THE DEMON POSSESSED
Luke 8:38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
Mark 5:20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
Sending Forth the Gospel
The Holy Spirit’s method in sending forth the gospel ministry certainly includes sanctified persecution and affliction. (We must be careful not to attempt to ‘pray away’ our best blessings that come as fiery trials!)
Consider these verses. Acts 8:1 And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
The Apostle Paul spoke both of God’s love constraining him (2Cor 5:14), and of his knowing the terror of God (2Cor 5:11), that made him persuade men! And when one was sent to launch him into his glorious ministry, the words of God’s instruction are most noteworthy. It is recorded in Acts 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
Martin Luther said there were three things that prepared a true gospel minister – prayer, study, but especially afflictions!
The Storm Was Not the Issue!
These things being true, the storm that preceded this man’s being sent forth of the Lord was not the main issue. It certainly wasn’t any issue at all for the return trip over the same sea, in the same ship, with the same personal aboard! For in Luke 8:37 we simply read, and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.
In knowing that one of His elect was being kept by the Holy Spirit in this awful persecution, before being sent forth to preach the word of his testimony, the Sovereign Lord ordained the storm for preparation to this event! Nahum 1:3 states, the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
The purpose of the storm included the Lord’s rest. He brought a pillow! (Mk. 4:38). He was resting before his warfare with the Legion of devils that possessed this man. (See 1 John 3:8). He was also resting to set the disciples an example of faith’s conduct in a storm! We should be better served in life’s storms by resting in faith on pillows than by struggling against providences with oars! 1Pet. 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
The storm’s purpose was also an opportunity for the disciples to put into practice all the gospel preaching they had been privileged to hear that day! From verse one of Luke eight until the last three words just before the storm incident, the Lord, The Word made flesh, is preaching! And those last three recorded words, just prior to their getting into the ship are, and do it!
This was their opportunity to show that they were good ground hearers! This was an opportunity for their conversion from fishing to faith! They would need this amidst the vast number of demonic forces they were about to face when the ship landed in Gadara.
The mothers of God’s true preachers just don’t have baby boys that become preachers! They have baby preachers that are boys! Jer. 1:4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. And to the Galatians the Apostle Paul stated that he was separated from his mother’s womb to preach the gospel. (Gal. 1:14,15).
In our verses listed above we notice a very unusual command from the Lord to this man. Many others have been strictly told to tell no man! (Lk. 4:41, 5:14). But this man was told to shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And we also listed above the account of Mark, who reveals that not just to his own city, but to the region of Decapolis, he spread the word of Christ’s glory! The word Decapolis is formed by two other Greek words meaning, ten cities! Therefore he was under the command of his Lord to Go home to thy friends, and tell them! (Mark 5:19).
And what a ministry it must have been! If Paul’s past reputation of persecuting the church in that great persecution listed above in Acts 8:1, what must this man’s past life have meant to his ministry? There were those who also flocked to the Lord Jesus just to see Lazarus, after he was raised from the dead! For in John 12:9 we read, and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.
The woman at Jacob’s well ran into the city shouting, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did! (John 4:29). And in John 4:39, we read, And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. Can you imagine the benefit to this mans gospel ministry to the chain gang who attempted to bind him so that the city could get some sleep at night from his loud crying? The undertakers must surely have been vocal in the trouble they had in trying to bury the dead in that cemetery he inhabited!
And what about the pig owners and keepers? People today are still referring to the Stock Market crash of ‘39! Wouldn’t you think that many lives were changed in the loss of 2,000 pigs? That was a large investment.
And did you see that phrase listed in verse 39 above – and he went his way? The same disciples had to get back in the same boat, and have their Lord still closely attend them before later being sent out on their own! The providence of the sea storm hadn’t prepared them to venture out solo! But this possession of devils long time certainly did fit this preacher to launch forth into the publishing of the Lord’s glory!
Dear Ones, let us not fret concerning the inconvenience of life’s storms. Let us not despair in the fear which they bring. If our Lord is resting in the storm, let us try to think that this may just be the very thing we prayed for, to launch our lives into a greater benefit for the spreading of the kingdom of God!
Pastor Gene Breed
February 4, 2007