So they rejected Jesus. 

** They valued money as more important than anything or anyone else. 

7. Compare the man's request in verse 38 and Jesus' direction for the man in verse 39. Why might Jesus have given him this direction?

** Most likely Jesus wanted to save the townspeople even though they proved themselves as unworthy.


The end