SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
Passage: Luke 8:32-39 (NKJV).
“32 Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. 33 Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned.
34 When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36 They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. 37 Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned.
38 Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.”
Memory Verse Mark 13:10 (NIV)
“AND THE GOSPEL MUST FIRST BE PREACHED TO ALL NATIONS.”
In the previous edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today, we saw how Jesus commanded the legion of demons to leave the man in the region of the Gerasenes. We mentioned the fact that Jesus has power and authority over every demon or evil spirit and they tremble at the mention of his name, the hearing of his voice as well as his presence. In this edition we want to look at what happened after the demons had left the man. We shall come to understand that no matter how hard Satan tries, he cannot stop the gospel from spreading to the ends of the world.
When Jesus and his disciples decided to go to the other side of the lake to preach the gospel Satan tried to prevent them. Satan started by causing the storms and the water to rage against their boat. He wanted to overturn their boat in order to prevent them from getting to their destination but Jesus rebuked the winds and the raging waters. When they arrived at their destination they were met with a demon-possessed man who was to apparently scare them away. Once again, Jesus exorcised the demons from him and allowed them to enter the herd of pigs that were feeding on the hillside.
The fact that Jesus allowed the demons to enter the pigs at the request of the demons does not mean he obeyed them. Jesus only did what he thought was right and not because the demons asked him to do so. It is also possible that he allowed them to enter the pigs as a protest against the rearing and eating of pigs as stated in the Mosaic Law. In all, no one can actually explain fully why Jesus decided to take that line of action but it must be respected because he is God and knows better.
As soon as the demons entered the pigs they all rushed down the steep and were drowned. This also shows how powerful and violent the demons were and what they could have done to the man if Jesus had not met him at that point. This caused fear in the hearts of the pig farmers who went to the town and the country side to report what they had seen. It is important to remind ourselves that they did not just go to report about the pigs but about the wonderful works of Jesus and the change in the life of the demon possessed man.
This was the beginning of the spreading of the gospel among the people. As a result of the report sent by the pig farmers the people came to see Jesus and witness how powerful he is. This shows that the gospel of Jesus Christ will continue to spread to every nook and cranny of the world whether Satan likes it or not. Satan tried to prevent Jesus from reaching out to the people and preaching to them but he failed. Many came from the surrounding towns to witness what Jesus had done. Those who had seen the demon-possessed man before his encounter with Jesus told others about how much he had changed after his encounter with Jesus. By so doing the gospel continued to spread gradually.
One would have thought that what the people saw would have encouraged them to invite Jesus into their towns and preach the good news to them. But Satan attempted to oppose the spreading of the gospel once more. He incited the people to believe that Jesus’ presence would be more harmful to them than good. He deceived them to probably think that Jesus was going to destroy all their sources of livelihood as he had done to those whose pigs had died. He did not allow them to look at the positive change Jesus had brought into the life of the demon-possessed man. Subsequently they asked Jesus to leave their towns. Jesus granted their request.
Satan might have immediately thought that he had succeeded in curtailing the spread of the gospel but he was deceiving himself. God always has a way of keeping his word. Because God had intended to reach out to the people on the other side of the lake, he did it no matter how hard the devil tried. Those who are in Christ Jesus will surely reach their goals no matter what Satan and his messengers try to do.
I want to assure you that God will cause you to succeed irrespective of Satan’s schemes! All you need to do is to remain faithful to him in all things.
The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to follow Jesus but Jesus did not allow him. Instead of forcing his way into the village to preach the gospel Jesus asked the new man to go and tell his story just as the Samaritan woman did in John 4. This implies that the gospel spread to the region of the Gerasenes even though Jesus did not preach there himself.
The devil did all he could to stop the spread of the gospel but he failed because no one can stop God from accomplishing his purposes.
One lesson we can learn from this is that Jesus wanted the man he had delivered to be an agent of the gospel. In the same way those of us who have been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ must be the ones to spread the gospel to the ends of the world. Jesus does not need to be here physically; but his gospel must continue to spread through his ambassadors such as you and me. Indeed evangelism is the task of everyone who believes Jesus has saved him or her.
We do not need to just call ourselves Christians; we have a responsibility to testify to the world what Jesus has done for us. If we do that the gospel will continue to flourish.
May we become conscious of our calling to be true ambassadors of Jesus Christ everywhere we go!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.