Go and Tell How Much the Lord Has Done for You
KV 5:19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
In last week’s passage the disciples encountered a furious storm while crossing the lake. When they saw Jesus sleeping on a cushion they woke him and said “Teacher don’t you care if we perish?”. Proving without a shadow of a doubt that he cared for them he got up and rebuked the wind and the waves and it was completely calm.
In today’s passage Jesus shows to all just how much he loves and cares for one worthless sinner. In an amazing display of God’s mercy Jesus restores a demon possessed madman, paying the price of 2000 pigs to set him free. He then gives him a calling to go and tell how much the Lord has done for him. Through today’s passage may we be reminded of how much the Lord has done for us, how he has had mercy on us and share this with others.
Let’s take a look at verse 1. “They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.”. In this verse and the following verses we see why Jesus and his disciples crossed the lake battling the winds and the waves. They didn’t just cross the lake to get to the other side as the famous joke goes. Instead we find that Jesus crossed the lake with his disciples for the purpose of meeting and saving just one man. Right after restoring this man he goes back to the other side.
This marked the first time in his ministry that he had entered Gentile or non-Jew territory. He did this for the purpose of extending his love and mercy to one man and then calling him to be a witness of this love and mercy to his brothers and sisters. Through the passage let’s learn Jesus shepherd heart and vision for one lost sinner.
Right as soon as Jesus got out of the boat, he meets this man whom God called him to save.
What kind of man is he? Verses 3-5 as well as Luke’s account give us a very detailed description of this man. First off he is a man with an impure spirit. He lived in the tombs. He had often been chained hand and foot. Night and day he would cry out and harm himself by cutting himself with stones. Luke’s gospel adds that for a long time this man had not worn any clothes or lived in a house.
This was someone whom if you would ever encounter you would run from immediately and try to erase from your mind as quickly as possible.
He lives in the tombs, he doesn’t wear clothes, he harms himself, he can’t control himself and is a terrible burden to others so much that he has to be chained hand and foot. When we think of something being chained hand and food we normally think of vicious animals like some dogs which are chained to keep from hurting others who approach their territory. That’s what this man had become, a raging mad man intent on doing harm both to others and even himself.
When this man saw Jesus and his disciples coming from a distance the text says he ran towards him. Knowing what we know about demons and this man in particular he likely had every intent on harming Jesus and his disciples as well.
However, when Jesus saw him, he had said something remarkable to him “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”. When Jesus saw him, he saw a man. He said “Come out of this man.” For all intents and purposes these demons had caused this man to no longer resemble a man. He didn’t act like a man. He couldn’t even be treated as man. Perhaps at one point, people had hope for this man but it seems all hope was lost. My kids said this was a beast. My wife called him a monster. But when Jesus saw him, he didn’t turn and run but he saw him with hope and vision. Jesus saw a man. A man needing to be delivered and restored into a man made in the image of God. Even Jesus saw a man whom could still by the grace of God be a blessing.
This was a man that seemed beyond all hope. We can imagine people after people had tried to help this man but to no avail. Today when we look at our nation, when we look at the world, even ourselves we see so many deeply rooted problems. Corruption, so many deeply depressed people, selfish people, anxiety, various addictions and impure desires etc. They seem so powerful and deeply rooted. We want to give up hope. But May God help us see others through His eyes and pray and share Jesus.
When this man found out who Jesus was what did he say? Let’s read verse 6-7. “When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name, don’t torture me!”. These demons had clearly tortured this man until all he could do was cry out and harm himself.
The goal of the enemy and of demons are to debase, defile and destroy a human being made in the image of God. They are powerful and destructive. Later, when Jesus allows these demons to enter the pigs they continue their destructive ways and force the pigs to drown.
But before Jesus Christ all the demon could do was to fall on his knees and plead and beg Jesus to not torture him. Though demons and the enemy are strong, Jesus Christ is infinitely stronger and more powerful. In fact, in this passage we see these powerful demons who beg and plead with Jesus again and again. In verse 10 they beg Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. In verse 12 they begged Jesus to send them among the pigs. People resort to begging and pleading when they have absolutely no power over their situation. Such is the life of these powerful demons before the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus is Lord over the powerful storm so is he Lord over powerful demons.
Through this I’m reminded of John 10:10. Can we read together. John 10:10 reads. “The thief comes to steal kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”. Jesus came to this region to give this man life.
If you are a troubled person come to Jesus Christ. If you know troubled people bring them to Jesus Christ.
Let’s read verse 9. Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”
Quite unexpectedly Jesus asked this man his name. We normally ask people their names because we either don’t know or forget. Jesus knows all things, even the numbers of hairs on our head so we know he knows this man’s name and even how many demons are currently living within him. The purpose Jesus asked this man his name then cannot be for himself. The purpose then was for this man’s sake, to remind him of who he was before he met Jesus. When we remember who we were before we met Jesus we can see just how much Jesus has done for us and how much grace and mercy he has on us.
Many people are familiar with the story of John Newton, who wrote Amazing grace. Newton was not only a slave trader but the definition of a dirty rotten scoundrel. He was repeatedly kicked off various ships he was impressed upon, received beatings for his obstinacy, and was once sold into slavery himself. He was known as the “Great Blasphemer”, had reputation for profanity and coarseness and who willingly and intentionally led other sailors into unbelief. But when God met him through Jesus and showed him His amazing grace. The first four lines of the hymn go
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see
Later in his life Newton became a preacher and servant of God writing many hymns to go along with his preaching. In his final years he often told anyone who would listen “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.”
Just like John Newton, what a wretched this man in today’s passage was. This man himself could seemingly not speak for himself but had a legion of demons speak on his behalf. They said My name is legion for we are many. These legion of demons had even held his thought and speech world hostage. Praise God for Jesus who had mercy on this man, restoring him and giving him a new identity in Jesus. I’m reminded of 1 Peter 2:10
1 Peter 2:10 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
If you’ve received God’s mercy, hold onto it and live as the people of God. Let us go and proclaim what the Lord has done for us. If you haven’t please know that Jesus is able, willing, and longs to save and deliver the most wretched and hopeless of sinners.
After Jesus asks the man his name, the man then begs Jesus not to send them out of the area. Let’s see what happens?
Let’s read verses 11-13. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
Wanting to stay in the area the demons begged Jesus to give them permission to enter into the pigs. Jesus gave them permission. They came out of the man and went into the pigs. Pigs take joy in eating. They constantly eat. It seems their identity. But even they lost their appetite when the demons entered into them. Then the pigs rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned. The demons caused the pigs to commit a mass suicide right before their very eyes.
When we study this part of the passage, we can easily question why Jesus allowed the demons to go into these pigs. Surely, he could have delivered this man without having to do that.
First, Jesus let known he is willing to pay the price to set this man free. It is said in modern terms the 2000 pigs were worth well over 1 million dollars. Jesus could have certainly bargained with the demons and paid a lower price or just drove them straight into the abyss. He could have saved his own reputation in the region in doing so. The people likely wouldn’t have pleaded with him to leave. But Jesus chose not to. In doing so Jesus let it be known that He is willing to pay the price to set him free. Nobody else could even endure this man but Jesus was willing to pay the price of 2000 pigs to set him free.
Is 2000 pigs too costly to save one man? The answer to this question is it depends on who you ask. If you ask the people of the town they will say it’s too much. But ask the man’s father and he will say differently. A father wouldn’t spare anything in trying to save his son. He’d give anything to do so. This is the love of God through Jesus Christ. This is the love that Jesus had for this man. 1 John 3:1. “How great is the love the father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!”.
Likewise, we as Christians must know the price which was paid to set us free. Paul said in 1 Corinthians “you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”. Jesus paid the price of 2000 pigs to set this wretched demon possessed madman free. It was amazing and unprecedented. But for us, Jesus paid an even higher price. He gave His own life. His very own blood. Romans 8:32 says
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
When we think of the price Jesus paid to set us free it affects and changes our life. Paul could hold on to this deep love of God through Jesus his entire life even saying “what shall separate us from the love of Christ!”.
Later it affected this man’s life as he wants nothing more to go with Jesus and be with him. He knew this was the father’s love. Likewise, when Paul knew the price Jesus paid to set him free he could devote his life to him. He said in Galatians 2:20 “The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”. Praise God for Jesus who is willing to pay the price to set us free by giving himself for us. May God bless you to hold on deeply to this love
Second, through allowing the demons to be driven into the pigs, Jesus challenged the value system of all people in this town. We find clearly in today’s passage that the people of that town valued the 2000 pigs above this man’s life and well-being. Upon witnessing the events regarding the demon possessed man and the pigs they began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. They should have rejoiced to see this wretched man who used to terrorize them now sitting, dressed and in his right mind. It was an absolute miracle from almighty God. A man who used to be naked for a long time now dressed. A man who used to be chained sitting peacefully. A crazy and troubled man who use to cry out and cut himself now in his right mind. They could have looked forward to many more works of Jesus, healings, deliverances, testimonies. They could have been like the other town of Galilee and brought all the sick people to Jesus. But they rejected it. They couldn’t accept losing pigs for the sake of helping one man. To them pigs were more precious than a man’s life. They told Jesus, get out! You are not welcome here.
What do you value? In this nation we seem obsessed with valuing convenience, freedom, money, success and everything else under the son instead of human life. When we do we set an environment that limits the work of God. But when we have Jesus’ value system who loved one wretched sinner more than anything else, even his own life, God will use our life, our church and our nation to witness many mighty acts of deliverance. May God help us to have Jesus’ value system, loving God and loving those made in his image more than anything.
Finally, let’s see what happened to the man after Jesus set him free. Let’s read verses 19-20.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
Because Jesus was not welcome, He had to get back in the boat and leave with his disciples. Because of the love Jesus showed this man we see the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. This love so melted the man that he became like a little kid when his mother or father is going away for some time. He begs Jesus, let me go with you.
He had no idea where Jesus came from or where he was going but he knew one thing that Jesus loved him more than 2000 pigs and had great mercy on him. Out of his mercy Jesus had changed his life and given him a future. Though he was finally free to pursue his own dreams, or to get married, find a job, build a house etc., we see he chose Jesus without hesitating even begging Jesus if he could go with him. I’m reminded of the song titled “Give me Jesus”. It says you can have all this world but give me Jesus. When he saw how much Jesus loved him all he wanted was to be with Jesus, no other thing was worthy of his.
Jesus didn’t let him go with him. Instead what does he do? He sends him out as the very first missionary. At this point Jesus had not even sent his disciples out. But He tells this former madman, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.”.
Though Jesus had already done much for the man, Jesus transformed this man from being a burden and a dread to being a source of blessing for the region.
Jesus didn’t let the man go with him because he had an even better plan for this man’s life. He would call this once wretched useless sinner to go and proclaim how much the Lord did for him. He became a living testimony of the power of Jesus in the Decapolis region.
Though their hearts may have been hard and full of unbelief and the wrong value system when they saw this man now in his right mind proclaiming what Jesus had done for him they too could see that Jesus indeed was full of goodness, full of power, full of father’s love and full of mercy. Indeed, this man’s testimony had a great impact. Verse 21 says all the people were amazed. Later Jesus returns to the Decapolis in chapter 7, not only is Jesus allowed to enter but some people who were undoubtedly moved by this man’s testimony immediately brought a man who suffered from being deaf and mute to Jesus and he healed him. Through this, I’m deeply reminded of the importance of sharing your own personal testimony. Through the man’s obedience to share what God had done for him, the work of God in the region could continue with even more amazement. May God raise many in our region and nation who can share what Jesus has done for them.
In today’s passage Jesus shows his compassion, love and mercy upon one terrible lost sinner. Indeed, his story is a dramatic one. But I believe the same mercy and love Jesus gave to this man he offers to all of us. Indeed, what he offers you is no less amazing than what he offered this demon possessed madman. He sought you, he bought with his redeeming blood. By his grace he gave us a new identity and new life as children of God by setting us free from the power of sin and death and gave us a mission to share Jesus with others. May God remind you deeply of what he has done for you until you too may share Jesus and the work of God may spread in this nation and entire world