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“A Man from Gadarene Became Clean”
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There are lessons and stories in life that are hard to hear of and tell about. Events where evil is on a rampage while helpless onlookers have no power to help or save. Hopelessness seems to prevail as darkness comes to the forefront during these times, putting on a horrible show.
But, Jesus . . .
The worst and the most devastating cases, whilst they may seem overwhelming to the average person, is nothing for Jesus to handle. Jesus can take authority over any horrendous form of wickedness and maladies that any human may face.
The lesson of the demon-possessed man from Gadarene shows just how low an individual can go, and yet, the power of Jesus is able to restore. With our Savior in the mix there are no hopeless cases. The spiritual battle is real, but the victory which Jesus Christ secures is realer (yes, I said it like that on purpose 🙂 ).
Luke 8:26-29 “And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 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. 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. (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.)
As the storms raged and His disciples were in fear of their lives, Jesus stood in the wave tossed boat and “rebuked the wind and the raging water: and they ceased, and there was calm,” (Luke 8:24). Turning to His disciples He asked one question, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25).
Jesus specialized in doing things that made people wonder, “What manner of man is this!” (Luke 8:25). If making the winds and waves behave caused people to scratch their heads in wonder I can only imagine what they will think of the next event to take place. What Jesus would do there is monumental as opposed to keeping the natural elements of weather in check. He was going to show He could subdue the spiritual tempest as well.
With His boat landing in the “country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee,” He was met by a most unusual situation. Now, the Bible does not tell us specifically why He was purposed to go into the Gadarenes area, a Gentile nation (more on that later). Perhaps He knew there was a great need for someone there or a great opportunity to teach His disciples another lesson to boost their sometimes questioning faith. We don’t know. But, He is here and somebody is sure going to be glad He came and somebody is not.
“There met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time.” Spiritual affliction is not pleasant to go through or to watch another suffer in the squalls of it. The bondage over that life is more real than any physical chains. It inhibits growth and vitality; it keeps one incarcerated in lies, oppression, and depression believing escape or restoration is a sure impossibility.
Of this man, the Bible leaves out the details of how he came to be under such spiritual bondage. I always believe that when God leaves these kinds of details out it is for our benefit least one think to compare and come up short in their own examination of self because they say, “Well, that’s not me.” This man’s ordeal, as we will learn, reached beyond the realm of inner emotional conflicts, but through deadly practices the evil that was fighting in him was bent on his total humiliation and destruction. He dealt with many “devils” (we’ll will learn later why that word is plural), meaning more than one.
He suffered unbearably for a long time. For that to be noted lets us know that this was an ongoing problem. Again, we do not have the specifics on exactly how long, but even a little while is too long when dealing with such a horrific state. All we do know is that He is some deep spiritual trouble and the ONLY way to see any type of deliverance is through Jesus Christ.
Reading more of the state he was in we find that he “ware no clothes.” Please, get this straight. Usually, if the Bible states that, it is a very literal statement. In depictions, for decency’s sake, there is often a cloth covering, but in reality is it what it says. For one to be naked in such a way is a total shame. The enemy is not satisfied with just the downfall of an individual, but seeks to milk shame out of the situation if he can. Shame in and of itself can also be another type of one of those unseen bondages that can keep people in invisible chains.
The man didn’t live in a normal house. Rather, he dwelt amongst the “tombs.” Tombs speak of defilement and death. There is no life there. It is a place of darkness and hopelessness; a place of decay and rot. These underground or side of the mountain cavernous cadaver holders are places designed for corpses and their remains, not a place for the living to, well . . . live. A normal good Jew would avoid areas such as these because death defiles. But, this man, be him a Jew or a Gentile, is beyond the normal condition of anyone. His life had become supernaturally controlled by demonic forces.
“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.” This particular verse tells a lot about what truly goes on in the spiritual realm. The truth is one that the enemy will try to hide from God’s people if possible, and that is: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth,” (Philippians 2:10), verifying the truth of every bit of God’s Word.
These demons had to submit to the will of the “Son of God.” There were no ifs, ands, or buts about it. He bowed himself in submission recognizing that whatever he was getting away with in the lives of the people in the region, it was going to come to a stop and he had to obey what Jesus commanded. Therefore, he pleads his cause and asked, “Torment me not.” Jesus, he knew, had the power to shut him down and inflict the worst punishment possible. Again, we don’t know what the man engaged in to enable these demons access into his inner being, but even they recognize that Jesus’ authority will disable them. They may try to lay hold of and seek to break people and “chains” but their efforts are debilitated when face to face with the “Son of God.”
Jesus already gave them their eviction notice. The Bible doesn’t tell us anything beyond the fact that He “commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.” It didn’t say He performed certain rituals, but simply spoke the word and it was to be obeyed.
How awesome is that?!
To the naked eye and those who judged Him by what they saw on the outside, Jesus appeared to most to be nobody but a nuisance and a Rabbi who went off course of what they supposed as traditional teaching, usurping the Pharisaical community. But, in Him was and is, power! As with the centurion’s servant, all He had to do was speak and this man’s years of spiritual bondage would come to an end.
Yes, Jesus is lowly and meek (Matthew 11:29), but He is nobody’s wimp. When He reaches the point of resurrection He clearly states that He has “all power,” (Matthew 28:18). But even before then He has been in the business of setting the captives free from Satan’s tyranny (see Matthew 17:18; Mark 1:34; Mark 16:9; Luke 11:14; just to name a few). In each event, the “unclean spirit” had to submit to the will of His authority.
Hallelujah! How does that bolster one’s faith? Doesn’t it encourage you in your walk of faith? When Jesus offers freedom He has the power to see it through.
Luke 8:30-34 “And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. 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. 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. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.”
With each unveiling of the evil this man has been living with we see more and more the depravity of his situation. The spiritual battle that was going on in him was beyond real and beyond intense. One ought to be glad these stories, as hard as they are to read about, are recorded in the Bible because they give real hope to real people who are really hurting.
To deal with one demon, nobody would want. To deal with seven as Mary Magdalene did was even worse (Mark 16:6). But, to live with a “legion,” a name identified by thousands according to a Roman army, is the worst of the worst; something so horribly horrendous and wretched that one cannot properly put into words. To say that this man was in a life and death situation doesn’t scrape the tip of the iceberg. He was as if he was alive but dead already and suffering dreadful spiritual torment in the process.
Not wanting to go “out into the deep,” a place revealed in Revelation 9:1 and 20:1 as a “bottomless pit” and a place of punishment/holding for the Devil, they asked to enter the “swine” (it is for this reason we know it to be a Gentile area for the Jews do not eat or deal with anything pig related) that was “feeding on the mountain” nearby. With Jesus giving them the permission, they entered the creatures causing them to plunge to their doom “into the lake, and were choked.”
This caused panic in the region, particularly in the herdsmen in charge of the pigs. Money, livelihood, or loss of property didn’t even come up when the pigs dove to their deaths. The people were just flat out afraid of the whole process when the “saw what was done.” It was one of those “I can’t believe that just happened right before my eyes,” moments.
While the man whom was receiving relief from the spiritual crisis had to have been happy Jesus came to the region, those demons were not. They lost a very strong hold in this man’s life and possibly over the people of the area. The one’s who saw it, though they had to fight with the man possessed to keep him under control, were so taken in fear that later we see they ask Jesus to leave the area (Luke 8:37; not in today’s text).
Luke 8:35-36 “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. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
“Clothed, and in his right mind.” What a sight that must have been for the people to see. Not only did he used to be physically demon possessed, but he had no cognizant abilities of his own. The enemy had ravaged every area of his life. But, Jesus restored his mind and his life.
Most spiritual battles are begun and ended in the mind. This is where the war is primarily fought. The Bible warns that people cannot be ignorant of Satan’s devices, (2 Corinthians 2:11). Therefore, Peter encourages everyone to, “Gird up the loins of your mind . . .” (1 Peter 1:13).
How does one go about doing that? For starters, Paul taught the Corinthians, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Whatever goes on in the mind; whatever seed that is allowed to be planted in the mind that is the path one will walk. If it is one opposed to God than it is opposed to you and your spiritual walk in Christ; it is opposed to your spiritual health and vitality in the Lord. Therefore, the individual must take it captive before it captures them.
The best way to build up one’s faith in this area is an oldie but goodie. Through genuinely seeking God; through heartfelt, real prayer; through fasting if need be, and through the Word of God. His truth is your treasure that will reinforce the good stuff that goes on in the mind and help one to realize the negatives that will detract from a Godly Christian walk; things that must be held at bay.
This man’s particular deliverance only came through Jesus Christ’s intervention. He was now free and “sitting at the feet of Jesus,” showing beyond a shadow of a doubt that the power and the kingdom of God will always prevail. He was spiritually delivered. He was finally “healed.”
Jesus knows how to deal with the devil. Trust Him in every area of life that needs healing, including the spiritual. Have faith.
(Click here for PDF: A Man from Gadarene Became Clean Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below. Enjoy!)
Below are activities to support this lesson. Enjoy!
Word Scramble: A Man from Gadarene Became Clean Word Scramble Answers: A Man from Gadarene Became Clean Word Scramble Answers
Draw the Scene: A Man from Gadarene Became Clean Draw the Scene
Memory Verse: A Man from Gadarene Became Clean Memory Verse
Poem and Activity Sheet: A Man from Gadarene Became Clean Poem Activity Sheet
Sad Face or Happy Face Craft: Use these faces for the children to illustrate the man’s state of mind before and after Jesus healed him. Ask your students throughout the lesson, “How do you think the man feels in this verse or part?” This will turn up all sad faces. Finally, leading up to verse 35, where we see him healed you can ask once again, “How do you think he feels here?” At that time everyone will put up their smiley faces. Ask your students why does he feel happy now? Give them space to say their answers. Then, at that time you can reiterate the miracle Jesus performed for the man and how Jesus can take the worst situation and put a smile on our faces. Enjoy!
TO MAKE: Simply print out the PDF’s on cardstock: Sad Face Cut Out 2 and Smile Face Cut Out 2 and decorate. For fun, I even added googly eyes from the dollar store to mine. Lastly, glue or tape to craft stick and there you have it. The children are all ready to demonstrate this lesson. Enjoy!
“Paper Chain Craft” (A simple, easy and affordable project to throw together for your students. This easy to throw together project is a great reminder of the man from Gadarene was bound but Jesus set him free. Enjoy!) – (ps. the picture below was used for a previous “prayer chain craft” but you get the idea 😉 )
Additional lesson helps. Enjoy!
“Sponge Roller Pigs” (These are a great reminder of this lesson. Hit up the dollar store for pink sponge hair rollers and turn them into these pig reminders. Enjoy!)