The Gospel reading for the today accounts Jesus healing a man possessed by a legion of demons. Our devotion comes from Classic Commentary on Luke.
Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.
The last event of the “busy day” is here recorded. The storm ended, Jesus and His companions reached without difficulty the land of the Gergesenes on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. This territory belonged either to the tetrarchy of Philip or to the region called Decapolis. It must have been in the twilight hour of the evening when the group disembarked.
The rest which Jesus apparently sought was not to be granted Him. A devil-possessed man met them and caused a sensational disturbance. Matthew, in the parallel account, says that two demoniacs met the Savior. The explanation seems to be that there were two, but that Luke and Mark ignore the presence of one of them because he was less violent, and merely tell the story of the one whose case was particularly startling.
The man lived not in the town, but in desolate places, among tombs, on the hillsides up from the lake, where ancient burial places have been discovered. His deplorable condition, his refusal to wear clothes, and the impossibility forcibly to confine him are vividly described.
That his case was not merely one of insanity but of demoniac possession is evident from his recognition of Jesus as the Son of God. It must not be overlooked that Luke explains the sufferer’s shrieks of fright by informing us that Jesus was giving the demon orders to depart. We are furnished a rare glimpse into the darkness of Satan’s kingdom.
The demon in the man speaks, and we are informed that he is merely one of a whole legion. The demons dread the order to leave for their regular abode, the place of punishment, the abyss, hell. They wish to stay on this earth and to do mischief. If they cannot plague men, they will disport themselves in animals. How fitting that they wish to enter swine!
They may not have anticipated what happened—the self-destruction of the herd of swine. If they desired to harass the residents of the country, they succeeded. But they deprived themselves of the abode they had chosen. The demoniac was healed, the power of Jesus triumphed over the forces of the archenemy.
Again it was demonstrated that He was the Son of God, the Champion of the race against Satan, the Helper of the distressed. Though Jesus was inhospitably treated by the people of the region, the news concerning Him was spread throughout the countryside.
Choral reflection is “The Lord Has Set the Captive Free” © 2019 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Devotional reading is from Classic Commentary on Luke, pages 238–39, © 1956 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.