Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday, July 15 ~ by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Corinthians 7, Psalm 119:169-176, 2 Chronicles 19-20
Today's scripture focus is Luke 8:26-39

Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon

26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes,[a] which is opposite Galilee. 27 When Jesus[b] had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs.28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” 29 For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. 32 Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 36 And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed[c] man had been healed. 37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

 MacArthur has this to say:

Now if you were looking around for missionary candidates, you probably wouldn't pick Charles Manson. But this man [Legion] demonstrates the same bizarre kind of behavior that Charles Manson demonstrated...deadly. And to get a little more contemporary, if you were looking for a missionary candidate, you probably wouldn't pick Andrea Yates who drowned her five children, nor would you pick John Wayne Gasey who chopped up people. And if you're looking for, you know, the right raw material, a candidate to be a missionary, you don't go to the maniac category unless you're Jesus and have the power to totally transform. And if you want to make a statement about what your power is like, that's the best place to make it. The more obvious the transformation, you would think, the greater the evidence, and certainly that is so.
Somehow, this made me think of stories of testimonies. I grew up in a church-attending home and accepted Christ at a very early age. Often when I hear the testimonies of those that had been living lives of massive destruction and how God in a very vivid way reached down and saved them, it almost makes my own story of how I became a Christian almost ....boring. However, that is not the case. We all have lived lives that are in massive destruction because our sin--whatever form that may take--separates us from God and until we commit to Him we are headed to destruction. In today's passage we see the extreme example of a life separated from God. In this man there was chaos. There was terror. There was a belief that no one could contain him. No human could because it says the demon was so powerful that For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.It would appear that this man was beyond saving. The way we all are when we are separated from God.

Our sin, regardless of any other demons in our lives, keep us from God. Satan does exercise his power and his attempts to keep us from God are not unnoticed and not something of only biblical times.

 MacArthur explains:
Satan is the prince of the power of the air, there is a wrestling with demons that is going on, a fight with principalities and powers, etc. The forces of hell are active. The evil spirits of fallen angels are moving and plying their trade. They're withstanding the purposes of God, such as we saw in Daniel, you remember, so that God sometimes dispatches angels to deal with them. They are there. But listen to this, they prefer anonymity. They would rather that you would characterize that behavior as postpartum blues. They would far rather that you would define that behavior as the effect of child abuse or a failure to take your medication. They really don't want you to know they're there. They don't want to be exposed. But in the presence of Jesus they had no option. And what happened was Jesus just being there confronted them and they gave up their anonymity unwillingly by the sheer force of His personality. Jesus walks into a synagogue in the fourth chapter of Luke, as we learned. He walks into the synagogue, there is a man there, Jesus is preaching the gospel that He came to set the prisoners free, to give sight to the blind. He came to give spiritual wealth to the poor. He came to free the oppressed from their burdens. The poor prisoners, blind and oppressed, this is the acceptable favorable year of the Lord and He's preaching the gospel and this demon just blurts out of this guy, "HA, what do we have to do with You?" And in the presence of Jesus Christ, he cannot restrain his fear. He was so terrified at the presence of the Son of God that he exposed himself and that happened again and again and again in the encounters that Jesus had with the demon possessed during the time of His life.

Jesus exposes the sin in our lives through our relationship with Him. As we grow in our relationship with God the magnitude of our sinfulness is revealed and our need for a Saviour is displayed. It doesn't matter if you were a child of a young age with not too much of a sinful past behind you or an inmate on death row with days left of your life--we all need a Saviour. However, when we are saved, we all have the ability to be ambassadors for Christ and do tell our story of how we became a child of God. Regardless of our past, we are now a new creation in Him. Our changed lives have the power to lead others to Jesus, the story doesn't even have to come from us.

 MacArthur says :

And when the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country. And the people went out to see what had happened and they came to Jesus and found the man with whom the demons had gone out...from whom the demons had gone out sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind and they became frightened.. Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well. And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to depart from them, for they were gripped with great fear and He got into a boat and returned, but the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him but He sent him away saying, 'Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.' And he went away proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him."
Now that's the maniac who became a missionary. It's an incredible story. I want to show you three displays of power in the story. I want to show you the destructive power of demons, first point...the destructive power of demons. Secondly, the delivering power of Jesus. And thirdly, the damning power of sin. (To read what MacArthur's thoughts on these 3 points, you can read the entire sermon here)

We have the capacity to be overcome with demons and Jesus has the power to set us free. Nothing is impossible with Christ. He came to save us and we all need to be saved.

Tomorrow's scripture focusLuke 8:40-48
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Corinthians 8, Psalm 120, 2 Chronicles 21-22

1 comment:

Tammy said...

Amazing power!

And what amazing grace Jesus demonstrates - when the people reject Him, He still leaves them a witness. The maniac becomes the only Christian in the area, he becomes a missionary. He knew enough to be saved therefore he knew enough to tell others.

MacArthur ends that sermon so well. "Tell the story." Tell the story.