Luke 8:26-39

Luke 8:26-39 – Preached @ Ebenezer Church on 26 May 2013

Let me begin by telling you that this incident of the demon possessed men is also recorded in Matt 8 & Mark 5. 

There must be something important about this incident that 3 different gospel writers were inspired to record it. 

Hence, this morning we shall understand the importance of this incident by asking the following 3 questions: 

1. What does this passage tell us about demons? 

2. What does this passage tell us about Jesus Christ? 

3. What does this passage tell us about man like you and I? 

1. What does this passage tell us about demons? 

The Apostle Paul tells us in Eph 6:12 that we are constantly engaged in spiritual warfare while here on earth. 

Are you aware of that a spiritual world exists around us? 

Thankfully, our physical eyes cannot see that spiritual world, otherwise you may freak out!  

In 2Kings 6, the entire Syrian army surrounded Elisha and his servant.  

His servant was worried and said to Elisha ‘what shall we do?’  

Elisha responded “do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  

And in v17, he prayed that God would open his servant’s eyes.  

And when his servant’s eyes were opened, he saw that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire.  

These were God’s holy angels sent to protect Elisha. 

I want you to know that besides God’s holy angels in that spiritual world around us, there are also demons or evil spirits. 

And this passage tells us 3 things about demons. 

1. Demons are fallen angels who are in constant rebellion against God 

The man in this passage is possessed by demons. 

And these demons made him do all kinds of things against his wishes. 

For example, in v27, they made him act like a lunatic wearing no clothes. 

And they also made him live amongst the tombs.

Which man in his sound mind would do such things?   

Why did the demons make this man, who was made in the image of God, do such things? 

Because these demons are out to rebel against God. 

How do I know this? 

In Isa 14 and Eze 28, we are provided with allegories alluding to the origin of Satan and his demonic hosts. 

Satan and demons were angels. 

But they were proud and refused to submit to God. 

And so God cast them out of heaven. 

In Gen 3, it was recorded that Satan tempted Eve. 

Why did Satan want to tempt Eve? 

Because Satan wanted God’s prized creation to be like him too – in constant rebellion against God. 

And unfortunately, Satan succeeded. 

Adam sinned and the whole of mankind fell with him. 

That’s why the unconverted world is called the “sons of disobedience” according to Eph 2:2. 

In fact, Jesus says to the unconverted in John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.” 

And this is how Jesus described Satan in the rest of John 8:44  

“….He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” 

Demons are fallen angels who are in constant rebellion against God. 

If you are not reconciled to God, you are in rebellion against God and therefore standing on the side of Satan. 

2. Secondly, Demons can do a lot of harm to man 

There are some people who take the extreme view that every disease or illness is caused by demons. 

Let me be clear that this is not what the bible teaches. 

In Deut 18, we are told to avoid making any contact with demons. 

This advice is actually meant for our good. 

Because demons can attack us physically, spiritually and mentally although they cannot possess Christians. 

Why? Because “…He (the Holy Spirit) who is in you is greater than he (that is Satan) who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4 

Although demons are not always the cause of illnesses, the fact is that they can bring about disease. 

In Matt 9, demons were the cause of a man being dumb. 

In Matt 12, they brought about blindness. 

In Matt 17, demons brought about epilepsy. 

In Mark 9, they caused an individual to continually attempt suicide.  

Spiritually, demons can tempt you – just like they tempted Jesus. 

Demons can corrupt the truth, or bring about false religion. 

They can cause all kinds of immoral behavior. 

Demons can even eclipse the personality of a person. 

The fact is that you who is flesh & blood is simply no match against these spiritual beings. 

2 Pet 2:11 tells us that “…angels are greater in power and might…” 

In 2 Kings 19:35, one holy angel alone slayed 185,000 Assyrians in a night. 

And that’s why we see in V29 tells us that this demon possessed man had great strength. 

He was held down with shackles and chains. 

But the demon would just break loose and bring the man into the wilderness. 

And that man who was possessed did not have the power in himself to be released from demons. 

Therefore, take the advice of the bible: stay away from anything that has potential demonic influences. 

Stay away from places where sin is prevalent. 

For example, night clubs where drunkenness & revelries take place. 

Stay away from places where idol worship is practiced even if they are tourist attractions. 

Stay away from certain types of unhelpful music that promote wild or uncontrolled behavior. 

Stay away from practices like body piercing and even tattooing. 

Why? Because these practices had pagan origins and often associated with idol worship. 

What did the false prophets do when they couldn’t bring down fire from heaven against Elijah in 1 Kings 18? 

They cut themselves; they danced; they tried to free their spirits and invite the spirits of these idols to respond. 

When I was a young platoon commander, I had soldiers who were involved in demonic worship. 

One of them had a huge tattoo of a dragon on his back. 

Another had a little symbol tattooed on his forehead. 

These were carved there to indicate their association with the demons that they were involved with. 

Now, what do you have to do when you want to put a ring on your nose or tattoo that picture on your skin? 

No matter how you camouflage the description, the fact is that you have to cut yourself. 

I hope you realize that such practices are not helpful for your souls. 

I don’t want to frighten you – but Satan wants you to go to hell with him. 

And the fact is that you will, unless you are helped by the one and only person that they fear. 

And this is the 3rd thing that this passage tells us about demons. 

3. Demons know who Jesus is & they fear Him 

Before Jesus arrived, the demons were having full control of that man they possessed. 

But when they saw Jesus in v28, they immediately fell down before Him. 

And the demons addressed Jesus as Son of the most-high God. 

They fact is that these demons had more fear of Jesus than many of us. 

That’s why the Apostle James tells us in James 2:19 that the demons also know God and they tremble. 

But why did they fear Jesus? 

Because they were afraid that He will throw them into the abyss or hell – verse 31 

These demons who are of the spiritual dimension know many things that you don’t. 

They know that their days are numbered. 

They know that they are bound for hell. 

They know that Jesus had the power to cast them into hell the moment He loses patience with them. 

What about you? 

You have no power over demons. 

So if Jesus whom they fear is not your Lord and God, you are in the most dangerous position. 

Do you realize that? 

If you do, what are you doing about it? 

Recently, my father was hospitalised for an operation. 

One night when he was staying there, he said he saw demons trying draw him into hell with them. 

He was so scared that he asked to be discharged even before he was due to be discharged. 

Now I do not know exactly what he saw or whether he was just dreaming. 

But it appeared so real to him that he called for my brother’s pastor to meet him because he wanted to be saved. 

I thank God that my father did something about his spiritual situation when he realized the danger he was in. 

This morning, I am here to tell you that heaven and hell are real places. 

I am here to tell you that Satan and demons are real. 

Some of you may even have had close shaves with the demonic world. 

But you cannot stop there and do nothing about it. 

Because if you do nothing, you bound for hell – I can’t put it more plainly than that. 

Unless you turn to Jesus and submit to His authority. 

Which brings me to our second question for today. 

2. Secondly, What does this passage tell us about Jesus Christ? 

It tells us that Jesus is God. 

In v29, Jesus commanded the demons to come out of the man and they immediately did. 

Jesus had the power to send these demons anywhere He deemed appropriate. 

And being afraid of being sent to hell, they begged Jesus to let them go into a herd of pigs. 

In v33, we are told that Jesus permitted them to do so. 

And the entire herd of pigs went berserk and they drowned in the lake. 

Have you ever met anyone with such absolute authority and power as Jesus? 

Well, this incident is recorded in the bible so that you know Jesus has such authority and power. 

If there’s anyone who can save you from the demons, it has to be Jesus. 

Because Jesus is God of all Creation and He is God of the universe. 

He is the one who decides who goes to heaven and who ends up in hell. 

Any man with a rational mind will want Jesus to be on his side. 

Unfortunately, many of us do not respond rationally. 

And that brings us to our 3rd & final point for today. 

3. What does this passage tell us about man like you and I? 

In v34, we are told that many people who saw the incident fled and reported it in the city. 

In v35, we are told that many more came back to see what happened. 

And they saw this former demon-possessed man seated at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. 

And v37 says that the people asked Jesus to depart from them. 

That’s the last thing you would expect them to do, isn’t it?  

Here is a demon-possessed man supernaturally healed by Jesus and you ask Jesus to go away? 

I thought they should be throwing a hero’s party for Jesus. 

So why did they ask Jesus to go away? 

Many commentators say that this reflects how materialistic the people were. 

They say that they were more concerned about the loss of their pigs. 

“This is bad for business; what else will we lose?” 

There are also others who think that these people were animal activists from organisations similar to SPCA. 

“You must treat animals with respect; how can you let these pigs die a cruel death like this?” 

And so, they sent Jesus away.   

It’s bad for business and it’s bad for the animals. 

But I don’t think these are the reasons why the people asked Jesus to go away. 

I think the clue is found in the last sentence of v35 which says “they were seized with great fear”. 

You see, this is the kind of reaction you get when unholy men meet a holy God. 

Remember what happened to Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5? 

“Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts”. 

Isaiah was suddenly struck with a sense of fear because he realised the holiness of God and his own sinfulness. 

The same thing happened to Peter in Matt 5:8. 

Jesus just demonstrated to Peter that He had power over even the fishes in the ocean. 

And Peter fell at Jesus knees saying “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” 

There was a period when my family often went catching Yubbies (or baby lobsters) at the Lower Pierce Reservoir. 

Sometimes, 2 or 3 Yubbies may be hiding under a rock while we attempt to lure them out. 

And my 2nd son would lift up that rock, exposing them to the light. 

And these yubbies would all scramble to for some other cover. 

And that’s what this passage tells us about man. 

You expose them to the light of God and they go right back to darkness where they love to hide. 

And perhaps that is what is happening to some of you today. 

We preach the gospel to you and you realized that you are exposed. 

So you shun it and quickly go for cover, just like what these people did to Jesus – “please go away, we can’t take this”. 

But the man who was healed from demon possession responded differently. 

He begged to stay with Jesus. 

He understood the evil bondage that he was freed from. 

He experienced the release that only Jesus could provide. 

He knew that Jesus was God. 

He knew he needed Jesus and therefore wanted to stay with Him. 

But Jesus said to him in v39..”Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” 

Now this is a great demonstration of God’s mercies and grace. 

Jesus could have taken this man with him and this man would have served Jesus so well out of his gratefulness. 

But Jesus said to him “stay back and be a missionary at home”. 

Remind those people who sent Jesus away about the great things that God has done for you. 

Remain as a witness of the truth and shine in that city where darkness still prevails. 

And this man did exactly what Jesus told him to do. 

He proclaimed throughout the whole city the great things Jesus had done for him – v39. 

This morning, let me ask you: “which category of man do you belong to?” 

Are you one of those who asked Jesus to go away just like the people from that city where this demon-possessed man lived? 

If you are, let me remind you that you have no power over demons. 

You can’t hide from the reality of the spiritual world and of heaven & hell. 

You are in a most dangerous situation. 

Because, the moment you lose your breath, you will be snatched into hell. 

Unless you profess your faith in Jesus Christ and publicly declare this by obeying His command to be baptized. 

As long as you still have breath – this shows that God is still gracious to you. 

But do not take that for granted; do not delay your profession of faith in Jesus Christ. 

Even the demons fear God; why are you not clinging to God? 

If you are in such a situation, please talk to me after worship today so that I can help you. 

Are you like the man healed from demon possession and asked by Jesus to be a witness to the people around you? 

If so, may I ask what have you done in this aspect to serve our great king? 

Or have you been giving to God only that which costs you nothing? 

Have you been faithful in your obedience to Him? 

Let us mediate on the work of Christ on the Cross and respond to Him according to how He has enabled each of us. 

Let me close by summarising what I have said today: 

1. What does this passage tell us about demons? 

Demons are fallen angels who are in constant rebellion against God. 

Demons can do a lot of harm to man.  

So stay away from anything that is associated with them. 

Demons know who Jesus is & they fear Him. 

But the good news is: If you fear Jesus, there is no need to be fearful of demons. 

2. What does this passage tell us about Jesus Christ? 

It tells us that Jesus is God. 

Do you know that?  

If so, what are you doing about it? 

3. What does this passage tell us about man like you and I? 

It tells us that we are helpless against the spiritual forces around us. 

In that state of helplessness, you can either react like the people who asked Jesus to go away. 

Or you can be like the man who was healed from demon possession. 

Let me encourage you to do that which will glorify God today! Amen.