The man from whom the demons had departed begged him earnestly to be with him. But he sent him away and said, “Go back to your home, and tell all that God has done for you.” And off he went, proclaiming throughout the town how much Jesus had done for him (8:38-39 CSB).
Next, we see the cure performed by Jesus.
The demons reacted fearfully to Christ’s presence. They knew his identity (8:28); people may not know him, but the sinful spirits do. They knew his absolute power and authority over them. If he willed, they would immediately be sent into the Abyss. So they fell before the Lord. They also knew him as their Judge (8:28, 31). They knew what their end will be. Consider James 2:19. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! (ESV)
Christ Jesus followed his own procedure in this healing.
- He delayed the cure (cf. Lk 4:35; Mk 9:25-27) in order to demonstrate his power more completely.
- He exposed the demon’s complete hold on the man, who could not even say his own name.
- He showed his sovereignty over the demons. They must ask for his permission (8:32). Compare Job 1.
- He made the demons leave the man at his command (Mt 8:32).
- He uncovered the destructive nature of the demons by allowing them to go into the pigs (8:33).
Objection: Someone might say, “I don’t like this loss of animal life and money!” I answer:
- Animal life is under the ultimate control of God (Matthew 10:29)
- “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?” (Romans 9:20)
- “Can anyone seriously hold that the pigs should have been saved and the man left unsaved?” (Leon Morris)
- “By permitting this loss Jesus was actually helping these owners” (William Hendriksen). If they took this lesson to heart, they would know that they were selfish, caring more about pigs than about a human.
- It is a sinful thought pattern that criticizes the Lord. He knows all things; he does all things well.
- The demons were the active agent of destruction, not the Lord. Jesus didn’t tell them to destroy the pigs; he told them to leave the afflicted man. He did good; they worked evil.
The Lord Jesus completely cured the man (8:35). The man was freed from demons and their control. He was no longer restless; he sat at Jesus’ feet (cf. Lk 10:39). The man was no longer naked but clothed. The man was in his right mind. “Never is a man in his right mind till he is converted, or in his right place till he sits by faith at the feet of Jesus, or rightly clothed till he has put on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ryle). Isn’t it good to know that we have a Savior who can cause such a cure? Since Christ is Almighty, we may have certain hope!
Think about the reaction to the cure by the Gerasene people.
- They responded to the information from those who tended the pigs (8:34-35). Can you imagine what television news would do with this?
- They were filled with fear when they saw the man healed (8:35). But they displayed no interest or appreciation about his cure.
- When they heard the full story of what had happened, they asked Jesus to leave (8:36-37). This is the tragedy of the sinful human heart! How sad it is when a person asks Jesus to leave, and he does!
A couple thoughts: First, be careful what you ask for! The Lord might say yes. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them (Psalm 106:15 NIV). Second, it is sad to think of the many church buildings that are now used as museums or warehouses or worse. One day Jesus said to them, “Look, I stand at the door and knock!” And they refused his presence. May it not happen to your fellowship of believers.
Think about the reaction to the cure by the healed man. He wanted to be with Jesus! (8:38) Did you hear that? Do you have that same desire? Note the contrast with the Gerasenes.
Read Christ’s command to the man (8:38-39). The Lord wanted this man to testify for him. We are saved and then sent to tell others. Jesus sent him to an excellent “mission field”: to his home. They knew how he had been, and they would be most appreciative of the change in him. Did you ever think how many people would be in your church if everyone would bring their relatives, friends and neighbors?
Imitate the man’s response (8:39). His message was simple: what God did, Jesus did. He went back home as Jesus told him, and then did more (cf. Mk 5:20).
What are you doing for Christ? Who is hearing the good news about Jesus from your lips? In this hour, personal contact is limited due to Covid-19 restrictions, but we can prepare for when we can talk to many people again. Start by preparing your heart. Let’s humble ourselves before the Lord and have a renewed change of mind (repent) about God, Christ, ourselves, our sins, and God’s way of grace in the Lord Jesus. Seek the Lord while he may be found (Isaiah 55:6-7).
Grace and peace,