Harmony of the Gospels

 Harmony of the Gospels

 

-AD 28-
East Shore of Galilee
(29) Gadarene Demoniac Healed
Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, Luke, 8:26-39

 

-Matthew Chapter 8-

28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

 

Jesus and His disciples have landed in an area that today is known as Gadara.  The people who lived here were from the tribe of Gad.  Back in the Old Testament, we find that this tribe chose to stay on the wrong side of the Jordan River, when the land was being divided up.  They eventually went into the pig business, in spite of Jewish laws against having anything to do with pigs.  Why did they do it?  Well, once you disobey the Lord, the next step of disobedience is not so difficult.  In time, they were living outside the will of God, and they were no different than the Gentiles who lived around them

When Jesus stepped ashore, He was met by two men who were under the control of demons.  There is only one Devil, so a better translation is demons.  They were horrible looking and dangerous.

29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

 

I believe that those miracles involving demons were the greatest that Jesus did, because they entail a battle with Satan and his underlings.  It is difficult for us to understand how important these encounters were, because we don’t understand demons and their mission and activities.  At this time, when Jesus was on earth, demon activity increased as Satan reacted to the manifestation of the Son of God.

The demons immediately recognized the Lord and they reacted in fear, proclaiming that He was the Son of God.  If only men could have recognized Him and received Him as the Savior.  We can tell from their statement, “Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” that they knew their final state, and that Christ had the power to do what ever He wanted to them.

 

30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.
31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.

For some reason demons need a body to torment, and they would even accept an animal, if they couldn’t have a man.  So they ask Jesus to send them into a nearby herd of swine.

 

32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

I believe that they made the swine run into the sea, and they all drowned.  But a comparison can be made to mankind-you could say that the pigs would rather die than to have demons possess them.  Mankind is different.  Many people are demon-possessed today, but they are labeled insane or fanatic.  No one today would call a mass murderer like Hitler “demon possessed”, but I think he was.  Demon activity was at its peak during the time of Moses, Elijah and Christ.  Today we see demon activity increasing, and there are evidences of it around us.  However, many instances of it are difficult to pinpoint, and we need to be wary of saying, I believe so-and so are demon possessed.  Nevertheless, we need to be on guard against such people.

 

33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.
34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.

They asked Jesus to leave, because they wanted their pigs more than they wanted Jesus.  This attitude is not peculiar to the Gadarenes; there are people today who prefer their “pigs” to the Lord Jesus Christ.  By pigs I mean, their weekends, their hobbies, their jobs, their sports and such.

 

-Mark Chapter 5–

 

1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

Our Lord had taught on the other side of the sea and He was tired, so He crossed the sea for a brief break from the crowds and their demands.

 

2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

What did Jesus see?  He saw “a man”.  Regardless of the man’s condition, Jesus saw a man.  He was in a desperate condition, but he was still a man.  Notice that in the following verses the description given of him could be applied to a maniac.

 

3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

This man is in a desperate state; he has been possessed by an unclean spirit.  He has settled down in the tombs or graveyard.  The Jews considered this place unclean, because the dead were there and some of the bodies were exposed.  This man could no longer come into the presence of normal men, so he lived among the dead.  Mathew said that there were two men, but Mark and Luke concentrate on this one man.  I believe that the other man was not nearly as “bad-off” as this man, and that he was not a companion for him; nor, of course, were the dead.  He was alone in his distress.  It says that he had super-human strength and that no one could control him.  He was a wild man.  No one could confine him.  He was miserable.  He suffered physically; because he cut himself with sharp stones.  This man was a tragic figure, who should be pitied because on a human plane, his case was hopeless.  He cried out, but the words didn’t make sense.  What an awful condition, and all due to demon possession.  

 

6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

He ran and worshipped him.-It was the man that worshipped Him; not the demon.  But it is the demon that speaks, even though it is afraid of Jesus.  It is like this man has a split personality; first you hear the man, then the demon takes over.  When he asks, “What have I to do with thee,” he is asking, “What do we have in common?”

 

9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

When Jesus asks him, “What is thy name?” the man begins to answer, because he says, “My name is.”  But then the demon takes over and says, “Legion: for we are many.”

 

10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

There is some speculation about why the demons requested to enter the pigs.  One group believes that they preferred the swine to the abyss.  I have read that if they couldn’t destroy men, they would destroy their possessions; Satan will hurt men any way he can.  It appears that demons must have a body to inhabit; without it they are helpless.

I have heard some liberal preachers say that the “Gentle Jesus” would not give His permission for them to do such a thing; He would never destroy the swine.  That’s nonsense, of course.  To begin with, these people shouldn’t have been in the pig business.  The Mosaic Law forbid contact with pigs.  And besides, the two thousand pigs destroyed here were insignificant, compared to all the pigs that were destroyed in the flood at the time of Noah.  Remember, God has put the judge’s robe on Jesus; He will be the one who will judge the world, and He will be the one who will, along with His angels, fight the final battle against Satan and his demons.  And then I would like to say to those liberals, “if you eat ham or bacon, I just wish those little pigs were here to tell you what they think of you.”   Well, I think that we have a lot of that type of thinking around today-too many people do not see God as one who judges sin, but friends, if you will not have Christ as your Savior, you will have Him as your judge.

I want to say some things about demon possession, at this point:
1. All four of the Gospels and Acts, as well as some of the epistles give witness to demons.  If you accept the Bible as truth, then you must accept the reality of demons.
2. They were especially active during the time of Christ, but we are also seeing a resurgence of them today.  You could give many illustrations of demon activity from the news, and from what is going on around the world as men and women are suffering and committing terrible acts.
3. They seek to indwell mankind, and then they reveal their evil nature through human beings.  In Luke 11:24, there is a description of a demon that is outside of it’s host, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.”  Just like the Holy Spirit indwells believers, demons possess unbelievers.  Demons cannot possess the saved.  We are told in 1 John 4:4, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  A demon cannot possess a child of God, because He is greater than the demons.
4. They should be called demons and not devils, because there is only one devil.  They are called “unclean spirits”, because of their nature.
5. Scripture does not give us their origin, however there has been speculation, and one theory is that they are the fallen angels that accompanied Satan when he was cast out of heaven.  But scripture does not reveal where they came from.
6. There appear to be many of them.
7. Their purpose is to follow Satan’s program of keeping men from coming to God.
8. They are under the control of Satan. 
9. There are present day examples of demon possession.  Satan worship is practiced, and there are churches that devote themselves to worshipping him.
10. The Lord Jesus Christ has power over demons. 

If you are a believer, you don’t need to be afraid of them or to hold any superstitious beliefs concerning them.  If you think you are being bothered by them, just ask the Lord Jesus to deliver you.  They have been cast out in His name, and it is a lack of faith for a child of God to live in fear of them.  Remember, the Lord Jesus Christ has power over them. 

 

14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.
15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.
17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.

Now this is an amazing thing, that people prefer their “pigs” to Christ.  They asked him to leave, because He had taken away their livelihood.  And notice that they were not happy for the ones who were possessed, but were now restored and at peace.  The man who had been delivered wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus did not allow it.  Instead, He told the man to tell his friends how he had been delivered.  This man was the first missionary, and he did a good job.  When Jesus returns to this area, later on, there were many believers there.  Many believed because of the testimony of this man who had been possesses by demons.

 

-Luke Chapter 8-

26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

Let me point out once again that Luke is a doctor, and so he deals with this event in greater detail than the other Gospel writers.  When it comes to demons, many people believe today that they should be assigned to the same category as ghosts, goblins, gnomes, fables and fairies.  Many Christians today believe that if they once existed, that they don’t today.  However, it is difficult to explain what is taking place in our society today without believing in the existence of demons.  Demon possession is just as real as cancer or leprosy.  Demons disturb men physically, mentally and spiritually. 

 

28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.
29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)

The demon recognized Jesus.  James tells us, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19 (KJV)  Demons are the enemies of God and they are going to be judged.  We can’t see demons, but neither can we see the angels; but they are there and they are real. 

Demons control a man so that he can’t do what he wants to do.  They cause people to do frightful and terrible things.  They cause mothers to kill their children, husbands to kill their wives and children to kill their parents.  People commit senseless acts and they don’t know why they do such things; it’s happening in our day and we blame everything but demons as the cause.

 

30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.
33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.

The man was possessed by a legion of demons.  Do you know how many that is?  There were 3000-6000 men in a Roman legion of soldiers.  Here the word demon is used like the word mob.  There was a mob of demons in this man and they didn’t want to leave.  They didn’t want to be forced, “out into the deep.”  That “deep” is the bottomless pit or the abyss, where the fallen angels are held.  In the sixth verse of Jude it tells us, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” 

 

34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.
35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.

This man had been marvelously transformed.  Only Christ can deliver a person from the power of Satan. 

 

37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.
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.

It is startling to read that these people would rather have their “pigs” than Him.  But even today, there are a lot of people who would rather have other things-which are as bad as pigs-than to have Christ.

 

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