They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
- Luke 8:16-37
“Surely, this legion of demons must have had the same effect on them as on the poor man when Christ first came to him. These foolish people took up the same cry as the demoniac! Christ sometimes hears this kind of prayer. There is many a person who has entreated that his conscience might not be troubled any more and it never has been troubled again. But what an awful prayer for anyone to pray!.”
- Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes
The man had a demon, a legion of demons. Legion begged Jesus not to torment him (them). After some argument, the demons went into a herd of pigs and the pigs threw themselves into the lake.
Then the people of the village asked Jesus to leave. We can assume that they said, “Do not torment us.”
They said the same thing, essentially that the demons had said.
Too often when the Holy Spirit has convicted someone of their sin, they feel an uneasiness. They recognize that God is talking to them. They tell God that they don’t want their heart to be troubled, and God gives them what they want. This, I feel, is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was trying to get them to realize that they needed Jesus, and they pushed back. They closed the door on God. They turned a deaf ear toward further urging of the Holy Spirit.
As Christians, when we love people in that state, we think that where there is still breath, there is a chance that they can repent and return to God. But only God knows how many locks they have placed on the door, preventing Him from entry. God isn’t going to break the door down. He isn’t going to shout. So, when they crank up their stereo to drown God’s voice, they can do so. But when they still feel that uneasiness, they move further away, sometimes blaming God for their problems.
And sometimes, born-again Christians can fall into the same trap. If you have accepted Jesus, but you have not grown in the faith, you may have prayed the same prayer. You see the strong Christians around you who are struggling, and you want to avoid that. But do you not realize that they have a stronger faith, so that they can call upon God’s strength to see them through the struggles. You are left with seeing yourself through the struggles while God sits on the sidelines, waiting for you to ask Him to take the helm and guide you.
May we never be guilty of praying that prayer. May we always invite Jesus in, reading the Bible and praying for a closer walk with the Lord. In doing so, He is right there to fight off the legion of demons that is waiting to devour those who are weak.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.