At the Feet of Jesus

Luke 8:35  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 10
There is no other place of repose. It is not necessary to have been the victims of demoniacal possession to realize this; it is sufficient to have known the “plague of our own hearts.” Undoubtedly the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit is necessary to bring any of us to our “right mind,” whether the germs of evil, that are innate in fallen humanity, have borne much or little fruit. But the contrast is all the more striking when the sweet and divine peace found at the feet of the Savior succeeds a state of wildest tumult and unrest, as in the case of the Gadarene demoniac. Singular that those who witnessed this blessed change in his condition should have felt an alarm of which we read nothing in connection with his previous ravings and violence. It is true that a feeble realization of divine power may very probably have mingled with less worthy feelings; still it stands written that not lawlessness but grace alarmed them most.
The two non-apostolic evangelists give a very vivid picture of the incident, Luke being in this case no less graphic than Mark. In Matthew there are two demoniacs mentioned because two was adequate testimony. The story however is more compressed, though each narrator tells of the fear that fell on the people of the place, and how they were so blind as to beseech the divine and beneficent Healer to depart out of their coasts. What a strange thing is the heart of man!
It has been surmised that moral depravity may have left the spiritual being of the unhappy man open to this terrible possession by evil spirits. The weakening of the will, that usually accompanies excess, would make him all the easier prey. There may be analogous cases now, though in a less marked degree. For no doubt when the grace of God was being manifested in an outward sort, such that even the natural mind could appreciate it, the corresponding power of evil would make a more desperate effort. Such Satanic agency was, at least in its more violent exhibitions, of short duration.
The heathen oracles also are understood after the incarnation to have sunk into ignoble silence, as if they were compelled to hide abashed from that great and holy Presence. No doubt there had been a mixture of chicanery and deception in it all, and sometimes the priests took refuge in the ambiguities of syntax in framing their replies in order to cover their ignorance. Still it cannot be doubted that there was more involved than human cunning and craftiness. The true Light came to destroy these and all the works of the devil, and the darkness was already passing, as it is still passing—at least from the eyes of those who believe. Alas! in some it seems increasing. This must be where Christianity is rejected, as it characterizes the abodes of the heathen. Happily it is also true that there never were so many real Christians probably as are now on this earth. If it be sadly true that, where Christ works, Satan works, the converse is also blessedly true. In the story of the Gadarene demoniac we have a most striking exemplification of this. The man was seated, who had been wildly rushing to and fro, clothed after being naked, in his right mind after his wretched body had been the tool of a legion of demons. What a change the blessed Lord had wrought! The devil is always contrasted with the Son, as the world and the flesh with the Father and the Holy Spirit. R. B.