From Matthew Henry’s Commentary: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc5.Luke.ix.html
26Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— 29for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. 31They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss. 32Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. 34When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. 35Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. 37Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
A Little Bit for Everyone
Oremus online text: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Luke+8:26-39&vnum=yes&version=nrsv
Textweek general resources: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/properc7.htm
Textweek resources for Luke’s Gospel this Sunday: http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/lk8.htm
Some interesting articles on this passage:
Working Preacher: http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?lect_date=6/20/2010
William Loader’s thoughts:
Commentary by Chris Haslam
A social science perspective by Dr. Jerome Neyrey of Notre Dame: http://www.nd.edu/~jneyrey1/miracles.html
Not in power and not in vengeance, O Lord of the prophets, but in weakness and compassion did your Son come among us. Schooled in this unique wisdom, may we be prepared to conquer our fears and temptations, to take up our cross daily and to follow Jesus toward true life. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, god for ever and ever. Amen.
From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year C, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.
As we begin to think about and reflect upon our Gospel today it is important to see it within the context of the pericope in which it resides. We begin in verse 22 with Jesus getting into a boat, a storm arising and Jesus calming the storm and the fears of his disciples. This is important because the end of this story leaves a question hanging in the air: “Who is this, then, that commands even the winds and the water and they obey him?”
As the question is asked, Jesus steps out of the boat into the land of the Gerasenes which we are told is opposite of Galilee.
Jesus is met by a man from the city who lives near the tombs and is see in torn clothes. It is legion then that answers the disciples question as it cries out: “Son of God Most High.”
The name of the demon implies that there are four or six thousand demons inside the man; this is the number in a Roman military legion. While Mark’s Gospel takes on a political tone in the retelling of this story, Luke stays with his thematic proposition that this is a great prophet of God who has tremendous power. So the focus in Luke’s Gospel is on the number of demons and the power given to Jesus by God to heal the world. Who Jesus is and the work he is to do remain the focus in our Lukan version.
The demons are begging for mercy. They do not want to return to the abyss, which is where they are from; the place of sea monsters. So that is exactly where Jesus sends them.
People gathered around to witness the event and then they go into the city to tell the story. What the pig keepers saw was the man restored: in his right mind, at the feet of Jesus, and clothed. While the people do this out of fear leading to Jesus’ dismissal, the man who has been healed is charged to go to the city and make the work of Jesus known.
In this passage a number of themes are coming together. We see the theme of the prophet healer. We see the theme of the revelation of the Son of God. We also see the gentile mission beginning to take shape. And, last of all, we see one way in which Luke provides us an understanding of discipleship.
The model proposed in this story is one where the individual healed by Jesus is sent to proclaim the good news into the gentile world. In this model discipleship is partly a response to the reception of Grace and is aimed at a mission of proclamation to the world which has not yet heard the Good News of Christ.
The work of the reign of God is the work of salvation. We are not healed only for our sake, we are healed for the greater glory of God which is manifested in the growing discipleship community. Faith, salvation, and mission are united in the work of Jesus and in the work of those whose lives are “closely linked” with him.
Luke Timothy Johnson points this out in the last paragraph (Luke, Sacra Pagina, p 140) of his teaching on this chapter:
“Finally, in Luke’s terse reduction of mark 5:16, ‘How the man was saved,’ we see his characteristic understanding of what the meaning of the story is: god’s visitation is for salvation. Now, when we see two stories (of the stilling and the demoniac), we perceive not only that they both demonstrate the power of the prophet over winds and spirits, but that they join the elements of ‘faith’ and ‘salvation,’ and thereby provide a link between Luke’s version of the parable of the sower, where hearing the word and doing it is ‘believing tha they might be saved’ (8:12), and the story of the two daughters in which saving faith is the entire point.” [8:40-56]I sometimes wonder how many of us, including myself, ever get past the gratitude for grace into the mission field?
The Lambeth Bible Study Method
This Bible study method was introduced by the African Delegation to the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church. It is known by both names: "Lambeth" and "African." This method is derived from the practice of Lectio Divina. The entire process should take about 30 minutes.
Question #5: "Briefly identify where this passage touches their life today," can change based upon the lesson. Find lesson oriented questions at this website: http://www.dcdiocese.org/word-working-second-question
Opening Prayer: O Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning. Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. One person reads passage. This person then invites a member of the group to begin the process.
2. Each person briefly identifies the word or phrase that catches their attention then invites another person to share.
3. Each shares the word or phrase until all have shared or passed using the same invitation method.
4. The passage is read a second time, preferably from a different translation. The reader then invites a person in the group to begin the process.
5. Each person briefly identifies where this passage touches their life today, and then invites someone who has not shared yet.
6. The passage is read a third time, also from another translation, and the reader invites a person to start the process.
7. Each person responds to the questions, "What does God want me to do, to be or to change?"
8. The group stands up in a circle and holds hands. One person initiates the prayer “I thank God today for …” and “I ask God today for…” The prayer goes around the circle by squeezing the hand to your right.
9. When the circle is fulfilled, the person who initiated the prayer starts the Lord’s Prayer, “Our father…”