Saturday in the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

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

Binding Satan and Plundering His House

We come today to one of the more interesting healings that our Lord performed on behalf of two poor men.  It involves his casting out demons, properly called an “exorcism,” though that word has spooky and negative connotations today thanks to Hollywood.  There are two problems of detail that need not contain us for long.  First, “Gadarenes” or “Gerasenes”?  Both terms refer to geographical locations inland from the Sea of Galilee, which might have been used of the same place or region.  Another curiosity is that Matthew reports two demon-possessed men whereas Mark and Luke report only one.  This is easily resolved by suggesting that the latter two evangelists simply refer one of the men, perhaps the more prominent one.

More important is the account itself.  As soon as Jesus steps out of the boat, he is met by the men.  Their condition is truly pitiful: they are naked, live and roam among caves as animals, and are so violent no one can bind them.  Furthermore, they cut and abuse themselves (something that occurs in our day).  In short, these demons had reduced them to a most wretched condition.  As they meet Jesus, it is the demons which speak, imploring the “Son of the Most High God” not to “torment them before the time,” nor send them, Luke says, into the “abyss.”  Thus, as always, the demons know exactly who Jesus is and fear him to the uttermost of their existence.  They are aware that their time is short, that ultimate judgment and damnation await them.  They fear that Jesus will execute judgment immediately and seem to be crying out, “Not fair! Not fair!”  Not fair, indeed!  A legion, meaning as many as six thousand of these vermin, had reduced these poor men to an animal-like state.  Remember, the demons always wish to debase men, to foul, desecrate, and destroy the image of God within us.  This is what sin does to us; this is why Satan and his minions tempt us to evil.  But this passage also reminds us that the devil himself knows that he has already lost the war.  That is why the demons tremble (James 2:19); this is why the devil is in such a rage (Revelation 12:12).  So our Lord respects that “the end is not yet” and allows the demonic horde to enter the pigs – who are so terrified by the sudden invasion that they cast themselves into the sea.  We will not entertain such deluded questions as to why Jesus would allow these poor pigs to die for the sake of two men created in the image of God, as if people and pigs were equal, as some believe in our day.  Such would be the very sin the townspeople committed when they begged Jesus to leave.  They feared him, but not for the right reasons.  This is a beautiful account of our Lord’s plundering Satan’s house before the time (Matt. 12:29; Mark 3:27).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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