Thesis:Identities and future expectations are significantly linked.
Introduction:As we have been working our way through Luke's presentation of Jesus' authority over "Legion", we have seen some of the realities of attempting to live a Jesus-free life. There are two basic facts that govern this attempt: first, the quality of experience has nothing to commend it except the gloating about "who gets to call the shots"; and, second, the attempt is fundamentally vain. The poet W.E. Henley once penned the words, "It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishment the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul." Interestingly, the man lived most of his life crippled and died at the age of 54 sometime after the death of his 5-year-old daughter. I only have one question for him: what's the "point" of being the "master of your fate" if being "master" means only that you can utter lies with great swelling words of vanity?
Since the demons clearly subscribe to Henley's delusion, we have to ask them also: What is the point of ineffectual rebellion that ends only in empty words? This morning we are going to continue our consideration of this dead-end street as we look into Jesus' question of the demon: What is your name?
I. The Biblical Focus Upon "Names".
A. Begins with the clear understanding that "names" signify.
1. In the beginning, God began "calling" things by "names" that would forever afterward define reality for those exposed to them.
2. Before the fall, the surrogate ruler of this world was cast in the role of "name-giver" because he was the surrogate ruler.
3. Throughout the rest of the Scriptures, the giving of names was some form of declaration of "reality" or the hope for something to become such.
4. In Luke's record, both "John" and "Jesus" were named by God and the mothers both yielded to His insistence that they "name" their sons accordingly.
5. In Revelation 2:12-17 a promise is given of the grant of a "new name" that will be privately held between the believer, who has overcome the "problem" of Pergamum, and Jesus, the Possessor of the Sharp, Two-Edged Sword.
a. The issue here is this: promises are designed to be motivational to keep those who believe them from doing something really dumb.
1) The problem in Pergamum was that holding onto the faith was being made more and more difficult -- first by martyrdom, and then by attrition.
2) The promise to those who refused to be worn down by the constant conflict is a "new" name that is privately held.
3) Thus, the issue in Pergamum was one: Who defines reality?
b. If this be so, we need to sharpen our focus upon our grasp of how important is being "named" by Jesus.
6. In Luke's text, the demonic "name" is "Legion" because ... (6826 warriors of whom 6100 were foot soldiers and 726 were cavalry -- indicating the presence of at least 61 centurions, important because of Luke 7).
B. Begins with the clear understanding that the name was often prophetic.
1. At a baby's age of eight days, no one expected that the baby would provide anything close to a comprehensive presentation of the meaning of its name.
2. Even those names which declared reality without prophecy were not expected to communicate a demonstrated reality until the baby reached maturity.
C. Contains certain expectations.
1. Every definition of reality sets the stage for thoughtful people in terms of how they will go about making their decisions because of the "expectation" thing.
2. Every expectation signals the integrated place that "hope" has in the processes of current life, or, at least, "dread".
3. Every expectation points to the absolute futility of making the "now" too important.
a. In our text, the demons are panic-driven about being sent into the Abyss.
b. How much sense does this make in the face of the eternal future?
c. The very irrationality means that this is not something believers should do.
D. Declares a certain type of "familiarity" that presupposes certain consequent realities.
1. In Exodus 33:12 Moses used the fact that God "knew him by name" to make a highly significant appeal to Him.
2. In Exodus 33:17 God acquiesces to the request because, He says, "I know thee by name."
3. This is the significance of the Revelation 2 text in regard to the privately held "new name": there is going to be a special intimacy for those who resist the wearing down process that will translate into a deeper level of the experience of "Life".
II. The Demons' Take on Jesus' Ability to Ask for Their "Name".
A. It clearly signaled that they were absolutely subject to His whim.
B. It forced the exposure of the futility of their rebellion.
1. No one does anything for no reason.
2. If the reason is exposed to be unreasonable, only humiliation can result.
3. Humiliation is the worst thing that can be done to a "spirit".