The Gerasene Demoniac
Luke 8:26-39

      Immediately before this episode in Luke's gospel, Jesus and his disciples embark on a boat to sail across the sea of Galilee. Jesus falls asleep. A storm sweeps down upon the lake, and in fear the disciples awake Jesus, who calms the sea with a rebuke. Which is more frightening, the storm or the one who can still it?
      Following the below story, they return to the other side of the lake, where Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, pleads for Jesus to come and heal his daughter.  As they are walking there a suffering woman reaches out and touches the hem of Jesus' clothes and is healed. "Your faith has made you well," he says after discovering her action. When the group then arrives at Jairus' home, the child is dead, but Jesus revives her, instructing them to tell no one about it.

{26} Then they (Jesus and his disciples) arrived at the country of the Gerasenes,
                                                                          which is opposite Galilee.
{27}        As he (Jesus) 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.
{28}                                               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" -
{29}                                          - 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.)
{30}               Jesus then asked him,
                               "What is your name?"
                       He said,
                               "Legion";          for many demons had entered him.
{31}                                       They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.
{32}                                                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.
{33}                                                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.
{34}        When the swineherds saw what had happened,
                        they ran off and told it in the city and in the country.
{35}                       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.
{36}         Those who had seen it told them how
                        the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed.
{37}                       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.
{38}   The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him;
                  but Jesus sent him away, saying,
{39}                  "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.

 

Synoptic Parallels

Mat 8:28-34 Mark 5:1-20 Luke 8:26-39

Among the Tombs

{28}When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. {1} They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. {2} And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. {3} He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; {4} for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. {5} Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. {26} Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. {27} 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.

Encountering the Demons

{29} Suddenly they shouted, "What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" {6} When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; {7} and he shouted at the top of his voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me." {8} For he had said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" {9} Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "My name is Legion; for we are many." {10} He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. {28} 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"-- {29} 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.) {30} Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" He said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him. {31} They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

"Send us"

{30} Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. {31} The demons begged him, "If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine." {32} And he said to them, "Go!" So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. {11} Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; {12} and the unclean spirits begged him, "Send us into the swine; let us enter them." {13} So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea. {32} 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. {33} 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.

Leave Us

{33} The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. {34} Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood. {14} The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. {15} They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. {16} Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. {17} Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood. {34} When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. {35} 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. {36} Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. {37} 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.

Proclaiming

   {18} As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. {19} But Jesus refused, and said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you." {20} And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed. {38} The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, {39} "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.

 


Other resources on this passage can be found at  "The Text this Week."

comments 2001 Peter L. Haynes

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