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Are there people in your life you find frightening? Pray for them and your relationship with them, and ask God to help you to deal with your fears.

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Bible passage: Luke 8:26–39

The Healing of a Demon-possessed Man
 26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” 29 For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

 30 Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

   “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

 32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

 34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

 38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


, a TV quiz I enjoy, offers the team captain money, or a chance to get a player back in the game. Usually they choose brainpower over cash!

Going for cash
These Gentile townspeople are terrified by what they see Jesus doing. If they had been given a choice, they would have gone for the ‘cash’ – the pigs – over the afflicted man. But for Jesus there is no debate. A healed soul wins every time.

Faith replaces fear
This poor man has been living the life of an outcast. He doesn’t even know his own name any more. He is just a sum of all the demons that live in him. Jesus orders them out and faith replaces fear.

New life
The man is dressed and in his right mind. But now comes the hard part. He has to go back and start his new life with the people who knew him at his worst (v 39) – the people who want Jesus and his strange power out of their sight (v 37). They get their desire, but will be the poorer for it. What about us? Are we ever frightened of what Jesus might do in our lives?

Liz Pacey


‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways; reclothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives thy service find, in deeper reverence, praise’ (John Greenleaf Whittier, 1872). Make these words your prayer today.

Deeper Bible study

Yesterday we read about Christ’s power over nature. Today we learn of his power over evil. Luke has described Jesus casting out demons earlier in his Gospel, but this man was different. He was an extreme case who seemed beyond all hope. The vast number of demons, the wild behaviour they provoked, the inability of others to help or restrain him in any way, all emphasise this. In addition, he was a Gentile – and not a respectable God-fearing one like the centurion we read about last week. To Jesus’ Jewish disciples, this must have been another sign that this man was beyond help.

Evil spirits had immense power over this man and (through him) the community, because of the havoc he caused. Yet these spirits were terrified of Christ. As soon as they caught sight of Jesus, they drove the demoniac to Christ’s feet and begged him not to torture them. Indeed, Greek verbs translated as ‘beg’ are used three times in connection with the demons (vs 28,31,32). Jesus appeared to have little problem casting them out either, despite their numbers. The locals were so stunned that Jesus could deal with such an intractable problem that they, too, ‘were overcome with fear’ (v 37).  

For many of us this will seem a somewhat alien story, but the message of Christ’s power over evil is still very relevant to us today. We all experience times when fear looms in our minds and our problems feel larger than Christ. Perhaps our weaknesses, our failures or the criticisms of others haunt us and hold us back, or we feel dominated by uncertainties about the future or the damage of the past. When we struggle with such things, remember this demoniac. If Christ could overthrow what oppressed this man, he can help us deal with whatever overwhelms us.

Does anything threaten to overwhelm you? Reflect on the power Christ has over evil, demonstrated in this passage; with that in mind, bring your situation to him.

Caroline Fletcher

Background: Gerasenes, Gadarenes or Gergesenes?

What does the text say?

A quick glance at the footnotes in any modern version will show that this is a complex issue. Did he go to the region of the Gerasenes, the Gadarenes or even the Gergesenes? Turn to Matthew 8:28 and Mark 5:1 and it becomes even more murky.

Without going into too much technical detail the evidence of the manuscripts available to us suggests that the most likely reading in Mark and Luke is Gerasenes and in Matthew Gadarenes.

Which doesn’t get us very far.

What does the narrative suggest?

The story requires that Jesus ends up on the eastern shore of Galilee, somewhere opposite Capernaum. It also needs to be in an area where there are cliffs or at the very least a steep bank.

What are the possibilities?

● Gerasa was some 30 miles south-east of Lake Galilee. It is unlikely that it would have had territory extending as far as the lake.

● Gadara was about 5 miles from the lake and did have territory extending to the lake, its coins often bearing the image of a ship.

● Gergesa is probably to be identified with modern Kersa and is on the lakeside and near to the only cliffs on the shore of the lake. But there is little evidence that any early copies of the Gospels had this reading.

So where did Jesus go?

It’s hard to be sure. Given the confusion there are probably some bits of the jigsaw that we don’t have. Possibly place names were used loosely or have changed with the passing of time. Given the geography it seems best to assume that Jesus met the demonised man near the cliffs on the north-eastern shore of the lake.

John Grayston

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

2 Chronicles 3–5

Galatians 5

Forget about the pigs!

Monologue – the demon-possessed man.


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  • Rachael Hampton | Wednesday, 19 June 2019

    Thank you John for connecting these two episodes. Makes sense. I think we need to bear in mind that along with the world and the flesh, the devil is hard at his work of stealing, killing and destroying, and will do it through people. We can remember how easily and compassionately Jesus dealt with his destructive power. Our own testimony is the simplest and most irrefutable witness to God’s power.

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