Thesis:"Disaster" is built into the system: Truth cannot be violated with impunity.
Introduction:One of the interesting facts about Luke's record of Jesus' authority over the demons of the Gerasenes is that we are not told "why" the man was demon possessed in the first place. However, we are told why the demons possessed the pigs. Jesus. He was evicting them from the body of their human host and He gave them permission to possess the pigs as an alternative. Luke's "point" here is exceedingly clear: demons cannot "do as they please". Like it or not, they are restricted to "the will of God". Now, it is only a small step backward in the logic of their compelled submission to Jesus to the realization that they had been in dominion over their human host only by "the will of God". In other words, though Luke does not say it in so many words, the reason the man was possessed by a legion of demons was that God had given them permission to possess him. This is Luke's "point": no one can live a "Jesus-free" life. No decision can be pursued except as God permits. The corollary to this "point" is that those who attempt to do this impossible thing reap the consequences of their futility. The Bible has always said, "The day you eat thereof, dying, you shall die."
This morning we are going to see even more of Luke's evidence of his "point". It was his intent to show that Jesus is the Elohim of the Old Testament record and his method was to show just how absolute is His authority over even those whose active hatred of Him has reached its pinnacle. This is the "back door" approach to the issue ... using a potent negative example to establish the Truth (the "front door" approach was the use of power to establish "Life" for the sake of the dying). Even in this record both approaches are seen, depending on where our attention focuses. If we focus on the "poor man possessed by a legion of demons who are tormenting him mercilessly" we see Jesus imparting "Life" to him by His power. If we focus on the "demons" who are abject in their submission to Jesus, we see Jesus contradicting "Death" by His power. This morning we are going to look into the judgmental side of Jesus as He deals with those who hate Him.
I. Why Was the Man Possessed by So Many Demons?
A. The only possible answer: he had bought into the demons' most fundamental lie at a most fundamental level.
1. The "lie", which Luke so clearly reveals, is "you can be 'independent' of God's authority over you."
a. If "you can be 'independent' of God's authority" is not a lie, why do we see the demons pleading to be spared the abyss and pleading to be allowed to enter the pigs?
b. The greatest reality about believing this lie is that the "believer" never seems to be able to recognize his/her delusion.
1) In Romans 1:21 Paul pointedly says that when mankind bought into the delusion, their imaginations were "vain" and their hearts became "stupid" (Note Online Bible's definition of "foolish" in this text).
2) Just seven verses further in his Romans 1 text, Paul says that God's reaction to belief in this lie was to turn men over to a "reprobate" mind (a mind that cannot do "mind" things).
3) This appears to be a major demonic tactic: keep the human from ever seeing the stupidity of letting the stupids run him until it is too late.
2. The man's body took on an "open door" policy toward demons by "faith in the lie": he may not have actually invited them in (though this is possible), but his faith in the lie was all the permission they needed under God Who has ordained that men will experience Reality even when they refuse to believe it.
a. That the man's body was not even his to control any longer is as clear a statement that he had lost the very "control" that his "faith" in his independence was supposed to have brought him.
b. Rejecting divine authority had resulted in submission to demonic control ... and all of this as the outworking of divine authority: living a Jesus-free life is impossible.
3. The range of demonic dominion is apparently relative to the level of the faith in the lie: many demons indicate deep faith in the lie.
B. The necessarily connected "also" truth: God was giving him a dose of reality by giving demons authority over him.
II. What Was the Result?
A. The text says, "Now there was there a massive herd of pigs being fed on the mountain...".
1. This statement serves to do two things simultaneously.
a. On one hand, it reveals the degree of rebellion that was part and parcel of the man's social setting and his acceptance of it.
b. On the other hand, it sets the stage for the demonstration of the stupidity of the stupids to whom the stupid man had released his body.
2. This statement also explains why the pigs all drowned.
a. The reference to the "mountain" is involved with the "steep place".
b. Once the pigs' bodies were "in gear", going down the steep slope, the lack of control was total.
B. The text says that the demons "entreated" (same word as in the previous verse) Jesus to give them permission to enter into the pigs.
1. This reveals how desperate the demons were to have a "body" to possess.
2. This, in turn, reveals how committed the demons were to the principle of "dominion".
3. This, in turn, reveals how delusional were the demons who can not even think without the "dominion" thesis whiletheyareaskingpermission.
C. The text says that Jesus "permitted" them.
1. This "permission" was "intentional".
2. On one hand, the intent was to destroy someone's "economy": the loss of thousands of pigs was a major hit in the wallet to someone.
a. This was, on the face of it, God's judgment upon the rebellious.
b. This is, on the face of it, as clear a declaration that one cannot violate Truth with impunity as the text contains.
3. On the other hand, the intent was to destroy the demons' practice of "dominion".
a. The issue for demons and all other rebels is "I want to be in control."
b. The absolute loss of all control in massive demonstration is as frontal an attack upon the deception of the "lie" as can be mounted.
4. The "permission" was simply the outworking of the contradiction: you, who are so committed to being in rebellion against My control, want My permission to control others?
a. The demons' impact upon the pigs was instantaneous: the pigs went berserk.
b. They who demanded dominion were suddenly completely out of control.