“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)”
Jesus transformed the lives of the people he met; he confronted evil spirits and healed broken individuals.
This man was a case of violent insanity. He was too dangerous to live along with others and he lived in the middle of the tombs, which were believed to be the home and the stamping ground of demons. I love the sheer courage of Jesus in dealing with him. The man had the strength of a maniac, which enabled him to snap his chains. The locals were so terrified of him that they would never try to do anything for him, but Jesus faced him calm and unafraid.
When Jesus asked the man his name, he answered, “Legion.” A roman legion was a regiment of 6,000 soldiers. Most likely he had seen a Roman legion on the march, and his poor troubled mind felt that there was not one demon, but a whole regiment inside him.
The demons recognised the strength of their supreme Opponent. They acknowledged Christ’s deity:
“I know who You are – the Holy One of God. (Mark 1:24)”
The demon’s insight into the identity of Jesus was greater than that of his disciples. They confessed his power, acknowledged his deity and were fearful of their doom.
I love the sheer courage of Jesus in dealing with him. The man had the strength of a maniac, which enabled him to snap his chains. The locals were so terrified of him that they would never try to do anything for him, but Jesus faced him calm and unafraid.
The interchange between Christ and the demons showed his authority over them: they feared he would order them into the Abyss, so ‘they begged Him repeatedly’ about where they should be sent. The demons asked to go into the pigs and Jesus allowed it.
Now this man needed an unanswerable demonstration that the demons had gone out of him. Here was the very proof the man needed: his demons were gone and had been drowned in the sea. This visible demonstration helped the man climb back to sanity and his disordered mind was restored to peace: a peace that only Jesus can bring. The release from Satanic bondage transformed the man, sitting at the Lord’s feet, dressed and in his right mind. He had physical composure, acceptable appearance and mental health. What a transformation!
We don’t all have a miraculous salvation story like Legion; I don’t know the exact point I was saved, but I know I am and appreciate that I am now redeemed and at peace with God. Praise the Lord!
Very naturally Legion wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus said to him, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” Our Christian witness begins at home. It would be easier to live and speak for Christ with people who do not know us. But it is our duty to witness for him wherever he has put us.
It seems to me that Jesus may have sailed across Lake Galilee just for this one man. We know from Mark’s gospel that this one man ‘went away and began to tell in the Decapolis’ – ten cities that were essentially Greek. It shows the beginnings of Christianity going out into all the world through just one man. Legion could have been first seed of a mighty harvest.
It’s great to think about what lengths Jesus went to for each one of us, and a challenge to tell others all about Christ’s transforming power.
Read Matthew 8:28–34, Mark 5:1–20 and Luke 8:26–39
Andy Tugwell, The Church of God in Swindon