Going Deeper 6-21-19

‚ÄčThe Gospel reading for Pentecost 2...
Luke 8:26-39   Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.  As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him.  For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs.  When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I beg you, do not torment me"— for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.  (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.)  Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?"  He said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him.  They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.  Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these.  So he gave them permission.  Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.  When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country.  Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind.  And they were afraid.  Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed.  Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned.  The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you."  So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

This strange story has the potential to be turned into a horror film.  Not just one demon has possessed this poor man, but a "legion"... which is a military term meaning 3000-6000 men.  That's a whole lot of demons, which made for a whole lot of bizarre power and behaviors!!  All of this sets the stage for yet another demonstration of the unlimited power of Jesus.

Today I would like to focus on the end result: mission work.  The man "went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him."  That is evangelism-- which basically means "sharing good news"-- at its absolute best.  A person is moved by the power of grace and its impact on their life to tell others all about what has happened.

This is one area where I see the demonic doing some of its best work... undercutting mission.  For a variety of reasons, we struggle to share with others the good news of the Gospel of grace and its impact on our lives.  Why?  Are we afraid of ridicule... which is in reality quite rare?  Are we too busy... which is in truth quite sad?  Do we feel inadequate... which is actually something we can do something about?

What would happen if each child of God succeeded in serving as the means through which God worked to draw one other person into His family of grace every year?  I will tell you what would happen: God's Kingdom would come, just as we pray for.  The world would be radically changed!!

Let us pray that Jesus would remove the demons (or whatever else is at work) which are preventing us from proclaiming what Jesus has done, is doing, and has promised to forever do for us... saving and transforming us by His grace.

With You in His Service,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."