Do you realise just how powerful Jesus is?
Maybe in my day-to-day ordinary world I sometimes forget.
The stories in Luke 8 are a great reminder.
Not only does Jesus demonstrate his power over nature (calming the storm) but he then shows even greater power – complete control of the spirit world.
Those poor disciples thought they were out of the woods when they got to the other side of the lake. Nice one Jesus, you calmed the storm. Now let’s just chill out by the lake for a bit. Honestly, I’m still adrenalised and frankly a bit traumatised.
No, Jesus steps ashore to cast a ‘legion’ of demons out of a man who has been tortured by demon possession.
Here’s what I noticed about Jesus and the Devil.
What the Devil wants to do
- Make you poor: The demon possessed man for a long time had not worn clothes or lived in a house. Our enemy wants to rob you of even the basic needs – clothing and shelter. The devil loves lack.
- Bring an atmosphere of death: The man was forced by his demon possession to live among the tombs. Jesus, however, tells us that he has come to give us life and life in all its fullness.
- Isolate you: The demoniac had been chained up and put under guard, but was supernaturally able to break the chains. Interesting – the devil can empower you in some way! But it’s not an attractive empowerment. The only time the enemy wants to break your chains is to lead you to isolation. Luke 8:29 tells us he had been empowered to break out of captivity only to be driven to solitary places. The devil wants you to experience isolation, loneliness and lack of community. God, on the other hand, sets us in families where we can know love and fellowship. The best way I can understand Hell is that it is separation from God, and his wonderful people. God is the creator of all things that are good, so separation from him is the extraction of anything good.
They begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
The demons begged Jesus. They know who is boss. They know that in one word, Jesus could command them to go back to where they came from. Why would they not want to go back? Why did they beg Jesus not to send them back to the Abyss? Perhaps it’s so horrible, even demons prefer to stay away. Whatever the reason, Jesus is in complete control. He allows them to be sent into a herd of pigs!
However much power the Devil might have in any situation, it is limited to nothing in the presence of Jesus. If you think the enemy has a hold on you in any given area, all you need is the presence of Jesus. Praise him in that situation, because the Lord inhabits the praises of his people. As Jesus inhabits your praise, demons will run for the nearest pigs!
- Jesus brings peace: Once the demons were cast out of the man, he was restored. By the end of the story we find him clothed and in his right mind. This means he can now be restored to the community. Where the devil brought isolation, Jesus brings community and fellowship. God is love.
- Jesus is sometimes rejected: The problem with Jesus is he sometimes upsets our or pig farm. The pig farmers were not ready for this move of God! Many of us are the same. We are happy for God to move as long as it does not inconvenience us.
- Jesus won’t force himself on you: The locals asked Jesus to leave. They were afraid of the power he had demonstrated and perhaps wondered whose business he would ruin next! But Jesus didn’t argue his point, he just left.
- Jesus is magnetic: The cured demoniac wanted to follow Jesus. He didn’t just thank him or pay him like a doctor. He wanted to follow him. He was ready to sign up to be the thirteenth disciple. When you encounter Jesus, you just want more.
- Jesus has a message worth sharing: Rather than allow the man to follow Jesus around, Jesus tells him to stay where he is and spread the word there. So the man went away and told all the town how much Jesus had done. The locals might have asked Jesus to leave, but Jesus now had a representative in the town, whose testimony was hard to argue with. That’s why you are where you are today. You are Jesus’ number 1 rep in your circle of friends, colleagues and family.
How have you let Jesus transform your life?
Like the man in the story, have you let him totally turn you around?
Or like the locals, would you rather not let him inconvenience you too much?